33 Wisdom reposes in the heart of the discerning
and even among fools she lets herself be known.
34 Righteousness exalts a nation,
but sin condemns any people.
35 A king delights in a wise servant,
but a shameful servant arouses his fury.
Though wisdom is at home in the heart of the discerning, she is not wholly hidden from the foolish. But they have not made room for her in their hearts, which are filled with pride and envy and all kinds of folly, putting them at odds with wisdom’s repose. Wisdom can never be taken away from the discerning, regardless of circumstances, but fools are easily stripped of everything they have. Because they have rejected wisdom’s call, she will reject theirs, leaving them to “eat the fruit of their ways and be filled with the fruit of their schemes.”
“Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin condemns any people.” True righteousness is motivated by gratitude, while sin is never satisfied. There has yet to be a perfect nation, but there have been many great ones. The same can be said of all organizations, all the way down to the family. A grateful person focuses on the blessings in spite of the flaws, while the resentful cannot see past the flaws. But this attitude of condemnation is perhaps the most miserable of all flaws. Those who reject goodness on the basis of perfection are eventually left with nothing at all.
“A king delights in a wise servant, but a shameful servant arouses his fury.” In everything the wise servant does for the king, he is always careful to honor him. The shameful servant may also obey, but he does so on his own terms, as Saul did with his burnt offering (1 Samuel 13). Such a man may call himself a servant, but in practice he is his own Lord. Partial obedience is not obedience at all, it is a usurpation of the Lord’s authority. One either serves the Lord or himself, but “no one can serve two masters.”