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Wells of Living Water Commentary Wells of Living Water
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Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Neighbour, Robert E. "Wells of Living Water Commentary on Proverbs 1". "Living Water". https://www.studylight.org/
commentaries/ eng/ lwc/ proverbs-1.html.
Neighbour, Robert E. "Wells of Living Water Commentary on Proverbs 1". "Living Water". https://www.studylight.org/
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The Proverbs of Solomon
1. Solomon's great choice. It was in Gibeon that the Lord appeared unto Solomon in a dream by night: and God said, "Ask what I shall give thee." We read that Solomon replied: "Thou hast shewed unto Thy servant David my father great mercy, according as he walked before Thee in truth, and in righteousness, and in uprightness of heart with thee."
Then Solomon continued: "And now, O Lord my God, Thou hast made Thy servant king instead of David my father: and I am but a little child: I know not how to go out or come in. And Thy servant is in the midst of Thy people which Thou hast chosen, a great people, that cannot be numbered nor counted for multitude. Give therefore Thy servant an understanding heart to judge Thy people, that I may discern between good and bad: for who is able to judge this Thy so great a people?"
When the Lord heard the request of Solomon, He was pleased because Solomon had not asked for himself long life, neither riches, nor the life of his enemies, but had asked understanding to discern judgment. God therefore said: "I have given thee a wise and an understanding heart; so that there was none like thee before thee, neither after thee shall any arise like unto thee. And I have also given thee that which thou hast not asked, both riches, and honour."
(1) Solomon acknowledged his own weaknesses. This, to us, is the beginning of wisdom and of strength, and of successful service. It is those who have not, but are willing to have, that God blesses. Solomon was called to a great task and he knew that he was not able in his own strength or wisdom to undertake. Do we not feel the same way?
Do we not often feel our own weakness, our lack of wisdom? Let us then ask wisdom of God, who giveth to all men liberally and upbraideth not, and we shalt receive.
(2) Solomon showed his wisdom by asking for wisdom. Many of us might have asked for material things, such as silver and gold, food and raiment, because of these things we have need. We might have asked for popularity and power with the multitude, for winsome ways and pleasing manners, but Solomon asked for wisdom.
2. God's remarkable answer. God immediately pledged to give to Solomon that which he asked, but to give him more than he asked. Does not God always give exceeding abundantly above all we are able to ask or to think?
3. Our precious privilege. How marvelous it is that we are permitted to sit at the feet of the wisest of men, and study the Proverbs which he has given to us. Out of all of his experience, and the riches of his wisdom, the Holy Spirit caused Solomon to write down just such things as He wanted us to know. These things are recorded in Ecclesiastes, the Song of Solomon, and Proverbs.
I. THREE GREAT QUESTS (Proverbs 1:1-4 )
1. The first quest: " To know wisdom and instruction; to perceive the words of understanding."
Shall young people spend their time in frivolity and foolish pastime, living as though life were a matter of pleasure and madness and folly, or shall they seek to know God in all of the wisdom of His Person, and of His Words and work?
If we seek these better and higher things, let us remember that unto us is given the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding in the knowledge of Him.
2. The second quest : "To receive the instruction of wisdom, justice, and judgment, and equity." Do we have an open mind that we may receive the things which are freely given us of God? There are so many who have eyes that see not, and ears that hear not. The wisdom of God is given only unto those who walk in the Spirit, inasmuch as the natural man receiveth not the things of God, neither can he understand them. It is written, "Then shall we know, if we follow on to know the Lord."
We humbly ask the young people if they are truly ready to receive the instruction of wisdom, of justice, of judgment, and of equity. Do they want to know the things which are freely given them of God?
3. The third quest: " To give subtilty to the simple, to the young man knowledge and discretion."
Let all God's people attempt great things for God and expect great things from God.
II. THE BEGINNING OF WISDOM (Proverbs 1:5-7 )
1. A wise man will hear, and will increase learning. The mind is a wonderful gift from God. Yet how little does the infant know as he lifts his wondering eyes upon the world about him. He seems, intellectually, as well as physically, about the most helpless of the newly born. To watch the babe as he lies there looking at his fists, in his first sense of self-consciousness is most striking.
