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Thursday, May 5, 2022

10 King Solomon wisdom (3 of 7)

King Solomon on speech, the wicked and scoffers, on patience and greed etc

Sayings of the wise: Thoughts on bible proverbs for success

When King Solomon was very young in his reign, the almighty sought to favour him, due to his father's reverence for him. Solomon, like his father, had some innate wisdom, and rather than ask for treasure and wealth asked for more wisdom to govern his people. This he was granted, and to date, he is considered the wisest and most wealthy ruler that ever lived. This notwithstanding, Solomon died a fool. He abandoned the almighty and walked in the ways of the wretched at the tail end of his life. Surely, if one such as Solomon could succumb to foolishness, none of us is exempt, and only striving for wisdom constantly will keep the foolishness at bay.

The book of Proverbs is largely attributed to his writings. We make an attempt to capture the essence of his teachings, by expounding on King Solomon's wisdom in the bible. 

The wise King Solomon judges

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Commentary 3 of 7:

On speech Proverbs 15:1-4 

Our Lord said that nothing that we ingest can lead us to sin, but only what comes out in speech and thought. We as men and women forging ahead in life, rise and fall on what comes out of our mouths. If there is anything at all that you will learn about wisdom, let it be that you should hold your tongue, unless necessary. 

 If you must speak, to your seniors be respectful, to those you correct, be gentle, to those that are beneath you, be gentler still. Who is not attracted to a gentle and correcting spirit? It does not matter whether there is foolishness involved, be gentle and maybe the lesson will be learned. Be arrogant, and expect arrogance, insolence, and defiance in return. 

On the wicked and scoffers Proverbs 15: 5-14 

Who is wicked? He refuses or ignores the commandments. They neither love God nor do they care for their neighbor. What is a wicked act to your neighbor? To treat another human being, as less than human. To love a neighbor is to will the good of the other, without expecting reciprocity. 

Sheol is the grave, and Abaddon is a place of destruction. This is what waits for the scoffer. Repent and change before it is too late. The Lord's mercy is bountiful for those that seek it. 

Who are the wise? Those that fear the almighty and are constantly praying for wisdom. If you humble yourself, you will not shy away from good counsel. Nobody has a monopoly on wise counsel. Pray, and seek wise counsel always. 

Arrogance and pride suggest a know-it-all attitude; wisdom will hold no value for the proud. 

The Eastern Orthodox Church has a short prayer I find useful in reminding me of my mortality and reliance on wisdom; it goes like this.."Jesus Christ, son of the living God, have mercy on me, a sinner" I occasionally add.. and fool, idiot, pompous twit, and so on. Keep the prayer on your lips at all times, as a reminder of your being just dust and ashes. 

On the fear of the Lord Proverbs 15:15-20 

Fear of the Lord is to obey and heed his commandments. Those that do so, should be the company that you keep. The English saying, “Bad company spoils good character” is very true. The proverbs are clear on those who are good. Use this as the basis to determine the company you keep. If you follow the commandments, you cannot ignore wise counsel from your parents; you are not likely to keep bad company; you are unlikely to allow your passions to drive you, and so on. It’s an easy enough solution; keep the company of those that seek the most high and the wisdom that He imparts. 

On patience and greed Proverbs 15:21-29 

Always be patient when decisions need to be taken. Some call it procrastination, I call it patience. Unless critical, always give yourself time to act on a matter. Pray about it, seek counsel, and delay as much as you can. The Lord should be prevailed upon for insight. 

We may feel certain about a decision, but always refer the matter to the most high for guidance. Your initial thoughts may end up being very different from the end solution. Follow and heed the commandments and you will invariably be at peace with wisdom. 

Greed is a terrible snare. First greed, then ignoring or setting aside the commandments, and then eventually perpetual wickedness, since your lenses are adjusted only from the perspective of greed. Pride is quickly built up where wealth is concerned.  

Greed feeds wealth, wealth feeds pride and it all ends up in wickedness (a complete disregard for God and your neighbor, all for the sake of feeding your greed). It just becomes a never-ending cycle of greed, wealth, pride, and wickedness. 

On being open to learning Proverbs 15:30-33 

There is no such thing as a cessation of learning wisdom. The practice of wisdom is something one does throughout one’s life.  

Remember that even the writer of these proverbs (King Solomon), failed to right practice in his old age and became an idol worshiper.  

Pray to the Lord to keep you steadfast in the practice of wisdom. Pray to Him to always keep your eyes open and mouth firmly shut, in your never-ending search for His wisdom.

Eugniusz- Divine Mercy, Romans 6:1-33

    Jesus Divine Mercy
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    It’s good to know that wisdom forgets the wicked. Their names are not esteemed when they leave us. As for wisdom, spend more time listening to her, and only speak when you must. 

     St Augustine defined love, as to actively will the good of the other. Thus to love one's neighbour, is to actively will the good of your neighbour, and here neighbour is as our Lord defined it, namely everyone besides yourself. 

    This is again a warning to too much talking and little listening. The first sign of foolishness is simply talking too much and listening too little. Wisdom suggests that we learn to listen before we talk, and preferably only talk when the need to do so arises, not when we feel we must speak for ego's sake. You will not burst from simply keeping quiet politely. 

