Focal passage: Proverbs 29:1-3; 12-20
I suspect many of us have memories of sitting in a classroom with a classmate who was always eager to raise their hand and display their knowledge, only to open their mouth and publicly display just how much understanding they lacked. The most painful part of the whole affair being the fact that you knew this particular instance wasn’t the first and likely would not be the last time it happened.
There’s something unsettling about a lesson that repeatedly remains unlearned. It’s one thing to fail because the lesson has not been heard, it’s something entirely different to fail due to negligence. Sadly, many reject discipline and instruction and thereby doom themselves to folly and failure. As Proverbs passionately stresses to its readers repeatedly, the path of wisdom is God’s, and the path away from wisdom leads to destruction.
To persevere in foolhardy disobedience to wise instruction makes the fool brittle, not stronger. By contrast, the one who is teachable brings joy to their family and teachers. There is a requisite humility in being taught and receiving rebuke when we are wrong. It forces us to admit that we are wrong and do not know all that we need.
In receiving correction, allowing wise teachers to help us grow, we model the gospel by which we who were completely lacking righteousness receive it from the overflowing generosity of a loving God who condescends to our condition. In God’s loving kindness, wisdom is available to all, but not on any path.