Little by little the infant grows to childhood, then to youth and then to manhood. As he grows, knowledge daily increases.
Everybody who wants to know God should hear and increase in wisdom.
2. A wise man will attain to wise counsel. He will seek to associate himself with men of wisdom and understanding. He will select his friends from among those who see life as more than a passing show. He will seek to understand a proverb and its deeper meaning its interpretation.
"Give attendance to reading" is a splendid advice to young men, who, Timothy-like, want to know God's deeper things. Daniel as a youth was a student and as he grew in wisdom and in knowledge, he diligently searched the Scriptures to learn more of the "times and seasons" with their mysteries, which belonged to the purposes of God. He wrote, "I Daniel understood by books the number of the years, whereof the Word of the Lord came to Jeremiah the Prophet."
3. A wise man knows that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. Do we speak of the "fear of the Lord" as of one who is afraid of God? Not altogether. He may be, and he is, afraid to disobey God. However, "the fear of the Lord," which is "the beginning of knowledge," is the sense of the greatness, the glory, the power, the righteousness, the justice, the works of God.
The one who fears God is the one who stands in awe, with his head bowed in hallowed reverence, as he worships at His throne. Such an one has reached the "beginning of wisdom."
III. THE DIVINE ADMONITION TO SONS (Proverbs 1:8-9 )
1. My son, hear the instruction of thy father. Fatherhood has its responsibilities; so does sonhood. It is the duty of the father to "teach these things diligently to his children." It is the duty of the son to hear what he is taught. It is the duty of the father to bring up his child in the way he should go; it is the duty of the son to obey his father's instruction.
2. My son, forsake not the law of thy mother. This second admonition not only exalts the glory and responsibility of Christian motherhood, but it exalts the law which she inculcates on the child.
In the twentieth century home, the foundations are crumbling under the god of this world who is steadily robbing the youth of the land of those holy mothers of yore, who gave their life and their all to the instruction of their children. Side by side with this is the tottering of those sons who used to all but worship at the feet of the one who gave them birth.
God give us mothers with the Law of the Lord on their lips; and sons with the spirit of loyalty and devotion to her tutelage.
3. The ornaments of youth. "For they shall be an ornament of grace unto thy head, and chains about thy neck." Here are jewels which are most rare, in the sight of God. Let young people seek to excel in spiritual graces. Let these be their chief adornments. Hearing instruction from fathers, and walking in the law of mothers is an adornment to the brow, and to the neck. They are costly and yet free to obedient children.
IV. THE POWER TO SAY "NO" (Proverbs 1:10 )
1. Wisdom's warning. Wisdom is not ignorant of the many wiles which beset the young. It seems to us that Satan was never so active in preparing nets for the feet of our youth as he is today. Pitfalls of every kind and description abound at every turn of the way. These places are painted in most roseate colors; they are made to appear beautiful without, while within they are full of dead men's bones and of all uncleanness.
2. Wisdom's plea. Wisdom is pleading to the youth, saying, "Consent thou not." Wisdom sees the end of the way which concludes pleasure's path. Wisdom knows that the wine cup, be it ever so red as it stirs itself, will at the last bite like a serpent. Wisdom knows that the movies, be they ever so alluring to the eye, will, at the last, implant loose morals and wrong ideals. Wisdom knows it all, and knowing, says, "My son, if sinners entice thee, consent thou not."
3. Where is the power to say "No. " Has youth lost the will power which is necessary to sustain rectitude? Shall youth be carried about by every wind that blows? Shall it submit to every evil that entices? Shall the youth live with such a wail as this on its lips, "When I would do good, evil is present with me"; and, "The good that I would I do not; but the evil which I would not, that I do"?
God pity us if we are slaves to sin, driven on and on against our better self, until we cry out, "O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?"
