“The wise in heart accept commands,
but a chattering fool comes to ruin. (v.8)”
The NIV, New International Version of the Bible translates verse 8 above. Another version uses “babbling” instead of chattering. The Living Bible puts it this way.
The wise man is glad to be instructed,
but a self-sufficient fool falls flat on his face. (Living Bible)
The word “chattering” caught my attention so I looked at a newer version and pondered. In chapter 10 of Proverbs we shift from long discourse by Solomon to short proverbs. Sometimes it is difficult to see the thread of thought in a chapter so some writers will find verses that support a topic they are interested in. Other writers plow through looking for similarities within chapters. I like to read a chapter a day and focus on an interesting verse.
A wise heart stands in contrast to a chattering fool. Accepting commands seems to imply listening to the advise of others as opposed to chattering that implies someone focused on monopolizing a conversation, perhaps self centered, and not focused on learning but talking. One Internet writer defines chattering as “talk rapidly or incessantly about trivial matters” or it can refer to our teeth clicking together because of the cold.
The proverb makes me think of the parable Jesus told of two men building a house. The wise man built his house upon a rock while the foolish man built his house upon the sand. When the rains came down the house on the rock stood firm and the house on the sand collapsed. How and on what are we building the houses of our lives? Can you name three solid foundational things or principles you are building your life on, things that will help you stand firm during the storms of life? My parents drilled me on the importance of integrity. How about you? Now think of someone that you have heard of whose life collapsed. What was the mistake that person made?
Lord, help us to build our lives on solid principles, to be willing to listen to instruction so that we can weather the storms of life with your help. Thank you that you are stronger than the worse storms, closer than the nearest aid worker, and more available than faithful friends. Guard me from chattering foolishly about trivia and protect me from the cold times when my teeth chatter!