Proverbsby David Cook
One of the characteristics of God's Word, which tells us all we need to know in order to be saved and to live the Christian life, is its clarity. God is a keen communicator, and He spoke in order to be understood. Under the oversight of His Spirit, the authors of the Bible were keen to communicate clearly as well.
One way they did this was through the creative use of illustrations. Yesterday, we saw in Proverbs 14 a range of illustrations used to teach on wisdom, righteousness, and other topics. In Proverbs 15, we see a number of references to body parts-the tongue (vv. 2, 4), the lips (v. 7), the mouth (vv. 14, 28), the heart (vv. 11, 13-15, 28, 30), and the bones (v. 30).
Today, we shall focus on the ear-its importance is also implied in verses 31-32-and the tongue.
The wise-aware how little they know-listen to correction and take advice (vv. 5, 22, 31, 32). In contrast, the foolish, lacking self-awareness and not recognising their own limitations, refuse to listen (vv. 5, 10, 12, 22, 32). In doing so, these verses warn that they despise themselves and doom themselves to failed plans and destruction. The deaf ear is matched by a tongue that is harsh (v. 1), destructive (v. 4), foolish (v. 14), and wicked (v. 28).
Proverbs 15 also tells us what the Lord loves and what He hates. He loves the prayer of the upright (v. 8), their pursuit of righteousness (v. 9), and their gracious words (v. 26). He detests the sacrifices of the wicked (v. 8), because they want to get their way with God while holding onto their wickedness. And He detests those who pursue injustice (v. 9).
It is good to remember that God cannot be fooled. He sees everything (v. 3) and knows the inner lives and thoughts of all (v. 11).
At the same time, God is an active participant in the lives of His people. He blesses the upright, but frustrates the lazy (v. 19); He defends the weak, but brings down the proud (v. 25); and He hears the whispered prayers of His own, but stands away from the wicked (v. 29).
God is always everywhere to see, hear, correct, rebuke, and sustain. Reflecting on God's presence, King David noted that even if he fled to the heights or depths, the east or west, ″even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast″ (Psalm 139:10). Dutch theologian Herman Bavinck once said: ″There is no place where you may flee. Will you flee from Him? Flee to Him.″5
5Herman Bavinck, Doctrine of God, trans. William Hendriksen (Edinburgh: Banner of Truth Trust, 1996)
How can you make sure you have a listening ear and a pure tongue?
How are you encouraged by the assurance of God's continual presence?