Is defeat a necessity with the young man? Never. If we walk in the Spirit we shall not fulfill the lusts of the flesh, "Sin shall not have dominion over you." "Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin." Thank God there is a place of victory. God will prepare a way of escape in every hour of temptation. Thus we will ever thank God who giveth us the victory in Christ Jesus.
V. THE WAYS OF THE WICKED (Proverbs 1:11-12 )
1. The way of destruction to others. Here is the voice of the sinners who entice: "Let us lay wait for blood." This sounds like highway robbers, and thugs, the worst of the wicked. It is not necessarily so, at all. Sin spoils everything it touches. To go in the way of evil men, is to slay the hopes of others. The wicked all lay in wait for blood.
2. The way of death. Here are the words: "Let us swallow them up alive as the grave; and whole, as those that go down into the pit."
If physical death were all, that would not be so bad; but to those who follow the wicked, the second death awaits them. How true is the word, "the wages of sin is death" yes, death from every viewpoint. Death to hopes, and to health; death to happiness and to honor; death to peace and to power with God: death to everything.
Sin shortens one's physical life on the earth. All kinds of diseases lurk in the way of the one who spends his life in sin and shame. The woman of the streets soon passes away, and is not. She dies early and dies without hope for in the hereafter, and only to be forgotten on the earth. Yes, sin takes the light out of the eyes, the color out of the cheek, the quickness out of the step. Sin hurries up the casket that will bear the sinner to his grave.
There is also a second death a death that has no hope of life forevermore. Existence? The wicked have not the life of God. They are forever shut away from His face. They are committed unto the blackness of darkness forever. They go where the worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched; for death and hell shall be cast into the Lake of Fire. This is the second death.
VI. FOLLOWING A MIRAGE OF FALSE PROMISES (Proverbs 1:13-14 )
Proverbs 1:11 and Proverbs 1:12 display the real intent of the sinners who entice. Proverbs 1:13 and Proverbs 1:14 display their false promises to the dupes who follow them in their ways.
1. Here is the first false promise : "We shall find all precious substance." With what roseate hues do the wicked, who tempt the unwary, paint the future. The god of this world is an adept in flourishing scenery. He and his know how to make the world appear beautiful. However, when one gets into the heart of the world's territory, he finds it filled with horror a veritable chamber of misery and disappointments.
Suppose that the deceived follower does, for the while, get all precious substance. His substance will fade as fades a summer day. Suppose he becomes rich. His riches will but pierce his soul through with many sorrows. Suppose he does get all precious treasures. He will get them only to leave them to those who shall be after him. He will get them, and say to his soul, "Thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry," only to hear the Lord say, "Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided."
2. Here is the next false promise: " Cast in thy lot among us; let us all have one purse." That is the cry heard on every hand today. Let us not listen to any promise on the part of the wicked, for their promises are only baits and snares to entice the helpless.
VII. A CALL FOR SEPARATION (Proverbs 1:15-19 )
1. "Walk not thou in the way with them." An unholy companionship is always to be feared. It is said you cannot play with fire without being burned. Certainly you cannot walk with evil men without being evilly influenced, and marred in character.
If we make evil men or women our associates, we will soon be like them in their evil ways. Thus has God said, "Enter not into the path of the wicked, and go not in the way of evil men." Let us refrain our feet from their paths. The New Testament, like the Old, is filled with warnings on this line, "And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness."
2. "Surely in vain the net is spread in the sight of any bird." Does the Lord mean to intimate that a man will walk into a plainly spread net quicker than a bird? Or does He mean to say that if a bird will not fly into a net, plainly spread in its very sight, how much less should we walk into a net spread, and confessedly spread, to catch us?
How many are the nets, the pitfalls, the traps laid out for us! There are the present-day moving picture show, the game of cards, the dance, the drinking saloon, the gilded house of shame, the groups of filthy story tellers, etc., etc.
All of these are for no more than "catches" for the youth of our land. It is sad, indeed, to see the throngs of people standing at the picture show and rushing into the nets laid to catch them and carry them away from God and from their Christian integrity.
