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.
Man's steps are ordained by the Lord, How then can man understand his way? Proverbs 20:24
Wisdom acknowledges the sovereignty of God. God is omniscient - which means He knows all things past, present, and future. God also is working all things together to bring about His will that all things work together for good - and also work together for His own greatest glory. These are basic truths hat we learn from the Scriptures. Passages like Romans 8:38 and Romans 11:34-36 make these things very clear.
We read here in Proverbs that a man's steps are ordained by the Lord. I wish I could write a pithy little article that would once and for all solve the problem that seems to exist between our seeming ability to make choices - and God's ultimate soveriegnty over all things. But if such an article could be written it would already have been by men far more educated and godly than I am. But let me lay before you a few facts. First - you are going to have to make a whole series of choices today. It would be better if you made them in concert with God's will. Second - God is working in your life even if you choose today to be a rebellious little toot. Third - God will ultimately get everything that He desires and is working toward. And finally fourth - there is nothing you can do to thwart God's ultimate plans for His own glory and for the gospel of Jesus Christ. These are things that are true - will continue to be true - and are even true if you choose to think they are not.
God ordains our steps - He guides our way. For some this is relatively easy because they see God's will portrayed in the Scriptures and quickly submit - receive His power to do them - and enjoy bringing glory to God. Others are not so muh this way. For them the process of God working in their lives involves more than a fair share of rebellion, self-will, and self-seeking. Thus for them the will of God is a process of guidance through the Word - and guidance through discipline. In the end God receives what He desires both ways - one just takes longer - and often involves more pain and hard-learned lessons. Regardless of how you come to His desired ends - they will be accomplished.
The second half of this verse asks us a question, "How then can man understand his way?" This question is meant to be answered two ways. First of all, there is no real way for us to understand our way - at least in our own thinking. Consider for a moment Job. He walked with God - was considered blameless - yet he faced incredible suffering for God's ultimate purposes. The entire book of Job deals with him and his friends trying to "understand God's way." It consists of his friends telling him he was ungodly - that was why he had to suffer. It also consists of Job wrestling with the reasonf for his suffering Himself. There is little light of day in all these wranglings until 30 plus chapters into the book. Then God, first through Elihu, and then through His direct revelation asks Job a serious of questions. In all honesty these questions do not really answer the burning inquiry that Job - and those of us who read this historical account - have within our hearts. In the end, we come to the conclusion that God is God, God is good, and therefore no matter what happens in our lives - God ultimately purposes it for our good and His glory. We are left with the explanation of Proverbs - how can a man understand his way?
There is an encouragement in all this though. That is the second answer to this question. How can a man understand His way? The answer is that he can only understand his way in relation to God. People spend their entire lives living for things that are worthless. Their lives are summed up as a cautionary tale for us to learn from in life. Consider the rich farmer who thought only of himself all his life. Some 30-50 years were spent allowing this man to accumulate a fortune. At the end of his life he had a bumper crop unlike any he ever had, and wondered what to do with it. His ungodly, ill-informed reply was to tear down his existing barns and build bigger ones. Then he could keep everything for himself - and retire rich and full. God then broke in on the scene informing him that he would die that night - and that all his wealth would mean nothing - except as a warning to all others who did not choose to be "rich toward God." What we would consider a total waste - God used to warn any generations about greed and self-serving living.
A man understands his way in relationship with God. That is the only way to do this. A man understands his way by studying and understanding the Scriptures - which reveal to us the mind and heart of God. A man understands his way by turning to God and seeking to live for His ultimate purposes and plans. Philosophers may spend a lifetime trying to grasp a life of meaning and purpose - yet - if they only use their own understanding are like the blind leading the blind. As the Word of God itself tells us, if a man does not see according to God's light and revelation as given by the Holy Spirit in the Word - that man does not have the light of day. The truth is that God has been and still is working in this world to accomplish His desire and work toward His end. Life will be so much better for us if we acknowledge this - submit to it - and seek to walk surrendered to His sovereignty and His eternal plans.
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!
