Wise in your Eyes

Dear Jack,

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.

Sincerely,
J.

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