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!
Truthful lips will be established forever, But a lying tongue is only for a moment. Proverbs 12:19
Here is a proverb that seeks to teach us that it is not only better to speak truth than lies, but it is also far more permanent as well. Truth will stand forever. When we speak the truth we are speaking something that is not just true for that moment. Truth is truth no matter what the time frame or generation.
Here is something we desperately need to grasp in our current arrogance. Philosophers of the day hold that there is such a thing as truth for a generation - or for a person. That is nothing more than falsehood. Truth stands as truth no matter the time in which it is spoken. To have truth that is only truth for a time - or a generation - or a nationality - or an individual person is to state that in the end, there is no truth at all. If truth is changing due to the circumstances of the ages or the whims of the populace - it is not truth but rather is the preference of the moment, season, or century.
Truth by its very epistemological nature is always truth. Men do not know this because they reject God - Who alone can speak from Himself eternal truth, which we know in our world as absolute truth. He can speak such things because He is eternal. He is all places at all times, and knows all things everywhere at once. Can we truth any other one to speak with such knowledge and experience? There is none.
Truthful lips will be established forever. Although there is not truth that is applicable to only a single generation, people, or individual, there is the ability to speak truth in the midst of a generation - to a specific people - or even to an individual. When we do this - God will establish our "truthful lips" forever. Many have spoken and written expounding upon God's truth - and have blessed their generation. For those who have been preserved in print - they can bless multiple generations. God will establish their words for they submit to His. Remember this if you want to speak in a way that will be blessed forever. Speak according to His Word and He will establish yours.
There is another speaker - one who speaks lies. That lying tongue will only be for the moment. I think of all the books written, all the articles penned and typed, all the scripts that were authored, and all the plays, movies, and television shows that were ever produced. The ones that reject God and a biblical worldview are legion. In the moment in which they are written, men fawn over their authors - and have even developed sychophantic award shows during which they pat one another on the backs for their achievements. Too often we bow at the feet of those with an Pulitzer, an Oscar, a Tony, or some other form of self-congratulating award as if they deserve to be heard and heralded. Yet if their words do not agree with those of God - they will pass as so much more dust to dust. Their lying words that do not give glory to God will not be remembered past the annals of this earth. They will fade into oblivion as their authors, who decided that they did not need a Savior or the absolute truth of the gospel, spend eternity in endless flame and horror.
In every generation the wind of heaven blows and the grass fades. Every century has watched the flower fall to the ground and the glory of man buried under another civilization. Yet in the midst of all the years there is one thing that has never changed and will never change in a thousand more generations. The Word of our God stands forever. We are to speak according to a Word that will not pass away. We should state those things that will last forever. May God deliver us from lying lips - and instead grant to us faithful and truthful lips that delight in speaking His Word. Such lips as these will last forever - not because of their own worth - but because of the infinite worth of the Word that they speak.
The way of the LORD is a stronghold to the upright, But ruin to the workers of iniquity. Proverbs 10:29
There is a lifestyle that comes with knowing and walking with the Lord. That lifestyle is laid out for us in the Scriptures as we read of the things that God loves and also the things that He hates. The proverb for today refers to these things as "the way of Jehovah." Let's take a look at this today and hopefully become wiser as a result.
The word "way" here is the Hebrew word "derek" which refers to a way, a path, a road - and is used often to speak of a way of walking or living. That is why when we see this word we should think of a lifestyle that one has due to the daily choices they make. The way or lifestyle of which we speak is that of the Lord. This word is Jehovah - which is the covenant name of God. So often in Scripture God will speak with His chosen people and lay out a covenant promise. These are usually worded as "if-then" statements. If you will follow the Lord, then He will bless you. What God seeks to do when He says these things is not set up a works mentality in our relationship with Him. What He is seeking to do is to encourage us to understand that making choices consistent with His Word and way will bring great blessing to our lives.
We are told here that this way of Jehovah - is a stronghold to the upright. The word for stronghold is the Hebrew word "maoz." It speaks of a fortress. That fortress is considered a shelter, a refuge, and a place of great safety. It is one that often worked in two ways. It provided natural defense points - but also was situated in such a way that one could easily see the enemy approaching. This gave those in the stronghold protection - and it gave them time to prepare for the coming enemy onslaught. Scripture indicates that God is that fortress - as well as our strength and defense (Psalm 27:1
). As we walk with Him in His way - we will find a natural defense against sin - as well as warnings about the enemy and how he will seek to tempt us and get us to rebel against God. As we learn that "way" our lives will be changed by God's Word and His power. We will be delivered from sin - and will better know how to escape the lies of the devil daily.