“Blessed is the man who listens to me, Watching daily at my gates, Waiting at my doorposts.” Proverbs 8:34
Wisdom had regaled us with tales of creation and what it was like to watch and be a participant in the very creation of all that God has made. We have seen from Wisdom's statements and from an examination of the world around us, that we can trust Wisdom and what God says to us through His Word. Now we hear Wisdom calling us to be a listener - to be one who watches and waits for what God has to say to us. Just as God has been true about His creation of this world - so He is now calling us to listen to what He has to say to us about life itself - and how to live it.
Blessed is the man who listens to me. This is God's promise of happiness for those who listen - who heed what He has do say. The word for blessed means one who is happy. The happiness experienced is not a transitory happiness based on getting our own way and living for what we want to live for day to day. It is a happiness at a much deeper level - more than happiness. This is about a deep-seated joy that comes from knowing and walking with God. It comes from knowing Him - and knowing His blessing in our lives. But this blessing is conditional - it is for those who listen to Him. We need to open our ears and more than that, our hearts, to what God desires for us. There needs to be more than basic hearing. Let me explain with a less than gracious example from my own experience.
I am a guy - which usually means there are times I have "listening" issues. My wife is very gracious in spite of my listening disorder. There are times when she is talking to me (come to think of it - I also have four daughters who struggle with this "lack" of mine as well) that she will pause and ask me if I am listening to her. My response is to repeat the last sentence she has just said. This is not amusing to her at all. She did not ask if I heard words that she was saying to me - she wanted to know if I actually listened to her. This, my dear fellow males, means was I listening for the purpose of furthering our relationship. Was I listening so as to hear more than just words - was I hearing her heart. If I had honestly answered that question I would have had to say no. I was not listening - I heard some stuff - but I was not really hearing with understanding. I was not hearing to have a relationship. To put it in a way that maybe we can understand - I was not truly "getting her." That would have required listening. It would have required zeroing in on what she was saying with an intent to know what she said, why she said it, and respond in an intelligent and caring way that expressed that I loved her . . . more than the football game that I was currently watching. (Wow - that was far more cathartic than I thought.)
God wants us to LISTEN to Him. He wants us to do two things each day. First He wants us to be "watching at His gates." The "gate" was the place where important decisions were made. This was serious stuff - because it was at the gate that the wisest and most influential men gathered. God wants us to listen and watch for the really important stuff in life. We need to watch for Him - because He will give us guidance on the major decisions and major life choices that we face each day. But he also calls for us to be "waiting at His doorposts." What a wonderful picture that this is. The doorposts referred to the opening of the house. This speaks of two things. First it speaks of intimacy - of a relationship where we can talk about everything in life. God tells fathers to talk to their children in this way. He wants us to speak to our kids when we get up and go to sleep each day. He wants us to talk to them about Him when we go out and come in. He also wants us to write on our very doorposts the Word of God - so that is what we see when we go out and come in. This is every day life - and the wonderful blessing of having a friend with whom we can talk when we are going through our day.
The second thing this points to is redemption. We wait for God at the doorposts of our house. This was the place where every year the Jewish family would put blood for the Passover. This blood was left on the doorposts overnight. Over time the obedient Jewish family would wind up with permanent blood stains on their door frame. But oh what a wonderful picture this is of how we wait for God. Wisdom reminds us that we are God's people. We are bought with a price - and we are redeemed. When we wait for Him here - we experience intimacy - but we also are reminded that we are intimate because we are redeemed.
Wisdom calls us to walk with and know God. This is done in every area of our lives. It is in the big stuff - and in the little stuff. It is in the huge decisions that will direct our lives - but it is also in the little decisions that set the daily course of where we will walk today. The thing wisdom asks of us is that we listen. That does not mean being able to quote Bible verses by rote - but not really know what they mean. Listening means coming before God and hearing Him with a bent to know His heart. When we do that - we will see that this is the true way to a deep abiding happiness that will last throughout a lifetime.
