If someone won’t listen, if they refuse to take advice and constantly ignore any offers of help, do they deserve the consequences?
We’re powerless to make people listen — even a child can be made to hear the advice, but you can’t make them take it on board.
Proverbs 1 v 20-23
Out in the open wisdom calls aloud, she raises her voice in the public square; on top of the wall she cries out, at the city gate she makes her speech:
‘How long will you who are simple love your simple ways? How long will mockers delight in mockery and fools hate knowledge? Repent at my rebuke! Then I will pour out my thoughts to you, I will make known to you my teachings.’
‘But since you refuse to listen when I call and no one pays attention when I stretch out my hand, since you disregard all my advice and do not accept my rebuke,
I in turn will laugh when disaster strikes you…
‘…Since they would not accept my advice and spurned my rebuke, they will eat the fruit of their ways and be filled with the fruit of their schemes.
The book of Proverbs presents us time after time with a choice — listen to advice and you’ll succeed; ignore wisdom and you’ll get in a mess. There are hundreds of proverbs in the book that repeat the same refrain— our actions have consequences.
You can’t ignore reality forever. Whether it’s the fine for the late tax return, the sacking that follows laziness or the fall into a hole when the sign is ignored, actions have consequences.
Wisdom isn’t just some optional extra. It would be easy to think that Solomon is recommending a great method of self-help. But he’s not saying “your life would be even better with a bit of this!” Instead, he says that wisdom is the essential thing you need to make a success of your life.
That’s because God has created a world of order, with a pattern of how things usually work — that’s why God is the one to go to for wisdom. He made us and He made the World. And He knows best how we should live.
But if you don’t do things the right way, you can expect disaster. And if you don’t listen to wisdom, then you deserve everything you get.
Fortunately God is astonishingly and supernaturally patient with us. He so often protects us from things that harm us — even from ourselves. But He wants more for us. He wants us to be wise.
Putting it into Practice
- Consider your own attitude to wisdom. Have there been times when you’ve been too busy, lazy, arrogant or distracted to seek wisdom? Has the quest for wisdom seemed to hard? Ask for God’s forgiveness and help to see and overcome those things that stop us pursuing wisdom.
- Look ahead and commit yourself to seek God’s better way. Resolve not to settle for second-best. Plan time for future study and prayer. Make plans for the next stage in your search for wisdom.