10/11/2010

A Wise Man Listens to Advice (Proverbs 12:15)

12:1,2 Stupidity and wisdom, pride and humility. The way to be stupid is to is to be proud (2a), and to think of oneself as above criticism (1b). To heed instruction (10:17) and correction reflects humility and leads to wisdom (2).

12:4 It's incredible how much "an excellent wife" (ESV), "a wife of noble character" (NIV) establishes the honor and joy of her husband (Proverbs 31:11,12,23).

12:10-12 The righteous is kind to animals (10), works hard (11), and bears fruit (12). No one can be truly kind (10), without knowing himself to be a recipient of mercy. In this modern age, how easily do we chase and follow "worthless pursuits" (11) and become pointless and senseless, thus squandering away our life.

12:15 One who is "right in his own eyes" sees no need to seek instruction or counsel from others, and unwilling to listen to correction. Such a man--one who thinks he is never wrong and who always thinks he knows best--is a fool (15a; 26:12). Why? Because no one is immune to self-deception (16:2; 21:2; Jeremiah 17:9). When we learn to listen to others, listen to reason, and honestly test ourselves for prejudice and bias, God gives us wisdom (15b; 11:14; 15:22).

12:23 "A prudent man conceals knowledge" (ESV); "a prudent man keeps his knowledge to himself" (NIV). Why? Not out of selfishness, but so that he does not parade or brag of his knowledge and experience. Unlike the fool who blurts out his opinionated folly for all to hear (23b), the wise person is the model of restraint and humility. Wisdom knows when it is right to keep silent and when to speak.

12:24 Diligence or laziness (slothfulness) reveals a simple principle of life that determines whether or not you will rule, or be a slave of someone else (24), or even whether you will be rich or poor (27). One who is diligent is intentional and directed toward a determined course of life, while the lazy inclines toward ease and comfort and becames a slave of the system and a slave of people.