3. "So are the ways of every one that is greedy of gain." The lure of gold, as well as the lure of pleasure, presents a great temptation. Of course all is not gold that glitters, but many a youth thinks it is. "The love of money" is still "the root of all evil." God help us not to covet after these things.
God keep us from becoming soiled with sin.
"Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him" (1 John 2:15 ).
Walking along a business district, an observer noticed a suit of clothes hanging in the breeze at the side of a window. It was marked, "Slightly soiled, greatly reduced in price." "What a text for the young people!" he thought. A young man or woman's mind becomes "slightly soiled" by reading a coarse book, by seeing a vulgar show in a theater, by allowing little indulgences in dishonest or lustful thoughts. Just slightly soiled! But in course of time it will be found that these young people are greatly reduced in value. Their charm, their strength, their influence has vanished. War Cry.
1. Where the voice of Wisdom is heard. Wisdom doth not speak alone among the wise. She doth not sound forth her voice alone in cloistered circles, where the sanctified meet to discuss the ways of righteousness. Mark the force of, these words:
1. "Wisdom crieth without."
2. Wisdom "uttereth her voice in the streets."
3. Wisdom "crieth in the chief place of concourse."
4. Wisdom crieth "in the openings of the gates." (5) Wisdom uttereth her words in the city.
Here is something worthy of note. God seems to be saying, let Wisdom sound forth her call where the people congregate. Let all men know the folly of sin, and the beauty of holiness. Let no one be left untouched, untold, unwarned, unled.
We might put it in the way of the New Testament call to world-preaching of the Gospel.
1. Go to thine own house and show what God hath done.
2. Go to the byways and hedges.
3. Go to the next towns also.
4. Go to the streets and lanes of the city.
5. Go to the end of the earth, all nations.
6. Go to every creature.
Surely the more Satan seeks to hide our message of love and light and life, the more abundantly must we sound it forth.
Wisdom, like the Gospel, and the Gospel, like Wisdom, must give its call everywhere. It is all wrong for saints to closet the sound of the gospel story within the heavy walls of the sanctuary; that does not aid the wayfaring man, the people of the street. We must carry Christ to the ones without; we must utter our voice on the street. Let the "nice people" call us "Salvationists," what do we care? We will obey our Lord. We must sound the call in the chief places of concourse, in the opening of the gates, and everywhere the masses congregate.
2. Why Wisdom raises her voice.
(1) True wisdom has an interest in the lives of others. Have we had a kindness shown? We should pass it on. What have we, that we did not receive? Then, if we are recipients of something, shall we not share our blessings? How can we whose souls are lighted with wisdom from above, stand still and see the unwary carried on into the pitfalls which the ungodly have made for the youth of our land?
(2) True wisdom sees the danger in the way, and knows the only hope of salvation from them all. It is for this cause that Wisdom crieth in the streets. Shall the one who sees the house afire refrain from crying out to those who sleep within? Shall the one who sees the sorrow, the shame, the wreckage of sin, refrain a warning voice?
He who thinks only of himself and of his own, is an ingrate and has not the love of God in his heart. Suppose I am safe and sheltered: shall I therefore care nothing for the safety of others?
When Jesus saw the multitudes He had compassion upon them. He said on one occasion, "Give ye them to eat"; on another occasion He said, "If any man thirst, let him come unto Me, and drink." He made Himself a Covert from the storm, and the Shadow of a great Rock in a weary land. Let us go and do likewise.
3. Wisdom holds a tremendous responsibility. It is written: "If the watchman see the sword come, and blow not the trumpet, and the people be not warned: * * his blood will I require at the watchman's hand."
Again it is written: "If thou warn the wicked of his way to turn from it; * * thou hast delivered thy soul." Thus God doth hold us responsible for a true testimony, O Church of God, what wilt thou say in the day of judgment, if the wicked charge thee for their doom? Let us cease to cry, with wicked Cain, "Am I my brother's keeper?"
I. A QUESTION THAT SHOULD BE ANSWERED (Proverbs 1:22 )
Here is the question that each young man and young woman needs to ponder and to answer: "How long, ye simple ones, will ye love simplicity? and the scorners delight in their scorning, and fools hate knowledge?"
