An unjust man is abominable to the righteous, And he who is upright in the way is abominable to the wicked. Proverbs 29:27
The godly and the ungodly take very divergent paths. This is fairly elementary to anyone to see. But what we often do not see is that not only are these paths different - they are also disgusting to each other. The word that is used in today's proverb to describe the view that they have of each other is "abominable." The word used here is the Hebrew word "ebah" which means anything that is offensive or what is an abomination to someone else. In Scripture God uses this word to describe those who depart from His Law. Often the word is used for more grevious sins - like idolatry, child sacrifice, and homosexual behavior. What God is saying to us is that there is a radical and serious difference between those who desire to live godly and those who do not. Let's look at little further into this as we seek to understand God's wisdom for us today.
The "unjust" man ("awel" in the Hebrew) is one who deviates from God's way. This kind of behavior and choice is usually set in contrast to words like righteous, upright, and justice. There is a basic injustice in the one who deviates from God's way - and God, being just, will have to bring judgment and punishment to the one who does so. This is why the unjust man is abominable to the righteous. The godly man sees that the unjust man is unjust first and foremost to God Himself - then from that infinite injustice flows all other lesser injustices to others. Since we know that the righteous man is not so because of his own works but due to God's grace, the righteous man knows the cost of this ungodly behavior. That cost is God's Son, crucified on the cross (to the Old Testament saint it was the promise of this in the sacrifices of the Law). To embrace such behavior is to treat God's gift - the sacrifice made to forgive us and remove us from under God's wrath - as worthless and empty. This is an abomination to the righteous man.
The same is true of the ungodly man toward the upright. What the ungodly see is a man who is "upright in the way." This phrase communicates the path of the godly man. What the ungodly sees is a guy who is seeking to walk according to a set of rules that are different than his. He is seeking to be upright - which means to do what is good and what is right. That alone is offensive to the ungodly man. His worldview involves him deciding what is right and good. It even involves him changing his views to match his lifestyle if he desires. To have what he considers an arbitrary set of morals set by God - which is then viewed as ultimate truth is untenable to him. That would mean his own views of right and wrong are in error if they are different than those God has given. His value system cannot tolerate this - becasue his value system is that of the book of Judges. He does whatever is "right in his own eyes." He is a law unto himself. He does not judge anyone else (unless they judge him or get in the way of him doing what he wants to do) and he expects the same from everyone else (of course always giving way to what he wants if there is any contradiction). Thus the "way" or lifestyle of this guy who is so arrogant as to call his way "right" is an abomination to him. It offends him to the core of his being!
Paul told young Timothy the following in his second letter to him, "Now you followed my teaching, conduct, purpose, faith, patience, love, perseverance, persecutions, and sufferings, such as happened to me at Antioch, at Iconium and at Lystra; what persecutions I endured, and out of them all the Lord rescued me! Indeed, all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted." (2 Timothy 3:11-13) Often we focus only on the last of these three verses - that all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted. This was only a conclusion for what Paul had already said in verses 11-12. In those verses he spoke of his teaching, conduct, purpose, and faith. Paul was persecuted becasue he chose to live in "the upright way." That way consisted of two things - both of which are vital to understanding Christianity.
First is the 'way of salvation.' The upright way will never be lived out by effort and striving. Righteousness and upright living is attained by grace, not by our works. God MAKES us upright by an act of His mercy and grace. That comes through the gospel - and only through the gospel. The world finds this incredibly offensive and very narrow minded. But that is the truth. That is how God has addressed sin - and that is, according to Jesus Hismelf, the only way, truth, and life - the only way to the Father. The second truth of the upright way is that we live and walk it out in a paradox - we work as God works within us. We are called to obedience - and we seek God's power by which we can then walk in that obeience. We are to make choices - strong and bold choices - even as it is God who works in us to will and to do according to His good pleasure. Living a godly life involves a glorious tension in our lives. We are to do it - and He is to do it within us. We cannot think we do it on our own - and we cannot think that He will do it for us without our cooperation.
The wicked find this whole scenario ridiculous and an abomination. To them it is ridiculous because there is no God - or if there is, their god agrees with them. They have a god of their own making - who looks and acts just like they do. Any other God is unacceptable. The word "wicked" here is telling. The word is "rasa" and it means to be guilty - a wrong-doer, criminal, or a transgressor. It means someone who is wrong! The reason the wicked hate the upright, and find their way abominable is because as they watch them - they know they are wrong. They do not want anyone telling them they are wrong. Their reaction to this is to fume within and rage about how judgmental the Christian is - even if the Christian is not saying anything to them. Their very lifestyle is a rebuke to them. If the Christian speaks out - then they explode - because their guilt rages within them.