"The LORD possessed me at the beginning of His way, Before His works of old. Proverbs 8:22
We are about to enter one of the coolest passages of Scripture in all the Bible. For the next 10 verses we will be allowed to have an interview of sorts with wisdom. Several times we have seen wisdom personified so that we might learn more about wisdom. This time we are allowed into the very intimate counsel of God - before and during creation itself.
Wisdom first tells us, "Jehovah possessed me at the beginning of His way, before His works of old." So the first thing we learn is that wisdom is a possession of God. He did not have to learn it or be taught wisdom by someone greater because there is no one greater. He is absolute and the ultimate over everything and everyone. The word "possessed" is the Hebrew word "qanah" which in this context means to create or to bring forth. Thus we see that before creation ever was - God created wisdom.
This brings me to an interesting thought. I hope you will tolerate me getting a little weird here, and yet I think this exercise may benefit all of us. God doesn't have wisdom - He IS wisdom. There was no need for a knowledge of wisdom up until God created the world, because all there was before this was the eternal fellowship of the Godhead. Being eternal and infinite - they knew all and had known it for all time. To try to express it to anyone would be foolish for they all knew from all time all there was to know and all that will ever be known. But God was about to create the world - and was going to reveal Himself through and to His creation.
We read the following in Psalm 19:1-4
, "The heavens are telling of the glory of God; And their expanse is declaring the work of His hands. Day to day pours forth speech, And night to night reveals knowledge. There is no speech, nor are there words; Their voice is not heard. Their line has gone out through all the earth, And their utterances to the end of the world." Since the heavens and the world was the creation of God - since the moment of their origin at His Word they have been telling of God's glory. Morning, noon, and night they do not cease to shout out His praises. Each new day the speak of God - they pour forth speech - and reveal knowledge of God. Yet prior to this - there was no need for these things - for the perfect eternal fellowship of the Godhead knew them perfectly.
With the creation of the earth, God was about to begin revealing Himself first through His creation - and then, with the creation of man - to His creation. This required a way to know God - a knowledge about God that was not inherent within His infinite knowing of Himself. Therefore God created wisdom. Wisdom is seeing God and knowing Him. Wisdom is learning to see all of life as God sees it. Wisdom comes from God - and if grasped correctly - leads us back to Him. So, before God ever revealed Himself through and to His creation - He first had to create or bring forth a way of comprehending Himself to what He was about to create. I know that this is a little wild to consider - but I believe in the end, it only causes us to think higher thoughts of God Himself - and to worship Him for Who He is.
Over the next several days we will take a look at the creation of wisdom - and how wisdom was with God as the earth was created. During our look at these 10 verses in Proverbs we will also have cause to consider how the creation itself is actually infused with the wisdom of God as well. Join us . . . it should be quite a journey!
The locusts have no king, Yet all of them go out in ranks; Proverbs 30:27
Locusts are interesting insects. They do not have a leader - and yet as they come up over the earth and destroy everything in their path, they march in ranks - each staying to a path that seems as if determined from a central planner. Because of this aspect of cooperation with one another, they can cause untold destruction to crops and trees. We do not have the kind of locust infestations that the Middle East does so in some ways we cannot imagine the destruction these cooperating, yet unled insects can cause.
What is the lesson for us in their "exceedingly wise" behavior? It is the lesson of cooperation with one another. There is so much that we can accomplish if we simply take the attitude of fulfilling our role and cooperating with others around us. Some of the greatest problems we face is when there are too many chiefs and not enough indians. That is a southernism for having too many who want to lead - and hardly anyone who wants to follow or cooperate. I've watched churches and other organizations implode because of this kind of "everyone wants to be king" attitude. We should learn from the locust and his great wisdom and know that by simply having a cooperative attitude and heart we will get so much more done and will accomplish great things.
There is one other thing that the locust can teach us. He does what he does because he is ultimately responding to his Creator and the instincts that God has given him. Much can be accomplished in our lives by following that example. Once we learn what the Word of God tells us we should be doing - we should go about doing it. The unseen Holy Spirit will empower us to accomplish that task - as He will anyone else in the body of Christ. Would it not be a glorious thing to see God's people cooperating as they share the gospel, disciple new converts, and encourage them to do the same as they live their lives. What a mighty army the church would be if they would only cooperate under the unseen hand of God and His Word working in their hearts. Whereas the locust our teacher uses such instincts for destruction, the body of Christ could use this lesson for the advancement of God's kingdom all over the world.
