Three Commands that Lead to Spiritual Well Being
Be not wise in thine own eyes…
1. This has to do with human pride.
a. The proud man is wise in own eyes. He thinks he knows it all.
b. This proud man doesn’t need God to tell him what to do. He can handle life on his own.
c. It was just this sort of pride that Solomon warned his son about in the previous verses.
• Don’t lean on your OWN understanding! Trust in the Lord! Lean on HIS wisdom! (vs.5)
• The proud man thinks he can direct his own steps. Solomon challenges his son to acknowledge GOD in all of his steps! (vs.6)
d. Prov. 26:12 – there is more hope for a fool than this man!
e. Isa. 5:21-22 – woe to them! (They think they can handle strong drink!)
f. Rom. 12:16 – don’t think you are smarter than all your brethren either! God uses the brethren to warn us… to teach us… to counsel with us… give us guidance and direction in life. The wise man LISTENS to such counsel. The FOOL thinks he has no need of such counsel!
2. Prov.27:17–This is part of the benefit of the local church. We meet, fellowship, share our concerns and ideas and plans. And as iron sharpens iron, we bounce ideas off one another… and on occasion a brother might have to tell us that our thinking is off… our plan is out of line with God’s Word…
a. Human pride will cause us to forge ahead with our wayward ideas.
b. Humility and wisdom will cause us to consider the warnings from the brethren… especially as they open God’s Word!
c. Even those points of controversy and clashing can have a “sharpening” effect on us!
• We have butter knives that have never been sharpened. We have another knife that is sharpened each time it is put in its sheath.
• The knife that touches the iron the most is the sharpest.
• The more contact and fellowship we have with spiritually minded believers, the sharper we will be spiritually!
3. I Cor. 3:18-20 – we can deceive ourselves into THINKING we are wise… when in reality, we are following the wisdom of the world!
a. There IS a wisdom of the world. Many of the principles are valid.
b. Even Jesus acknowledged that we could learn from some men in the world. There are times when “for the children of this world are in their generation wiser than the children of light.” (use of time and resources)
c. BUT—there is a warning to all of us as believers. It is possible for US to be wise in sight of the world and FOOLISH in God’s sight!
• Living for the world; investing in this life only; gathering in of riches and toys; seeking and obtaining pleasure and security in this world—ALL seems quite wise in the eyes of the world. We might think ourselves to be quite wise in following such a pursuit.
• BUT that can be quite shortsighted and foolish from God’s perspective.
• God may want us to behave in such a way that the world would call us FOOLISH… (becoming a missionary; suffering reproach for the name of Christ; passing up a promotion out of religious conviction).
• God may have us to become a FOOL in the eyes of others…
• In the eyes of the world or the eyes of a worldly believer, that seems foolish. But that is being wise in our own eyes.
• God wants us to see things from His perspective… from the eyes of eternity… from the perspective of spiritual things.
• We are challenged NOT to be wise in our own earthly eyes—but rather to seek another kind of wisdom—one that comes from above!
d. This wisdom is pure… Jas. 3:17
• Our wisdom should come from ABOVE…
• Otherwise, it is coming from beneath! (Jas.3:15)
e. Being wise in our own eyes, refers NOT to the eyes of faith, but to the eyes of the carnal man… the flesh… the world…
f. Solomon commanded his son (and us)! NOT to lean on our own understanding… not to be wise in our own sight—but on the contrary, be wise with a wisdom that comes from above and is in harmony with God’s wisdom revealed in His word!
4. Be not wise in your own eyes is a warning against SELF-CONFIDENCE.
a. One who is self-confident is self-deluded!
b. Don’t lean on your own understanding… don’t trust in your own wisdom… don’t rely on your own insight.
c. Seek direction from the Lord!
d. In ALL thy ways acknowledge HIM… don’t leave Him out of anything—especially because of some vain notion that we don’t think we need Him!
e. Being wise in your own eyes is pure pride—exalting human wisdom.
f. Pride of intellect was one of the reasons Lucifer was cast out of heaven! (Ezek. 28:17) He corrupted his wisdom.
g. The cure for this kind of pride is HUMILITY! Humble yourself in the sight of God!
h.) “Thus saith the LORD, Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might, let not the rich man glory in his riches: But let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me, that I am the LORD.”
i. Our real wisdom is found in humbling self and bowing before God and His Word. THAT is the truly wise man.
Fear the LORD…
1. The second command in this context is the flip side of self-confidence—fear of the Lord!
a. The opposite of confidence is fear.
b. Self-confidence exalts self in pride.
c. Fearing the Lord abases self… humbles self… we bow before Him in fear.
