Sometimes, as I read a proverb, I wonder how it came to be. When Solomon wrote the book of Proverbs, did he just hear from God and have it written down? Or did he have experiences and take notes?
I have a proverb that I wrote myself: If a guy can throw you over your car, he can probably do it three times.
I wrote mine out of experience because getting thrown over my car once just wasn’t enough for me. I had to go back over and over until I hit my limit. It turns out that three was my limit.
I suppose I should put the word fool in there somewhere since it seems so appropriate in this case.
As I was reading in Proverbs this morning, one grabbed my attention.
Proverbs 17:10 A single rebuke does more for a person of understanding than a hundred lashes on the back of a fool.
My mind jumped back to grade school when one particularly troubled kid used a curse word in class. The teacher brought him to the front of the class for swats. Every time the paddle hit his backside, he demonstrated that he knew lots of other cuss words. The teacher realized that this was going the wrong way and escorted him to the principal’s office.
I remember thinking, “What an idiot!” But this fool (me) has played the role of the idiot time and time again. I’ve wanted to exert my will on the mighty and unchanging God so desperately that I ignored the truth when it was spoken, plunged headlong into being disciplined with no intention of allowing myself to be corrected and then wondered why God couldn’t get any of this right.
I read this verse and wondered what the situation was that prompted Solomon to write this. I’m sure he ran across all sorts of hard-headed fools like me. How refreshing it must have been to simply tell a man to stop doing things wrong and see him obey.
Maybe these days I am more refreshing to God than I once was. I certainly hope so. A few words to sway me into the right direction is a lot more pleasant than lashes on the back of a man who has no plans to be beaten into obedience.
I’ve grown tired of being the one that everyone looks at and exclaims, “What an idiot!” Maybe someday, someone will say, “That man listens to God.” I don’t really need to hear anything else that says I am heading in the right direction.