The mind of the prudent acquires knowledge, And the ear of the wise seeks knowledge. Proverbs 18:15
The search for knowledge is an interesting thing to look at in the Scriptures - as well as in the world. The world wants knowledge - but it is a different kind of knowledge from a different source. The knowledge that he world desires is what is called worldly knowledge. It is a knowledge that ignores God's Word - and is in opposition to it. It is knowledge that denies God's existance as creator - denies the moral realities of the world - and encourages man to continue to live independently from God.
The knowledge that is encouraged here in Proverbs is that which is gained by not only knowing God and His Word, but also being able to take what you know and use it to guide you in making decisions and in pleasing God in every situation that you face in life. We see here that the mind of the prudent acquires knowledge. Mind here refers to our thinking and reasoning - but it affects the heart and the core values that guide our decision making. The wise man mentioned here is the one whose mind and heart is prudent. What is meant by this is that he is constantly seeking the ability to look at two things and see the difference between them. He is a discerning man who does not take everything at face value. He looks into things so that he may acquire knowledge before he makes decisions - or even decides how to view something in life. If there is any way that this man can get knowledge in this way - he is trying to acquire it. This word, acquire speaks of purchasing something in order to possess it. This man wants knowledge - and he will pay whatever cost there is to get it. When you read ths do not think of money - but think of time, study, and diligence in seeking and knowing the Word of God. It is often costly in time and effort to get the kind of knowledge that yields discernment as well. You just cannot open and book and get it. It comes by knowing the Word in a way that helps us to see things as God sees them.
The wise man also tunes his ears to seek knowledge. Note here that we move from our minds to our ears. What is different about this word is that it is saying something far more than just listening with our physical hearing. The New Testament often uses the phrase, "hear what the Spirit is saying." That means being able to hear with far more than just our physical ears. It speaks of the ability to hear God. The word seek emphasizes it even more. This is the Hebrew Word that speaks of seeking God's presence. Daniel 9:3
speaks of this kind of seeking when we read of Daniel doing the following. "So I gave my attention to the Lord God to seek Him by
prayer and supplications, with fasting, sackcloth and ashes." When we "seek" for knowledge we are giving our attention to it. We are praying and crying out to God to give us His knowledge and His heart for things. At times this involves even fasting and special concern for gaining the knowledge that God has for us.
Knowledge is important for the man wanting to be wise. It will involve reading and study like all other forms of knowledge, but it will require more. It will require that we have a heart for God - and desire a spiritual knowledge that God gives us from His Word. But the reward for such a search is that we wil be able to walk through life being able to discern what to do and how to do it in a number of situations. We will have a discernment that will allow us to see beyond surface issues and get to the very heart of a decision or a response to others. the place you se this the best is in the life of Jesus. His knowledge of the Word and of His Father's heart gave Him the ability to cut through any kind of lie or misinformation. He truly could answer not just the question of a man - but the heart and motive behind it. That is the wonderful discernment that comes with the knowledge God gives us as we seek it and Him diligently.
"But he who listens to me shall live securely And will be at ease from the dread of evil." Proverbs 1:33
Although the past eleven verses have been ones that have had a message of warning and correction, the last verse in this admonition gives us an encouraging lift. That is the blessing of listening to God's warnings. They may be tough, but in the end He also offers us a positive look at what it means if we live a life that obeys and honors Him. That is what we will examine today as we look at the last verse of Proverbs chapter one.
We immediately see the transition that is made here. But . . . is such a wonderful word when seen in transitions where God has been trying to make a point. Foolishness has been shown for how unwise and destructive that it truly is throughout these verses. But now God is going to turn things around with one verse. There is proise of punishment and consequence for those who reject God's wisdom and Word - but for those who will listen - there is blessing.