1. Shall we refuse Wisdom's call? Shall we reject Wisdom's warning? Shall Wisdom call unto us in vain?
Does a flowery path, perfumed with the odors of the apothecary always lead to realms of bliss? Does a cup, merely because it stirreth itself, and showeth itself red, alway at the last, bear blessings? Nay! Satan is a master in painting roseate pictures, and in promising a false glory. He can put mirages in a young man's sky. Remember the old adage, "All is not gold that glitters."
Stop! Look! Listen! There is danger ahead. Heed the cry of Wisdom and turn and live.
2. How long will the youth of the land refuse to hear? Do you say you must have your fling; you must taste the sweets of the world's ways? Think you it will be easy to stop when once you are entangled in a yoke of carnal bondage.
How long will you play with fire? How long will you leave the Saviour standing outside the door of your heart, and pleading to enter? How long? How long? It cannot be safe to go your way. The river is running swifter, and daily it grows wider even the river you must cross to reach the Master's side. Satan's power is increasing, his grip is tightening.
With all of our hearts we call upon the unsaved to turn to the Lord; hear ye His voice and walk in His ways!
II. A GRACIOUS PROMISE TO POUR OUT HIS SPIRIT (Proverbs 1:23 )
1. There is the call to turn to the Lord. It comes from God Himself. It breathes forth the willingness of the Lord to save. It seems to say, "I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but would that all should turn and repent."
How many are the loving and earnest calls of the Lord. "Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the Lord." "Look unto Me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God." "Come unto Me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." "Him that cometh to Me I will in no wise cast out."
These are only a few of the Lord's calls to sinners to turn unto Him, They are as if one were drowning, and a hand were reached out to save; they are as if one were being dragged down by an enemy into some horrible pit, and a rescuer stood by to deliver. All of this makes the way of the sinner so inexcusable. It is not as though the wicked were in a helpless and hopeless estate, with none to save. Not so. The lover of their soul stands ready to save.
2. There is the promise of the Spirit. " I will pour out My Spirit unto you." How gracious is this assurance, The Spirit is, in truth, the Spirit of wisdom and of the knowledge of Him. To the sinner walking in the ways of death, there comes not only a sure deliverance, but also One, even the Spirit, who will come in to illumine the heart in the things of God.
3. There is a second promise. "I will make known My words unto you." The way of sinning is a way foreign to the good Word of God. Those who forsake their way and their thought, will be given God's Word, which will lead them into God's way and thoughts.
Dear child of God, do not forget to read frequently the blessed Word of God. Keep the sacred Word ever with you. Let it be your daily meditation. Search its pages by day and by night. Let it dwell in you richly, in all wisdom and spiritual understanding, strengthening you, and admonishing you in the things of God.
Let the Word be to you more than gold, yea, than fine gold; let it be to you sweeter than the honey and the honeycomb.
III. WHEREIN LOVE AND MERCY PLEAD (Proverbs 1:24 )
1. "I have called." How many are the calls of Jehovah. Every word of God is a great big "Come" of invitation to the sinner.
"Come unto Me, it is the Master's voice,
The loving heart of God bids thee rejoice."
"Come; for all things are now ready." The supper is prepared, the feast is spread, the invitation is given, " Come and dine." "Come unto Me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." "Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters." " Come, buy wine and milk without money and without price." "If any man thirst let him come unto me and drink." "Whosoever will let him come."
2. "I have stretched out My Hand." This is more than "Come." This is "Come," with a tender and loving urge. One would think that a mere invitation would be more than enough to get any sinner started toward God, and Home, and Life. But no; God must take the place of a suppliant, and stretch out His hands.
Consider a disobedient and a gainsaying people, like Israel, and yet, unto just such a people we read that God says, "All day long I have stretched forth My hands." It is all expressed in one verse, "How often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings." Such is the heart of God toward those who are hastening their way into the nets which Satan has spread.
