Another Proverb that goes along with this one is Proverbs 12:23 which says, “A prudent man keeps his knowledge to himself, but the heart of fools blurts out folly.” When it comes to good sense and wisdom, it’s better to just keep your mouth shut in many situations! For when we impulsively spout off with the first thing that comes to mind, we can be starkly exposing our total lack of judgment and discernment to all those within earshot. Which leads me to one of my favorite Proverbs…”Even a fool is thought wise if he keeps silent, and discerning if he holds his tongue.” (Proverbs 17:28)
As human beings we think we are so smart! We’ve put people on the moon, developed cutting edge technology, and taken us from the horse and buggy era to modern transportation in a short span of time. But compared to God’s wisdom…we have nothing, for it was by God’s wisdom that He made the heavens and spread out the earth upon the waters, He made the great lights – the sun to govern the day and the moon and stars to govern the night. (Psalm 136: 5-9)… and I don’t think human wisdom will ever come close to duplicating that! So when the world in all its infinite “wisdom” looks at the Gospel Message…they scoff and laugh at the absurdity…”For the Message of the Cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” (I Corinthians 1:18) Yes, as human beings we think we are so incredibility smart…but are we?
The Writer of this proverb was pretty blunt…if you’re opposed to God’s correction in your life, you’re dumb! We know that God disciplines those He loves (Proverbs 3:12), but until we can realize it’s for our benefit not detriment…we’ll continue to rebel against His correction. Proverbs 9:9 says, ” Instruct a wise man and he will be wiser still; teach a righteous man and he will add to his learning.” Greater wisdom and understanding can only be found in the “education” of God’s discipline.
One of the biggest differences between children and adults is the ability to control our thoughts, attitudes, and emotions as grownups. We rarely see a 40 year-old having a temper-tantrum! Yet in this verse, Paul is exhorting us to be child-like regarding evil. Now he doesn’t mean that we should be ignorant, naive or easily exploited by evil, but rather, we should be innocent in our motives and thinking about it…not allowing rationalization or deception to creep into our mindset. This comes, Paul says, from growing up into spiritual maturity and taking all of our thoughts captive to make them obedient to Christ. (II Corinthians 10:5)
Our lips are called the gateway to honesty or deception. And while this Proverb extols the benefits of wisdom, and thinking before we speak… Job 15:5 shows the opposite when it says, “Your sin prompts (or incites) your mouth; you adopt the tongue of the crafty.” We all have the ability to select the words that come out of our lips, for it’s our prudent or deceptive heart that guides them.
Godly wisdom is pragmatic…for there are very practical and economic benefits to gaining Godly insight and discernment over worldly wisdom. It tells us in Proverbs 3:13-14 that wisdom is more profitable than silver and yields better returns than gold. Worldly wisdom, like worldly riches, are fleeting…here today and gone tomorrow. But Godly wisdom stays with you…ever increasing…and lasting forever.
You’ll find there’s two different and distinct types of wisdom out there today…worldly wisdom, and Godly wisdom. Worldly wisdom is of man’s making. So it’s no surprise that it’s full of ego, arrogance, and selfish ambition…with a motto that reads, “Look what I’ve done!” While Godly wisdom is full of humility, mercy, and peace…and always is seeking God’s perspective and counsel in all matters both big and small. With worldly wisdom we become unteachable, but with wisdom from above, we are continually growing into the person God wants us to be.