The spirit of man is the lamp of the Lord, Searching all the innermost parts of his being. Proverbs 20:27
Here is a proverb that wisely reveals to us the workings of the Spirit of God within a man. One might ask how this imparts wisdom to us. We must remember though the definition of wisdom. That definition is seeing things as God sees them - and thus making decisions that are in concert with His will and purposes. With wisdom defined in this way we can easily see why a verse showing us the workings of the Holy Spirit in man is very valuable to grasping wisdom in our lives. Such information allows us to better understand how God imparts and gives us His wisdom.
The first thing we learn is that the "spirit of man is the lamp of the Lord." A lamp is something we use to give us light. What is being said to us is that the lamp of God is the spirit of man. When God wants to reveal Himself and make Himself and His wisdom known to man, He does so in and through our spirit. By the working of the Holy Spirit - Who speaks in our spirit - we are made aware of the mind and heart of God. Watchman Nee in his amazing volume on the working of the Holy Spirit, The Spiritual Man, spoke of how the Holy Spirit worked in us through our intuition, our conscience, and through something I'll call "our knower." Let's take a look at these three features of our spirit in concert with God's Spirit.
God reveals Himself to us primarily through His Word. As we read and know His revelation of Himself in the Word, the Holy Spirit will speak to our conscience. This might also be referred to as conviction. We are convicted of truth and our conscience speaks to us. This is not some kind of "devil on one shoulder - angel on the other" kind of experience. Instead is it a settled understanding of some things. First is might be that soemthing it true - true about God - true about who we are in Christ - true morally - true in any number of ways. Our conscience speaks to us and we know that it is true (because we see it in God's Word). We also might see that something is sinful. God's Word points out an action, an attitude, a word spoken - and our conscience bothers us as we come to the settled conviction that either we have sinned, or that something is sin. Another way this works is when we are convicted about something as the will of God. Our conscience prods us to act - to speak - to turn away from some temptation or toward an act of obedience - serving in some way - witnessing - and any number of other aspects of walking in obedience with God.
The second tool used by the Holy Spirit is our intuition. This really also fits the idea of our "knower." This is when the Spirit of God works in our spirit to help us just 'know' that soemthig is true. This would speak to the working of God to simply through an intuitive knowledge - to bear witness with the truth. One thing about this 'intuitive' aspect of God's working must be said. That is that God's Spirit will NEVER contradict God's Word in what He grants us as intuitive knowledge. Probably the best way I can describe this working is that we have a sense that someting is wrong - or something is warning us that we are about to sin. There is also a way where we just know that something is God's will and that we should act. Again - this is one of the more subjective ways the Spirit of God works - so this must be tested with God's Word - and a working knowledge of it.
We need to note how God's lamp works in this proverb. We read that it, "searches all the innermost parts of our being." God's lamp - our spirit as the Holy Spirit reveals truth to us - searches us out. Even to the very innermost parts of our being this lamp lights things up within us. The reason this is needed is at least in part because sin has made it difficult to know our own hearts. Jeremiah 17:9 reminds us that the heart is deceitful above all else and is dsperately wicked. We are told immediately afterward, "I the Lord search the heart." Thus this working by God's lamp is vital to us knowing the truth.
It is wise to regularly - even daily or hourly - submit to the teaching, leading, and searching of the Holy Spirit of God. This work that God does is so very important if we want to know the truth. When we surrender to Him and allow Him to teach us - we know the truth. When we surrender to Him and allow Him to lead us - we will walk in the will and ways of God consistently. When we surrender to Him and allow Him to search us - we will be delivered from sin and from deceiving ourselves by following our hearts instead of being led by the Spirit and the Word. Wisdom - yes this proverb gives us great wisdom indeed.