3. "My hands." What a graphic picture! The hands stand for helpfulness, succor, rescue. When Peter was sinking beneath the waves of Galilee, he cried, "Lord, save me." Then Christ stretched forth His hand and took Peter's hand. Think of Jairus' daughter as she lay dead: "He * * took her by the hand, and the maid arose."
Thus our key verse bears a call of love, "I have stretched out My hand." Praise God for the helping hand, the outstretched hand of our Lord.
IV. WHEREIN LOVE AND MERCY ARE REFUSED (Proverbs 1:24-25 )
1. "Ye refused." Here is the attitude of the unsaved sinner in a nutshell, simply but forcefully stated. "Ye refused." Proverbs 1:10 reads: "My son, if sinners entice thee, consent thou not." However, instead of saying no to sinners, the son is saying no to the Saviour.
Here is the way the Holy Spirit sums it up in another Scripture: "And sent his servant at supper time to say to them that were bidden, Come; for all things are now ready." What happened? "And they all with one consent began to make excuse, * * [saying], I pray thee have me excused." That was no more than a polite way of refusing.
It is still true, even as Christ said, "Ye will not come to Me, that ye might have life."
2. "No man regarded." The depth of sin deepens. Here is more than a refusal here is a shut ear; a blank refusal; a hardhearted refusal; a rebuff; a brutal disregard. The voice which pleads means nought to them. They can sit by without regard. It is as though one were crying and they stopped their ears, closed their eyes, with no sense of pity or care.
3. "Ye have set at nought all My counsel." This is no light matter. The Word of the Lord is forever settled in Heaven. Heaven and earth may pass away, but His Word shall not pass away. The man, therefore, who makes light of the counsels of God, and rejects His Word is the more guilty.
4. Ye "would none of my reproof." The warnings of God are thrown to the winds, as altogether unbelievable. Reproof is made a matter for jest. There is no hell, no punishment for sin; no judgment, no anything.
V. REWARD THEM ACCORDING TO THEIR WORKS (Proverbs 1:26-27 )
1. "I also will laugh." "I will mock." There is an eternal principle in the judgments of God, Did they laugh? They will be laughed at. Did they mock? They shall be mocked. Did they kill with the sword? They shall be killed with the sword. "How much she hath glorified herself, and lived deliciously, so much torment and sorrow give her."
Here is a verse that sums it all up: "Whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap." It seems very smart to the sinner to laugh at God. It will be quite another thing to be laughed at; it seems funny to mock God, and it draws the applause of the godless in this age of Christ rejection; it will be another matter, in the day of judgment, to be mocked.
2. When the tables are turned. "When your fear cometh as desolation, and your destruction cometh as a whirlwind; when distress and anguish cometh upon you."
It may not be pleasant to consider but it is a part of Wisdom's words there is a time coming when they that laugh now, will mourn and weep. There is a time coming when they who rejoice in sin, shall weep and wail in their miseries.
We have seen, with our own eyes, more than one man, who, in health and worldly prosperity, mocked God and laughed at salvation; yet, in the hour of death he pleaded for mercy, and found it not.
The sinner often has a perverted idea of the love and goodness of God, He thinks that he can mock away his day of grace, and that in the hour of distress or death, he can command the Spirit to hasten and save.
"I will mock," is, indeed, in the Old Testament, but it is written for our admonition upon whom the end of the ages is come. Besides, all Scripture is written for reproof, and for correction. Thus we feel free in pressing this one home.
VI. THE TIME WHEN FEAR COMETH (Proverbs 1:27-28 )
1. This age is the age of mercy. God does not now render His wrath. As men go about in their evil way, taking His Name in vain, mocking His very existence, ridiculing His Spirit's call, criticizing His Word. God remains "silent, so far as punishment is concerned. There is coming, however, a day of wrath and judgment; and for this the wicked are treasuring up wrath against the day of wrath and the revelation of the righteous judgment of God.
2. The day of wrath will be a day of fear for the wicked. How graphically does the Word speak: "The great day of His wrath is come and who shall be able to stand?" In that day the wicked will fear. So will they fear as they stand before the Great White Throne. Fear, distress, and anguish will all come upon them.