There will always be a radical distinction between the righteous and the wicked. There will also be a hostility to the way each other chooses to live. That is the wisdom that God is seeking to impart to us through today's proverb. Therefore the constant effort among Christians to make the gospel unoffensive is silliness. We can be gracious and kind in how we communicate the gospel - but to make it unoffensive to the wicked is impossible. There will always be the offense of the cross of Christ. There will always be the offense of God asserting that He is God and He is absolutely right on moral matters (and all others he touches upon as well). Thus the constant effort to make Christianity unoffensive in its essence is a fool's pursuit. It would be wise for us to abandon it and return to living it simply before the lost, loving them from the heart, and doing all that we can to share the message of the gospel with them. We do so not becasue we think we are superior. Perish that thought. We do it because we've received grace and desire for them to receive it as well. We want them to be saved - made rightoeus by grace - and abandon their abominable way to embrace a life lived by the grace of God unto the glory of God.
The king's heart is like channels of water in the hand of the Lord; He turns it wherever He wishes. Proverbs 21:1
Who controls world history? That is a question that makes some people squrim in their seats. The reason it does is because it seems easier to say that history is at times in Satan's hands - or at least it is in no one's hands than it does to say that God is sovereign over all history. If God is sovereign over all history - then the questions about evil and about suffering become far more complicated to us. God is sovereign over all human history - and at all times the hearts of all kings and rulers of this world are like channels of water in his hands. This proverb is true - He turns the hearts of these kings wherever He wishes. If then this is true, what are we to do with the Hitlers and others like him in this world - and in the course of history?
What do we do with the Pharaoh's who oppressed and enslaved Israel for hundreds of years? What do we do with the kings who conquered Israel and Judah - and leveled the temple to the ground? If you have a God Who functions according to the health, wealth, and prosperity gospel, these things become very difficult to deal with in terms of the sovereignty of God. God is more than just a cosmic sugar daddy who has come to give us everything we want if we just claim it. He is a God Who is working toward His own purposes and plans. He is a God who is concerned with the manifestation of His grace - yet Who does it while maintaining justice and righteousness. These are deep issues that find their only final answer in the end when we gaze at God's beauty, glory, wisdom, and majesty for all eternity. Yet - there are whispers of His workings for us in Scripture while we live here on earth.
The way God moves kings is always in accordance with His eternal purpose in Christ Jesus. It always has been and it always will be. There are times when God moves the hearts of kings to deliver His people - much like He did with Esther and Mordecai. These are glorious times when we see God protecting His covenant people and showing that He is the One with the last word. There are other times when the king acts - and even in the king's wrath God delivers - as with Daniel and his three friends, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego. In situations like these God does not move the king's heart until after that king has seen God's power and might. But there are other cases like that of Nebuchadnezzar destroying and carrying away God's people. These are times when a king is used for the purpose of disciplining and correcting God's people. Kings are used for a myriad of purposes by God for His ultimate plan and purpose. Even the ultimate worldly king, the antichrist, will serve God's ultimate purposes of bringing judgment on the earth and saving His covenant people, Israel.
Kings serve God's purposes and plans - even when they themselves do not know it. They serve God even though they may even deny His existance and rebel against Him. We must remember that even the New Testament tells us in Romans 13 that there is no authority except from God. Paul goes on to remind us that all authorities are established by God. Our problems come when we think that these authorities are here for our blessing alone - misonstruing Paul's admonition to Timothy which says, "First of all, then, I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men, for kings and all who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity." (1 Timothy 2:1-2) Some mistakenly think this admonition is a carte blanche to us to always have kings and rulers who bless us. Yet Paul's own life was taken by an ungodly ruler when he died. Persecution came upon the church again and again in the early days of its existance. We are to pray for such things - and ask God to move the king's heart. But ultimately God's plans and purposes will prevail. Remember here we are told He moves the king's heart - wherever HE wants it to go. That will mean for both blessing and for discipline - for good and for bad - for times of peace and also times of conflict and yes, even persecution and great difficulty.