But the same "way of the Lord" that is a stronghold to the upright - is ruin to those who choose to rebel against God. The word "iniquity" is very important for us to understand if we are to grasp the protection of God afforded to us by walking in His way. The word is from the Hebrew word "awen" and it means, "nothingness, mischief, emptiness, and vanity." The word is used to signify those who pursue meaningless things. They do not walk in God's Word or in God's way. They choose instead ungodliness - which leads them to chase after falsehood. God told us His Word is truth. That protects us - but it also speaks ruin for those who decide they prefer deceit and the lies of this world and of the devil. Another way "awen" is used is to signify an idol - which tells us clearly that those who run after iniquity have made a god of their own. They are worshipping an idol they have created - and prefer to have their idol confirm "their own" truth - as opposed to living by the truth of God - His Word. This is the ruin of the ungodly. They will receive no protection from God's way. Instead they will run headlong into God's wrath and judgment for their disobedience and deceitful choices.
Two ways are put before us in today's proverb. There is the way of making your own god and deciding your own truth. Such a way is foolish because it only amplifies the rebellion that is in the human heart due to the Fall of man. That way will ruin those who follow it. The other way is to choose a truth outside of ourselves. It is to realize the truth is not in us - it is in God. Therefore we choose to turn to Him. We choose to turn to the way He has given us His truth - the Word of God. We also choose daily to walk by His truth (the truth) knowing that by doing so we will have a refuge, a protection, indeed a stronghold to keep us from evil - and to keep us FOR fellowship with our loving, gracious God.
So they will be life to your soul and adornment to your neck. Proverbs 3:22
There is a two-fold set of rewards that God promises for those who gather to themselves sound wisdom and discretion for their lives. The first is what we’ve dealt with for the past three days. It is having God’s life in our souls. We’ve looked at how this works in the threefold way that our souls function – in our mind, will, and emotions.
The next picture painted for us is that of something adorning our necks. There were several things that were hung about people's necks that served as adornment. One was a medal that was given because of a victory at the games. This medal signified victory and the honor given to the victor in that moment. When we walk with God instructing and leading us, we will see victory over several things. We will see victory when we say no to this present world and the moral paths that it would have us walk. We will see victory over the devil and the lies and flaming darts that he shoots at us to get us off track. We will also see victory over our own sinful flesh and the ways that it wants to have its own way.
Another way we see an ornament put around someone’s neck is in Daniel when Belshazzar puts one around Daniel’s neck to signify that he is the third ruler in the kingdom. What this adornment meant was that Daniel had authority. Sound wisdom and discretion will grant us authority in our lives. There is something about walking in God’s ways that brings authority to what we say and what we do for Him. It is one thing to give our opinion on a matter, and quite another when we share God’s Word with all the authority of God Himself in what we offer to others.
The last way that I will describe this “adornment” to our neck is in the way most of us see it almost every day. It is when we see adornment on women to create beauty. I have a wife and four daughters who wear necklaces that truly enhance their beauty. I am amazed at how a little dangly piece of metal with something on the end of it can match an outfit they are wearing – and even add to it. That is what God’s wisdom does to our lives. It helps bring the beauty of the Lord to our countenance, to our attitudes, and to our words. There is such a beauty that He grants us when we choose to speak His Words in the situations that we face. Proverbs says that these words can be like apples of gold in settings of silver. They are truly beautiful – and can bring such comfort, encouragement, and blessing to those who hear them.
May God bless us continually with these wonderful ways that he adorns our necks as we speak with sound wisdom and discretion. May He grant wonderful authority, victory, and beauty to our lives daily. Embrace wisdom from Him and you will have these things.
