9 The light of the righteous shines brightly,
but the lamp of the wicked is snuffed out.
10 Where there is strife, there is pride,
but wisdom is found in those who take advice.
The light of the righteous is like daylight; illuminating both good and bad, enabling some things to grow and others to decay. It may be obscured for a time or a season, but in the long term it is consistent and reliable. How does the lamp of the wicked compare? It is far less illuminating, allowing good and bad to be obscured and sometimes confused with one another. It offers no potential for growth, but every flame has the power to consume. It is vulnerable to wind and rain, dependent on fuel, inevitably extinguished.
“Where there is strife, there is pride, but wisdom is found in those who take advice.” Appearances can be deceiving; the powerful may seem weak, the rich may look poor, the miserable may display happiness. Behavior is a far more reliable indicator of character. Don’t mistake appearance as evidence of pride, look instead for strife. Don’t be fooled by those who appear wise, watch and see how they respond to advice. If you aspire to be something, behave your way into it. Appearances will take care of themselves.