The light of the eyes rejoices the heart, and good news refreshes the body. The ear that heeds wholesome admonition will lodge among the wise. Those who ignore instruction despise themselves, but those who heed admonition gain understanding. The fear of the Lord is instruction in wisdom, and humility goes before honour.
I am not very good at reading and following instructions, especially for flat pack furniture – I tend to be a bit impatient. I look at what’s in front of me – the bits of wood and the nuts and bolts and screws, have a quick look at the pictures and start putting it together. Unsurprisingly I normally come a cropper, get incredibly frustrated with myself for being so foolish (again) to think I’m capable of doing this without following the instructions. I may not quite despise myself but neither do I heed my admonition either.
Perhaps this passage from Proverbs should become my mantra!
Reading these few verses though, it would be easy just to say, ‘yep that’s right’, with no other explanation. Yes, it is right but there is a bit more to it than that.
Not for the first time in Proverbs there is a contrast between the outer and the inner person. It starts with two sense organs – the eyes and the ears which take in light and good news – they then influence the inner person of heart and mind.
I have just been following the series of devotions on the book of Revelation where it often speaks, as our Proverb does, of those who have ears being open to understanding God, we need to be wise to what God has to say. For if we fear God, if we respect God, we will listen, and then we will be open to what he has to say to us
Yet, as I keep finding out to my cost, the eyes and ears are free to accept or reject what is in front of them, whether that is the word of God or an instruction manual.
Loving Lord, give us eyes to see what you are doing in the world. Give us ears to hear what you have to say to us. Give us wisdom to recognise your presence. Give us courage to admit when we are wrong. Amen
The Reverend Branwen Rees, East Wales Regional Minister