In search of Wisdom
Greetings precious people, I do hope that you are doing well today and rejoicing in the goodness of the Lord Jesus Christ. I am writing this to you from one of the northern most cities of China, which is on the boarder of Russia. I am here teaching pastors and Bible students the Inductive Bible Study method. It is a class which helps them to study the Bible and teach it to others in a very systematic and easy to understand way. My time here has been very fruitful and encouraging. The Christians who have suffered much persecution over the years are very genuine in their faith and have a hunger for the Word that surpasses most others.
We now want to continue our study on wisdom as we go through the Book of Proverbs. I do want to encourage you to read the Bible on your own every day. It is God’s instruction Book to us on life and is full of knowledge and wisdom, especially this Book of Proverbs.
We begin now where we left off in chapter four. In Proverbs 4:23-27 we find some of the most important admonishments Solomon has to give. “Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life. Put away from you a deceitful mouth,
And put perverse lips far from you. Let your eyes look straight ahead, and your eyelids look right before you. Ponder the path of your feet, and let all your ways be established.
Do not turn to the right or the left; remove your foot from evil.”
This world would certainly be a different place if everyone would follow these few things. Solomon starts out by addressing the issue of the heart. It has been said that the heart of every problem is the problem in every heart. The problem is sin, which is manifest through the things that we say, do, think, and neglect to do. Look at what Jesus had to say on this issue. In Matthew 15:16-20, “So Jesus said, "Are you also still without understanding? Do you not yet understand that whatever enters the mouth goes into the stomach and is eliminated? But those things, which proceed out of the mouth, come from the heart, and they defile a man. For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, and blasphemies. These are the things which defile a man, but to eat with unwashed hands does not defile a man."
There is no shortage of things in this world to influence our heart for worse. Daily we are bombarded through the various forms of media, as well as people around us that encourage behavior contrary to living the way God would have us live. This of course is not to say that the blame for any wrong action on our part lies solely with others. There is plenty with in each of us that enables us to sin without anyone’s help. The Bible tells us the true condition of our heart apart from the work of God’s Spirit working on us. In Jeremiah 17:9, God tells us, "The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it?”
With all of the potential to do wrong, it is easy to see why Solomon admonishes us to diligently guard our heart. It has always amazed me how people, especially Christians, can not realize the dangerous influence that watching certain forms of ‘entertainment’, listening to various kinds of music, and surrounding themselves with unsavory characters, will have on them. I often use the illustration of how a picture of clean water can become polluted and unsafe to drink by placing just a few drops of contaminated water into it. The same principle applies to our lives as we receive into our hearts and minds the pollution of the world and we become contaminated. As the saying goes, garbage in garbage out.
In verse 26 we are told to ponder, think about the path that we are about to take. So few people today take time to think about the direction that they are headed and where the consequences of their actions and choices will take them in a year or two. You no doubt know those that have made rash decisions without any thought to the consequences and have had to suffer the results for years. Maybe you are one of these people, if so I want you to know that there is hope and restoration in Jesus Christ. Only God can restore to you the years that sin has eaten away.
Solomon will now, in chapter five, addresses the subject of adultery. This of course was something he was very familiar with, having had 700 wives and 300 concubines. In Proverbs 5 we read, “My son, pay attention to my wisdom; Lend your ear to my understanding, that you may preserve discretion, and your lips may keep knowledge. For the lips of an immoral woman drip honey, and her mouth is smoother than oil; But in the end she is bitter as wormwood, Sharp as a two-edged sword. Her feet go down to death; her steps lay hold of hell. Lest you ponder her path of life--Her ways are unstable; you do not know them. Therefore hear me now, my children, and do not depart from the words of my mouth. Remove your way far from her, And do not go near the door of her house, Lest you give your honor to others, And your years to the cruel one; Lest aliens be filled with your wealth, And your labors go to the house of a foreigner; and you mourn at last, When your flesh and your body are consumed, and say: "How I have hated instruction, And my heart despised correction! I have not obeyed the voice of my teachers, nor inclined my ear to those who instructed me! I was on the verge of total ruin, In the midst of the assembly and congregation." Drink water from your own cistern, and running water from your own well. Should your fountains be dispersed abroad, Streams of water in the streets? Let them be only your own, and not for strangers with you. Let your fountain be blessed, and rejoice with the wife of your youth. As a loving deer and a graceful doe, Let her breasts satisfy you at all times; And always be enraptured with her love. For why should you, my son, be enraptured by an immoral woman, and be embraced in the arms of a seductress? For the ways of man are before the eyes of the LORD, And He ponders all his paths. His own iniquities entrap the wicked man, and he is caught in the cords of his sin. He shall die for lack of instruction, and in the greatness of his folly he shall go astray.”
Little has to be said on my part regarding what Solomon has said, it is self-explanatory. It is truly sad to see the direction that our nation has taken in the past 50 years and the consequences that we are suffering as a result. It is rare to see a television show or movie that does not have at least one instance of adultery in it, and conveys it as being acceptable and normal. They never reveal the darker side of adultery, such as broken hearts, sexually transmitted diseases, broken homes, and children without a mother or father. There is NOTHING good that ever comes out of adultery. As a pastor, I have seen countless lives ruined by the act of adultery. The few moments’ pleasure is never worth the years of sorrow and ruined lives.
Now let me close with speaking to those who have been involved in the sin of adultery. First to those of you who have been the victim to adultery, where your spouse who you made life long vows to, and them to you, broke those vows through the act of adultery. Without a doubt you are hurt, wounded, and broken hearted. I want you to know that the Lord knows exactly how you feel, for He too was treated this way many times over the years by His people. The relationship between God and His people is often likened to that of a marriage. It is always God’s people that are the unfaithful ones in this relationship. If you turn to God right now in your time of sorrow, He will comfort you as no one else can. He has promised to comfort those that are sorrowful and grieving. In 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 we read, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.”
Now to you who are guilty of committing the act of adultery, I want to first tell you to repent of your sin, cry out to God for His forgiveness, and if you are still involved in this sin, stop. God is full of compassion and mercy, ready to forgive any that would turn to Him in brokenness and willing to repent. Make no mistake about it, God’s Word is clear on the sin of adultery. If there is no repentance from this sin, you are not going to Heaven. In 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 God warns, “Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God.”
After you have cried out to God for mercy, forgiveness, and forsaken your sin, go and confess your sin to your spouse and children if there are any, and ask their forgiveness. They may be unwilling to forgive you at this point, but trust the Lord with this and do it.
Finally, get involved in a Bible believing and teaching church and draw close to the Lord.
Next time we will continue our study through the Book of Proverbs as we search for wisdom, until then may the Lord richly bless you beloved.
If you have any questions, comments, or prayer requests you can contact me at: Calvary Chapel of Alpine, P.O. Box 1528, Alpine, Ca. 91903 or call 619-445-2589, or e-mail email@example.com or visit our web site to read all previous articles at www.calvarychapel.org/alpine/index.htm
Drew Macintyre is pastor of Calvary Chapel of Alpine