The writer of Proverbs contrasts the wise (‘wisdom is found in those who take advice’, v.10b) and fools (‘fools detest turning from evil’, v.19b). It is not surprising that we experience conflict. In particular, in this passage we see two examples:
‘Pride only breeds quarrels’ (v.10a). One of the most draining experiences of life is quarrelling – whether in a marriage, among friends, with colleagues or in the church. Here we see that one of the causes of quarrels can be pride. If you are willing to admit your mistakes and wrongs with humility, you can avoid a lot of quarrels.
Another key is listening carefully to one another: ‘Arrogant know-it-alls stir up discord, but wise men and women listen to each other’s counsel’ (v.10, MSG).
‘Hope deferred makes the heart sick’ (v.12a). Or as The Message puts it, ‘unrelenting disappointment leaves you heartsick’.
This is another kind of attack that is sickening. When a vision we have had for something is held up or our plans are delayed because of some attack or let down, disappointment makes the heart sick. We do battle with our own plans and our circumstances.
On the other hand, there is nothing more satisfying than persevering and seeing some part of your vision fulfilled. ‘A longing fulfilled is a tree of life’ (v.12a). ‘A longing fulfilled is sweet to the soul’ (v.19a).
In the midst of all the attacks of life there are moments of great joy, fulfilment and satisfaction.
Lord, in the midst of the challenges, help me to run the race with perseverance with my eyes fixed on Jesus (Hebrews 12:1–3).
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