Thomas á Kempis said…

Whoever strives to withdraw from obedience, withdraws from grace (From: Of the Imitation of Christ).

Proverbs 1:32, 33: For the waywardness of the simple will kill them and the complacency of fools will destroy them; but whoever listens to me will live in safety and be at ease, without fear of harm.

A committee of one is the best. Decisions are usually unanimous! But it is not an option for Christians. There is always another party involved when we make decisions. In Proverbs 1 it is God. He is like a woman who invites us to come and learn wisdom from her.

You can only learn if you recognise that you still have something to learn. There are people who are unteachable. The poet calls it complacency. We can also translate it with self-righteousness. You cannot teach such a person anything.

My father studied theology. He was a brilliant student. He knew the Bible and was very knowledgeable in theology. Then he lost his way. To talk about God to him was always a very difficult conversation. He knew everything. He knew the Bible. He no longer had a teachable spirit.

There is a difference between ignorance and arrogance. One can excuse someone to an extent that did not know what was right. However, if I knew what was right and ignored it, it is terrible. Then I am arrogant, not ignorant.

When we realise that we are ignorant, that we need advice, the doors to God’s wisdom open. The foolish and complacent people in this section are those who cover their ears. They go their own way. Whoever goes his or her own way, says the poet, takes the road leading to a catastrophe – calamity, disaster, distress and trouble (1:27). If you end up on that side track, it has the potential to be a ‘point of no return’ (1:28). To follow your own path means that you are going into the future without God.

The author of Hebrews refers to Psalm 95 when he, like Proverbs 1, warns us to listen. After all, the people who have lost their way on the road to the Promised Land never entered that land. So today is very important, ‘So, as the Holy Spirit says: ‘Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as you did in the rebellion’ (Hebrews 3:7, 8).

If we choose against God's order for life, we often bear the consequences of our actions. The poet says that it does not need to be the case, because ‘whoever listens to me will live in safety and be at ease, without fear of harm’ (1:33). A committee of one? No, not today or any day! Listen to God!

Spirit of wisdom and understanding, please teach me wisdom by listening to your voice, in Jesus' name. Amen.