Many plans are in a man's heart, But the counsel of the Lord will stand. Proverbs 19:21
There is a practice among Christians - and honestly - I am ashamed to admit that I have followed this practice at times in my life. The practice of which I speak is that of making plans - carrying them out - and then later blaming them on God or on the leading of the Holy Spirit. Let me give you an example of this practice. There was a time when I really wanted to do a certain thing. Over time this plan, which was in my heart, began to dominate my mind and my thinking. One day I decided that I would do it - and honestly - without really taking it to the Lord and seeing if it was His will or not. As "the plans of my heart" continued to be implemented, I would tell people that God had led me to do this - or that the Holy Spirit put this on my heart. Well, as with all plans of men that arise out of their flesh - the plans of my heart crashed and burned. But now my resposne was to tell people God was responsible for leading me into them.
This kind of thing happens again and again in the Christian world. There are people who promise and swear that God is the One who led them into a certain choice or action - when it is pretty clear from a study of Scripture that this choice is unscriptural. I've had people tell me that God was leading them to divorce their wife. I've had young ladies tell me that God was the one who led them to date a non-Christian. They joyfully asserted that God was going to bring their young man to Christ. In the end - someone was converted - but it was not the non-Christian. That is why today's proverb is so important for us to understand.
There are many plans in the hearts of men. These plans reside in a heart that is fallen - and in a heart and mind that desperately needs repentance. As a result, as Paul has said, their understanding is darkened - and they are unable to come to godly decisions. "But I am a Christian," some will assert - as if simply being a Christian guarantees that we will always make decisions in concert with the will of God. The fact is that if we are not renewing our minds with the Word of God we are prone to fatal errors in judgment. The fact is that if we are not denying ourselves, taking up our cross, and following Christ - we will be sadly mistaken about a myriad of things. The fact is that if we are not trusting in the Lord with all our heart, not leaning on our own understanding - acknowledging Him in all our ways - He will not be directing our paths. The fact is without these things happening daily - and even hourly - we will be directing our own paths. The "many plans" that dwell in our heart naturally - will be what lead us.
The proverb today tells us that it is, "the counsel of the Lord" that will stand in the end. What is the "counsel of the Lord?" In previous posts we have seen that this word "counsel" refers not to advice given that we can either choose to follow or not. It is not just God's opinion on something that we can reject. The word means counsel that is given that is expected to be followed. This is God's Word - the Scriptures - and when God offers His counsel on a matter - that matter is decided. To do anything else is now disobedience and rebellion against God. I know that sounds harsh to our post-modern way of thinking - but what has post-modernism brought us that will stand in the end?
This proverb is kind of a warning to us. The warning is this . . . you have many plans in your heart. This fact is not denied. The problem is that your plans are not guaranteed to stand. They may be good ideas or they may be bad ones. You may even have plans that succeed according to the ways of this present world. But the fact is that the only plans that will stand are God's plans. Nothing else will stand - ever. And please understand that God is speaking on an eternal basis. It is one thing to have our plans blessed in the short term - but quite another for them to be blessed now, and forever more. Psalm 73 speaks of how David saw the wicked prospering and almost lost his faith over it. But then he came into the sanctuary and into God's counsel. He saw that although their plans were doing well for the short term - in the long term there were serious - even infinite problems with their way of living. In the end they were destroyed and consumed. They fell all at once - and there was no recovery for them. Their plans - all those plans that were in their heart - led them to a short term prosperity here and now . . . but to an eternal judgment in the long term because they had no regard for the counsel of the Lord.
Here is a quick way to make sure your plans are blessed beyond the short-term. Consider how your plans will fare at the judgment seat of Christ. Think using the Scriptures. Think and consider your plans with an eternal outlook. I can guarantee you that a billion years into the afterlife - no one will be patting themselves on the back in hell. They won't be joking about how good they had it back during the 60-70 years they were alive and doing their own thing - living according to the "plans that were in their own heart." They won't find it comforting to see how they "outsmarted God" for a few years while they ignored all His warnings about their choices and behavior. What will be of comfort for all eternity is the fact that God's counsel stood - and will stand forever. The plans of His heart will be established and therefore, it is that counsel and those plans that we should seek to know and follow.
He who gives attention to the word will find good, And blessed is he who trusts in the LORD. Proverbs 16:20
Ever have problems paying attention to something? This is a common problem with just about everyone I've ever known. Many of us are avid day-dreamers who take excursions all over the world - or at least all over the recesses of our minds - every day. The problem is when distracted thinking affects how we approach and deal with God's Word and what the Lord is trying to say to us in our daily quiet time.
Today's proverb has excellent advice for those who want to be wise. Pay attention to what God is saying to you in His Word! That is the advice. Simple isn't it. Yet anyone who has ever had a quiet time go awry knows that simple in stating and complicated in obeying is the problem here. I've had quiet times where I spent the majority of my time turning down dog-eared pages in my Bible. I've had other ones where I will finish reading a chapter and wonder what is the world I just read. At other times I've been reading a chapter and been horribly distracted with thoughts poking themselves into my mind between every verse. All this can be downright frustrating at times!
Giving attention to God's word means that we do more than just read over it. The word for attention means to consider something. To place our entire attention toward it also is part of what this word means. Distractions are normal, but when they come we need to stop reading and deal with them. Otherwise we will be in danger of just reading over words - without truly paying attention to them.
Giving attention to the Word also means taking a little time to consider, meditate, and learn from it. I've been guilty in the past of just wanting to read a lot of the Bible - and not think on what I am reading. This particular blog was a way of battling that problem. Writing these posts have made me slow down and truly consider what a verse means. Consider keeping a quiet time journal where you can focus on one verse, or a few of them. That will help you pay attention to what God is saying to you.
The blessing that comes from this is that you will find good. The good that you will find is varied. Some days you will find a promise in God's Word that you can claim. Other days you will find instruction or teaching about some aspect of God or His will. On others you will experience rebuke or correction that will lead you away from a sin and back into sweet fellowship with the Lord. Still others will yield a fresh glimpse of God's glory and character that will blow you away or thrill your heart. There is so much good that comes from approaching the Word as more than just something to check off on your day. You need to approach it as you would approach Him - because that is exactly what you are doing!
There is another blessing that comes from doing this as well - and it is explained for us at the close of this proverb. You will be blessed because as you understand God's will and ways and person better - you will be able to trust in Him! When He gives a command you can trust Him to provide the power to keep it. When He offers rebuke or conviction you can trust Him to grant repentance and to lead you into freedom from the sinful action. When He offers hope or encouragement you can trust Him to bring you through the situation which has caused hurt or pain. There are so many ways that God can make you truly blessed as you have a fresh opportunity to trust Him and rely upon what He has said in His Word. May you be blessed indeed as you continue having daiily times alone with Him - as He speaks to you - as you pay attention - and as you are wonderfully blessed as He encourages you onward into every new day of trusting Him and seeing Him work out His will in your life!
Have I not written to you excellent things Of counsels and knowledge, Proverbs 22:20
God's call to wisdom is a call to consider and live by excellent things - to live a life of the highest order. Some would call living for God a life that is boring and mundane. Nothing could be further from the truth. The one who considers the things of God and lives accordingly is one who sees the most excellent course - one that is spoken of in the highest terms possible. To consider this is to deeply plumb the counsel and the knowledge of God Himself. Far from boring - this is the most glorious pursuit a man can give himself to on this earth!
The wise man begins by asserting to his pupil that in speaking of wisdom, he is speaking of something of the highest order of all. He speaks of writing to his pupil "excellent things." This is an interesting term, because it speaks of something associated with the number three. When referring to a a measure of something it usually refers to a large measure of a substance. It is used in music of an instrument with 3 of something on it - such as a lute. But when used in contexts other that this it refers to a high-ranking officer (who was called the third man in a chariot) or something that is of a very high worth. What is being communicated though is that what the wise man has given his student is the most excellent thing he could give him.
This is a thought we should explore for a moment. Every parent wants to give the best things to their child. Unfortunately for most parents this means things they can buy and things that require money. But what the wise man is saying to his student - and what every father should say to his children is that what is most valuable you can receive without cost. The gospel is the most valuable thing we can give our chidlren and our students. Nothing can compare with it! We should give them the gospel - and give it to them within the context of teaching and training them in the Word of God. That is what is what is worth more than silver, gold, rubies, and diamonds! But is that the way we present the Word of God to our children - to our students - to others? No wonder they consider the things of God boring - we treat them like an ugly step-sister, rather than like a treasure that is worth searching a lifetime to find! But that is how this teacher refers to the material (the Word of God and the wisdom of God in it) that he has presented to his student.
He speaks of counsels and knowledge next. The Word counsels is "moetsah" which means a plan, a purpose, and in some contexts it infers intrigue and mystery. The teacher says that the things of God are His eternal plans and purposes. It does speak of how God desires for us to live every day, but there is so much more. It speaks of what God is ultimately after in this world - and it ushers us into the very counsel of God Himself. This will be good for every day decisions - but it will also thrill and astound us as we see the eternal mind of God working out His own eternal purposes and plans. When Paul saw this in the book of Romans - he exclaimed in ecstasy, "Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable His ways! For WHO HAS KNOWN THE MIND OF THE LORD , OR WHO BECAME HIS COUNSELOR? Or WHO HAS FIRST GIVEN TO HIM THAT IT MIGHT BE PAID BACK TO HIM AGAIN? For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be
the glory forever. Amen. (Romans 11:33-36
, NASB) So infinitely far from boring, this is the stuff that thrills our hearts and makes our minds swoon at the very consideration of such grand things.
He also speaks of knowledge. This is the Hebrew word "daath" which communicates to us that this was a technical and specific knowledge. It spoke of knwoing by experience, relationship, or encounter. This was the word used by Balaam in describing that God had revealed Himself to him in a vision. His response was astonished wonder and amazement. So as this teacher speaks to his student - he speaks of the awe-inspiring knowledge of God that comes as we truly know and experience him. Once again we say that this is far from boring. It is the knowledge of the Divine Himself. It is a thrilling thing.
Let me ask a very serious question after looking at this proverb. Do you look at the Word of God and find yourself lost in wonder, awe, and praise? Do you see the Word and find yourself astounded by the glorious counsels and knowledge that it offers to you as the Holy Spirit takes you as His pupil and teaches you? What the teacher does here is to make his students stand back in utter astonishment at the joy of having the Word and the Wisdom of God available to them. He brings them to the point of panting after God and His wisdom - like a dog would pant for water on a fiercely hot day. He shows them the living water - but only after pouring salt on their tongues. He points them to a knowledge and an understanding that would make any sage jealous. Yet all he is doing is sharing the truth about God's Word with them. He is doing so with the hope that his students will long for it - and will desire to know it as he has in his lifetime. Oh may God give us such teachers - men who will whet our appetite for spiritual things and make us literally long for more every time we open God's Word!
A wise man is cautious and turns away from evil, But a fool is arrogant and careless. Proverbs 14:16
Why is it wise to be cautious in our choices and decisions in life? It is because we live in a world that has fallen. I know that those of you who read this regularly in these posts may think that I emphasize this too often, but I fear that we do not fully grasp at times what mankind's rebellion against God has wrought in this world.
Today's proverb tells us that a wise man fears. That is the literal translation of the word "cautious" here. It refers to the fact that the wise man fears God. He fears God becasue he reads of God's Word - God's glory, power, majesty, and holiness - and he fears displeasing and dishonoring Him. Wisdom tells us to fear God's displeasure. Wisdom also tells us that there is a way that is evil.
Here is where we run into some very serious worldview problems with the world and its philosophies. The majority of worldviews do not take into account the fall of man into sin and the subsequent ruin of this world. They consider man's basic nature as good. As a result you will hear people tell others to, "Just trust what is in your heart." That is not wise or good advice. What is in our hearts is rebellion toward God and a bent toward sin. We will choose with an astounding regularity contrary to God's ways. This is because there is within us a bent toward selfishness - and a bent away from God. The wise man knows this - and as a result is cautious - and does fear making decisions and choices that run contrary to God's Word. This is the place he turns for wisdom - to the Word - because it gives us an objective revelation of Who God is and what He has said. Thus he takes time in making those decisions to check for God's will and favor in things.
The fool though is said to be arrogant and careless. He is arrogant because he thinks he does not need anything to make wise decisions. He doesn't need anyone to tell him what to do - especially a "God" Who knows all things. He considers the Bible to be an ancient document that has no bearing on his life or his decisions. His arrogance is manifest by how he views himself - as just fine and having NO need of refinement - let alone a fundamental change in who he is or how he makes decisons. Therefore he is careless - he does not care about God, about God's Word, about God's will. He will make his own way. His favorite verse is an interesting rendition of Proverbs 3:4-5
. It goes something like this, "Trust in yourself, and lean heavily on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge yourself and what you want. Forge your own path - make it what you want."
These two paths definitely diverge from one another. One heads toward God and sees God's Word as a road map and a guide for decisions - for life itself. The other sees nothing but self and a pursuit of what the world says is valuable. Even in instances where the world is not used as the standard - this one turns to his own desires and his own ways. Correspondingly, one path leads to destruction and misery - the other to life and life abundantly.
She is a tree of life to those who take hold of her, And happy are all who hold her fast. Proverbs 3:18
Wisdom is a tree of life. Today's proverb of the day informs us of that fact as well as how wisdom will help us to be happy if we hold fast to it and not allow the world or the desires of our own flesh to loosen our hold upon it.
The tree of life is a thoroughly biblical thing from the beginning of the Bible to its close. We open in Genesis with the garden of Eden and the tree of life - and end with the tree of life bearing fruit on both sides of a river that runs through heaven itself. There are things in the Scriptures that are referred to as "a" tree of life - and then there are the references in Genesis and Revelation to "the" tree of life. The tree of life is a wonderful picture of Christ Himself - Who is the One who gives us life itself, while "a" tree of life is something that we should note - because it is a means of God blessing us with His life. Wisdom is described in this way.
Wisdom is a tree of life to those who hold strongly to her. The statement here to "take hold" of wisdom comes from the Hebrew word "hazaq" which meant to be strong, to strengthen, to be courageous, or to overpower. When we take hold of wisdom, we are fastening upon it with strength and courage. We hold fast to wisdom as we use it to overpower other thoughts that might enter into our thinking that run contrary to Scripture or God's ways. She yields to us sweet fruits of life itself when we do this. But the opposite is true as well. When we let go of wisdom and prefer the wisdom of this world that is passing away - it will yield to us fruits of death. That is why it is not enough just to have wisdom enter our ears - we must learn to hear it and hold it fast with all our strength and all our will.
There is a promise for us though, to motivate us to hold wisdom fast. When we do we are promised that we will be happy. The word for happy here is "asar" which means to go straight ahead, to advance forward, be blessed, or to be made happy. According to Zhodiates it was a figuative phrase that meant to follow a straight path in understanding which in turn will give us a single heart and will also help us advance in God's ways and paths. If we were to compare this with the Beattitudes in Matthew 5
, we would see that the ways of God's wisdom always promise for us a state of being blessed. In Matthew the word for blessed, did not just mean a happy emotional state - but had the idea of being blessed because God is smiling upon us. Wisdom will bring us to the place of knowing God's favor and His smile. That is why we need to hold fast and hard onto wisdom. It is the way to a life blessed by Almighty God - and as such is the best way to life.
A man will be praised according to his insight, But one of perverse mind will be despised. Proverbs 12:8
Good godly Biblical-sense beats out common-sense every day. But what is interesting is that often common-sense, which we too often take for granted, comes from Biblical-sense.
We read here that a man will be praised according to his insight. This word "insight" is a great Bible word. The word means to be intelligent and have good sense. But this is an intelligence that means more than just a mere book knowledge on a certain subject. It means an insight and understanding that is the gift of God. We obtain it as we seek God and seek to know God through the way He has revealed Himself through His Word - the Bible. This is why I stated at the beginning of today's post that common-sense actually arises out of Biblical-sense.
Since studying Proverbs in depth I've noticed that the counsel that I offer to others has been radically affected. Rather than offer my own fallible insights and thoughts - I quote from Proverbs and Scripture as a source of counsel. By the way, this means it is no longer my counsel - but God's Word. A second "by the way" is in order too. A good counsellor is not always one with a degree or a certificate - but one with a good working knowledge of God's Word and how it speaks to every issue of life. Sorry for the digression, I'll get back to the point. People want that kind of counsel - and they say to me that I have great insight into their problems and situations. When this is said, I laugh and let them know that without the Scriptures I'm as dumb as a stump. Any profit they receive is because of God's grace and the way that "Biblical-sense" has affected my "common-sense." When a man is praised becuase of his insight - it is often due to the fact that He is studying and seeking to apply Scripture to life. My favorite people are my brothers and sisters who are in their 70's and 80's who have studied and sought to live out God's Word their entire adult lives. They are a treasure chest of wisdom and instruction, rebuke and correction, counsel and encouragement, knowledge and discernment.
But there is another person out their offering their opinion and counsel. It is the one of "perverse mind." The word "perverse" here means to bend or to twist. It speaks of those who distort things and make them perverse and crooked. This one will be despised according to Proverbs. When we see where their counsel leads us we will hate their advice. The problem is that too often those of "perverse mind" are exalted in our culture. They are the ones who make movies and television shows that exalt sexual impurity. They tell us that a sexually immoral lifestyle is the bomb! We need to try it out and embrace the sexual revolution. What they don't tell us in their movie portrayals is the truth about sexually transmitted diseases, the truth about broken relationships and broken marriages. They speak of the pleasure without the payment - the joy without the judgment. When we finally learn where their perverse counsel has led us - we despise them for it and feel like we've been burned (because we have!).
Don't seek out the counsel of the "perverse of mind." Be careful of the way you allow the culture and the world to color your thinking. We don't say it often enough in the church today, but the culture in which we live is a perverse and godless one. When we allow the print media and what is sent out over the airwaves to instruct us (and realize that they usually instruct us through what they call "entertainment") we are being taught by the perverse in mind and heart. Find those who have insight! Search out and locate those who have "Biblical-sense." Their counsel may hurt a little at first (especially if you've spent too much time among the perverse of mind) but in the end you will praise them for their insight and counsel. Don't be surprised though if they blush and defer all praise to the One Who gave us the revelation of Himself in the Bible. In the end, He is actually the One Who has all the wisdom and great insight. But that is because He is God!
Evil men do not understand justice, But those who seek the LORD understand all things. Proverbs 28:5 Why should we never trust an evil man to administer justice? It is because a wicked man is morally confused. His mind is not filled with what is just - but rather with what his own flesh desires. He is not led by the Spirit of God, Who takes the Word of God and instructs us in what is right and true. He is led by the spirit of this world, which, when it does not get what it wants, it kills and steals and decides rules do not apply. To grasp what this proverb is saying we must once again delve into the whole concept of evil. The philosophies of today do not recognize evil - or call it what it is. They state that man is basically good and if left to himself, without negative influences, would self-evolve into everything that is right and good and perfect. The evil man does not acknowledge God or that God's Word is right and true in all things. Thus he is blind when it comes to true justice. The word "justice" here also needs to be discussed for a moment or two. This word is "mishpat" in the Hebrew - and it actually means "judgment." The judgment spoken of here is that of God. Israel was expected to uphold true justice. God warned her leaders that they should decide with justice between two brothers in conflict. God declared what is right - and men were to take what is true and right and use it for judgment and the administration of true justice. The place we find this "right" and "truth" upon which justice can be understood and practiced is God's Word. It is written down - and it is absolute truth. All other truths in the world must conform to it - or be found wanting - and be untrue. Oh, how the world hates this kind of talk. "Mollify your statements man," they say with teeth clenched. But the fact is always the same that the Bible IS truth. If you want justice - you will have to judge according to what God has to say on the issue. Nothing else will do - and nothing else ultimately matters. The fact that evil men reject God's Word and choose instead to decide things by what they think, is the very reason they do not understand justice. The second half of this proverb states the opposite aspect of this truth. Those who seek the LORD (who seek Jehovah God) understand all things. Those who seek the Lord - and do so in truth - seek Him through His revelation of Himself in the Word of God. This is the ONLY place where you get accurate information about God and Who He is. When we seek Him and know Him through what His Word teaches us about Him - then we not only understand justice - but we understand all things. Both times the word "understand" is used it refers to the ability to discern or to perceive what is right. It means being able to distinguish between two things. You see the world - you see the Word - and you can make a viable decision on what God wants in any situation. Note here that we find that justice is not the only thing you receive when you seek the Lord. The wicked cannot even grasp justice alone - but the man seeking God - gets it all. He understands and can discern all things. There is the glory of knowing and loving the Lord. You don't get just wisdom - or justice - or joy - you get all things. Having Him - you have it all! Paul said in Colossians that in Christ was all the riches of wisdom and understanding. Those who seek Him understand ALL things! Thus the goal of our lives should be to seek and to know Him. We don't study the Bible to become more spiritual - or more wise - or bolder - or anything else. We study and know the Word because when we do - we get everything. God gives it all to us in Christ. Having Him we have everything. Evil men should not be trusted to know and administer justice. The man who can be trusted to make decisions and judgments for an entire society - is the man who desires to know God with all that is in him. Find that man - and you will find the one who understands all things - not just justice - but the meaning of life itself.
"Come eat of my food, and drink of the wine I have mixed."
There is a feast that God is wanting to serve to us every day. It is a feast that the Holy Spirit has prepared for us and one we are daily invited to partake. The question that honestly needs to be answered is whether we are going to sit at God's table each day and enjoy it?
The invitation is very clear and pointed in this passage. Come eat of my food. It is interesting to read of how often God prepares a table for us in Scripture. In Psalm 23 He prepares it in the presence of our enemies. In the gospel Jesus speaks of how He will come and dine with us and invites us to dine with Him. The Old Testament feasts were times when the Lord had Israel come to worship - yet this was centered around a time of feasting with one another from the bounty of the very sacrifices He had them bring. Finally we read that in heaven we are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb. Here in Proverbs the Lord is telling us that when we need His wisdom the most in our lives the Spirit of God has a feast of it awaiting those who will seek it. To often our problem is thy we do not want it. We do not accept or acknowledge His invitation to dine with Him. We speak of our need of strength and wisdom and yet we do not admit to Him that
these needs can only be met when partaking from His table and eating what He
God also speaks here of how He has "mixed His wine" for us as well. Mixed wine was something not done for just anyone. This was done by adding spices to wine to make it taste better. It was not the usual practice to do this, but was done when company came or for special occasions. Think about this for a moment, especially in light of the context in this passage. According to what we read here, God is offering wisdom when we need it most. At the true points of decision in our lives He is seen mixing a special batch of wine (often a picture of the Word of God or of a special work of His Spirit). He knows exactly what we need from the Word and from His Spirit and He puts it together just for us - just as we need it.
