About eight years later, things changed and a few people moved in. Finally, inevitably I suppose, someone moved next to us. Still, when you are at opposite ends of five acre plots with woods between you, you can pretend you are alone. Then the folks “next door” moved their married children to the back of their five acres, and suddenly we had a neighbor about two hundred feet across the fence, way too close by our standards.
Then they cleared out the pine trees, and some of the brush went down under the heavy equipment too. I feel like I am on display now, especially at night, since their front door faces our front windows. They would still need binoculars to see anything, but that doesn’t make me feel a bit better.
So last spring we built a twelve foot high trellis and planted a combination of confederate jasmine, purple trumpet flowers, blue passion vines, and Carolina jessamine to screen us. By next summer it should be doing a pretty good job of that. The tendrils of one jasmine, a couple of the Jessamines, and all the passions vines have already wound their way up to the top of the trellis. All of them are well-established with new shoots sprouting all over the runners, and all nine plants have even bloomed this year, which we never expected after their being transplanted.
I was reading Proverbs 14 the other day and came across this: By the mouth of a fool comes a rod for his pride. I just assumed it was a rod of correction, as in He who spares the rod spoils his child. I don’t know what made me look up “rod” in the concordance, but I am glad I did because I made a discovery. This word is not the same word usually translated “rod.” In fact, it is only found one other time in the Bible, in Isa 11:1.
And there shall come forth a shoot out of the stock of Jesse, and a branch out of his roots shall bear fruit.
The word translated rod in that Proverbs passage is not “stock” and it is not “branch.” It is “shoot,” as in a leaf sprouting out of a main branch. That gives you a whole new insight into the proverb.
When a fool talks, those words are shooting forth from the main branch—his pride. They are a product of arrogance, conceit, and self-satisfaction. It may not be that a person who talks a lot is always a proud person, but it certainly is true that a proud person talks too much. He is busy trying to convince everyone else that he is as good as he thinks he is.
Now think about those vines of ours. Once the tendrils catch hold of the trellis they are tenacious. It is nearly impossible to get them loose without breaking a branch. Even if you cut the plant at the bottom, the vine will hang on for several days, and if it has been close to something organic--the ground, the branch of another plant--it may very well have rooted on its own and just keep climbing.
When your pride starts branching out, its tendrils will wind around to the point that it is nearly impossible to get it out of your system. Maybe that is why it is one of the things God especially warns us about. You cannot fix your problems when you cannot see them, and pride will blind you to your own faults as nothing else can.
I want the vines on my trellis to screen me from my neighbors, but you don’t want a vine that screens you from any correction your soul desperately needs. Be careful when you find yourself talking a lot. It might be sprouting from pride, and once that pride catches hold of you, your soul is in grave danger.
Talk no more so exceeding proudly; let not arrogance come out of your mouth. For Jehovah is a God of knowledge, and by him actions are weighed, 1 Sam 2:3.