Because they hated knowledge and did not choose the fear of the LORD,
would have none of my counsel and despised all my reproof,
therefore they shall eat the fruit of their way,
and have their fill of their own devices.
For the simple are killed by their turning away,
and the complacency of fools destroys them;
but whoever listens to me will dwell secure and will be at ease,
without dread of disaster.” (Proverbs 1:29-33 ESV)
We have clues in the Proverbs that indicate he wrote these down after becoming a parent and having a son old enough to need instruction. What we don’t know is how much of what Solomon wrote came from observation and how much from experience. In his later years, Solomon ignores his own advice and the result is disastrous. I trust that the Holy Spirit was active in this process as God’s voice is clear in several places, and especially in the first few chapters.
In the first chapter of the book Solomon provides the motivation for reading the rest of the book. As readers, we have two choices. We can ignore God and his wisdom and do our own thing. The ultimate result of this choice is destruction. The other option is to fear God and listen to him. The ultimate result of this choice is security and ease.
I believe this is true, but Satan works very hard to deliver the opposite message through both my observations and personal experience. What I observe is that self-expression and self-gratification are celebrated in our culture. Every form of media confronts us with joy and happiness achieved through pursuing lifestyles that celebrate everything Proverbs warns about. We are surrounded by foolishness and on the surface, it appears to be working. What I experience is that regardless of how hard I try to listen to God and do what he desires this life is not easy. In no way am I saying that I always listen to God and do what he says. The truth is quite the opposite, but I like to make comparisons and when I compare I think I’m doing better than others and the consequence is that my life should be easier than others. That isn’t what I experience, and it is also not what God promised.
So, do I ignore God’s wisdom as recorded by Solomon? To use Solomon’s word, I think that would be foolish. There are consequences to choices, both good and bad. To think that somehow I’m going to be the exception and avoid the consequences is arrogant and insults God. I think the apostle Paul’s response written from prison is a good way to close this blog.
Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:4-7 ESV)
To my grandchildren:
God’s way is always the best way.