So they will be life to your soul And adornment to your neck. Proverbs 3:22
If this is not enough to bless us for a lifetime - we also see that the life of God is being poured not just into our minds and wills - but also our emotions. This is a twofold blessing to us. First, we are protected from having our emotions lead us. Too often we find that we are far more emotionally driven than Scripture and Holy Spirit led. We feel a certain way emotionally and we allow that "feeling" to be what leads us. This can be dangerous because I can speak personally of how often I just didn't "feel" like being a Christian in my attitude or actions. This did not come to me in that particular package, because I think it would be far easier to reject. It came to me in a variety of packages. I just don't feel like getting up and having my quiet time. I just don't feel like reading the Bible right now. I just don't feel like witnessing to that person. Then there are the feelings of anger, resentment, bitterness, and a host of other negative emotions that come in dealing with people. One area I don't want to forget in sharing these things is times when desires rise up within me calling for fulfillment. At times those desires run contrary to Scripture, yet if I walk only in my emotional state, I will find myself following those emotions into something that is sin. But there is another way. That way is learning to examine emotions with the Word - and to reject emoitons that will lead to sin and to choices that I will regret later.
When we speak of emotions there is a picture that is very instructive. That picture is the one where we see the difference between being driven by emotion versus being led by the Spirit of God. When sheep are being driven - the one driving them is the butcher. He is driving them to the slaughter house - and ultimately to their death. The one who leads the sheep is the shepherd. When we are driven by our emotions - the world, the flesh, or the devil is most likely in control. They want to drive us through moment by moment feelings that we have rather than by the life of God, which would instruct us in what is right. The difference here is that one will drive us by whatever feeling is dominant in the moment, while the other will help us to discern between actions that are good or bad. We will discern that even though we may have positive emotions immediately by doing something - the long term effects will be much worse. In the same way we may be led by God to choose something that may not bring immediate gratification, yet in the long run will bring great blessing into our lives. Without the Spirit of God using the Word of God to lead us in the way of the life of God, we may make many foolish choices simply because we were emotionally driven at the moment to make them.
There is also a wonderful way that God grants us emotions as well. As we learn to embrace the work of God in our emotions we will have times when we can release ourselves to wonderful emotions as well. Jesus experienced great joy as well as weeping and sorrow in the time He was on the earth. His was a wonderful example of how God works in us, even using our emotions as He does that work within us. Worship is a place where this can happen - having strong emotions toward God as we sing to Him and praise Him. Obedience can yield incredible emotion as we do the will of God and are rewarded for it with a sense that things are good. God may move us to great emotion in prayer - where we have seen in Scripture that people often weep and grieve before God as they intercede before God and let their emotions out before Him. All these are beautiful ways that God works in our emotions. As we are taught by His Spirit of His ways and know Him - these things can be embraced and even help us as we learn to live our lives for His purposes.
How important it is to experience the life of God in our souls - and by that to experience Him in our emotions. We can choose to be driven by our emotional state of mind in what we do. To be driven in this way is a horrible way to live, for our feelings may swing from one extreme to another. To be led by the Spirit involves setting ourselves in a direction according to God's Word - and to submit our emotions to Him. He will help us to know over the course of our lives how to reject certain emotions that would lead us astray, and how to embrace others which will come as He guides us through life.
So they will be life to your soul And adornment to your neck. Proverbs 3:22
We are looking at how God gives us both instruction in theological truths about His ways and Himself and how these are used to make practical decisions in life. Today, we will look at how God gives life to our souls – and how this is manifest in God working in our will to choose His way instead of another way.
Consider how God, who gives us knowledge is not just placing information into our minds, but is seeking to influence our wills as well. As we make choices - willing ourselves forward in life - those choices are bathed in a wonderful sauce that has both sound theology as well as sound practice as ingredients. Every choice has behind it the Scriptures and the ways of God as its foundation. Rather than shooting from the proverbial hip, we find ourselves shooting from "the Script." The Script I speak of is the Word of God - the guide for our lives that has been given to us by inspiration of the Holy Spirit - and now which is being taught to us daily by the same wonderful Holy Spirit as well.
Consider for a moment a scenario where you are facing a decision. Imagine with me that in the midst of making that decision that a thought comes into your mind to act. As you ponder that course of action suddenly another voice enters the picture. The first thought may be appealing to your flesh - it may have all the benefits of the world attached to it - and it may even have the approval of someone you desire to impress. But as this second voice or thought comes into the picture - you are instructed that "willing" that way would be contrary to God's Word. Making that choice would in effect be choosing sin. Now you have a choice - a true choice between two things - God's way or another way. Which will you choose?
