Thursday, September 23, 2021

Don't be Stupid!


Read Proverbs 12

I could just take the week off and say there is God’s way and there is everything else.  I could do that for several chapters, but there are more nuggets than this simple but accurate dichotomy give us.

For instance, Stupid is as stupid does.

The person who hates correction is stupid.  Many grew up being told not to call anyone stupid, but Solomon tells us there is a clear exception.  It is the person who ignores the counsel of the Lord.  That’s different than being ignorant of what the Lord has to say.

It’s knowing what the Lord has to say and rejecting it outright. 

The fool declares in his heart that there is no God.

We began this journey with a simple declaration about knowledge, wisdom, instruction and discipline.

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge,

    but fools despise wisdom and instruction.

A person is a fool to despise wisdom and instruction or wisdom and discipline.  A person is stupid to hate correction.  The classifications seem harsh but realize in rejecting instruction and discipline and correction, the person that Solomon labels a fool is saying, I already know it all.  You—not even God—can teach me anything.

There is a saying going around that rings true.  A coach can help you with your mistakes but nobody can help you with your excuses.

We can only receive correction where we acknowledge a mistake or a miscue.  If we think we know it all, correction seems useless to us. 

 We have been down this road for a while and will continue on it to the end.

Listen to advice and accept discipline,

    and at the end you will be counted among the wise.

Here’s a coupling of verses that we have already studied.

Instruct the wise and they will be wiser still;

    teach the righteous and they will add to their learning.

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom,

    and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.

Wisdom—which includes prudence, discretion, knowledge, acceptance of counsel and correction—was present at the foundation of the world.   How could we reject it?

Solomon makes yet another appeal.  This one is a bit more on the blunt side than others that are more poetic.  If you reject the wisdom and counsel of the Lord, you are just stupid. Stupid!

These are not words of evangelism.  They probably won’t bring anyone to God.  They are what we have seen from Solomon before.

Wake up.  Pay attention.  Get this and get it good.  He calls out to those who are about to step off a cliff and shouts: Stop!

If you saw a loved one about to step off a dangerous cliff, would you casually comment to the person next to you, Hope he doesn’t step off or would you shout Stop!

Not everyone is about to step off of a cliff.  Some just struggle day-to-day with seeking God and his wisdom.  This whole read a chapter a day may seem daunting to some.  Others can’t find the time.  You can binge-watch something on Netflix but can’t find the time for a chapter a day.

The counsel and correction that we need to navigate this life come in seeking God and his wisdom on a daily basis. 

What I am talking about is learning to ride a bicycle. Imagine learning to ride a bicycle like climbing a mountain.  You start out in the foothills.  It’s new but not too challenging.  You probably had training wheels.

Then the lateral fail-safes came off and you started riding and you made some progress and you fell over.  You got back up and went a little farther and fell over.  This happened again and again and there were some skinned knees and bruised elbows.

Then you reached the checkout point.  What’s the checkout point?  It’s that point where you lay down the bicycle and think, If I was walking, I would already be there by now.

But, if you will pick up the bicycle and try one more time, or two more times, or a dozen more times, you find that you have crested the mountain and are on the downhill.  It is from that point forward that you go everywhere on your bicycle, even if it’s just to the end of the block.

You pop wheelies, ride with no hands on the handlebars, and put playing cards in the spokes.  You go everywhere on your bicycle, at least until you get your driver’s permit. Then you can’t remember where you left your bicycle.

But you have to get past the checkout point.  At some point when you don’t feel like you are getting anywhere, you still have to press on.

Such is the case with reading your chapter each day.  At some point, it just doesn’t click.  It seems pointless and hardly fulfilling.  It’s like, I could have had another 15 minutes of sleep, but you press on anyway and read your chapter.

If you get past your checkout point, you find that it’s not too far to where you crest the peak and are on the downhill.  It won’t be, I have to read my chapter or as is the case here, Tom is making me read my Bible.  It will be, I can hardly wait to read my chapter today and tomorrow and the next day. 

The person who hates correction is stupid, thus the one who hungers for the Lord’s correction is wise. We long to be counseled by the Word of God on a daily basis.

We have a methodology that is effective.  We could change the method at some point, but for now it produces good fruit, at least for those who pressed on through the checkout point.

To not receive the counsel of the Lord is just plain stupid. 

Solomon pounds the pulpit one more time and says pay attention.  There is God’s way and there is everything else and it’s just stupid to live in the everything else.

Tom pounds the pulpit and says press on.  Read your chapter every day, even when you don’t feel like it.

Long ago and far away I went to a 2-year school in Quantico, Virginia that lasted 6 months.  It was the drinking from a fire hose metaphor extended for half a year.

I remember one day we had 3 exams and were headed out to the field for a weekend exercise after evening chow, but before we headed out to the field, we took the Air Force Officers Qualification Test.  It wasn’t part of our curriculum, but just something the services did to see how the services compared to each other, at least as far as entry criteria.

The captain administering the test said that traditionally, Marine officers didn’t do too well.  I thought, could it be because you don’t give us the test until we are already brain dead?

But the drinking from a firehose continued for six months.  It was hard to tell if you had learned anything because you were already learning the next thing, but for the next 20 years, I had an internal library to call upon.  It had registered and been cataloged and was available for retrieval.

In between the plethora of golden nuggets that compose the Proverbs are Solomon’s reminders to stay the course.  Pay attention.  Listen to my words. Don’t be stupid!

My counsel is to press on through the checkout point.  It gets easier and your desire to receive the counsel and correction of the Lord grows.

There is God’s way and there is everything else and you will grow hungry for God’s way, including his correction.

Let me put it this way.  Yes, it is stupid to live in the everything else, but seldom does negative motivation get you up the hill and past the checkout point.

So let’s put this in the positive reinforcement mode.  Desiring the correction of God’s way is wise.  Be numbered among the wise.


No comments:

Post a Comment