The one constant for us is not that everything goes well all the time. This is a recipe for spiritual disaster and a severely stunted spiritual growth rate. Our one constant is that God is working all things after the counsel of His will - His good purposes - and His glory. This is a constant becasue we know that He is good and in Him is no darkness, no sin, no evil, and no wrong. Therefore regardless of our current situation - and in light of today's proverb - regardless of our current leader here on earth - God is still sovereign. He is in control and all things are working toward His ultimate end of summing all things up in Christ Jesus. He WILL work whatever we think is good, bad, or anywhere in between toward His ultimate purpose for us as well. That purpose is not for us to be rich or live in perfect health - and to never have problems. His ultimate purpose for us? It is that we are conformed to the image of His Son. It is that our character and lifestyle look more and more like that of Jesus every day we live! To that end He will move kings and rulers, despots and even maniacal dictators to work with Him so that we, and all other believers in all ages and all places, will be to the praise of the glory of His grace!
In a multitude of people is a king's glory, But in the dearth of people is a prince's ruin. Proverbs 14:28
A king is not a king unless he has a kingdom over which to rule. A kingdom will not exist where the people are not fruitful and multiply. Therefore it is wise for kings to encourage their people to grow in number. Today's proverb handles this situation - but the implications of this proverb are fascinating, especially when applied to what is happening in both the United States and Europe.
The simple meaning of this proverb is obvious - a king needs people to have his kingdom flourish. When there is a multitude of people under his rule - he is blessed, but when there is a declining population within the kingdom - it points to the ruin of his son. The son will have a far smaller kingdom over which to rule - or possibly none at all.
As I stated at the beginning of this post, this has amazing ramifications for both our nation and the nations of Europe. Both places have declining populations when it comes to the original population of the countries. As a result of this both of these regions are trying their best to maintain population growth by immigration. The problem is that as the numbers of immigrants grow, they are having more and more influence in the policies and direction of the nation. Give this direction a few more years - and soon Europe will be different - completely different than their forefathers. The United States is not that far from this development either. Why is this happening to these once great nations?
For a king to continue to rule over his own people, he has to encourge his own people to multiply in their families. If they do not, the indigenous people of the land will begin to dwindle in numbers. The result of this will be that a different group of people will begin to rise up and rule the land. All this happens because the people do not have children. Or, in our case, they only want 2.4 children or less. That is what has happened in our nation. We have become a people who do not believe that having multiple children is a blessing. This all began with people espousing a worldview that did not value children. We became a people so interested in our own comforot and our own pleasure that we decidd that children were no longer a blessing of the Lord. We came to the conclusion that the man whose quiver if full of children is not blessed at all. In fact, we decided children were a burden - an unnecessary burden - and within a couple of generations - an unwanted burden.
According to the humanistic worldview - this was a wonderful development. We were supposedly choking the world to death with our overpopulation - our poluting - and our urban sprawl. So when people bought this unbiblical view, they stopped having childen, or they did what was necessary to reduce the number of children they have. Everything seemed wonderful and the planet would be saved. But over time, the dearth of children began to weigh heavy on our society. Now we face problems as our system is imploding. It is doing so because we no longer have far more families coming up, because we do not like or enjoy the thought of having multiple children. Programs like Social Security require a larger generation of younger people than in the older generation. Even our national character - is shifting from being European and western to being either Mexican or Islamic.
A wise set of leaders would have had a biblical worldview. That worldview remembers that God said to be fruitful and multiply. The whole concept of overpopulation is foreign to God. He promises to supply our needs if we will live for His glory and obey His Word. But since those things have been jettisoned just as we have done with His view of children and family - we are facing the "dearth of a people."
An interesting thing about this passage is that it says that the prince is ruined by this. The king is to rule not just with an eye toward himself - but toward his sons - and his grandsons. That is a fascinating thing to see here. It is fascinating because one of the curses of our current political fabric is that we only see the immediate future as important. Most of our elected officials actually only see the next election cycle as important - therefore they plan only to keep people fat and happy til past the next election. All the while as we are doing this - the princes of our future (our children) are having their future ruined by the selfishness of the current generation.
Wisdom means that rulers think ahead - they think long-term - and honestly, they should think biblically. To do otherwise is to think in a way that God will not bless. This, more than the economy or any other factor, is what will bring about the blessing or the dearth of our society and its people. We should always remember the verse, "Blessed are the people who are so situated. Blessed is the nation who's God is the Lord."