This is how God's Word and God's wisdom works in your will. God said to Israel through Moses that God was setting before them life and death. This simply meant that they could choose the ways of the world - the ways of Egypt and Canaan where they were headed - or - they could choose God's ways which had been clearly taught to them in the Law. Moses said that a way of blessing or cursing was right before their eyes. Remember that often the way of sin is pleasant at first. It might taste good, feel good, look good - but later it is NOT GOOD! God's ways may involve not feeling so great at first - it even may involve saying, "No" to a desire that is strong within you. But God's work in your will is to fortify you with a knowledge of Him and His ways that will enable you to say, "No" to sin and "Yes" to righteousness. You will find life and power to make the proper choice. But, one thing to remember is that in the end - even though knowledge is there, even though a direction is made clear, and even though power is offered to complete the deal - you still must choose!
It is a wonderful thing to see that God is wanting to work in your will. His sound wisdom and practical application will come to you as the Holy Spirit teaches you. He will come to offer instruction to you - and that instruction will inveritably involve a choice. You must choose His way - and until you do the fullness of that power will not be released. But know this - in doing this God has freed you to make a choice - and to be blessed as you choose His way. You are not in bondage to sin or self in these moments. You will choose - and He is working to help you choose sound wisdom to make that choice - and practical instruction to know how to carry it out. What a wonderful thing to experience God in this way! What a wonderful opportunity to do what is good and right. In those moments dear saints let me give you a biblical admonition - just do it!
So they will be life to your soul And adornment to your neck. Proverbs 3:22
Solomon has told us that there are two things we must not let out of our sight. The previous verse tells us that these things are a lofty thinking about God given to us by His Word and His Spirit, as well as a way to take God's wisdom and flesh it our in wonderfully practical ways of living each and every moment we are alive. Now Solomon then tells us that such a way of thinking and choosing will lead to life in our souls and adornment to our neck. The two pictures given to us here are beautiful to see.
The first speaks of God's life being poured into our very souls. Since the soul refers to the mind, will, and emotions, we see a beautiful work going on in the immaterial part of our being due to this wisdom and practical thinking. This wonderful work of God is that our mind is being educated by both sound theology and practical out workings of Who God is in our daily decisions. Thus our thinking is guided not by the world system, but by the Holy Spirit as He teaches us God's Word and ways.
How does this work? It works as we choose the discipline of reading God's Word daily. As we read, we submit ourselves to the Holy Spirit Who then teaches us what is in the Word. As verse 21 has said, we are being instructed by the Holy Spirit in two ways. First we are being taught the deep, wonderful theological truths of Who God is. We are being founded upon sound wisdom from God. That begins with knowing Who He is and how He, as the penultimate, is sovereign over all things in our lives. We learn what Moses requested while on the journey of the Exodus with Israel. He asked, "Let me know Your ways that I may know You." (Exodus 33:13
) This request gives us so much insight into how God gives us life in our souls - here speaking of the how He does this in our minds. As we read God's Word - the Holy Spirit helps us to know the ways of God - what He likes, what He dislikes, what He wants, what He commands - and a hundred different things like this. As we know His ways we will find ourselves also beginning to know Him too. As this knowledge about God becomes a knowing of God - our minds will be filled with the right information about this world and how to live in it. The knowledge we receive will not be given to us by the fallen society that has rejected God, but by the God who created it and wants it used for His glory.
Is your mind being blessed and filled with the Word of God? Is God showing you daily the way to walk - and through that knowledge also steering you into His will? Are you seeing your mind being changed as you learn of His ways - and ultimately learning Who He is and What He deisres? This is the way of life - and it is how wisdom enters into our thinking so as to bless our entire lives. Turn to Him today - turn to His Word and learn from it - learn from Him. This is the way of blessing - and the way that will lead you to life in your minds.
My son, let them not vanish from your sight; Keep sound wisdom and discretion, Proverbs 3:21
Two things are mentioned to us in this proverb - and we are told to always keep these things in sight as we walk through life. The two things mentioned here are sound wisdom and discretion. Because these are such important things, it would be very wise for us to define both of them.
