One of God’s Great Pleasures
Proverbs 18:2 A fool takes no pleasure in understanding, but only in expressing his opinion.
Most of the discussion of this verse is on the fool, who prefers expressing himself to anything else. A related verse is Proverbs 13:16: “In everything the prudent acts with knowledge, but a fool flaunts his folly.” It’s true that someone who continually expresses himself verbally is foolish. This person expresses not only all his thoughts, but advertises his foolishness at the same time.
But hidden in the verse is a gift we can all have. It’s the pleasure that comes with understanding. It’s true that “God gives us richly all things to enjoy” (I Timothy 6:17), and one of those rich gifts is the pleasure of understanding. There is a joy to “getting” something, to having true enlightenment and wisdom about things.
The scriptures give us more wisdom on the subject than simply contrasting the pleasure of understanding with the folly of the over-expressive. For example, Psalm 119:130 says “The unfolding of your words gives light; it imparts understanding to the simple.” This implies two things—that we are partaking of His word (the scriptures) and that we are allowing them to unfold in us (meditating on them).
Proverbs 14:29 tells us that “Whoever is slow to anger has great understanding, but he who has a hasty temper exalts folly.” That gives us direction that the pleasure of understanding comes with having self-control when it comes to losing our temper. Who knew that there would be this pleasure connected with controlling our anger? This is confirmed a few chapters later (Proverbs 17:27): “He who has knowledge spares his words, and a man of understanding is of a calm spirit.”
Proverbs 2:3-5 reveals more: “Yes, if you cry out for discernment, and lift up your voice for understanding, if you seek her as silver, and search for her as for hidden treasures; then you will understand the fear of the LORD, and find the knowledge of God.”
In revisiting Proverbs 18:2, we can rightly infer that close listening—rather than expressing—is yet another key to receiving the pleasure of understanding.
Of all of God’s many pleasures to us, have you counted understanding among them? God calls it a pleasure; we should start considering it one, too. Let’s talk less and listen more. Let’s get into His word and let Him show us all its colors. Let’s stay of a calm spirit; we’ll not only avoid conflict, but we’ll grow in understanding. And finally, let’s lean into the Lord on the subject, seeking understanding as a hidden treasure.
God has yet another treasure and pleasure for us. It’s called understanding, and He’s given us direction on how to get it. Praise Him for the gift and the path to it!
Prayer: Lord, I’ve never looked at understanding as a pleasure. Thank You that it’s one of Your enjoyable gifts to us. Help me to learn how to seek it, stay cool, and do a lot more listening.