Seeking wisdom can be a dangerous pursuit.
Maybe not physically, but spiritually we must be willing to accept the truth even when it’s painful, along with the joy that comes when we find that it answers some of life’s most important questions.
Let me explain.
Pastor-husband shared his perspective in this way:
“Looking at past generations, we can see a strong focus on the holiness of God, while the current generation clearly puts much focus on the love of God. Both are true aspects of God’s character. While it is much more acceptable to talk about the love of God, we cannot have one without the other. The two may seem like polar opposites, but in reality are two sides of the same coin.”
While we are happy to accept the love of God, it is often much harder to consider the holiness of God. If God is love, then He must also be holy. Holiness–the idea that God is perfect and we are not, demonstrates how much He loves us. Do you realize that His holiness implies He loathes sin and yet he loves sinful man. How can the two collide? A Holy God hates sin, but loves sinners. That’s how. He allows us to choose to follow Him in obedience, or choose to sin in disobedience. And the painful truth is we all choose it.
The Bible says He knows our name. He knew us before we were ever born [Psalm 139]; and He knows our past, present and future. That means He knew when He created us what choice we would make–every one of us choosing to sin against Him.
“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Romans 3:23
And He loved us anyway. So much so that He sent Jesus to pay the penalty for our sin.
Like a parent loves a child, that kind of love should lead us to want to obey. His love and mercy toward us is all the motivation we should need to inspire us to know our Heavenly Father more intimately. The question is, how can we possibly know what He is like without reading His Word? Doesn’t that kind of love motivate you to want to know more about Him—so you can obey?
“Or do you despise the riches of His kindness, restraint, and patience, not recognizing that God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance?” Romans 2:4
Proverbs 6 is not an exclusive list of ways we sin against God, but it’s one worth noting because it is very specific. It starts with a warning about debt and laziness and maliciousness, and then verses 16-19 list seven things the Lord hates:
1.) Pride. “…arrogant eyes”
2.) Lying. “…lying tongue”
3.) Murder. “…hands that shed innocent blood”
4.) Deception. “…a heart that plots wicked schemes”
5.) Evil actions. “…feet eager to run to evil”
6.) False witness. “…a lying witness who gives false testimony”
7.)Trouble maker. “…one who stirs up trouble among brothers”
[If you want to read a New Testament passage with a similar list of “evil things”, go to Mark 7:20-23]
Reading these verses may not bring conviction of sin in your life, but what they can do is to serve as a warning when temptation comes:
“Always bind them to your heart; tie them around your neck. When you walk here and there, they will guide you; when you lie down, they will watch over your; when you wake up, they will talk to you. For a commandment is a lamp, teaching is a light, and corrective instructions are the way to life.” Proverbs 6:21-23
Don’t you see? His warnings are based on love. He knows what’s best for us, and this list is to warn us of things that can destroy us. While some may seem more extreme than the others, it’s only a matter of perspective. You might think that pride is way worse than murder, while the victim in both suffer consequences. One of His own doing and one at the hands of another. Both have the attitude that one life is more valuable than another, when Creator God sees us as equal. Every person has worth–not based on outward circumstances (race, wealth, status, etc.), but a value determined by his or her relationship to the Father.
“Now if any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God—who gives to all generously and ungrudgingly—and it will be given to him.” James 1:5
Wisdom has an author–God Himself inspired Solomon to write these words after he asked Him for “wisdom and knowledge” to rule the Israeli people well. I can’t begin to count the number of times I have asked God for wisdom in a particular situation, and Proverbs came to my rescue. Focusing on what is good and right and true, and spending time in God’s presence is the only way to have the kind of wisdom we desperately need.
“Finally brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable–if there is any moral excellence and if there is any praise–dwell on these things. Do what you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, and the God of peace will be with you.” Philippians 4:8-9