Understanding the need for wisdom today is vital for fixing broken relationships and a broken country where everyone casts blame on those who disagree.
“For lack of guidance a nation falls, but victory is won through many advisers.” — Proverbs 11:14
By all appearances politics has taken over mainstream life. Hearing the news has become for many as essential as breathing air. Others find hearing the news unavoidable. Sports games, video games, food, everything has become politicized.
A fear permeates the air that the other side, the opposing political party, will take over America and ruin the nation. Maybe ruin the world. Everyone has a finger to point.
Who’s right and who’s wrong?
Naturally, everyone blames the other side.
Where blame is cast, love seems to be absent. People spending time spouting accusations are not engaged in healthy discussion. The act of building one another up has been replaced with tearing each other down.
“As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” (Proverbs 27:17)
The Book of Proverbs, mostly authored by King Solomon, was a great source of wisdom back then and even today for Christians. After all, Solomon was blessed with wisdom unknown to any other person, his gift from God (1 Kings 4:29).
His writings provide important lessons of ways to best live as believers, walking in an ever growing faith.
That being said, there’s an important lesson to learn from this phrase in Proverbs 11:14.
After exploring the context of this Proverbs passage, we will examine 3 reasons why for the lack of guidance a nation falls.
The Context of Proverbs 11:14
Throughout this chapter in Proverbs, readers are presented in each verse with two opposing ideas. One idea captures the behavior of the righteous. The other idea is the behavior of the unrighteous.
According to the details presented, the righteous live in a way that is supportive of others, not just themselves. Moreover, the righteous attain knowledge and are wise.
Descriptions of the unrighteous include choosing self over others, and picking earthly possessions over God’s blessings. In the end their actions lead them to perish. And the unrighteous lack in wisdom.
Like much of Proverbs, this particular passage presents a number of different ideas with a correlating theme. There are people who choose God and those who do not. The differences between the unrighteous and the righteous are highlighted in their behavior.
The ability to thoughtfully choose righteousness over unrighteousness is predicated on one idea—wisdom. Wisdom is mentioned more than once directly and hinted at throughout.
With the idea of wisdom in mind, Proverbs 11:14 takes on a clearer meaning.
Photo Credit: © Getty Images/Yevhenii Strebkov
The Meaning of Proverbs 11:14
In the Bible, wisdom takes on two forms: insight given from God to man, or from man to man. Wisdom leads to living a life in service to God, not self.
There are two words in Proverbs 11:14 that reference wisdom, guidance and advisers. Guidance is information given from one person with more knowledge to another. A great example would be God’s guidance for his believers through life (Psalm 23:3). God gives us guidance when we are at our highs and our lows. The reason he gives us guidance is because his omnipotence makes him more knowledgeable.
He leads us along the paths of life that allow us to best be of service to him and his kingdom.
Secondly, advisers are people who offer suggestions for those making a decision. Anytime someone asks a family member or friend for advice, those individuals are acting as advisers. More professionally, individuals in politics, such as the President, employ advisers for guidance too.
By relying on the insight of others, especially those with more experience, the President can make better-informed decisions.
The lack of quality information and judgment causes a nation to fall, but more insight or experience, more advisers, brings victory.
Whether advice comes from God or another human being, advice is meant to benefit. Proper guidance is meant to lead someone to a better end result than where they started.
On the contrary, the Bible presents that the lack of wisdom, that is to say the lack of guidance, will do just the opposite. Any nation deprived of guidance will fall. This too is true for people on an individual basis. Apart from Christ, humankind is tied to sin (Galatians 5:1).
And sin leads to death (James 1:15)
Apart from one another, people are not able to offer proper guidance and leadership to their fellows (Proverbs 27:17).
Understanding the need for wisdom today is vital for fixing broken relationships and a broken country where everyone casts blame on those who disagree. Those who name call, insult, or demean others are not sharing wisdom or sharpening other people.
That behavior consists of being unrighteous, as indicated by Proverbs. Remember, the unrighteous choose self. The righteous choose God and others.
3 Reasons Why Proverbs 11:14 Matters Today
A House Divided Cannot Stand
“If a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand.” (Mark 3:25)
Jesus said this best. When there is division, ruin is sure to follow.
Whether on a national scale, within a family, or a relationship between two people, without sorting out differences people will lose their relationships. Instead of relationships making us stronger, we become weaker as love becomes hate or indifference.
Any sort of relationship only works when two people can come together expressing love for one another. That includes healthy communication, forgiveness, and understanding.
People who communicate in this way are able to put God and the other person before self.
A Lack of Wisdom Produces Ignorance
“When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom.” (Proverbs 11:2)
This chapter of Proverbs draws a distinction between the people who want to grow in wisdom and those who don’t. People who are prideful don’t see a need to learn anything. In their minds, they have what they need.
Yet, here we see that they have disgrace to look forward to in the future. Why? No one but God knows everything.
People leading a nation with pride are bound to fail. Every person is limited in knowledge. Without humility they won’t grow.
We Should All Be Teachable
“If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.” (James 1:5)
While we may not be exactly like Solomon in our current levels of wisdom, we can always learn more. God is ready and available to give us more knowledge to use in service to him and others.
This passage in the Bible makes clear that God wants us to grow and become wiser. If Proverbs 11 explains the benefits of wisdom, and this passage says God will help us become wiser, then choosing righteousness should be clear.
On the contrary, if sin leads to death, then what does this mean on a national or personal level? A civil war? Broken relationships? Depression? Hatred? Trauma?
Wisdom can prevent those potential calamities, but only if we choose wisdom.
We can thoughtfully conclude that God is willing to bless those who seek him. His blessings produce fruitful relationships on a personal and national level. If God were at the center of various political conversations, there would be no hatred for people to spew at one another.
Even if others don’t recognize the unrighteousness of their behaviors, Christians can be an example for all those who will listen. We can be the advisers for our peers, for our nation, and guide everyone into a better reality.
Photo Credit: © Getty Images/Chinnapong
Aaron D'Anthony Brown is a freelance writer, hip-hop dance teacher, and visual artist, living in Virginia. He currently contributes work to iBelieve, Crosswalk, and supports various clients through the platform Upwork. He's an outside-the-box thinker with a penchant for challenging the status quo. Check out his short story “Serenity.”
This article is part of our larger resource library of popular Bible verse phrases and quotes. We want to provide easy to read articles that answer your questions about the meaning, origin, and history of specific verses within Scripture's context. It is our hope that these will help you better understand the meaning and purpose of God's Word in relation to your life today.
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