The question hangs in the air once again, "will we partake of what He has for us? Think about this again. When we need it the most God has prepared a gourmet meal of food and drink that will give us the very wisdom that we need. It is waiting only one thing. It awaits our acknowledgement of need and of spiritual hunger, and our acceptance of His invitation. To turn down this offer is the very highest of stupidity and foolishness. I think we might be shocked to see how many wonderful meals of wisdom and instruction we have left on the table uneaten. Blind to the feast that awaits us we trudge on in our own strength and our own horribly fallible wisdom wondering where God is when we need Him, or worse, not even recognizing him at all. May God give us grace - give us a spiritual appetite - give us a hunger for Him in every situation to where we would come to His table utterly famished for what He has prepared. May that hunger spur us on to eat well
at His table, feasting upon wisdom and knowing the way in which we are to walk. May all this lead to a walk with Him where we know the right way, know the right path, know the right choice and walk in it to the very glory of God. When it comes to eating at His table all I can say is Bon appetit!
"All the utterances of my mouth are in righteousness; There is nothing crooked or perverted in them. "They are all straightforward to him who understands, And right to those who find knowledge. Proverbs 8:8-9
Ah yes, that sticky doctrine of infallibility of Scripture rises again with a statement made by Wisdom. God is speaking in this passage as wisdom is personified. God is calling out to men and women everywhere to listen and to open their hearts to receive the wisdom that God wants to grant to them. Wisdom is awaiting them at home, in the workplace, in the market, where the two roads diverge in the wood (with thanks to Robert Frost). But the question should rightly be asked, "Can we trust what Wisdom says to us in all these situations?"
ALL the utterances of my mouth are in righteousness! Well there is an answer for us. Wisdom cannot lie to us - cannot mislead us - will not deceive us! Every utterance - every word from the mouth of God given in wisdom is righteous (that means they are all in a state of being RIGHT!). What is even better is that we next read, "There is nothing crooked or perverted in them." Crooked here means to twist something - and it speaks of those who are shrewd and cunning - those who are devious and who wrestle the truth in a direction that is to their liking. God does not work like this. Holiness means that God's motives are utterly transparent. He may speak things in a mystery - but He never speaks things with devious or cunning intent. What drives Him is His love - and His passion for righteousness and for His own glory. Perverted here is the Hebrew word "iqqesh" which means something crooked and perverse. It describes one with a deceitful, perverse, and evil heart. The person like this perverts morals, social graces, even religious things for underhanded purposes. Once again - God knows nothing of this kind of mindset or motive. We read further of His heart in verse 9.
All God's utterances - His Word - are straightforward. In the vernacular of our day - God shoots straight with us. The idea behind this word is honesty. It also has with it the idea of someone who is incapable of being perverted or being partial in their judgment. Something we all need to grasp is that ultimately God is worthy of all glory - therefore - what He does is ultimately to display His own glory. What we don't grasp is that God is not being in any way conceited by doing this. To be conceited, God would have to be gaining or seeking glory that is not rightfully His. The truth is - all glory is rightfully His - all the time - in every situation - and from every person that has ever lived or ever will live - period! Therefore God speaks the truth - and He does so with absolute honesty - and with a view to the absolute best at all times.
Now there is something that would be nice to have. Someone Who will never be partial to anything but the very best. Someone Who knows what needs to happen, what needs to be said, what needs to be addressed - and does so every single time with wisdom, with tact, and with razor sharp accuracy. But we need to note that this ability to see God in this way is for those who "understand." There is a discernment that takes us beyond fleshly, earthly wisdom that is necessary for men to understand the straightforwardness of God at all times. You see all the time in liberal circles men and women who don't understand - and who accuse God of the most horrific sins and the most terrible motives. The fact is that they DON'T udnerstand and are blind the true nature of God. This understanding comes from the work of the Holy Spirit in our hearts and minds. Without Him and without God's gracious work in us - we will never understand. Our minds and hearts are perverted and twisted by sin. It is only when God's grace is manifest to us that we are transformed - and that our sinful tendencies are no longer dominant in our thinking.
God is offering wisdom to us every day - in a myriad of situations where we need it. The truly wise man is the one who submits himself to God - and learns to listen at the crossroads as God instructs him in how to live and how to walk. May we be such men and women - and may we be blessed by the wonderful straightfoward words of God!