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 righteous will never be shaken, But the wicked will not dwell in the land. Proverbs 10:30
My brother was a missionary to the Philippines where he experienced his first earthquake, which came in unison with the eruption of Mount Pinatubo. We grew up outside Chicago, so earthquakes were something we knew nothing about. Wind we knew, snow we really knew - but earthquakes were foreign to us. My brother's explanation was amazing to me. When the earthquake hit, he thought the house was collapsing, and that was what was causing the shaking. But when he ran outside, the ground there was shaking and rolling too. For him and his family, this was a very disturbing thing. They took for granted that the ground was firm. Now it was shaking, and that was very disconcerting to them. What they thought was stable, was being shaken. This describes the hearts of many who are relying on things that can be shaken - as if they could not be shaken. When the shaking starts, everything that they thought they could rely on became "shake-able." But this is not the only thing shaken in these circumstances. When it seems that everything can be shaken, your confidence in anything and everything is shaken as well. Is there anything in this world that cannot be shaken? That is what today's proverb is going to address.
What we are told as wisdom is that the righteous will never be shaken. Now, this promise does not speak of being exempt from earthquakes or other natural occurances where the earth around us is shaken. What it does address is an even more wonderful promise - and that is an inner spiritual stability that cannot be shaken by anything - either earthly or unearthly.
Note that the group who will not be shaken is the righteous. These are those who stand before God and are viewed as righteous in His sight. That cannot happen biblically except by faith. There is no man who can ever stand before God as righteous on the basis of his own works. Our works reveal us not as righteous, but as sinful and fallen. If we are righteous, it is by faith in what God has done for us. This He did through Jesus Christ at the cross. But when we put our faith in Jesus Christ - God declares us righteous. These are the ones who cannot be shaken. This is something we need to grasp - spiritually.
The Bible presents the physical world as shadows - with the reality being the spiritual. Therefore, the ultimate shaking will be when we face our ultimate spiritual test - the judgment at the end of the age. It is in this moment that many will learn that althought they thought they were unshakable in life - in death they will truly be shaken. The word for shaken in Proverbs 10:30
is the word "mot" which means to be removed or to fall. It was used often in the Old Testament to refer to the shaking and removing of things previously thought to be unshakable. What shook them was the fierce judgments of Almighty God. This shaking is promised for the wicked and the ungodly. This is the term that is used when it is said that God will remove the mountains - and also of Him removing the entire earth. Indeed there will be a shaking of eternal proportions that will come to the earth. But after the earth is destroyed by fire, there is an even more terrifying event to come. All mankind will stand before the judgment bar of God Himself. This is the ultimate accounting - and the sole basis upon which our entire eternity will be based. Oh what a shaking will come for all philosophies, all worldviews, and all religious beliefs. They will be tested - and all but a faith in Jesus Christ will be found wanting.
The righteous do not have to fear in that day - for the righteousness given to them by God on the basis of faith will stand. It will not be shaken for it rests on the person of Jesus Christ as well as His death, burial, and resurrection. It was the blood of Jesus that paid the debt of sin and paved the way for God to make us righteous by faith. But for every other religious or non-religious view - this will be a day of horror. It will be a day to be terrified as they learn that their self-made, man-made, or demonically-inspired religious and philosophical views will not remain. We are promised that the wicked will not dwell in the land. They will not stand, nor will they know an eternity in God's presence. They will be judged and eventually cast into the lake of fire. This will be their ignoble end - for they held an ignoble faith. Their beliefs did not honor God or give Him thanks. Their view saw god as something or someone they could manage by their own thoughts and philosophical positions. Thus the land God is preparing for us will not be where they will dwell. They will dwell in the outer darkness where there will be weeping and knashing of teeth. They will dwell in a place where the smoke of their torment will go up forever and ever.
Let me the thoughts for today with a quote from the book of Hebrews. There we read of this day of shaking with the following description. "See to it that you do not refuse Him who is speaking. For if those did not escape when they refused him who warned them
on earth, much less will
who turn away from Him who warns
from heaven. And His voice shook the earth then, but now He has promised, saying, 'YET ONCE MORE I WILL SHAKE NOT ONLY THE EARTH, BUT ALSO THE HEAVEN.' This expression,
"Yet once more," denotes the removing of those things which can be shaken, as of created things, so that those things which cannot be shaken may remain. Therefore, since we receive a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us show gratitude, by which we may offer to God an acceptable service with reverence and awe; for our God is a consuming fire." (Hebrews 12:25-29
) There is a shaking coming and it will shake anything and everything which can be shaken. Heaven and earth will be shaken on that day. But there will be a kingdom on this day that cannot be shaken. The context of this shaking is the judgment of God. God warns of this day from heaven. He also works that anything created will be shaken, and even more than shaken, they will be destroyed. Therefore we are urged to prepare for a shaking that will also involve standing before God, Who in that day, will be a consuming fire. Are you ready for that day? Do you have something, beyond things in this life and this world, that will not be shaken when they all are shaken? Are you ready to stand before God as a consuming fire - and have what it will take to make it through the shaking and through the fire? There is only one thing that will stand in that day - it is what God has given to us through His Son, Jesus Christ. On that day only a righteousness gained by faith in Jesus will stand. May both you and me prepare for THAT DAY, so that when it comes - we will not be shaken.
