Proverbs, Wisdom and Repentance
By: Max Anders
The foolish person has the ability to look good and evil straight in the eye and choose evil. It is often impossible to reason with a foolish person because he has already set his mind to reject truth, goodness and wisdom. Therefore, when truth, goodness, and wisdom are presented, he must reject them or repent. And having already made the decision not to repent, he must come up with whatever excuse or rationale he can in order to maintain his position.
I have never understood this. When I was a teenager, my older brother had rejected the church and Christianity. I asked him why, He replied that it was because of all the hypocrites in the church. I thought to myself what a self-destructive decision that was. My response to the hypocrites in the church was: "I'm not going to let a hypocrite keep me from God." Later in life, he changed his outlook and became a Christian. But his first choice to reject the Lord because of the hypocrites was not a rational answer.
Because the fool often has his mind made up and does not want to be confused by the facts, the Book of Proverbs is written not for the confirmed fool because the confirmed fool will not listen to wisdom. It is written for the wise person, to guide him into fruitful living. And it is written for the person who is hanging in the balance. He may be acting foolishly, but he is not a confirmed fool. He can still be reached. Solomon begs and pleads for such a person to respond to wisdom.
The Christian must tune his heart to hear the Holy Spirit speaking through the Scriptures, convicting of sin and calling to righteousness. To hear truth and reject it brings greater darkness. To hear truth and accept it brings greater light.
CWise choices bring good consequences while foolish and wicked choices bring bad consequences.
CThe choices that individuals make affect society as a whole.
CThe choices a society makes also affect individuals. It is either a downward or an upward spiral, each affecting the other.
C Learn a lesson from those around you. Seeing the outcome of their actions, choose wisdom.
CResist the influence of society to pull you in the direction of foolish and wicked behavior.
CPonder the influence your choices have on your children and others. Don't lead anyone astray.
How the Barber Found God
For the fool, the beginning of wisdom is repentance. Proverbs says that the fear of the Lord is the beginning, but for the fool, he must repent of his lack of fear, his rejection of God.
In his book, Release from Phoniness (Dallas, Tex.: Word Books, 1968), Arnold Prater wrote:
"A man I knew who stood behind the first chair in the barber shop was a friend of mine, but this fellow behind the second chair, a man about 65 years of age, was about the vilest, most vulgar, profane, wicked-talking man I had ever known. He must have had some kind of fixation on preachers, because it seemed to me that every time I came in the shop, he doubled his output. One day when I went in, he was gone. I asked my barber friend where he was, and he said, "Oh, he's been desperately ill. For a while, they despaired of his life."
"Perhaps six weeks later, I was entering the post office when I heard my name and I turned and saw the profane man. He was seated in a car so that he could see the people walking in and out of the post office. He was a mere shadow of a man, and his face was the color of death itself. He crooked a long bony finger at me, and I walked over to where he was. He said in a voice so weak I had to lean over to hear it, "Preacher. I want to tell you something. I was in a coma down at the hospital. And I could hear the doctor tell my wife, `I don't think he can last another hour.' Then his voice trembled and it was a moment before he could continue. Then he said, "Preacher, I ain't never prayed in my entire life . . . but I prayed then. I said, 'Oh, God, if there is a God. I need you now.' And when I said that . . I don't know how to put it into words . . . but He was there. He came."
"Then tears welled up in his reddened eyes, and then he said, "Just think, Preacher, I kicked Him in the face every day of my life for sixty years, and the first time I called His name, He came."
God does not come into a life uninvited, but once invited, He does not have to be asked twice.
Repentance is the key that converts a fool into a wise person.
‘Ask God to give us the grace to repent, that we may walk in wisdom, and not be confirmed and self-condemned to walk in this world as fools. Amen.’
Editorial Note: This article came out of the Holman Old Testament Commentary - Volume 13 on Proverbs - Chapter Heading: Strength Through Righteous Living - page: 142-144.
Read the book of Proverbs and gain knowledge, understanding, wisdom and build character.
Proverbs 9:10, "The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding."