7Wisdom is too much for fools!
Their advice is no good.
8No one but troublemakers
think up trouble.
9Everyone hates senseless fools
who think up ways to sin.
Jesus said, “You can tell what they are by what they do. No one picks grapes or figs from thorn bushes. A good tree produces good fruit, and a bad tree produces bad fruit.” (Matthew 7:16-17) These proverbs make a similar point. Some people ask just anyone for input when they face a quandary. The quality of advice they receive, however, can vary immensely. Some people share their wisdom. These proverbs focus, though, on recognizing those who offer input that is “less than wise.” Fools offer bad advice. Troublemakers encourage paths that lead to trouble. Senseless people point us to “ways to sin” without regard to the consequences that inevitably follow. “Wisdom is too much” for them! Listening to them only increases stress and pain.
These proverbs want us to be discerning. We can be careful about whom we ask. We can also ask widely for input – if we are willing to think carefully about the longer term outcomes of each potential path. Noting the character or record in life of the one speaking can help us discern, too, the quality of their advice. If they are often in trouble, “blind alleys,” or compromised life situations, it is likely their words will lead us into similar struggles. We need to keep our wits about us as we digest the “guidance” of others. We also do well to remember that the best time to apply discernment is not after it has “all gone wrong,” but in advance: “What path will this option put me on?” Doing so will save much trouble and heartache.
God of wisdom, who gifts us with your Word and Spirit so that we and those around us may flourish together, keep us attentive to your ways amidst the cacophony of options so we contribute to peace, wholeness and stability in our families and communities, through Christ our Saviour. Amen.