Doing wickedness is like sport to a fool, and so is wisdom to a man of understanding. Proverbs 10:23
One of the things I find funny is that Christians try to convince people who are lost that they can still have fun and be a Christian. It is as if they think that people will come to Christ if we can convince them they still will have a blast once they come to repentance and faith. It reduces the problem of the human condition to what can provide the most fun while on earth. If that were the case, the biggest denomination in the world would be Six-Flagsists, Disneyists, and Xboxians. The truth is that for a man who is ungodly - doing wickedness is joy and laughter - and the same is true for the discerning man and his view of wisdom.
We are not that accustom to the word, "sport" as it is used here. The word comes from the Hebrew word "sehoq" which means laughter. But this is a laughter of derision and ridicule. It is a laughter used to make fun of someone or something. What we are speaking of here is how the wicked do their evil - and laugh and deride God and His law. They laugh at righteousness and joke about it. They make fun of those who have standards and whose desire is to do what is godly and righteous. Let me give a few examples of this.
When the abstinence movement came out, the wicked mocked it mercilessly. They mocked virgins - and decided that anyone who was still a virgin at 18 to 20 years of age must have something wrong with them. They mocked the idea of waiting for sex until marriage. They argued that a person should be able to test drive a car before buying it - referring to the consummation of marriage in crassest of terms, as if you were buying a car, not choosing a life-mate. They defended an immoral president in the 1990's by saying that everyone does what he did – and - they also lie about it when caught. They mocked the idea of a child needing a father and a mother when a TV character in the 1990's decided to get pregnant and have a baby without a father. They mock everything that is holy - and deride anyone who stands in the way of their immoral agenda for our nation and especially its children.
We need to remind ourselves that the people who do these things are fools. They have no understanding. They are ignorant and oblivious to a holy God and His judgments. They may mock the morals that we have - but when society continues to fall apart - and when the statistics come in as to why it is falling apart - their actions will be seen those of fools with no understandings against the backdrop of failure and disfunction that they engender.
The man of understanding takes an equal delight and joy in wisdom. As the fool celebrates wickedness and mocks holiness - so the man who has discernment delights in God's wisdom. The man of understanding is the man who has discernment. The idea here is of a man who looks at something and determines its end and consequences. Seeing this, he turns away from wickedness and makes his decisions on the basis of God's wisdom. His discernment comes from the Scriptures. This guides him into wise decisions. It also tells him to shun and even mock those decisions that embrace what God has judged on the cross - and will judge at the end of the age. This man allows discernment to turn him to the right and true way. He sees the reward - and delights in it.
As I close the thoughts on today's proverb, let me re-visit my first comments of today. Too many do try to make the gospel more palatable by saying that we can have as much fun as the wicked. This is based on a faulty understanding of the nature of man. The wicked delight in their wickedness - because they are still wicked. Christians delight in holiness because they have been born again. Having had their hearts changed by the gospel - they now delight in things that delight the heart of God. It is impossible for an unsaved man to truly delight in these things. His heart is captive to his sin. Until He is saved, he will not truly value righteousness.
This proverb ultimately is about salvation – not the lifestyle that is the most fun on earth. Paul said it best when he said that if we only have this life to hope in Christ - we are to be pitied most of all men. If Jesus is not Who He says He is - then we should eat, drink, and party because tomorrow we die. The reason we embrace Christ is not for a superior life here on earth - but because there IS a judgment coming. Without Christ that judgment WILL BE HORRIFIC! We embrace Christ because we have sinned and, without the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ to pay for our sin, we will be judged and sent to hell. All the rest happens WHEN we are saved. We enjoy different things because our heart is different. We enjoy righteousness because we are fundamentally different because of God's grace. The wicked will always delight in their sin - and the discerning will delight in godliness. The difference comes not in which is more fun - but rather in whether a man's heart has been redeemed and changed by God's grace. May we be among those discerning. May we be among those with understanding. May we be among those transformed by grace - and given a whole different outlook on what is fun - what is enjoyable - and mostly, on what is better in eternity.
