Choose wisdom, not folly

by Rev Jason Phua

Readings: Acts 7:1-29; Proverbs 9:7-8

READ (Verse chosen for reflection)
Proverbs 9:7-8 “Whoever corrects a scoffer gets himself abuse, and he who reproves a wicked man incurs injury. Do not reprove a scoffer, or he will hate you; reprove a wise man, and he will love you.”

REFLECT
The book of Proverbs provide practical wisdom to daily living. Proverbs are also called “general truths” where spoken proverbs are generally true in most situations but there will be exceptions. Proverbs 9:7-8 is found in the midst of how “Wisdom” (personified as a “she”) is inviting people to come in to her house to gain insights. This is contrasted to “Folly”, also personified as a lady, who also invites (or rather seduces) people into her house. Those who are seduced by the seemingly “sweet” stolen water of “Folly” will find themselves deep in death and destruction; while those who follow “Wisdom” shall be blessed.

Hence, Proverbs 9:7-8 is a practical piece of advice that flowed from “Wisdom”; where it is said that to rebuke scoffers (or mockers) will only invite insult or even injury. However, the wise will learn even more when rebuked. On hindsight, we know that in Acts 7, Stephen’s proclamation of the Gospel (as well as a firm rebuke in verses 49-53) fell on foolish hearts. The result was that they stoned a faithful servant of the Lord to death. Ironically, the foolish ones didn’t realize that they have also stoned their own hearts to death in the face of truth.

RELATE
I believe many of us can relate to Proverbs 9:7-8. We could have rebuked someone and dependent on the person’s wisdom or foolishness; they either learn in humility or reject the truth or even insult due to pride and foolishness. Today, I reflect on myself. Have I been constantly seduced by Folly or rather follow Wisdom when it comes to being rebuked by others? I can recall that there are once or twice where I could have reacted better in the face of rebuke. Even if I feel that the rebuke could have been given in a more godly manner; I can definitely grow to receive the rebuke in a more God-fearing posture and love the person more.

REST
Lord God, may You help me to reject the door of “Folly” and readily march into the house of “Wisdom”. This is so I can grow in the fear of the Lord to serve You better. Amen.

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Day 260

by Rev Joel Yong

Luke 18:9-14
Jesus also used this illustration with some who were sure that God approved of them while they looked down on everyone else. He said, “Two men went into the temple courtyard to pray. One was a Pharisee, and the other was a tax collector. The Pharisee stood up and prayed, ‘God, I thank you that I’m not like other people! I’m not a robber or a dishonest person. I haven’t committed adultery. I’m not even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week, and I give you a tenth of my entire income.’ “But the tax collector was standing at a distance. He wouldn’t even look up to heaven. Instead, he became very upset, and he said, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’ “I can guarantee that this tax collector went home with God’s approval, but the Pharisee didn’t. Everyone who honors himself will be humbled, but the person who humbles himself will be honored.”

The Pharisee missed an important point.
Going to a place of worship, does not necessarily make us, the people of God.

No. It is my prayer that as the year unfolds, we will not just go to church- rather, that we would become the Church.

The tax collector, on the other hand, saw things as they were. God is holy and he was but a sinful man. He knew his place and he knew the only way he could stand before God, was by grace.

He understood the truth of the gospel. And according to Jesus, obtained God’s approval.

Rather than rush through the year, take time to reflect – on God’s grace and love for you and all of mankind. Then take time during the year, to live this truth out so others might see His Word come alive and draw near to Him too.

Don’t just read the Bible- live it.