How do you know when you are doing the right thing or going in the right direction in life? Here is a question that everyone would love to be able to answer. The fact is that God says that we can know this. The way that we know it though is definitely outside of the mainstream of ideas that exist today. Let's take a look today at how we can know whether we are on course or not.
Solomon tells us here that there is a time when we will be able to discern some very important things. The first in his fourfold list is righteousness. Before we jump into those four things, we should see that discernment is involved. The word discern means that we are able to look at things and distinguish between them. We see differences between two or more things - and use that knowledge to understand them from God's vantage point. Here is our first very important lesson - things differ - and you can tell the difference. Most would agree with you on this truth - until you begin stating what you can distinguish between. The last thing we should address before we go into our list is that Solomon is stating what he does in verse 9 as a conclusion to all he has said before. What is it that allows us to have this discernment? It is the Word of God. All through this chapter he is calling for us to receive the Word, store up the Word in our hearts, cry out for God's work in teaching it to us, and to seek for the Word as one would buried treasure. The discernment of which we speak here is a discernment that comes only because of the way the Word works in our hearts.
As I said earlier, the first in his fourold list if righteousness. We will be able to discern when something is right or not. Now is the moment when the postmodern among us throw up their red flags. They assert someone might know right and wrong for themselves - but consider it the height of arrogance to think or state that anyone might be able to discern right and wrong for everyone. But that is exactly what Proverbs asserts here - and more by the time we finish with the four things Solomon says can be discerned.
The second in our list of four is justice. Our society cries out for justice - but unfortunately the justice they want ignores the Word of God. It ignores what God calls just in many cases - and completely ignores the problem of how we can be just before Him. Whereas the world cries for social justice - God offers absolute justice. These are not always opposed to one another - but - God ultimately wants us to be able to stand before Him just and righteous - and that requires the person and the work of Jesus Christ to happen.
The third thing we will be able to discern is equity. Here, my friends is a loaded word. "Meysar" is the word the Hebrews used to describe equity. It means rightness, correctness, and fairness. The word meant something smooth and level. Communism is man's way of trying to make everything equitable. Pure communism takes from everyone and then redistributes it so everyone gets an equal share. It does not take into account work ethic or whether someone has truly earned their share with hard work. And since pure communism would require pure hearts to work - we see that in practical communism - the ruling class takes and redistributes so everyone is equally as poor - while they live in the lap of luxury and take care of those who most honor and support their rule. When God speaks of equity He is speaking of how a state should judge fairly and honorably. He is speaking of how His promises are available to all. To "discern" equity we need to see things as God does - for fairness and correctness begins with what is fair and right in God's eyes. When we bring God into this equation - we have serious trouble for mankind. Man is sinful and rebellious - and what is fair for him is God's wrath and judgment. What we should find amazing about God's equity is that He chose to pay the price of equity for us - and instead of giving us what is fair, He gave us grace instead.
Finally, through the Word, we can discern every good course. We will know the right ways to walk - and God will indicate to us wrongs ones as well. This right and wrong will correspond to what He says in His Word. Thus we have the ultimate aggravation to the modernist. We assert that through God's Word we have an "absolute standard" upon which all things in life is to be measured. If actions and choices and lifestyles do not measure up to what God calls good, right, just, and equitable - they are wrong. And thus begins the clash of worldviews. True Judaism and Christianity will always find themselves at odds with the rest of the worldviews that come from men. They end up at odds because they have the audacity of claiming that God's Word is a revelation of THE truth. For those who reject this claim - the world is a mish-mash of conflicting morals and ideas. We all get along by ultimately stating that both everything is right, as well as everything is wrong. It might be right for us while at the same time being wrong for others. The resulting public moral quicksand creates a world in which all things are to be tolerated except the arrogance of Judaism and Christianity who assert that their worldview is absolute. That view - that view that states that there is absolute truth and it is found in God's Word - is the one that absolutely cannot be tolerated. Too bad though - because it is the only worldview that creates the stability of actually knowing whether the path you are taking will ultimately lead to blessing or destruction.