The rich man's wealth is his fortress, The ruin of the poor is their poverty. The wages of the righteous is life, The income of the wicked, punishment. Proverbs 10:15-16
To rightly understand the first proverb here in verse 15, we must push on to read it with the proverb in verse 16. If we do not do this, we will think that the acquisition of money is the end of man's existance. Although God encourages us to prepare for the future and to work hard so that through His blessing we may leave an inheritance to our children's children, this does not mean that gaining wealth is to be our highest aim.
We first learn of the fact that money can provide a measure of protection. The rich man's wealth is his fortress. There is much that a rich man can do to protect himself from harm due to his wealth. He is protected from much in life due to this. A fortress is a place one stays during an attack - it was a place of safety. For the rich man - his wealth can prevent him from a quick ruin by difficult circumstances. One example for us to remember is the wisdom of setting aside money for problems that we know will come in the future. The man who acquires some wealth can set aside money for problems that ARE going to come. In our society, if you own a car or other mechanical item, you are assured that a breakdown of some sort is in your future. If you spend everything you have - you will not have anything set aside for this difficulty. The wise man acquires wealth for this very purpose. He puts money away for the repair and replacement of such items. Therefore when a difficult time comes, he has money for these things. The poor man often is ruined by such situations. He does not know what to do and often sees ruin come to his financial picture because of debt he obtains seeking to fix or replace things or he just has to do without, which could be a very problematic hardship. Wealth can be a protection for us.
The problem with this proverb is that one might think wealth is the ultimate protection. Therefore we must gain wealth however we can. Such thinking is ungodly - and will lead to ruin, if not now - then in eternity. Therefore we have a clarification in the next verse. We are told that the wages or income of the righteous is life - which the income of the wicked is punishment. If we are seeking righteousness - a life that pursues God and desires to do what God says is true and just - we will be blessed. We may not have a tremendous amount of money - but we will have what is necessary at the end of the age. We will have life! The wicked though, however rich they may become, have a serious problem. Their income will be punishment. Thus a man may be tremendously wealthy by all outward appearances - but he may be dirt poor in spirit. The rich farmer in the gospels had enough to tear down his old barns and build new ones to fill with even more earthly riches - but the very night his soul was required - he was found destitute.
Remember that wealth and riches are defined in a number of different ways in Scripture. They may be physical wealth - or they may be spiritual riches in Christ Jesus. It is wise to remember that to be physically wealthy according to James is to be put in a humble place by God. It is difficult for an earthly rich man to enter heaven - because he has a bad tendency to trust his riches. To be poor is also defined different ways. Whereas it may be a bad thing to be financially poor - it is a blessed state to know that we are poor in spirit. Realizing these things will help us better define true wealth and true poverty.
“Now therefore, O sons, listen to me, For blessed are they who keep my ways. “Heed instruction and be wise, And do not neglect it. Proverbs 8:32-33
After wisdom has spoken to us about all that God has done and how wisdom has not only watched creation, but God created manifesting that very wisdom in all that He made - now God makes an appeal that we walk by wisdom. Since we have compared God's wisdom to the thinking and mindset involved in evolutionary therory - we will once again compare the way this worldview and philosophy compares to that of God's wisdom as well in the conclusions we come to at the end of this chapter of Proverbs.
Wisdom offers an exhortation, through the father, to his sons. Just a quick hit here, dads. It matters what you believe about origins. It matters what you teach your sons - and it matters what philosophy they wind up seeing life through as they live their lives. If you have the wrong view of origins - you will wind up with a philosophy of life founded on false precepts. This in turn will lead you and your sons to make bad decisions in life. Wisdom says through the father that the ones who keep the ways of wisdom will be blessed. They will have a wise foundation which in turn will lead to a blessed way of life.
God tells us that this world is NOT an accident. It is His creation – and it functions according to laws that He has set in place. He then revealed Himself to His creation and gave them His Word. This revelation of Himself gives us the purpose for which we are to live – and very specific morals which we are to embrace. We are made for God’s glory – and His pleasure. Therefore we have a very strong purpose in life. We know that the answers are going to be found in God’s revelation of Himself in the Bible. We know that we are made for God’s glory – and that when we live for His glory our lives will be filled with meaning and purpose. That is why God can say to us that we need to listen to Wisdom – heed God’s instruction – and keep God’s ways. When we do – we will be blessed.
