Let the wise hear and increase in learning,
and the one who understands obtain guidance,
to understand a proverb and a saying,
the words of the wise and their riddles.
Note the supposition of Solomon. The wise can always increase in learning. They do not reach a stage of knowing all they need to know. Furthermore, it requires wisdom to learn. Two men may have the same mental faculties, but one is able to benefit from knowledge in a way the other does not. Why? One possesses the wisdom to know that he needs to learn more and the wisdom to discern what is worth learning. The other is foolish, thinking he already knows more than enough or else uses knowledge for foolish purposes. Thus, “let the wise hear and increase in learning.”
Take these verses as a call to you to prepare your mind for learning and obtaining guidance. You want to know how to better communicate with your neighbors, how to deal wisely with the daily challenges of life, how to use your money properly, and so on. These proverbs will give you practical counsel in these things, but they will require of you thoughtful attention. You will have to think through what they are saying (some in riddles), discern their practical implications, and (the hardest work of all) examine your heart and life in light of them. You will have to ask yourself how you have played the fool and even the role of the wicked as described in these proverbs.
For as a person, who grows in righteousness through sanctification, sees more clearly the depth of his sinfulness, so the person who grows in wisdom sees more clearly his foolishness.
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Please include the following statement on any distributed copy: By D. Marion Clark. © 2023 Tenth Presbyterian Church. Website: tenth.org