We live in an information age. Every day, we are overwhelmed with news, media, advertisements, and opinions of friends, family, and associates. How can we sort out the claims steeped in wisdom from those dripping with folly? How can we discern truth from error and the wise path from the highway of fools? We must have a reliable standard by which we can test all claims, holding fast to that which is good. That standard is our Creator God and the Word He has given us. Today we’ll delve into an excerpt from Proverbs 12 and discover how the principles contained in it can guide us into truth and right living.
22Lying lips are an abomination to the LORD,
But those who deal faithfully are His delight.
23A prudent man conceals knowledge,
But the heart of fools proclaims folly.
24The hand of the diligent will rule,
But the slack hand will be put to forced labor.
Easy to Read, Tough to Do
I love the clarity of the Proverbs! Sometimes they require deep reflection and some digging, but often they are so clear and practical that there is little difficulty understanding them, only difficulty in living them.
In Accord with Reality
Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord. God hates deceitfulness and it is against His character to affirm that which is false. Conversely, when we deal faithfully with our friends and neighbors, this pleases and delights our Father. How truthful has your tongue been this week? Do your words and actions accord with reality, or can you think of times recently when you’ve sought to create an appearance that is false? Have you blamed another for a mistake that was yours? Or have you withheld information from someone in order to lead them into an inaccurate conclusion?
Not All Sharing is Good
In the second stanza, we see a common device used in proverbs: pairs of opposites used together. Notice the contrast in verse 23: a prudent man versus a fool, concealing versus proclaiming, and knowledge versus folly. As is often the case in proverbs, the truth can at first appear puzzling to us. Why should a wise person keep knowledge from people? Wouldn’t he want to share his insight with everyone within earshot? Conversely, wouldn’t a fool want to hide his foolishness by remaining silent?
As usual, the wisdom of the proverb is proven right upon careful consideration. Much like the New Testament concept of not casting pearls before swine, a wise person understands that sharing wisdom with those who are not willing to receive it will only bring sorrow to all involved. Instead, we ought to share knowledge and council in stages, allowing a student to hear and understand the simple and general things, and later share the deeper and more magnificent pearls. Let us be careful not to spew forth speech as a fool, painting those around us with a fire hose. Instead, let us seek out those who wish to behold a beautiful painting, and paint it for them in small and careful strokes.
Choose to Prosper
Finally, we learn a lesson on diligence. Decide now to apply yourself and work hard for the rewards you desire. Stick with your efforts even during the tough times and your hard work will be rewarded with honor and authority. Do not be as the fool, who has the opportunity to work today but chooses instead to sit idly by. That man will find himself without honor, doing work he despises against his will. Today you have the choice to find your passion and pursue it with excellence. Do it, and develop a habit of diligence, that the seeds you plant today my harvest future bounty for the good of your family and country, to the glory of God.