Sound wisdom is the Hebrew word, "tushiyah" and it means, the essence or substance of a thing. The place where we receive such foundational level wisdom is from God Himself. He is the ultimate essence of substance of all things. To know this and to think and reason from this is sound wisdom. When we embrace this world view of life - we embrace seeing all things from His perspective - and reason all things from the counsel of His Word. Here, dear saints is the very sustance and essence of wisdom. All other things are infinitely less than this and they are infinitely inferior to the wisdom and direction that God brings us as we turn to Him and listen to Him. We do this by studying His Word and doing so under the tutelage of the Holy Spirit. Do not let God's Word and the instruction of His Spirit depart from your sight as you walk in this world. This is a difficult thing because there are so many different things clamoring for our attention in this world. To listen to them and to heed them is NOT wisdom - and will lead to our lives being lived for that which is not the substance and essence of why we are alive. We will live a small life - and one that will not last. Staying focused on God and His Word is the way to live a life of meaning and purpose.
The second word used here is discretion. This is the Hebrew word, "umezimmah" and it means, "to resolve to act according to the directions of God's wisdom. What is fascinating here is that discretion is setting our lives practically on the foundation of God's wisdom and Word. It speaks of taking the lofty purposes and intentions of God that come from the sound wisdom gained in His Word - and then using those to make every day decisions and plans which help us to live our lives according to His will. We must be able to take the information we gain in understanding God and His ways - and boil it down to practical application in our lives. If we do not do this - then all we have are lofty thinking and high principles in our heads with no action upon them in our lifestyles. Though it is nice to have lofty thinking - it is useless if it is not put to practice in choices every day.
Solomon is telling us that God wants both lofty and deep thinking on Who He is and what He desires in our lives - as well as very practical ways of taking that knowledge and making it a part of our choices every day. This is truly the whole picture of Godly, wise living. It does not shun the foundational thinking that makes a worldview - yet it also does not make a wise and godly lifestyle a matter of mental exertion only. God has set the two things that will truly bless our lives here in front of our faces. We have therefore a choice - to embrace both the instruction in deep, wonderful theological thinking about life - as well as the very practical activities that will make that knowledge a part of how we live every day.
He who keeps the commandment keeps his soul, But
he who is careless of conduct will die. Proverbs 19:16
God's commandments are excellent keepers of our souls. God did not give us His commandments to make our lives miserable - or to keep us from ever having fun - as some would accuse. His commandments are boundaries that protect us from entering into areas where we would be harmed. He does not command us to honor and obey our parents because He desires for us to be miserable as children - not getting our own way and being dominated by an older generation forever. He does this so that children, who do not have good sense and whose sin nature would run rampant, would be protected from themselves. He does so because they must be guided and helped to know the right from the wrong in their lives. The Lord tells us to steer clear from adultery because God knows the damage and the destruction and misery caused by unfaithful partners in marriage. He knows that sexual immorality will lead to disease and to the destruction of our bodies. Thus the one who keeps the commandment indeed keeps his own soul.
God's commandments go even deeper than our physical beings. The one who keeps the commandment keeps his soul. The word for soul here is the Hebrew word "nephesh" which means our breath. This speaks of our inner being with its thoughts and emotions. This came to mean our whole person - both body and spirit. It spoke of the whole creature of man - both his outer health and his inner. When we keep the commandment - watching closely to obey and even kep the "spirit of the commandments," we are protected inside as well as out. Our mental health will be blessed by holding fast to God's commands and living by His ways. God blesses our thinking, our reasoning, our understanding, our discernment, our decision-making processes . . . He blesses so much when we learn to walk in obedience to His commands. But again I want to stress we obey the command - and we come to grasp the heart and love that is behind them.
The second part of the Proverb today reminds us that the one who is "careless of his conduct" will die. The word careless is "bazah" which means to hold in contempt or to despise. The reason one acts this way is because they have a basic disdain for something. They disrespect the idea of a code of conduct. They despise the idea that God would tell them how to live. Here is the sin nature exposed in all its ugliness. Mankind rebels against any master - and that is especially true of God as our Lord. Fallen man trumpets his own freedom of will to do as he pleases - yet is so blind not to see that his will is in bondage to his own sinful desires and the spirit of this world. He is careless of God's commands - and of his own ways. He walks where he wants - being led about by his own lusts and by the "ruler of this world" who has rebelled against God as well. He does not grasp that this rebellion - this contempt of God - this disrespect for His Word is a hellish thing.
