Proverbs is one of those books of the Bible that frustrates and fascinates me increasingly more each time I read it’s strange, seemingly random collection of wisdom. I found Chapter 26 to be interesting – most of this chapter talks about a fool. A fool needs a rod for his back (26.3), shouldn’t be argued with (26.3), shouldn’t be trusted to run messages (26.6), and is like a dog returning to its own vomit (26.11), among other examples. And then, right after saying all this, Solomon concludes the thought with:
Do you see a man who is wise in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him. (26.12).
What does this mean, to be wise in our own eyes? Is it to have a degree of confidence that we maintain an element of wisdom? The ESV Study Bible (which I just got for Christmas, and is possibly the greatest compilation of papers between two hard-bound covers ever produced) says that this reference is to a “stubbornly unteachable person.” And the Bible says there is more hope for a fool than for this individual. I consider myself somewhat wise – I think – yet this verse really makes me stop in my tracks. The fact though that it does make me stop and not keep reading is an encouragement that I am not the person in this proverb – or else I probably wouldn’t have been reading the Proverbs in the first place.
Give it some thought, Jack. Do you think yourself wise and in no need of teaching? When I phrase it that way, I certainly don’t think of myself that way. That’s why I surround myself with older and wiser men to mentor me. I hope you’re doing the same. We’re all in need of knowledge and wisdom. They’re two things I believe you can truly never have enough of. Till next time, Jack.