Breakfast with Solomon - Proverbs 12:8
"A man will be praised according to his insight, but one of perverse mind will be despised"
The word insight is the Hebrew word sekel, which means understanding. This is almost synonymous with the word bin, which means to distinguish between and, therefore, to discern connections. This word also carries with it a penetrating analysis of the reasons a thing happened or was successful. This is the reason why the translators used the word insight to translate the word rather than understanding.
The word praised is the word halal, which means to shine. This is the word we get our word hallelujah. When we sing praises to God, we make Him shine. When we use penetrating analysis to reveal the real reasons something took place or will take place, then we shine in the eyes of others.
The implications are significant. If we regularly do not have an answer for why someone would do this or that, then we do not shine. If we regularly give the wrong reasons or ridiculous or conspiracy type of reasons for the things that happen, we do not shine.
Each of us must try and make sense of the things that happen around us. Each of us must try and understand the reasons for why a particular thing happened to us or did not happen to us. We must come to some conclusions about why our life is the way it is. Too many people come to the wrong conclusions. They do not have the kind of insight that is mentioned here.
I watch people – who did not get the promotion or who did not get the sale or who did not get the girlfriend – refuse to look penetratingly at themselves and their behaviors for the reason. They would rather blame someone else or something else. Do not do this. Most of the time the penetrating analysis should begin and end with your own actions, attitudes, and speech.
There is another place I am watching the abandonment of the type of insight or understanding talked about here. In the political or social arena, people are beginning to embrace fanciful or conspiracy theories about why tragedies and disasters take place. One of the difficulties about this is that everybody has different theories that fit their own prejudices. Do not fall for “Elvis is still alive and being hidden by the CIA” thinking. Penetrate the nonsense with sound reasons. Just because a person can ask some questions about a grainy photo or a coincidence does not mean that they have found a conspiracy. This does not mean that there are not conspiracies, but there must be hard evidence. Some people have allowed their whole lives to be changed by these types of bizarre theories about why a thing happened or who is out to get us.
Getting back to a more practical application of this idea is to think through: Why do our children act the way they do? There are reasons. Why do the people at work act the way they do around and to us? Why is our business doing good or bad? Why is our marriage or dating life in the state that it is? Why do we feel close or far away from God? Why don't we have enough money? All of these questions about our life have answers. Our willingness to really look for the answers and penetrate beneath the surface will allow us to win at life and shine.
Let me give you an example or two: My wife and I found, some time ago, that we were running low on money regularly. When we looked at what was actually happening, we were letting it slip through our fingers on little items that we did not even notice that we were buying. When we analyzed these patterns and put some control into this miscellaneous area, our finances changed dramatically for the better.
I have counseled enough marriages that have been about to split up to realize that many people just expect their relationship with their spouse to be good without any changes or work on their part. I have watched men and women act very selfishly and then be amazed that their spouse is upset. I have watched one or both spouses ignore the needs of the other and wonder what they are so upset about. If your marriage is not as enjoyable as it could be, then there are reasons. It usually means one or both of the partners is not meeting the needs of the other. It also usually means one or both parties are being selfish. It is your job to analyze and find the reasons and fix them. Do not just assume that everybody has these problems, and it is just the way it is, or even worse, that it is time to get a new spouse.
but one of perverse mind will be despised
The word perverse is the Hebrew word awa, which means twisted, warping, and is one of the words for iniquity. The word perverse is used to translate this idea because taking something good or normal and twisting its purpose or its use – especially in the moral sense – is what is connoted here.
Solomon is telling us that some people use a twisted analysis of the situation to recommend twisted solutions. Some marriage counselors recommend that couples view pornography to help their marriage; this is twisted. Some people come to the conclusion that they need a new spouse rather than working on their present marriage. Some people come to the conclusion that they need to hurt or kill or maim the people in their place of employment to make their point. Some teens come to the conclusion that the best way to really make it in life is to ignore all advice from the people who love them and make their life possible and instead listen to peers who are making nothing of their own lives.
Your analysis of why life is the way it is will either bring a level of glory and adulation to you or it will cause you to be despised. All of us have to analyze our life in at least nine areas – the nine relationships of life. If we are able to accurately figure out what is really happening in these areas of life and make them better, we will be praised.
Let's take a look at that in detail. We have to analyze whether our personal life is on track to accomplish the goals that we believe God wants for us and change the direction if it is not. We need to analyze our marriage and perceive whether it is where it should be or could be and what changes to make. We need to look at our family life and explore how we got here and how to make it better. We need to examine our career and employment situations to see if these are where they could or should be and what recommended changes are needed. We need to examine our church and our interaction with it. We need to look at our finances and see if we are accomplishing what we should in this area. We need to look at our friendships and see if we have the type, kind, and number of friendships that we would like to have or need.
Notice that this twisted analysis is with the same set of facts that insightful analysis comes from.
How insightful are you in analyzing the real reasons that something took place and then acting accordingly? If your analysis and actions do not change the circumstances, then you may need to rethink your analysis.