Proverbs – Life Skills
We feel awkward if there is sudden silence in a group of people talking over what is best for the situation at hand, so our human tendency is to speak “off the top” of our heads to fill the void. Sometimes, in the silence, God is trying to get our attention, individually and collectively with what HE wants for the topic at hand.
Listening is an art. Listening to God is an art. A developed master of listening is able to produce masterpiece living that lets go of what he/she wants, shuts off the world’s noise, and becomes silent and still for a moment to hear exactly what God wants. A master of listening skills learns the quieter he/she becomes the more they hear God. The more we hear Him, the more God speaks! God is wisdom. Wisdom is God.
The following proverb shows us what happens when we quit listening to God. It’s the fool who does not learn the art of listening. Fools miss the big picture, lessons to learn and wisdom to be gained.
Proverb 19, The Message
If You Quit Listening
Better to be poor and honest
than a rich person no one can trust.
2 Ignorant zeal is worthless;
haste makes waste.
3 People ruin their lives by their own stupidity,
so why does God always get blamed?
4 Wealth attracts friends as honey draws flies,
but poor people are avoided like a plague.
5 Perjury won’t go unpunished.
Would you let a liar go free?
6 Lots of people flock around a generous person;
everyone’s a friend to the philanthropist.
7 When you’re down on your luck, even your family avoids you—
yes, even your best friends wish you’d get lost.
If they see you coming, they look the other way—
out of sight, out of mind.
8 Grow a wise heart—you’ll do yourself a favor;
keep a clear head—you’ll find a good life.
9 The person who tells lies gets caught;
the person who spreads rumors is ruined.
10 Blockheads shouldn’t live on easy street
any more than workers should give orders to their boss.
11 Smart people know how to hold their tongue;
their grandeur is to forgive and forget.
12 Mean-tempered leaders are like mad dogs;
the good-natured are like fresh morning dew.
13 A parent is worn to a frazzle by a stupid child;
a nagging spouse is a leaky faucet.
14 House and land are handed down from parents,
but a congenial spouse comes straight from God.
15 Life collapses on loafers;
lazybones go hungry.
16 Keep the rules and keep your life;
careless living kills.
17 Mercy to the needy is a loan to God,
and God pays back those loans in full.
18 Discipline your children while you still have the chance;
indulging them destroys them.
19 Let angry people endure the backlash of their own anger;
if you try to make it better, you’ll only make it worse.
20 Take good counsel and accept correction—
that’s the way to live wisely and well.
21 We humans keep brainstorming options and plans,
but God’s purpose prevails.
22 It’s only human to want to make a buck,
but it’s better to be poor than a liar.
23 Fear-of-God is life itself,
a full life, and serene—no nasty surprises.
24 Some people dig a fork into the pie
but are too lazy to raise it to their mouth.
25 Punish the insolent—make an example of them.
Who knows? Somebody might learn a good lesson.
26 Kids who lash out against their parents
are an embarrassment and disgrace.
27 If you quit listening, dear child, and strike off on your own,
you’ll soon be out of your depth.
28 An unprincipled witness desecrates justice;
the mouths of the wicked spew malice.
29 The irreverent have to learn reverence the hard way;
only a slap in the face brings fools to attention.
HOLY PAUSE…IF WE DO LISTEN…
Read these wise words again, look for and list all that we gain from listening. Let me get you started;
“Grow a wise heart—you’ll do yourself a favor;
keep a clear head—you’ll find a good life.”
Dear Heavenly Father,
We have heard from you in the quiet of this hour. Continue to speak our hearts through your word, in your creation, and through your church of wise people who love you. Help us to be still, let go and listen to You. There is nothing worth more to me than hearing from you. We cry out for wisdom, insight and understanding. Help us to boldly speak for justice, mercy, and grace with your love and by the prompting of your Holy Spirit. Help us to also be boldly silent when You need to speak to us. Help us to know You and know this precious timing of when to speak and when to be silent. Develop the art of listening in all of us.
In Jesus Name, Amen