Baseball has a lingo, a vernacular that only those closely associated with the game will understand. Most of the time, it’s repeated incessantly and seemingly for no reason. Here are a few phrases you might hear from the dugout (and what they mean).
“Hey (insert player’s last name, nickname, and/or uniform number), whaddayasay!” This means, “we’re really hoping you do something great, so do something great.”
“Bow your neck!” In other words, “try really hard right here, pitcher.”
“Let’s go, (insert name, nickname, number)!” No, the game isn’t over. No, it isn’t time to leave. It’s just time for the player to come through for the team.
“Sweet.” Has nothing to do with the flavor of the bubble gum available in the dugout, but everything to do with the perceived beauty or value of the play just performed.
There are myriad others. Baseball has its own sub-cultural language. It might take a while for a new fan or player to grow accustomed to it, but give him or her a while, and they’ll be fluent.
The same is true with the wisdom offered by Scripture, namely that in Proverbs.
Proverbs 1:6–“…To understand a proverb and a figure, the words of the wise and their riddles.”
It might seem at first that some of what the ancient writers left us in the Book of Proverbs is like the sub-cultural language of baseball. And perhaps it is. And perhaps that part of the point. In the first few verses of Proverbs 1, the writer explains the purpose of the Proverbs. According to verse 6, part oft that purpose is to help us “understand a proverb.” Huh? The Proverbs are to help us understand proverbs.
I believe the idea here is that, the more familiar we become with the Proverbs, the more we read them, the more we will understand them, just like baseball lingo. Perhaps part of the reason we don’t have greater understanding of the Word of God is that we don’t spend enough time with it. We give up when at first we don’t immediately understand.
What advice would you give to a new fan of the game who scoffs at the “insider” verbiage of players and coaches? “Stick around, you’ll understand.” And, you know if they do, they will, because that’s what happened with you.
It’s the same with the wisdom of Scripture in the Proverbs. Stick around. God is speaking. You’ll understand better, just keep going.
Lord Jesus, open my mind to better understand your Word. I want to understand your words of wisdom. I commit to stick with it, to read it, to seek to know it, and to not give up in the process. Amen.