Message: Proverbs 9 shows a contrast between wisdom and foolishness. We read through the book of Proverbs every month and it occurred to me while reading today that I usually focus so much on the contrasting negatives, or the “what not to do” things that maybe I haven’t given enough thought to the contrasting positives. As I was reading today a few people came to my mind as I read the positive side of verses 8 and 9. “rebuke a wise man and he will love you, instruct a wise man and he will be wiser still, and teach a wise man and he will learn more.” As I thought about this, I realized that the people I had in mind for these positive attributes were all people that I consider to be highly intelligent. They are constantly learning, reading and asking questions. Something else I have observed about these particular people is that their pride and emotions are not attached to their opinions or even to what they know to be true. If you disagree with them, they aren’t the least bit offended and they don’t feel the need to retaliate or try to make you feel stupid for it. Instead they tend to ask questions out of genuine curiosity to see how you arrived at a different conclusion. When they do disagree with something they know how to validate and find common ground on one point of agreement before challenging an opposing argument. Since they do so much listening and ask so many questions they are constantly learning more new things. They literally become collectors of information but instead of doing it to boost their ego, they are doing it out of a general fascination for learning. They aren’t researching in hopes to collect more data that supports their opinions, they are genuinely researching with an unbiased mind in the hopes of learning something new. They are not afraid of being wrong, and they are not afraid of anyone challenging them. I used to just assume they were just humble and polite people, and they really are, but I also have noticed that their humility is what also makes them so easy to learn from. When people don’t feel threatened or put down, the walls come down and they feel safe to learn. Even if we are learning just by listening to the questions of another person. You can learn a lot about someone by the questions they ask, and you can learn a lot about a topic by listening to the kinds of questions being asked by others. I believe that we as Christians find ourselves in a lot of spiritual trouble when we stop having questions and instead find ourselves blanketing answers to cover our doubts. One of the biggest reasons I started this bible reading group was because there were so many areas of the bible that made me uncomfortable because I had questions. I knew that there had to be other people brushing by uncomfortable passages of scripture and trying to ignore the conflict inside. When I took my questions to God in prayer, I found that he began to speak to me through it because my questions usually revealed a condition in my heart. I found a closeness with God as he faithfully answered my questions and corrected my problematic thinking. His correction felt more loving to me than any form of encouraging words because it was proof that he heard my questions and loved me enough to show me the answers. Even when it was in the form of correction. Many of us were taught that it’s disrespectful to question authority, so therefore, having questions is irreverent and disrespectful to God. I’m not suggesting that we question the deity and authority of God, but when we feel conflicted about situations and things that we read in the word, we need to ask ourselves a few questions to find out why. And then we need to take our answered questions to God and let him teach us. Wise people have a lot of answers because they ask a lot of questions.