    Our ability to grow both in wealth and wisdom lies largely with what comes out of our mouths. Wisdom keeps repeating this and it will be a theme right through the book. Be careful what you say, spend as much time as you can listening and enriching yourself with knowledge, and speak only when you must. Speaking is how we express ourselves in word and thought. Don’t post unnecessarily, don’t weigh in on every issue online, and don’t speak when you don’t have sufficient knowledge. It’s a spiritual principle, that if you listen long enough, you will begin to see patterns and from those patterns, there is profit for both body and soul. 

    Do not go about life without a code of conduct firmly in your mind. Don’t be like an animal whose only instinct is for food and drink and anything that can aid in this purpose as prey. We are not animals; survival of the fittest cannot and will never be the code of human beings. You are created in the image and likeness of God. You are thus firstly a spiritual creature before you are a creature of flesh and blood. Within each of us is a spark that is eternal, wrapped in a mortal body. It is why we can have high thoughts, think about the heavens, plan for the future, empathize, and so on. You must have a code. For Christians, we have the 10 commandments and all that they teach us. Our Lord said that these are fulfilled in a love of God and Neighbor. Let these be ensconced in your heart as your code. 

     What is a scoffer? A dictionary defines him as one... 'who jeers or mocks or treats something with contempt or calls out in derision".. the something they treat with contempt is wisdom. This is someone who refuses to listen, talks too much, and is one with his baseness. How can you explain that it is better to accept insults for what is right, than feast with the wicked for what is profitable and wrong? How can they understand that meekness and humility (accepting personal injury) far surpass bullying and intimidation? How can they understand sacrificing wealth and power for the treasure of wisdom?  They choose the earth over the heavens. We can only pray that wisdom opens their eyes to her beauty.

    Here we have wickedness and uprightness contrasted. He who is wicked ignores the law and its two guiding principles, a love of God and a love of neighbour above self. A wicked person is only concerned with their own needs at the expense of everyone else, even God. The end in every instance justifies the means. It does not matter what stands in their way, they are simply an obstacle to be overcome. They are like carnivores when they spot prey; unless you are fast enough, they will devour you. 

    The contrast is true for the upright, they love and are keen on the commandments. They choose to love God and to love their neighbour as they love themselves. To love God is to follow his commandments, and to follow his commandments is to love your neighbour. These are still strong as Lions, but they act like sheep. In their case, the end can never justify the means, but rather the commandments justify the means. If it means exploiting one's neighbour to achieve wealth, then the wealth is not justifiable. If it means ignoring God to succeed, then it cannot be done. 

    I for a long time failed to understand how one can steal from public coffers, knowing that the government’s primary role is to have a just society concerned largely with the poor. Is the culprit not afraid of the curses of the poor, and God's all-seeing eye? In time I have come to understand that they simply don’t care and are blinded by wealth. They consider our stay on earth as final with there being no such thing as an afterlife. I pity anyone so reckless, as not to consider their souls. 

    Crist- Judith with the head of Holofernes, Judith 18:1-10

    Judith with the head of Holofernes

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    • Perverse against sensible minds Proverbs 11:12-23
     The passages contrast foolishness and wisdom. 

    -Gossip as opposed to keeping a confidence

     -Good counsel as opposed to poor- remember Rehoboam and the split of Israel was a consequence of poor counsel. 

    -Guaranteeing debts of strangers who have beguiled you

    - Unrighteous riches obtained through violence (ignoring neighbour and God) 

    - Outward beauty, compared to what comes from within, in speech and thought. When these two are not congruent, what a tragedy. 

    • Selfishness vs selflessness Proverbs 11:24-31 

    These are encouragements to be righteous and the promises of rich fruit in this world and the one to come. The contrast between generosity and liberal kindness is an interesting one. Indeed there are those that keep giving, and somehow never seem to lack, as a matter of fact, they grow in their wealth. It’s a spiritual principle, give liberally and wisdom will lavish you liberally as well. Those who see wealth as an end in itself, wrap their very existence around it. They do not see themselves as managing wealth on behalf of wisdom, but they themselves become Gods that own wealth. Remember the parable of the rich old fool? All that we have belongs to God, including the very lives we lead. Wealth is simply a test, to see if we understand that this gift is for us to share with those that have been gifted differently.

    The vision of Ezekiel, Ezekiel 37:1-14

    The vision of Ezekiel

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    • On discipline Proverbs 12:1-3 
    It is better to listen and understand than to speak foolishly. Those that aim to correct you, would ordinarily do so out of love or just downright decency. The wicked would never attempt to correct you. If you cannot accept culpability in mistakes, how can you possibly ever learn? Stubbornness is a dangerous thing, over time people cease caring and leave you to your own devices.

    • On Righteousness Proverbs 12:4-28 
    The theme of what one utters as a sign of wisdom or foolishness is critical to your success or failure. If you learn one thing, and one thing only from this book, let it be this: be very careful what you utter, whom you utter it to, and why you do so. 

    Even with your nearest and dearest, weigh your words. If it is unnecessary to speak, do not do so. Learn to absorb personal insults quietly. Bear it, this calls for both strength and wisdom. 

    The same strength you use in keeping quiet is the one you exercise in absorbing an insult. The other party has shown their hand, why show yours. Ignore it for now and think about it at the appropriate time. At least you will know the other's true intentions towards you.

    Cades- Judgement of Solomon, 1 Kings 3:16-26
    King Solomon Judges
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