The one who lays hold of such a lifestyle will perish. He will die in two ways. First he will die physically - the wages of sin is death. When God told Adam and Eve that in the day that they ate of the fruit they would surely die - He was not lying to them. This was no mere ploy of God to keep them away from something good. It was a loving warning that death lay in that decision to turn against Him and rebel. But there is a death that comes spiritually as well. The first pair knew sweet fellowship with God. They could actually walk with the Lord in the cool of the day in the garden. They could talk with Him, love Him, fellowship with Him in ways that we will only know in eternity. All that was gone after they despised their conduct - or at least the one commandment given to them. They died spiritually and passed down to all future generations a dead spirit at birth. They were dead in their transgressions and sins - and so was every child descended from them. In the first Adam we all died.
Oh such a warning is given to us by this proverb. How we should watch our ways - and watch God's commandments as our way. The one who does so watches not just over his physical existance in this world. He watches over the life that God gives him - both physically, but so much more importantly - spiritually. Watch dear saints - watch your life and keep it according to God's Word. See the positive call to life in every one of God's commandments. For though they are given with a thou shalt not - there is within every one of them a call to life and life abundantly. They is within them a freedom to walk in fellowship with God. Enjoy it and walk in it!
And you neglected all my counsel And did not want my reproof; Proverbs 1:25
When God's Word comes to us offering us wisdom, God comes to us offering a judgment or decision on a matter. He also comes to us through the Word offering reproof. The problem is that in our current religious climate these two things are frowned upon and seen as being negative.
God's Word, and the offer of enlightenment by the Holy Spirit, comes to us as counsel. This is the Hebrew word, "esah" and it means counsel that offers to us God's judgment on a matter. It speaks of a decision that God has made in His Word that let us know absolute truth on a matter. This is soundly rejected by the spirit of our age - seeing that we wince at the thought that anyone, including God, would assert that His decisions on any matter are final. The post-modern mindset leaves all absolute truth with the individual - thus making anyone else's pronouncements upon us invalid unless we accept them that way. But the problem here is that God Himself is truth - and whenever He speaks on a matter - that is the absolute truth of the matter that will stand regardless of the latest poll or public outcry.
Here is where we find some very serious problems develop with the worldview of Scripture - and honestly - ANY other worldview that there is. God states that He speaks the truth - not that we can get truth from what He says - but what He says is absolute truth. Anything that disagrees with what He says on a matter . . . is wrong. When the world hears this - they cut loose from God's Word and His judgments on matters. Their worldview is wholly incompatible with a God Who claims to speak and have absolute truth. The god of this world is the individual mindset - and the personal views that we hold. Anyone who thinks that they can speak absolute truth to anyone - is seen as a extremist. If that is the case - then God is the ultimate extremist - but - He is also right all the time.
The world cuts loose from God. They listen to the counsel of His judgments and decisions and consider such things bondage. In Psalm 2
they refer to life under God's authority as being in bondage. The kings and rulers of this world take counsel against God - and against Jesus Christ saying, "Let us tear their fetters apart and cast away their cords from us." (Psalm 2:2-3
) They hate a God who is sovereign and omniscient. They consider His judgments as chains and fetters upon their freedom (while actually only being enslaved to their own lusts). They do not want God's reproof. They consider His arguments specious - wrong - and very narrow minded. They do not want His correction - or any kind of argument that their choices or lifestyles are errant.
The reason we do not want negative messages - like ones that correct us and counsel us according to absolute truth - is because the only absolute authority we want in our lives is our own. We want to call the shots in our lives. It is the fact of our fallen condition. We are full of pride - and have the arrogance to say to God that He has no right to tell us what to do. When He speaks His wisdom - calling us to it - calling us to turn to the reproof that it offers to us - mankind short-circuits. They want no authority but their own - and will continue to reject Him - His counsel - His judgments - and His reproof. But as we will see in future posts - this will only take us in a parth of destruction and misery. The wise man first turns from his own pride and arrogance - and listens closely to God's judgments, decisions, and wise counsel because of them. He knows that reproofs for discipline are not bad - they are the way of life.