An important fact that Solomon often repeats is that we make a lot of plans – how to speak, act, react… but finally, what happens is what our Heavenly Father knows is perfect for us (Romans 8:28).
Staircase wit is a situation where you go away from a conversation thinking of every line you could have said to appear wise, but didn’t. We have rehearsed words all night, sometimes even in nightmares, only to end up saying things we never meant or even imagined, remaining traumatised for a long time.
I used to wonder why, even after praying over such things, I ended up spouting rubbish. I thought I wasn’t wise enough until I found the answer in Pro 16:1; The preparations of the heart belong to man, But the answer of the tongue is from the LORD.
Solomon repeats this in chap 16:9; In their hearts humans plan their course, but the LORD establishes their steps. Solomon too once experienced cases of staircase wit (Pro 19:21 & 21:2).
His answer shows his wisdom; Don’t stress when you prepare and end up saying rubbish. If you had earlier left the situation in God’s hands, He weighs the heart and His counsel, not man’s plans, will stand.
Who Is Rich, Who Is Poor?
“There is one who makes himself rich, yet has nothing; And one who makes himself poor, yet has great riches”.(13: 7)
Solomon refers to two extreme types of people here. He just leaves us guessing and does not give us any indication as to which of these two is to be emulated. How helpful it would have been if the wisest of the wise had indicated his choice. In the absence of it let us arrive at our own conclusions.
1.There are people who do not have a penny in their pockets, but roaming around in hired luxury cars, all dressed up, with expensive-looking sunglasses disguising their real faces. Their intention is not only to mask their poverty, but also to falsely impress others with the ulterior motive of gaining undue advantage. They are dangerous. Beware of them.
2.Another set of people; they are immensely rich. But they live like beggars. They wear torn clothes and worn out shoes. Will not spend a penny. Fear is their hallmark. In case people come to know that he is rich, they may ask for assistance. Thieves may come. Income Tax people may come. They avoid going out in public. I know one such rich man, whose wife eloped with their poor driver who lived much more decently than her husband . This kind of rich men are of no use to others.
In that case, we should try to emulate those who live according to their real worth; in between these two extremes. Solomon also might have had this in mind.
Despite one’s poverty he/she can live a life of satisfaction and happiness , better than a rich man. No frustration, no complaints. Their minds will be bright with optimism. They will be rich in all good virtues. They will have deep rooted faith in God. Only such people can be like that.
Similarly, despite being rich, you can live a contented life modestly, discharging your responsibilities earnestly, fearing God, loving and helping others. They too have deep faith in God.
Let us pray that we may be able to live a purposeful, balanced life both in poverty and prosperity.
George Joseph Trivandrum