It’s just one of those things that happens when you make a habit of reading the bible on a consistent basis - God speaks right at you, right in the moment, about exactly what you are doing. That’s what happened to me as I read through Proverbs the other morning.
I was angry.
Someone had just gotten on my last nerve. I ranted and said a few unkind things in my anger (because, you know how it is, when you’re mad you think everyone else needs to know it). Then, ironically, I went and got my bible out so I could do my daily reading…
Whoever is slow to anger has great understanding,
but he who has a hasty temper exalts folly. -Proverbs 14:29
A soft answer turns away wrath,
but a harsh word stirs up anger.
The tongue of the wise commends knowledge,
but the mouths of fools pour out folly. -Proverbs 15:1-2
Better is a dinner of herbs where love is
than a fattened ox and hatred with it.
A hot-tempered man stirs up strife,
but he who is slow to anger quiets contention. -Proverbs 15:17-18
I could list a few more but you get the idea. God held a mirror up to my face and said, through a few providentially placed proverbs, “This is you… fool… hot tempered man… strife stirrer upper. This is you.”
If you’ve never had this experience, you need to keep reading your bible because if you do, sooner or later, you will. God will show you an X-ray of your heart in his Word (I hope you see a better picture of yourself than I did).
But here’s the thing, if you don’t ever see yourself, if you’re simply reading - if you manage to keep what you are doing separate from what you are reading - then you have missed not just the verses that describe your folly (whatever it is), you miss the whole point of the book of Proverbs.
Proverbs describes how wise people live their lives. Proverbs summons people who believe in God and believe God to behave like it in how they think and speak and respond to life (like, for instance, how they respond to people who frustrate them).
So, if you are going to let God grow you as you read Proverbs, you must go do something about you when see yourself described, and the description is less than Christ-like. The Proverbs don’t say the righteous man never sins. The Proverbs say the righteous man learns and grows from God’s rebuke. The wise man repents and learns not to be so foolish next time.
A rebuke goes deeper into a man of understanding
than a hundred blows into a fool. -Proverbs 17:10
Keep reading! I promise I will, but right now I need to go tell some people I’m sorry for being so angry… I mean, foolish.