The other option is that of evolutionary theory. The enlightened ones in the scientific area who hold to this view get very offended when we press them on the ramifications of what this view means philosophically. They want to tout their superior education which has brought us such so-called scientific enlightenment on matters concerning the origin of the earth and space. The problem is that their pseudo-science makes for horrible philosophy and absolutely no reason to live. Let’s explore why this is so.
One’s origin matters – because it tells us much about what purpose there is for that person. Purposeful origin means a life filled with purpose. But an origin that is chalked up to pure accident and utterly random chances does not make for a pleasant ride when it comes to a philosophy of life. The reason Christianity has morals and purposes is because God, Who created us, gave them to us in His revelation of Himself (which also contains the revelation of our origin – which is Him). But what purpose is there for a being – or a world – that happened due to completely random chance? Actually, there is no meaning or purpose in such a situation. Philosophically – you wind up with Nilhism – if you are going to be philosophically honest. If you try to account for some moral code – or some purpose in that world – you are fudging. There are no morals in a purely Darwinian world. There is no purpose for a purely Darwinian world. You are left with no reason for existing – no reason for living – and no basis upon which to conclude that a moral code exists. You are left with the survival of the fittest. You are left with a motivation for pure survivalism. Therefore whatever will make for the survival of your species – DO IT! If a race or a group is in danger of polluting the gene pool – exterminate it. To leave it in tact makes no sense whatsoever if you are wanting to advance the evolution of your species. Therefore – according to evolutionary thinking and the honest philosophy that comes out of it – Hitler was doing the world a favor in exterminating the Jews – especially if, as he said, they were an inferior race. Any kind of code by which someone should live, that goes against the ultimate survival and advance of your genetics to the next level – should be soundly rejected. This is HONEST philosophy according to an evolutionary view of origins – and it really ticks off the evolutionist to face it. But the truth is the truth.
This is why issues about our origin are important. They can determine how we live – and whether we have any meaning or purpose as we do. To ignore these things is to ignore the happiness that can be ours when we know the truth. Our other option is to admit that there is NO truth – at least upon which to build a worldview and its subsequent moral code by which one lives. There is only random emptiness and a dark void where things like meaning and purpose are not only rejected – they just do not exist.
Rejoicing in the world, His earth, And having my delight in the sons of men. Proverbs 8:31
What is important about the earth? What is important in the universe? Is there something about the current ecosystem of the earth, and for that matter the universe, that should be more important than anything else? That particular question is very important because there are arguments that are being proffered today that the system itself is most important. This leads to conclusions that make many in the "Green Movement" state that we need to seriously deal with the problem of overpopulation in our world. They hold that humans have become too populous and that the resulting problems caused by . . . us, should be dealt with by depopulation efforts such as the one child only policies of China - as well as forced abortion. Some even speak of ways that the human population can be culled to lower levels. Granted these are the more extreme in the movement, but still such ideas gain traction because false premises continue to be promoted among thinkers - and eventually accepted in society. So we come back to the question of whether anything is more important than the ecosystem itself?
God speaks to this in the way that Wisdom informs us about the creation and what God valued in it. If God created wisdom itself, then we should see the priorities of God reflected in what Wisdom values and what Wisdom delights in the world that currently exists. What we find in Proverbs chapter 8 is a fascinating statement made by Wisdom about what wisdom considered most valuable - and most delightful.
Wisdom rejoiced in "His earth." This is the first revelation to us. The earth is the Lords - and the fullness thereof. God owns earth - it is His. He created it, and as its Creator - He owns it and can define for us how we should view it. What is interesting is that Wisdom speaks of the world and the earth. The words used here speak of the "inhabitable portions of the earth. These are the places on earth where man dwells. The Hebrew word for world is "betabel" which comes from the root word "yabal." This word is used for the inhabited places of the earth. Specifically it is used to speak of places like Jerusalem and Babylon - thus pointing to the fact that it speaks of the areas of the earth where men dwell. This fits perfectly with the next statement made by Wisdom - the fact that Wisdom delighted in the sons of men. Now let us consider what this means.
God's wisdom rejoices in the inhabited parts of the world - where men dwell. Wisdom delights in the sons of men - and the Hebrew word used to describe this is about as intense a word as can be used to describe this delight. It is an super astounding intense delight that God's manifest wisdom has in men. This, along with the way God makes it clear in the creation accounts that man is the crowning creation of all God made, finds itself in complete contradiction to the view that the ecosystem is what is ultimate.
