Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Counseled By The King: The Proverbs Of Solomon. Day 42, Wisdom Makes The Heart Cheerful

Today Solomon tells us that the one who seeks godly wisdom will have a continual feast of the heart. The Lord will satisfy the one who hungers to know Him.

"Stern discipline awaits anyone who leaves the path; the one who hates correction will die." (Proverbs 15:10) When I was a kid I'd usually get two or three warnings to stop my bad behavior before my parents resorted to a time out or a spanking or the removal of a privilege. Solomon is saying something like, "When you do wrong, the Lord will correct you. If you don't respond to His correction, He will correct you again. Eventually, if you refuse to listen, it will lead to your own doom."

"Death and destruction lie open before the Lord---how much more do human hearts!" (Proverbs 15:11) There is nothing that God cannot see. David understood this and said,"You have searched me, Lord, and You know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; You perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; You are familiar with all my ways. Before a word is on my tongue, You, Lord, know it completely." (Psalm 139:1-4) For the godly it's a comforting thing to know that God is watching, but for the ungodly it should be a terrifying idea. God knows all things and therefore is righteous when He passes judgment. He is not like a human judge or jury who has to consider the evidence, incomplete and unclear though it may be, and come to a conclusion. God knows the facts.

"Mockers resent correction, so they avoid the wise." (Proverbs 15:12) There are people who will avoid us simply because they know we are Christians, even if we never say anything to them about the way they live their lives. Our mere presence makes them uncomfortable because they know they're living contrary to God's laws.

"A happy heart makes the face cheerful, but heartache crushes the spirit." (Proverbs 15:13) When we're happy it shows on our faces. We can't help but smile. But when our hearts are broken we feel crushed inside, even though we might try to put on a pleasant face.

"The discerning heart seeks knowledge, but the mouth of a fool feeds on folly." (Proverbs 15:14) The godly person derives strength and sustenance from continually learning more about the Lord. The ungodly lives on carnal pleasures and wonders why he feels so empty inside. Sin is not fulfilling.

"All the days of the oppressed are wretched, but the cheerful heart has a continual feast. Better a little with the fear of the Lord than great wealth with turmoil. Better a small serving of vegetables with love than a fattened calf with hatred." (Proverbs 15:14-16) If you've ever lived in an unhappy home, you can understand what Solomon is saying. What use is wealth or fine possessions if there is no peace? We didn't have much money when I was growing up, but we had love and peace in our home. We ate many a meatless meal, but as Solomon says, better to eat a vegetable plate in a house where love is than to feast on rich food where there's nothing but strife.

I don't know of anything that gives more comfort than having peace of mind. When we're all wound up inside and anxious and depressed, nothing satisfies us. When we're living in sin, far from God, nothing makes us happy. We were designed for fellowship with our Maker. If we do not live in friendship with Him we are missing our destinies. For a while we might be able to numb our discontent with the pleasures of this world or with substances, but deep in our hearts we're going to be empty. In contrast, the one who lives close to God has an unshakable peace that no circumstance can take away. We know who our Redeemer is. We know He has His eyes on us in this life and that we will spend eternity with Him. Our future is certain and settled. I don't know of anything more secure than that.

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