The word used here to call us to listen is a wonderful word. It is the Hebrew word "shama" and it means not just to listen with ones ears - it means to have what we listen to affect us so that we obey and regard what it is that God has said to us. Two famous biblical passages use this word. The first is in Deuteronomy 6:4
where God introduces the Shema. "Hear O, Israel! The LORD is our God, the LORD is one!" After this God calls Israel to love Him with all their heart, soul, mind, and strength. This passage became so famous among Israel that the word listen was codified - and the basic confession of Israel was named, the Shema. It is a reminder for all time for her people to place love for God above all other things in life! The second place where this word is used in a famous way is in Isaiah 1:2
, "Listen O heaven, and hear O earth; for the LORD speaks, Sons I have reared and brought up, but they have revolted against Me." This is a passage where Isreal has rejected God - and God calls all of creation to listen to the warning that is offered - a warning that calls men to never abandon and turn away from the Lord. In both of these passages "shema" is used to call us not just to listen to anything - but to listen to something and Someone of absolute importance.
We are called to listen to God - and here, of course, we are called to listen to His wisdom. The ones who listen in this way are ones who will "live securely." This phrase meant that a person could live with a calm assurance that God would protect and keep them. Wisdom has a way of setting our hearts at ease, knowing that God's wisdom will always yield what is best for us. The promise is also given that we will be "at ease from the dread of evil." This ease again describes for us a state of security, peace, and rest. It speaks oddly enough for this state to overcome someone even at the moment of death. It is a peace that cannot be disturbed because it is given by God Himself.
The Lord gives warnings - and they can involve somewhat extensive cautions against wisdom and against walking in rebellion to His Word and ways. But know that such warnings are given to us because of God's great love and mercy toward us. Yet in the midst of such warnings - and in the midst of what some might call, "negative messages" we can know that God's desire is for us to walk in His ways and thus to experience all His blessings. To act like sin does not exist if we do not name it is the height of foolishness. The wise man knows that such warnings are welcome to us for they remind us that we must cling to and love the LORD our God with all that we have and all that we are. Such warnings are blessings in disguise for they keep us from walking in foolish and unprofitable ways. Embrace the negative messages that warn of our propensity to walk in the flesh and in our own strength. When we keep such wisdom close to our hearts, we will find that these messages are close friends with God's favor - and those are friends that are worth keeping indeed!
"Because I called and you refused, I stretched out my hand and no one paid attention; Proverbs 1:24
We are examining the first chapter of Proverbs and seeing why it is not always the best thing to only have positive messages in the church and in our Christian lives. Here we see the reality that some do not receive what God is saying to them. They refuse to turn to God as He issues a call to them through His Word and His wisdom.
Too many get bent out of shape when they hear that God has to call us for us to be saved. They pretty much freak out when they are told that on their own they would never come to God because they are dead in their sins. They do not realize that God in His mercy does call men to Himself. But the truth is that even when God calls - men reject Him. Even when He allows them to hear His counsel, His reproof, His encouragment to turn from their sin to follow Him - they reject it. That is what is made clear here in this section of Scripture. God tells us that he called - but the fool refuses that call. The idea of refusal here involves a rejection not just of the message - but also of the Messenger.
God is showing great mercy and grace to men in stretching out His hand to them. Their sin should receive a stretched out hand - to discipline and bring them under God's judgment. But that is not what the Lord is trying to do here. He is wanting to instruct - to make His words known to those He calls (vs. 23). As He stretches out His hand in mercy, what does He receive? Nothing . . . no one pays any attention to what He is saying. This coincides with the truth in the New Testsament that, "All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God." (Romans 3:23
). It also is a testament to Romans 3:10-12
which says, ". . . as it is written, there is none righteous, not even one; there is none who understands, there is none who seeks for God; all have turned aside, together they have become useless; there is none who does good, there is not even one." Men, by their very nature reject God. Due to their deadness in sin, they will refuse Him and reject Him. But there is an even more amazing truth that this.
It is an amazing thing to read here that men reject and refuse God. It is astounding that they do not even pay attention to what He is saying. But what is more amazing is that immediately after He is rejected God does not let judgment fall in that very moment. But God is merciful in that He responds with further mercy. But this passage is not a reminder of that mercy. It is meant to be a stark reminder of how foolish it is to reject God when He does stretch out His hand and offer counsel, reproof, and instruction.
