Read Proverbs 15
There are some recurring themes in this chapter. Wisdom and foolishness give righteousness and wickedness a run for their money. We will pursue the former and begin with verse 2.
The tongue of the wise adorns knowledge,
but the mouth of the fool gushes folly.
Remember that the fool has to be right all the time. He will use never-ending words over logic and reason to make his senseless point. In other words, the mouth of the fool gushes folly.
The wise can hold their tongue and do unless it contributes to understanding, unless it adorns knowledge—it enhances or makes the nuggets of knowledge more attractive.
Arguing with someone who thinks he or she is always right produces no fruit, but on occasion you will have opportunity for real and enriching conversation and discussion.
The tongue of the wise adorns knowledge.
Now on to verse 7.
The lips of the wise spread knowledge,
but the hearts of fools are not upright.
Expect profit from listening to a wise person. Have no such expectations for wasting your time listening to a fool.
Who is a fool? The fool declares in his heart there is no God. The fool must be right all of the time. The fool gushes garbage and is content with the expenditure of his time in this folly.
Some of these are just too easy.
Now for verse 12.
Mockers resent correction,
so they avoid the wise.
The only choice for a mocker, a fool, or a godless person is not to confront the wise. They have plenty of ammunition but they are all blanks. It’s easier to avoid the truth than to stand defenseless before it.
They will choose much easier targets than the wise who know to dismiss them outright and without argument.
You don’t have to go far for the next wisdom and foolishness nugget, it’s verse 14.
The discerning heart seeks knowledge,
but the mouth of a fool feeds on folly.
Note that Solomon indicates that the heart of the wise—he uses discerning here—is what seeks the Lord. In this example, it seeks knowledge that comes from the Lord.
The fool has no such appetite. His heart has declared there is no God and thus he can have no true appetite for anything but folly and foolishness.
Let’s go to verse 20.
A wise son brings joy to his father,
but a foolish man despises his mother.
Composed in opposites, the message is the same. Children are the joy of their parents, at least those who bring them up in the way they should go. Nothing can hurt as much as a child who has rejected the Lord and gone down the path of destruction.
Wisdom says there is God’s way and there is everything else. Joy comes to parents who see their children walk in God’s way.
The next verse is along the same track but just different enough that it’s not repetitive.
Folly brings joy to one who has no sense,
but whoever has understanding keeps a straight course.
The one who has understanding stays the course. The fool enjoys himself even though he is on the course that leads to destruction.
You have heard the metaphor of the two airplane flights before. On the first flight, the take-off goes well and the landing is perfect but there is a lot of turbulence along the way.
The second flight has a reasonable takeoff and a very smooth flight but a safe landing is doubtful.
The fool says, I’ll take flight number 2.
Go to the last verse in this chapter.
Wisdom’s instruction is to fear the Lord,
and humility comes before honor.
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, wisdom, instruction, and discipline. Here this is not contrasted to the fool but Solomon notes that humility precedes honor.
What does that mean? Humility comes before honor.
We are told be known by our love because we follow Jesus. What if we were also known as believers in the one true God by our humility?
Would it not be a true honor—as opposed to some fabricated award—to be known as God’s humble servant.
The world would say, no way. Take the accolades of the world that does not know God.
Honor that is not preceded by humility is likely a fabrication of the world. Don’t get wrapped up in trophies plated with fool’s gold.
This has been a short trek through the wisdom and foolishness verse of this chapter. Just remember, there is God’s way—it is the wise way, and there is everything else—it is the way of the foolish.