Proverbs in 365 Devotions
Proverbs 16:21 The wise of heart is called discerning, and sweetness of speech increases persuasiveness. 22 Good sense is a fountain of life to him who has it, but the instruction of fools is folly.
What A Pretty Blue Flame
By R Aylor
In verse 21 Solomon tells us about two good traits that a wise person might learn or gain in life. The passage begins with these 4 words: “The wise of heart”. Everything we do in life flows from our heart in some sort or fashion.
First: Discernment. “The wise of heart is called discerning” Discernment is using good tools that help us make good decisions and form trustworthy opinions and beliefs. It’s the ability to tell the difference between good and bad. For example we use our 5 senses to make many decisions in life right? These are good tools God has given us. With our eyes we see a fire on the stove and with our hand we feel heat resonating from it so we use discernment and decide not to put our hand into the flames… On the other hand, bad discernment would be… That blue flame is pretty! I wonder what it feels like… This is one of the ways our children learn the basics of good discernment.
Good discernment is needed in every area of our life. Every day from the moment we wake up and walk out the door we begin discerning things… Like what are we going to eat… a doughnut, protein shake, cereal or some form a old fashion breakfast. Maybe no breakfast at all… And our discernment goes deeper… We have to decide what kind of habit or routine or commitment we will make as we eat breakfast on a daily basis. Even how strict we will be…
These are physical examples but discernment is most important when it comes to spiritual matters discerning between good and evil.
And as we touched on, the heart is connected to all we do… and going deeper to the root of the heart… it is connected to the world of the spirit…
1st Corinthians 2:12 says: Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God.
So the wise heart overflows out and into all that we do… Like the wind the invisible Holy Spirit moves things in the physical world like our hands and our feet and He changes peoples hearts.
So good and bad discernment alike… starts in the heart.
Isaiah 5:20 Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, … and so these would be people without discerning hearts.
In Timothy 3 we see this playing out:
2nd Timothy 3:1 But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. 2 For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3 heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, 4 treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, 5 having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people.
So in today's two verses Solomon tells us about the wise of heart… They are discerning so they make good judgments about what is right and wrong and they make a good case about truth with their words so they are sharers of the truth.
If we are wise we have good tools that help us discern… In the previous devotion we learned that the wise person ponders the word of God and discovers good. So that is a foundational tool we should always be looking to. Also we have the Holy Spirit to guide us. Just as our 5 senses work together to verify whether what we might smell and feel and taste is an accurate representation of what we see.. So the Holy Spirit guides and verifies what we read and feel. And another great thing about the Bible… The Historical accounts and life stories and the Prophets… all the writings written over a large span of time by different authors and in different languages and from different cultures and locations… they also verify one another so we can trust their words about what is good and what is evil. Even when our conscious is distorted by the world these things can bring us back in sync with Gods standards.
Verse 22 seems to be a short summary of the wise in heart in comparison to the foolish in heart:
A wise heart gains good godly sense with discernment, sweetness of speech and persuasiveness. But then he bluntly sums up what a fool absorbs… that is all the instruction he has gained and Solomon simply calls it folly.
Let me read it again and then I’ll pray:
22 Good sense is a fountain of life to him who has it, but the instruction of fools is folly.