Wise Ways –
“A man who wanders from the way of understanding will rest in the assembly of the dead.” (Proverbs 21:16)
“Thus says the LORD, Stand by the ways and see and ask for the ancient paths, where the good way is, and walk in it; And you will find rest for your souls. But they said, ‘We will not walk in it’.” (Jeremiah 6:16)
After a somewhat lengthy hiatus, it’s time to visit Proverbs once more, specifically choosing from the next stop, chapter 21, especially given the temperaments of the times, which – shall we say – “inspired” the artwork included with this post which I think will fit the idea here pretty well.
It’s almost nauseating to peruse many a conversation thread in electronic social networking today, and discover just how many people have so little respect for holy scripture, yet seem to think that they can spout off any foul thing they want to, hurling insults at those who love and respect it. Why?
Maybe because the perception is that this is what “freedom of speech” looks like: nobody is going to tell me what I can say or how I ought to say it. This is America and I’m going to say what I want.”
Such times resemble this: “This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away. (2 Timothy 3:1-5)
So rude and crass has our society become that there is little acceptance of personal responsibility for what anyone says to another, or even the sense or feeling that, “Wow, I wouldn’t want someone to insult what is sacred to me, so maybe I ought not approach another (especially someone I don’t even know!) in that manner just because I have a case of ‘screen rage’.” (If anything is thought of as sacred anymore, that is…) That’s like road rage – the perception that it’s OK to curse, or yell at, or insult someone just because you are encased in something the size of a Sherman Tank, so you feel safe. The other person cannot reach through your computer screen or the windshield of your big SUV to strangle you, so it must be OK. Not!
I have known a number of these individuals in “real life”, a few older, and a few not so old, even in their teens, who scorn and shun the Bible and openly renounce it, although they have never actually read it. It would seem to me that they might be at least curious about it – enough to open up a copy and find out for themselves – even if simply from the perspective of a good whodunit, or as something controversial that you might want to check out.
At any rate it puzzles me that this has come to pass… Who reads even the literary classics anymore? Who seeks to explore the Perennial Wisdom – much of which is included in the Proverbs and other wisdom literature? Who is seeking knowledge and understanding and the highest and most beautiful things? Where is the hunger and thirst after the way of understanding? What is it that motivates people to wander from it, if indeed they ever knew what it was in the first place?
We keep hearing about this “great awakening” which was supposed to be happening beginning in 2012. Yet can anyone define what that looks like, except that the movement seems to consist of advancing absorption in the “self”, rather than self being reckoned crucified and raised up on high in Christ and living from that perspective? If so, to what is humanity awakening – with each going his own way, rather than the Lord’s way of understanding, along the ancient paths He laid down for us so very long ago?
And what will it take to get someone interested in the Way of Life bestowed by Christ Jesus, the one Light – “That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world”? (John 1:9)
Perhaps, first off, it will mean that those who shun the ancient paths of understanding may have to learn firsthand that in the sowing of seeds of disrespect, mockery, and rebellion, the result means essentially “crop failure” – a place among the spiritually dead. It always amounts to the idea that what we sow, we reap: smack people around enough with the verbal or written two-by-four, and sooner or later the “cosmic two-by-four” will find its way to you.
Whether we shun the way of understanding, walk away from it, or “stand by the ways and see and ask for the ancient paths, where the good way is, and walk in it”, what is sown shall be reaped. “Ignore-ance” is no excuse for the law, as it is written not on tablets of stone but in human hearts, and into the very fabric of the creation itself.
Secondly, therefore, this being the case, as I am not a finished work, it may also behoove me to pray fervently to the Holy Spirit, “Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy holy spirit from me. Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit. Then will I teach transgressors thy ways; and sinners shall be converted unto thee.” (Psalm 51:10-13)
So perhaps it may be that “they” won’t open the Bible because they haven’t seen in God’s people what they claim it reveals. This must change first. First our own walk must match our talk. The above Psalm is a good prayer with which to start.
It is difficult thing to admit one’s own part in it, but nonetheless, let it begin with me.