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.
He who curses his father or his mother, His lamp will go out in time of darkness. Proverbs 20:20
How does your relationship to your dad and mom relate to whether you are filled with the Holy Spirit or not? Some might consider this a strange question, yet from what we read here in Proverbs 20, it is anything but strange. We read here of someone who has decided to curse his father or his mother. There is no love for parents in this person's heart. There is no respect or honor for theim either - even though God's Law states plainly that we are to honor our father and mother. If there is no honor for them - then there will be a very serious grieving of the Holy Spirit. But from reading this particular proverb some may raise their eyebrows thinking, "There is no where in this proverb that mentions the Holy Spirit by name, so how can this refer to the work of the Spirit of God in the believer?"
What is the "lamp" in this passage? In order to understand this we need to look at other passages that refer to this "lamp" in the Bible. The lamp, as used here, is the same word as used for the lamp in the Tabernacle and the Temple. It was the only light available in the Holy Place to see. It illumined two things - the altar of incense and the altar of showbread. The altar of incense represents the believer's prayer life - and the altar of showbread represents the Word of God in our lives. Prayer and the Word are wonderful things, in and of themselves but, if we are going to get all we can out of them - need the Holy Spirit to illumine and empower them. There is a light from that lamp that allows us to see through the darkness and makes the Word and prayer powerful and meaningful. This lamp represents the ministry of the Holy Spirit in our lives. We read in Proverbs 20:27 the following, "The spirit of man is the lamp of the Lord, searching all the innermost parts of his being." We learn here that the spirit of man is where the "lamp of the Lord" (i.e. the Holy Spirit) wants to light up our lives and help us to see and pierce the darkness that is around us. When God's lamp is shinig within by the Holy Spirit - we are directed in the Word and granted power to pray effectively. We can see - even in the dark. When the Holy Spirit is grieved or quenched due to our sin - the light diminishes and we are walking in the dark spiritually.
As we return to our proverb we see now that the Holy Spirit is grieved when we curse our father of our mother. We are being disobedient to God and to His Word when we do this. Thus the lamp goes out. In time of darkness, we find that we do not have the light of life within us. We see nothing because we are no longer illumined within by the Spirit of God - the lamp of the Lord. Since this speaks of our parents - there is also a warning here for us. Family - especially your father and mother - are the ones who will step up when you are facing the deepest crises of your life. They are the ones who are the last line of defense. If we curse them and disobey God, we are going to have the lights turned out. We will find that there will not be the work of God going on in our hearts to help us see spiritually. The Lord is very serious about this.
In the book of Malachi - the last prophecy given is that of the work of God in revival. That work though, is when God turns the hearts of the fathers to the sons - the hearts of the sons to the fathers - lest God smite the land with a curse. Thus we see that the work of the Spirit of God - the illumination of the Word of God - the light of life within the people of God WILL affect the way that we live with our families. We can guarantee that if we disregard family - especially father and mother - we can just about guarantee that we ourselves will be disregarded. The lights will turn off and everything will go dark. That is not something that we want - but if we treat father and mother with disrespect - it is what we will get.
Bright eyes gladden the heart; Good news puts fat on the bones. Proverbs 15:30
It is a good thing to be bright-eyed and fat-boned as a Christian. Ok, there is a sentence you won't hear everyday. Yet the fact is that today's proverb tells us that this is a good thing - and that the wise man will fully embrace it. Therefore it would definitely be good to understand just what this proverb speaks about - so that we can be blessed in this way.
Bright-eyed . . . We hear of people who wake up each morning being "bright-eyed and bushy-tailed." This is an expression that refers to someone who wakes up and is truly awake. The idea of being bushy-tailed refers to a squirrel who when his tail is bushy means that he is fully alert. These are English expressions, but what we are dealing with here is a Hebraism. It was an expression that meant something to a Jewish person - just like our sayings mean something to us.
This proverb is a "restated" proverb, meaning that each half restates the other. Thus this brightening of the eyes - is similar to the good news that puts fat on the bones. So we can know that the effect on the eyes here is from seeing good things. What is fascinating though is looking at the word "bright" in the ways that it is used in other places in the Old Testament. The overwhelming use of this word is in reference to the light of the seven-fold lap in the tabernacle of Moses. The reason this is fascinating is because of the imagry that this picture. The lamp was filled with holy oil - a picture of the ministry and work of the Holy Spirit. The lamp was the only source of light in the Holy place. It illuminted two things in that room. There was the table of showbread - which is a type of God's Word. There was also the altar of incense - which is a type for us of prayer and worship. Now in light of these things, let's look at at this proverb again.
What is the news that fattens our heart? It is when we have the full measure of the illumining work of the Holy Spirit in our lives. When that is the case we have Him opening the Word to us. We have Him opening our hearts to pray and to worship God. This would definitely make our hearts glad. This is the best news of all - God is worthy - God wants us to make our requests known to Him - God wants to speak to us through His Word!
This also makes wonderful sense when we see what the Hebraism, "fat-bones" means. This particular Hebraism means a sense of prosperity. When someone has fat on their bones - they are prosperous and blessed. It is good news that does this. Indeed there is a sense that this proverb can simple mean having eyes that are brightened by seing good things and ears that hear good things - makes us glad and prosperous. But there is also a deeper spiritual meaning that takes us to a different level. When we hear and see the good news that the Scripture tells us about God - it brings joy to our heart and spiritual fatness to our bones.
It is a wise thing when a man submits himself to the work of the Holy Spirit. This will brighten his eyes and bring great gladness to his heart. He will see the gospel, which indeed is good news. He will see the truth of God which will put some serious fat on his bones. He will find himself prospering greatly in the Lord - blessed with spiritual growth - and delghted in the goodness of God. No doubt about it - it is a good thing to start your day with a quiet time where you seek the Lord - and submit yourself to the Spirit of God as a teacher and guide. Doing that will truly make you a bright-eyed and fat-boned Christian!