Humans perceive through their senses. But without good judgment constantly weighing how we feel to what’s morally right…we can easily go astray. When we allow our feelings to overrule our understanding…we jump from one thing to another with no forethought – no discipline – simply doing what feels good at the moment. But by having wisdom always in view, we will consider things through eyes of Godly insight and sensibility…not by fickle, momentary feelings.
Accepting or rejecting counsel depends on our mind-set. If we respect and trust the person, we listen…for we know the wise words coming from them may sting, but they are sincerely wanting to only mold us into a better person. But what if that rebuke comes from someone we barely know, will we be as eager to listen? This is why it’s so important to build bridges of trust with someone before you attempt to correct or chasten them. When we know that person has only our best interests at heart…we’ll be more prone to listen and change.
We see a need…the Holy Spirit nudges us to give, whether that be our money, time, or talents…but we resist, make excuses, or just plain say, “No way!” The very greatest thing we can learn from this Proverb is to not repress a generous impulse. For when we silence that compulsion to be unselfish…we are denying others and ourselves a blessing. We are stopping God from using us to further His Kingdom work…and we are depriving ourselves of His favor. So don’t suppress a generous impulse when it happens…for the Lord is depending on you to fill that specific need.
You don’t hear the word “sluggard” used very much today. It’s definition is an habitually lazy person. The sluggard in this verse, refuses to work, but wants everything he desires to be just handed to him. I see many Christians that are sluggards in the Lord. They long for a closer walk with God…but they want someone else to do all the heavy lifting for them. They want someone else to hand feed them choice bits from God, because they’re too lazy to open the Bible up for themselves. Or they’d rather listen to a pod-cast on their phones than get their back-sides up off the couch and actually go to Church. Laziness in the Lord will get you nothing. But diligence in the Lord will strengthen you from the inside out. For when you are motivated to know God better…He will meet you more than halfway.
I love how Webster’s Dictionary defines nagging…to find fault incessantly, to complain or constantly scold. That’s what this Proverb is addressing…a contentious wife who is always finding fault, clashing verbally over often petty matters, and demanding the last word. No wonder her husband is out in the garage or in his man cave hiding out. No one wants to live in that kind of environment. And elsewhere in Proverbs, we find this interesting idea that coincides, “The wise woman builds her house, but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down.” (Proverbs 14:1)
You don’t hear the word “folly” used much now a days…to the point I had to look it up for the correct definition. According to Webster, folly means a lack of good sense, a foolish act or a stupid idea. So we may not call it folly today, but yet we can see a lot of it across social media! People taking chances and performing dangerous acts on a dare, or acting the fool in front of a camera without thinking first how it might impact their life tomorrow. Proverbs 13:16 tells us that, “a fool exposes his folly.” So think about it – anytime you act on a foolish idea before you first think about the consequences…you risk revealing just how stupid you look to others.
In this commercialized world where we are constantly bombarded by advertising telling us to “Buy! Buy! Buy!” … this verse stands in stark contrast. In fact, elsewhere in Proverbs, the author is even more emphatic when he writes , “Wisdom and understanding are more profitable than silver and yields better returns than gold.” (Proverbs 3:13-14) So what he’s saying is that our choices have eternal consequences…that by choosing wisdom and understanding, they will yield better and lasting benefits…that material possessions are not what make us who we are…and by choosing wisdom and understanding over riches – the result will be a life marked by purpose, and peace…not things.