3. In the day of their fear they will call on the Lord. Here are the words of our key verses:
(1) "Then shall they call upon Me, but I will not answer."
(2) "They shall seek Me early, but they shall not find Me."
Think you that there may be a second chance another opportunity after death another altar call to sinners to repent? Never! No, such will never be. The wicked may call, but God will not hear. They may seek, but they cannot find.
4. In the day of their fear, the tables will be turned. God once called, and they refused; God stretched out His hand and they would not regard: now they call, and God will not hear; they stretch out their hands and He will not regard.
If the sinner wants to be saved, let him seek the Lord while He may be found, and call upon Him while He is near. Let him come while love still pleads.
VII. GOD'S REASONS FOR HIS JUDGMENTS (Proverbs 1:29-33 )
1. God displays the refusal of the wicked
(1) They hated knowledge. The way of truth they might have known. It was cried forth on the streets; in the chief places of concourse it was heard; in the gates it was made known. They, however, refused knowledge because they hated it.
(2) They did not choose the fear of the Lord, They seemed to say, Who is this Lord that we should obey His voice? They said, Your wisdom is folly. They professed themselves to be wise, too wise to hear the voice of the true Wisdom; therefore they became fools, and changed the glory of Christ and of God into an image made like unto birds and beasts. They did not like to retain God in their knowledge, therefore God gave them up.
(3) They would none of Wisdom's counsel, and despised her reproof. They flaunted every word of Heavenly wisdom. Its warnings they cast aside. They trusted in their own counsel. They knew more than God knew. They cast His reproof off as foolish pratings.
2. God states the reasons for His judgments.
(1) They shall eat of the fruit of their own way. They, so to speak, prepared their own judgment, and are now about to eat of the harvest of the seed which they themselves sowed. It is for this cause that God wrote: "The wages of sin is death."
God's judgments are stored up by the sinners who reject Him. They make their doom. Each sinner receives no more than the rewards of his own deeds.
(2) They shall be filled with own devices. No man in hell can say, "God did it." They are the ones who did it. God gave them only what they themselves prepared. It was their own turning away that slew them; it was their own following after the promised prosperity of fools that destroyed them.
3. A final word of assurance. How marvelously do the last words of our chapter sound forth: "But whoso hearkeneth unto Me shall dwell safely, and shall be quiet from fear of evil." Now, therefore, is the time to hearken and to believe. If now we hearken, then we shall not fear.
The same Wisdom which pleads is the Wisdom that passes the sentence of death.
A young man was once driving a two-horse buggy down the crowded streets of a large city when suddenly the horses, taking fright, got beyond his control, and there he sat not knowing at what moment he might be hurled to instant death, for which he knew that he was utterly unprepared. Just as a catastrophe appeared inevitable, a stranger sprang in front of the flying horses and clutching at their bridles, at imminent risk to himself, held on to them until the frightened animals stopped, and the young man was able to jump out and thank his benefactor for having saved his life.
Some months after, this same young man stood in a felon's dock, charged with the crime of willful murder, of which the jury had just found him guilty. Before pronouncing sentence, the judge asked the prisoner if he had anything to plead in extenuation of his crime. Instead of giving a direct answer, the prisoner, looking intently at the judge, said, "Sir, don't you remember me? Don't you recall the occasion when you stopped two runaway horses in this city and saved the young man's life who was driving them?" "Yes," said the judge, "I'm not likely to forget that incident." "Well," went on the prisoner, "I'm that young man." "Ah," replied the judge after a pause, "I recognize you now; but what has that got to do with your crime and its punishment?" "Sir," pleaded the prisoner with his very soul in his voice, "you saved my life then; won't you spare it now?" For a moment tense silence fell upon the court; presently it was broken by the voice of the judge. "Prisoner at the bar," he said, "I am here in only one capacity, to administer justice; and," he added solemnly, "when I saved your life then I was your saviour; now I am your judge." And he condemned the guilty man to death. E. G. Carre.