Proverbs 12 positions the acquisition of wisdom (prudence) in favourable terms that speaks to all people. Almost everyone wants to be popular, at least within their peer group, yet the gross irony is most go about it the wrong way. Wisdom is the unconventional right way.
People are praised for their prudence yet the warped of mind are despised (Proverbs 12:8). The quietness of prudence is admirable; it doesn’t win instant applause but it sure does stand the test of time.
One of the few complementing proverbs of this section (Proverbs 10–15), verse 14 tells us that when we speak well and considerately we “are filled with good things,” and our hands (or our work) bring us a reward--notwithstanding people’s favour.
Part of popularity is not becoming incensed by the little offenses that inevitably come from the people who’re in our lives--this is an emotional thick skin of grace that girds our interactions with charm and lightness. The popular prudent simply overlook insults (v. 16) and look for the good in people.
The popular tell the truth without sparing (v. 19). They promote peace (v. 20) with their transparency, integrity and authenticity; their hearts are true and they’re blessed with joy. They’re blessed divinely and the sense of charm that follows them covers them in an ‘aura’ of the Presence of God (v. 21).
Most of all, the truly popular (prudent) person is guarded and they don’t pretend to know it all (v. 23). In fact, they do not need to know it all; quiet confidence and healthy self-esteem they have in good stock.
They’re diligent in their work and they win the respect of fellow workers and managers alike. Indeed, they rise through the ranks and manage the lazy (v. 24). They make the most of their resources and are wise stewards in every sense (v. 27).
It’s a captivating case for the dually prudent and popular person. They have God’s blessing and their star shall never be extinguished whilst they live on the earth.
Copyright © 2009, S. J. Wickham. All Rights Reserved.