This is part twenty eight in my 31-day study through the book of Proverbs. The purpose of this study is to learn wisdom and discernment from God’s Word. Yesterday I learned that since God is in full control of the future I need to ensure I am not presumptuous about what is to come. I also read powerful words that described the heart as being like a mirror that reflects who I really am.
“Those who forsake the law praise the wicked, but such as keep the law contend with them.” Several days ago a similar proverb made me think about the people of Hollywood and this verse did the same. When I read it I thought of the celebrities in Hollywood who love to use their fame to spread folly. They continually spread godless philosophies and incredibly, our society looks up to these people as role models, praising them for their wickedness. Christians meanwhile find themselves contending with these beliefs, trying desperately to hang on to some sort of orthodoxy. Those who espouse the world’s wicked “wisdom” will always contend with believers who hold dearly to God’s true wisdom.
Verse 13 contains wisdom that is absolutely crucial to the Christian life. “He who covers his sins will not prosper, but whoever confesses and forsakes them will have mercy.” To live a life that pleases God, I must draw intimately near to Him. To do this, I first need to confess the sin that has dug an insurmountable pit between a holy God and a sinning man. Until I confess my sin I can have no part of a relationship with God, but after confession I can look forward to knowing Him deeply and intimately. Even after I have become a believer, unconfessed sin will devastate my relationship with Him. Solomon must have been well aware of this for his father learned this lesson many times. I am sure Solomon spent many hours on his father’s knee learning this very lesson. Consider Psalm 32:3-5 which reads:
When I kept silent, my bones grew old
Through my groaning all the day long.
For day and night Your hand was heavy upon me;
My vitality was turned into the drought of summer.
I acknowledged my sin to You,
And my iniquity I have not hidden.
I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the LORD,”
And You forgave the iniquity of my sin
Sin is not a minor problem and is not something to be downplayed, for it is the one thing that can and will destroy my fellowship with God. If I feel far from God and am facing a difficult time in life, the first place to look is my own heart.
The application from this verse is clear. I need to continually examine my life to see where sin has taken hold. I need to pray that God will reveal the sin in me that may be hidden to my clouded eyes. I also need to surround myself with wise and trusted friends who will love me enough to rebuke me for the sin they may see in me.
Verse seven seems to point to a similar conclusion. “If one turns away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer is an abomination.” God will not hear the prayers of those who reject Him and forsake His law. To turn away from God is a terrible offense and one which will surely reap serious consequences.
I will end today with the twenty sixth verse which reads “He who trusts in his own heart is a fool, but whoever walks wisely will be delivered.” To trust in my own heart is foolish, for I know that my heart is wicked and untrustworthy. The path to wisdom is in trusting in God and walking in the paths of His perfect wisdom. All the way back in the third chapter of this book we read “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct your paths.” In all I do I need to seek and trust His will, for He alone can guide me in wisdom’s ways.
This understanding, that the Christian’s heart is deceitful and wicked, is coming into question in the church today, but Proverbs makes a blanket statement – the heart is wicked and untrustworthy. Until we reach heaven and are freed from sin, we must always look to Scripture above our own hearts.