As I have done the last several years, I am reading the book of Proverbs again this year during the month of January. Each day I read the corresponding chapter in Proverbs to the day in January. Since today is January 9th I came to Proverbs 9 this morning.
Focusing on verses 7-17, I had to ask myself if I was open or closed when it comes to continuing to learn and grow in wisdom. Here are the verses (I copied and pasted from BibleGateway.com):
Proverbs 9:7-12 New Living Translation (NLT)
7 Anyone who rebukes a mocker will get an insult in return.
Anyone who corrects the wicked will get hurt.
8 So don’t bother correcting mockers;
they will only hate you.
But correct the wise,
and they will love you.
9 Instruct the wise,
and they will be even wiser.
Teach the righteous,
and they will learn even more.
10 Fear of the Lord is the foundation of wisdom.
Knowledge of the Holy One results in good judgment.
11 Wisdom will multiply your days
and add years to your life.
12 If you become wise, you will be the one to benefit.
If you scorn wisdom, you will be the one to suffer.
Verses 7 and 8a warn us that mockers and the wicked are not open to be rebuked or corrected. Their response shows they are not just closed to such efforts, but are hostile to them.
Verses 8b and 9 tell us the wise and the righteous are open to being corrected, instructed, and taught. They are not just open, they will love you for correcting them and will be wiser as they learn more.
Verse 10 reminds us that “the fear of the LORD” is the foundation of wisdom, and that good judgment is an outcome of knowing him. When I teach the book of Proverbs I use an acrostic I came up with (ARWOL) to give a sense of what it means to fear the LORD. It is not to cower before him but rather to acknowledge, respect, worship, obey, and love him.
Finally, verses 11 and 12 encourage us that gaining wisdom is beneficial and that rejecting it is damaging.
For me the first part of verse 9 is the most striking observation in this passage: “Instruct the wise, and they will be even wiser.” My take on it is that wise people — because they are already somewhat wise — are open to learning, growing, and becoming even wiser.
My intention is not to be closed to continue learning and becoming wiser but to be open. It’s not always easy, but it is my intention. Are you open or closed?
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