Proverbs 26:12 Do you see a man wise in his own eyes?
There is more hope for a fool than for him.
The Bible should always be read in context. This verse is the climax of a string of verses talking about how terrible fools are, and then on top of that we have this statement. Conceit is a terrible curse! I’m reminded of the line from the song, Everything is Beautiful, that says, “There are none so blind as those who will not see.” If you are convinced you personally are wise, then you won’t receive any input, no matter how wise and true it might be. It’s not that human beings can have no wisdom, but rather that genuine wisdom is humble. Genuine wisdom recognizes that God alone is the source of all wisdom and truth. As is proclaimed earlier in this same book, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.” (Proverbs 9:10) That’s why James tells us, “If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.” (James 1:5) The genuinely wise person recognizes that compared to God, they definitely aren’t wise! As God famously told Isaiah, “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:9) Genuine wisdom asks God for His opinion on everything, and trusts Him to be right always.
This certainly applies to me. Conceit has been a snare to me all my life because I have been blessed with a high IQ. That’s not the same thing as wisdom! Mental gymnastics are a far cry from the wisdom of God. I need always to seek God and not presume on what He has already given me. It’s like manna: it needs to be gathered fresh every morning. One of the “grace gifts” mentioned in 1 Corinthians 12 is “the word of wisdom.” (1 Corinthians 12:8) I need to seek to operate in that, not discounting what I have been given but knowing that only God can respond accurately to every new situation. And presuming that one situation is like another can be quite a trap!
Father, I could write on and on about this, because I’ve experienced the limits of my own wisdom so many times. Thank You for those experiences. Thank You for Your faithfulness to break down my pride. It’s remarkably stubborn! Help me indeed be humble enough to allow Your wisdom to operate through me, for the blessing of many and for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!