Monday, January 29, 2007

The Wise Man's View

During my time in the Word the last two weeks, I've been reading through Proverbs again. Proverbs is one of those books that you can't read quickly because every verse has a different application, and usually the application pierces to the heart. Solomon has a way of getting directly to the point, and shares with us the way of wisdom. Before I get into one of the consistent themes of the book that continues to challenge me, I want to make the interesting observation that though Solomon was the wisest man who ever lived, there seems to be a disconnect between the wisdom he wrote for his sons & the way his sons actually lived. In other words, many chapters in Proverbs start with the phrase, "Son, listen to your father's commands & heed your mother's instruction." But if you read the historical books of the Old Testament, you can see that very soon after Solomon's death, the wheels start coming off the bus for the nation of Israel. Solomon starts his reign as king with devotion and commitment to God, but soon after that, his marriages to many foreign women steal his heart away from Yahweh to other gods. And in the end, Solomon's sons follow his example instead of his teaching. Another point of instruction for us as parents, huh? Even the wisest man in the world couldn't get around the fact that his kids learned more from his life than from his instruction.

But, back to the instructions of Proverbs. God continues to show me how the wise man lives. Proverbs shows us that humility and integrity and kind speech, etc. are all prudent choices for our lives not just because they please the heart of God, but because they are the wise course of action. And this is what has struck me: the only way these characteristics can seem wise instead of foolish is if a person has a long view of life - if they see their life in full view, not just the moment. As fast-paced Americans, I think we constantly struggle with taking time to look beyond the next five minutes. And if this is the way we live, we lie and cheat and steal and curse and promote ourselves. All of these tactics help us make immediate progress in whatever we are doing, but they destroy us in the end. In other words, the wise man has to live his life in view of the long results of his character and his actions. So few of us live this way & therefore become more interested in cutting corners in our integrity for the sake of the moment. But God reminds us that this is utter foolishness, because the end result (though it may take a while to come to fruition) of our compromises with our character is destruction and death. The wise man lives with the end in mind - how his character and his choices will impact his whole life, not just the moment.


Danny Burch said...
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Danny Burch said...

Hey brother... good to hear that things are progressing well. I am glad to know that the Lord is working in and through you guys. Email me some time so we can catch up. Much love, Danny