God made this world for His glory. But His glory is seen clearest in man - whom God made in His own image. The work that God is doing in the earth is for the sake of bringing man to repentance and redemption through the salvation He provided through the death, burial, and resurrection of His Son Jesus Christ. Therefore - the ecosystem is not what is most important. Man is what is most important. What will blow your mind is that God told man to be "fruitful and multiply,and fill the earth." This runs counter to the whole environmental movement. Now please understand that God does not give man the freedom to destroy the environment with foolish and overtly destructive behavior. God calls us to act with wisdom in what we do - but He also gave us the freedom to exploit the earth's resources for the benefit of mankind. It truly is a radically diffrerent worldview than usually promoted by the world and its dominant philosophies.
There is one thing that also should be touted here that often is lost in the battles among competing philosophies about the world. The Bible teaches us that this is a fallen world in which we live. It is fallen because mankind has rebelled against God and His ways. The number one resource that should concern us most IS man. Lost humanity needs to hear the message of the gospel - needs to repent - and needs to be redeemed. The gospel instructs us to glorify God chiefly - proclaim His message of salvation - and seek to bring men and women to Christ. When we learn to live with this as our center - with this as our ultimate goal - we will join with true wisdom and also find our delight in God's world - in delight also in the redemption of the sons of men.
When He set for the sea its boundary So that the water would not transgress His command, When He marked out the foundations of the earth; Proverbs 8:29
Wisdom tells us that when God made the world, that He did so by making the sea with a boundary that the sea could not go past permanently. In Job 38:8-11 God spoke of this to Job saying, "Or Who shut in the seas with doors when it burst out from the wombn, when I made clouds its garment and a thick darkness its swaddling band, and prescribed limits for it and set bars and doors, and said, 'Thus far shall you come, and no farther, and here shall yur proud waves be stayed.'" In Jeremiah 5 we read that God placed the sand as a perpetual barrier that the ocean would not pass - though it's waves toss and they roar.
The scientist might scoff at this, saying that the height of the land mass determines whether it is above or below sea level. That is true - but how does this work on a planet that is spherical - where its flatness is not the measure of all things. Yet, were it not for gravity - the waters of the earth would run to the southern most parts of the earth - and honestly - would run out into space, making this planet utterly uninhabitable. Now, I can hear the scientific types laughing in the background as I state this - yet I have a question for them. Their laughter is because they would view me as a moron - who knew nothing about gravity. Therefore my question to them is this, "How did we get the basic law of gravity - or for that matter - any of the laws upon which our orderly planet functions?
Here is my point. Wisdom tells us that God is the One who set the boundary for the waters. He told us earlier that He is the One who make our earth circular - and made it to where the waters would conform to that circular pattern. He did not use the word gravity - but that is what He is describing. In this same passage where God speaks of setting boundaries for the sea - God also speaks about marking out the "foundations of the earth." The word "mark" used here is the Hebrew word "haqaq" which means to inscribe or engrave something. The word was used of marking and stating decrees - writing them down. The idea here is not that God set up some kind of foundation for the world - like we would build a foundation for a house. For that a different world would need to be used. God says in Job that He hangs the world on nothing - describing gravity wonderfully. Here what God is telling us is that there are inscribed decrees that God has given that makes the world function like it does. This same word is useed to speak of the written decrees of God.
Let us go back to the reality that there are "laws" written into the very fabric of the universe in which we live. Scientists did not write these laws - but their orderly experiments have allowed them to discover these laws. We even call them "laws" - with such names as the law of gravity - the first and second laws of thermodynamics - as well as numerous other laws by which the universe itself functions. In every world except that of the evolutionist, the idea of an orderly universe with remarkably orderly laws coming in a completelly random fashion with no author behimd them, is crazy. For there to be a law - there has to be a law-giver. For their to be a decree - someone has to have made that decree. And for the waters to obey laws of gravity - someone had to command that law - and therefore command that water adhere to such a law.
The statement of wisdom therefore makes far more sense than that of the pseudo-scientist. It makes more sense because wisdom recognizes that behind the inscribed foundational statements of this world (which includes that which establishes gravity and the whole idea of "sea level") is the Master and Commander - who wrote them. He enforces them each and every day - simply by the exercise of His almighty will. What does NOT make sense is to ask someone to believe in an astoundingly ordered universe with laws and structure - that came from no one - using no intelligence - and yet forming a world in which genius level scientists find themselves completely blown away by its glorious wisdom and intelligently ordered ways.