4–10 March 2018.
It’s so frustrating when people don’t listen to us. Husbands complain that their wives don’t listen, wives complain their husbands don’t listen; parents complain their children don’t listen, and children complain that no one listens to them at all! How many times have we shouted out in frustration: “Why won’t people listen?!” It’s not surprising then that God gets frustrated too when we don’t listen to him.
God wants to share his wisdom with us, he wants to guide us, help us, and make sure we avoid life’s pitfalls. But so often we just refuse to listen. We want to do things our way, we think we are smart enough on our own. But that’s when things go wrong.
As a teacher, I have seen this happen too many times. A student will come who thinks they already know it all. They’re sure they are right, they’re sure they know everything, and so they argue and fight and refuse to listen to the teacher. It is those students who quickly fail. A wise person understands that there are many things they don’t know, and so they are always ready and eager to learn. But a foolish person proudly thinks they already know it all, and so they don’t want to listen. They fight back against wisdom. But that’s the pathway to failure and disaster.
That’s why Proverbs 4 repeats over and over again the command to listen. Over and over the text encourages us to listen, to pay attention, to be open to wisdom, to search for knowledge and truth, and when we hear wisdom to grab hold of it and never let go. We all want to be wise, but the first step to wisdom is to open our ears and our hearts and actually be prepared to listen.
Proverbs also reminds us that ignorance isn’t passive. Ignorance is active – it’s hard at work fighting against truth, attacking knowledge, and angrily shouting louder than wisdom’s quiet words. So Proverbs warns us always to be careful, to protect ourselves and to protect our hearts from the sea of ignorance around us. But how do we do that?
Jesus tells us that he is the Way, the Life, and the Truth (John 14:6). Jesus is the Wisdom of God (1 Corinthians 1:24). So the best way for us to start being wise is to keep our eyes focused on Jesus, to always be ready to listen to him, and to always follow him.
Pastor Stephen Lakkis