The Wise and the Foolish
Proverbs 22:3-5 ESV
“The prudent sees danger and hides himself,
but the simple go on and suffer for it.
The reward for humility and fear of the Lord
is riches and honor and life.
Thorns and snares are in the way of the crooked;
whoever guards his soul will keep far from them.”
How do we perceive danger ahead? Sometimes it is through experience that we learn to recognize danger lying in wait for us. Perhaps when we were naïve and inexperienced we didn’t recognize danger, and perhaps we got bit (taken) by it, and so we learned what danger looks like so that we don’t make the same mistake twice.
As followers of Jesus Christ we have the word of God and we have the Holy Spirit living within us to help us to see danger and to flee from it, but we have to be walking closely with the Lord, and we must be listening to what he says to us in our spirits, and we must be those who respond with obedience when he says “Stop! Don’t go there!!”
Also, as other believers in Jesus share with us warnings and words of wise counsel, we should listen, and we should take their counsel to the Lord in prayer and not just dismiss it unless it is clearly against the Lord and his word. For, we have the body of Christ, too, to help us to be wise and to make wise choices and so we don’t fall into pits.
But, if we don’t listen to the Lord, if we are not daily in his word taking its truths into our lives in practice, if we are not sensitized to the Spirit’s voice, if we don’t listen to wise godly counsel, and if we don’t learn from experience what danger looks like so that we flee from it, then we are likely to go right into it and suffer for it.
This is not to say, though, that there is not danger out there which we are not able to flee from or that we, as followers of Jesus, won’t suffer for doing what is right, and for following the Lord with our lives. For, Jesus said we would be despised, rejected, and persecuted as he was, and there are often circumstances over which we have no control.
So, when this says that the reward for humility and the fear of the Lord is riches and honor and life, sometimes the reward is that we will be persecuted for righteousness’ sake, and that we will be treated as Jesus was treated, and we may even be killed because we are followers of Jesus. So, the riches we have are Christ and his salvation and eternal life with God which we will receive as our reward for our perseverance in faith.
But for those who walk in crooked ways, who are corrupt, vile, immoral, wicked, deceptive, liars, adulterers, murderers, thieves, and the like, although they may seem to not have a care in the world, and even though it may appear that everything goes well for them, it will not end well for them. They will die in their sins, not have eternal life with God.
The Pure and The Traitor
Proverbs 22:11-14 ESV
“He who loves purity of heart,
and whose speech is gracious, will have the king as his friend.
The eyes of the Lord keep watch over knowledge,
but he overthrows the words of the traitor.
The sluggard says, “There is a lion outside!
I shall be killed in the streets!”
The mouth of forbidden women is a deep pit;
he with whom the Lord is angry will fall into it.”
If we are following Jesus wholeheartedly with our lives, and we are not engaged in what is evil, we should be pure in heart, not by our own efforts, but because of God’s grace and mercy to us, and because he cleansed us of our sins, he made us whole, and he transformed our hearts and minds to be like Jesus and to reject sin in favor of righteous living.
Jesus is not only our Savior and Lord (owner-master), but he is also our friend. And he is not only our husband, but he is our best friend and companion. Yes, he is not with us physically like another human being, but he is with us in spirit. Yes, we can’t hear him audibly with our ears, but we can hear him in our spirits speaking truth to our hearts.
Knowledge can be good, or it can be evil in content. Thus, we must have discernment from our Lord and from his word to know what knowledge is true and good, and what knowledge is false and evil in intent.
We should not be naïve, trusting everything we read and hear or even think we see, for we live in an age of much deception where anything can be faked, doctored, and altered to make it appear right and good while it is truly false and evil.
Many who are now sharing knowledge with the church and with the world are traitors, for they are willfully telling lies in order to deceive the people into believing the lies and in order to manipulate, take advantage of, misuse, abuse, or to purposely cause them harm, even harm that may lead them to their deaths.
Many wolves in sheep’s clothing are teaching a cheap grace gospel which excludes and discourages or even bans repentance, obedience to the Lord, and submission to Christ as Lord (owner-master) of our lives. For, they have deceived the people into believing that is “works-based salvation” which they are to reject.
But the Lord is overthrowing their lies through his word and through his servants who are sharing his word with others, and he will overthrow these traitor’s lies when he returns to take his bride to be with him, and when he comes to judge the world. He will expose the fruitless deeds of darkness for what they are, and he will judge the traitors.
Those who are buying into the lies, though, have become like sluggards who make excuses for why they can’t do this or that, for why they can’t obey the Lord and for why they continue in deliberate, habitual, and premeditated sin against the Lord, many of them, perhaps, for many years, and many years even as professing Christians or even as pastors of churches.
Many of them have fallen into that deep pit of adultery via addiction to pornography, romantic affairs, sexual affairs, self-gratification, or other means of expressing sexual (lust) addiction which is rooted in absolute selfishness, hatred, and perhaps unforgiveness, bitterness, and resentment, too. And they fall into it because they refuse to submit to Jesus as Lord.
Apply Your Heart to Wisdom
Proverbs 22:17-19 ESV
“Incline your ear, and hear the words of the wise,
and apply your heart to my knowledge,
for it will be pleasant if you keep them within you,
if all of them are ready on your lips.
That your trust may be in the Lord,
I have made them known to you today, even to you.”
The Scriptures are filled with words of wisdom and wise counsel, instruction, warnings, and commands which we are to follow. And we are to incline our ears to hear these words and to apply these instructions to our hearts and to our lives that our trust may be in the Lord that we may have life with God.
Oh, to Be Like Thee, Blessed Redeemer
Lyrics by Thomas O. Chisholm, 1897
Music by W. J. Kirkpatrick, 1897
Oh, to be like Thee! blessèd Redeemer,
This is my constant longing and prayer;
Gladly I’ll forfeit all of earth’s treasures,
Jesus, Thy perfect likeness to wear.
Oh, to be like Thee! full of compassion,
Loving, forgiving, tender and kind,
Helping the helpless, cheering the fainting,
Seeking the wandering sinner to find.
O to be like Thee! lowly in spirit,
Holy and harmless, patient and brave;
Meekly enduring cruel reproaches,
Willing to suffer others to save.
O to be like Thee! while I am pleading,
Pour out Thy Spirit, fill with Thy love;
Make me a temple meet for Thy dwelling,
Fit me for life and Heaven above.
Oh, to be like Thee! Oh, to be like Thee,
Blessèd Redeemer, pure as Thou art;
Come in Thy sweetness, come in Thy fullness;
Stamp Thine own image deep on my heart.
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