2. The two are mutually exclusive—you cannot fear God AND be wise in your own eyes! It is one or the other.
a. Someone who fears God will not lean on his own understanding. He will fear God and put God’s will/ God’s mind first! He will lay his intellect at the feet of the Lord… turning it all over to Him… to mold and change as He sees fit.
b. Someone who fears God refuses to be wise in his own sight. He is more concerned about being wise in God’s sight. He refuses to exalt his own thoughts above God’s thoughts. He dares not… he fears God!
3. There seems to be contrast here between the proud man who lifts himself up in arrogant pride and exalts his own opinion — and on the other hand, the lowly saint who bows before the Lord in humble fear…
a. One exalts self. The other exalts the Lord.
b. If we truly bow before God in fear, then we will bow before His word in reverence too…
c. Bowing before His Word in reverence is equal to exalting HIS thoughts above our thoughts! (Isa. 55:8-9)
And depart from evil…
1. Thirdly, Solomon tells his son to depart from evil. The first two commands paved the way for this.
a. Humble self and self-confidence… (reckon the old self life with its twisted thinking to be crucified by faith).
b. Exalt the Lord in fear and reverence… bowing before Him and His will…
2. THEN, depart from evil!
a. If we have done the first two, we will be ABLE to depart from evil!
b. If our old self life is kept on the cross by faith AND we are bowing before God in humble fear… not trusting in our own intellect or strength but in HIM ALONE—then we will be filled with the fullness of God and ABLE to walk in newness of life… ABLE to depart from evil!
c. As soon as we begin exalting our own understanding… wise in our own sight—then we become weak! (When we acknowledge our weakness, we are strong; when we think we are strong, then we are weak spiritually!)
3. Job 28:28 – “And unto man he said, Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom; and to depart from evil is understanding.”
a. Real wisdom IS to depart from evil.
b. What could be more foolish than to play with fire? Evil will burn us in the end. Wisdom demands that we depart from it…
c. Some who are wise in their own eyes might think to themselves, “I can handle this. I can play with fire—with evil, and it won’t hurt me.”
d. That person has no fear of God before his eyes. He is blinded by his own understanding…
e. How many young men today think that they can play with evil and not be stung! (drugs; alcohol; fornication; stealing; lying; etc.)
f. Criminals play a game. They think they are so smart that they can continue on their crime spree and never get caught. They have utter confidence in their own wisdom… and they become more and more daring and brazen—and are ultimately caught.
g. They are wise in their own eyes; do not fear God—and play with evil.
h.) On the other hand, we are told NOT to think we are so smart. Fear God. Abase self, exalt God and God’s thoughts. Fear Him. THAT will cause us to depart from evil!
i. The person who KNOWS who God is—and fears Him—will depart from evil. Nothing is worth risking falling into the hands of the living God!
It shall be health to thy navel, and marrow to thy bones…
1. In a word, humbling self, exalting and fearing God, and departing from evil is GOOD for you!
2. It is health to your navel—and marrow to your bones.
a. Prov.4:20-22 – it is life and health to you!
b. Ps.63:3-5 – my SOUL shall be satisfied as with marrow…
c. It seems to point to a physical health as well as health to the soul. Spiritual health and physical health are related.
• Fear, worry, envy, hatred, anger, depression, resentment, guilt—are NOT good for you physically!
• If we don’t depart from these evils—they could kill us!
• A merry heart—free from guilt and worry—is good for you like medicine! (Prov.17:22)
d. This is God’s wellness program. You don’t have to buy any expensive herbs or join a club. Fear God and depart from evil. THAT will result in wellness in your body and soul!
• To a certain extent, our outer man, our body IS affected by our inner man.
• Rather than trust in the Lord, we sometimes worry and that can burn a hole in our stomach… bring up our blood pressure…
• The believer that has rejected God’s wisdom and is walking in his own wisdom has every right to be anxious… worried about the future.
• God RESISTS the proud. It is an unsettling feeling to know that someone with infinite power is resisting you!
• When the believer walks in the wisdom of the world—he has made himself an enemy of God. He has good reason to worry about chastisement! Friendship with the world is enmity with God.
e. BUT, the believer who walks humbly with God—fears God—does NOT trust in his own understanding, nor is wise in his own eyes—that believer can have REST in his soul. He has health to his navel—deep down in his gut—there is peace and rest, knowing God is on his side.
f. The path of blessing and spiritual well being is the path of trusting in God… fearing God… bowing before Him in submission… that’s health!