What should we learn from today's Proverb of the day? We learn that to receive God's wisdom and offer of instruction is the greatest of mercies. We learn that Jehovah God does this over and over again - offering mercy and grace that is rejected by sinful men. But the real question for us today is what are WE going to do when we are aware that God is wanting to give us His Words - and correct us from a way that is not in accordance with His will? Are we going to refuse and reject Him? Are we going to see His outstretched arms - and not even pay attention?
It might benefit us greatly to read a passage from Hebrews 2
that offers a warning to us - a warning that we should pay "much closer attention" to the times where God is speaking to us. Hebrews 2:1-3
offers us this godly counsel on this matter, "For this reason we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away from it.
For if the word spoken through angels proved unalterable, and every transgression and disobedience received a just penalty, how will we escape if we neglect so great a salvation?" May we learn to listen with great passion and intensity when the Lord speaks to us - and may we not be guilty of neglecting so great a salvation when God offers not just His grace in Christ initially - but when He continues to save us from sin as He sanctifies us daily by His Word and His Spirit.
I love those who love me; And those who diligently seek me will find me. Proverbs 8:17
One of the most disheartening things to me about the beliefs of the agnostic - is that although they believe there might be a God - they do not believe that He can be known. The deist also has a sad belief that although there is a God who is great enough to make this world, all He did was wind it up. They believe that He is letting it wind down - and principles for living in it can be known - but as for any kind of personal apsect to God, it does not exist. How thankful I am that these misrepresentations of God are wholly inadequate in describing Him. He has revealed Himself - can be known - and delights in those who diligently seek for Him. For those who do - He has wonderful promises, not just of information, but a personal contact with Him - and emotional ties that He will initiate as well.
God is revealing Himself personified as Wisdom in this entire chapter. After thrilling us with all the things that Wisdom is to us - God makes a wonderful promise. He says that those who love Him - who love His wisdom - He Himself will love as well. What a glorious promise is ours when we love the wisdom of God. We will not only receive that very wisdom - information that will bless us infinitely - but we will receive the love of the One Who holds all that wisdom and makes it known to us. This is no impersonal god whose goal is the communication of ideals and principles for living. This is God, Who in giving us such things, delights that what He is giving us is Himself. His glorious grace is that He gives us Himself. This is so vital for us to grasp in our search for wisdom. Wisdom is seeking not just information for wise choices - but seeking the One who not only gives the information, He gives Himself and all His power so that such principles can be lived out fully. Our desire for wisdom will grant us those very principles - but they come with a Person - God Hismelf who will teach us and change us in the process. Can there be anything more marvelous and wonderful!?
The second promise is those who diligently seek Wisdom will find Him. Please do not think that a strange thing to say. Wisdom is a person - the Lord Jesus Christ who is put within us by the power of the Holy Spirit. If you think otherwise, you are not fully grasping the message of the gospel - and of the Scriptures. We read in 1 Corinthians 1:30
that Christ Jesus became to us wisdom from God. Earlier in verse 24 we read that Christ is the power of God and the wisdom of God. That may blow some people's minds. If we are pursuing wisdom - we are pursuing Christ in the end. He is the ultimate wisdom that God had to share with us. Jesus Christ is God incarnate - therefore His entire life was wisdom and understanding to us. What we find in the book of Proverbs in principle and statement - we will find in Him lived out in every day experience.
God has called us to a glorious pursuit. That pursuit will always lead us to the person of Christ. It will lead us to knowing and learning and loving Him. The pursuit of wisdom in the end is not a pursuit of something - it is a pursuit of Somone - Jesus Christ. The Love loves those who passionately enter into and continue in that pursuit. What He promises is that when we run that race we can run knowing that His grace and mercy will enable us to win - and the prize that we will is a glorious and fulfilling relationship with His Son - and the life that comes from knowing and following Him. Oh, precious one - make that pursuit the one goal of your life.