Wisdom and foolishness
In the book of Proverbs, there are three Hebrew words that are translated as ‘fool’. 1) ‘Kesil.’ This is used to refer to someone who thinks they don’t need advice from others. 2) ‘Ewil.’ This word refers to people who refuse to listen to advice, and is used to describe those who resist discipline and wisdom. 3) ‘Nabal.’ This word is used to refer to someone who demonstrates their lack of wisdom through the lifestyle they lead. The heart of each of these definitions is wisdom – or rather the lack of it. Proverbs 1:7 says: ‘Fear of the Lord is the foundation of true knowledge, but foods despise wisdom and discipline’ (NLT). We shouldn’t confuse wisdom with intelligence. Someone could be very clever, very successful, and admired by others, but if they’re morally and spiritually weak, they’re not wise as the Bible defines wisdom. So we need to make sure that we’re open to advice from trusted Christian friends and mentors, willing to listen to God, ready to accept discipline from Him, and living in a way that honours God. In another Proverb, we read: ‘Stay away from a fool, for you will not find knowledge on their lips’ (Proverbs 14:7 NIV). We also need to be careful who is having an influence on us and speaking into our lives. When we’re forming a new friendship, we should think about whether the person tends to bring out the best or the worst in us, whether their values are similar to ours, and especially whether they draw us closer to God or persuade us to turn away from Him. If we feel a friendship is leading us further away from God, we should seriously think about how much influence that person has over us.
Think about the three definitions in today’s reading. Have there been any times recently when you’ve shown any of those traits? Take a moment to confess those times to God.
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