A fool takes no pleasure in understanding, but only in expressing his opinion (Proverbs 18:2).
The wise delights in understanding. Because this is so, he is cautious with his words, intuitively understanding James’ command “let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak…” (James 1:19). He is quick to listen to advice (Prov 12:15), because he knows that part of wisdom is realizing one’s lack of it (Prov 4:7). He is not enamored with himself, and does not delight in expressing his own opinion. Wisdom is his true treasure (Prov 8:11; 16:16).
The fool, on the other hand, has no delight in understanding. Because this is so, he is eager to express his own heart. He is convinced of himself, right in his own eyes, and therefore does not listen to advice (Prov 12:15). Unlike the wise man, circumspect in his speech, and speaking when it will contribute to wisdom and understanding, the fool gives full vent to his spirit (Prov 29:11). For this is his delight.
There is a way, however, for a fool to avoid exposing himself: “Even a fool who keeps silent is considered wise; when he closes his lips, he is deemed intelligent” (Prov 17:28).
It is often easy for others to discern the fool from the wise. It is more difficult to discern it in ourselves. The wise will examine his speech.
Turn my eyes from looking at worthless things; and give me life in your ways (Psalm 119:37).
It would be difficult to overestimate the importance of our eyes. Often we think of our eyes in the arena of sexual purity. And well we should. Jesus is clear when he said, regarding the man who looks upon a woman in lust, “if your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away” (Matt. 5:29). Lust is not a matter with which to trifle. Hence the words of Job, and of any man committed to righteousness and faithfulness: “I have made a covenant with my eyes, that I may not look upon a woman” (Job 31:1).
But much more is said in the Scriptures concerning the eyes. For instance, Jesus is speaking not of lust, but rather the love and trust of money when he said “The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light, but if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!” (Matt 6:22-23). David sees the connection between his eyes and his heart as he seeks humility before God: “O LORD, my heart is not lifted up; my eyes are not raised too high; I do not occupy myself with things too great and too marvelous for me” (Psalm 131:1). Or, in a tremendously beautiful and convicting passage of Scripture, is invited to a meal with Simon the Pharisee, where he encounters a repentant woman. The passage is about vision. Hear Jesus’ rebuke to Simon: “Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave me no water for my feet, but she has wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair (Luke 7:44). Simon the Pharisee saw a sinner (7:39). Jesus saw her.
On of the chief threats to finding “life in your ways” is distraction. In fact, because it is not so obviously destructive as lust, distraction flies under the radar. Worthless things are not necessarily evil things, unless of course they distract us from seeing the One who is worthy, and the worthy ones around us made in His image. In an age when the computer gives us access to the worthless all day every day, we need to be vigilant.
And Jesus said to them, “When you pray, say: Father….” (Luke 11:2)
The Lord created the heavens and the earth. The cattle on a thousand hills are his. He has measured the waters in the hollow of his hand, and before him the nations are as a drop in a bucket. He will be gracious to whom he will be gracious, and extend mercy to whom he will extend mercy. Even the vast heavens cannot contain him. Who would presume to make a claim upon the Lord, the Creator and Ruler of all things?
David does. Listen to his address to the Lord in Psalm 140:
I say to the LORD, You are my God; give ear to the voice of my please for mercy, O LORD. O LORD, my Lord, the strength of my salvation, you have covered my head in the day of battle.
David twice addresses the Lord as his Lord, seemingly reminding the Lord that He is David’s God. In fact, it appears to be the basis for David’s request, as if David is saying, “You are my God, and therefore I can expect that you will answer my prayer for mercy.”
This is not presumption. In ancient days, when the Lord was about to deliver Israel from Egyptian slavery, the Lord made a covenant with Israel:
Say therefore to the people of Israel, “I am the LORD, and I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, and I will deliver you from slavery to them, and I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with great acts of judgment. I will take you to be my people, and I will be your God, and you shall know that I am the LORD your God, who has brought you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians. I will bring you into the land that I swore to give to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob. I will give it to you for a possession. I am the LORD” (Exodus 6:6-8).
Here the Lord binds himself to His people. Not only are they His people, He is their God. And therefore He will deliver them from Egypt and bring them into their land. It follows from the relationship that He has established with His people.
So it is with us. Jesus taught His disciples to pray to God as Father. Paul wrote that in Christ we have been adopted as sons. Does a son have a claim upon his father? Of course he does. That does not mean that he will get everything he wants, or that he will escape the discipline that accompanies being a son. This is not a false “name it, claim it” gospel. But a relationship is there. And that relationship creates a claim upon the father, a claim that naturally flows out of the love a father has for a son.
David understood the claim he had upon the Lord as his God. And therefore David prayed boldly. Perhaps understanding that God bound himself to David as his God was one of the things that made David a man after God’s own heart.