When the consumer closes in on the news these days it is not uncommon to hear references to truth and lies. If human beings are sinners then they are also liars. The scriptures testify to this fact. All of us – no exceptions – are failures when it comes to performing God’s will. When I go to my Bible I do not expect to be a rhetoric miner. I do not expect arguments. I go in fully expecting to derive a sense of stability and reliability. I expect the truth and nothing but. Exhibit A is the aversion to putting Christ above all authority as the Scriptures affirm. All the prophets, grind to a halt as the ultimate authority. All the prophets of all the nations cannot be reliable. It dos not take much examination to can see their shortcomings and shortsightedness. “True religion” is rhetoric we can do without.
If you take the wisest man, Solomon, or the leading authority in the Jewish tradition you will most likely hang your hat on fearing God and keeping His commands. You will also be ignoring Moses in his most humble and honest moments. Solomon did not ghet past the first demand of the Mosaic legacy: you cannot have more than one “god”. Hear Moses now and feel the click.
I will raise up a prophet from among their countrymen like you, and I will put My words in his mouth, and he shall speak to them all that I command him (18). It shall come about that whoever will not listen to My words which he shall speak in My name, I Myself will require it of him. (19)Deuteronomy 18:18-19
The disciples of Christ understood this. Listen to Peter’s embrace of the message from Moses.
Moses said, ‘The Lord God will raise up for you a prophet like me from your brethren; to Him you shall give heed to everything He says to you. (22) And it will be that every soul that does not heed that prophet shall be utterly destroyed from among the people.’ (23)Acts 3:22-23
You can only paint yourself into a corner with your commitment to the law and ancient practices. Christ is of no effect to the person who confesses confidence in his own compliance with the instruments of condemnation and prejudices that are wholly unattractive and futile.
PEOPLE WHO REFUSE TO OWN THEIR HISTORY
If people insist that there are individuals in the North American context who have never demonstrated the vileness of our founding national leaders then there is little reason to hope for a just society. Canadians who do not see the criminal streak in Canada’s settlement of the land and confederation will die due to their rhetoric and pass on the lifestyle to their children. Even in our most cospopolitan areas there lurks all the vilest specimens of humanity. The genocidal outrages and the attraction of military-dominated governments are bound to continue. It will take an unprecedented bit of courage and universal agreement to end the silly rhetoric of nationalists and conservative types. Deny, deny, deny. People who refuse to admit their history can be expected to engage in trashy rhetoric, misguided protest, education that leads away from facts, and they will unload their passions on the victims of bad policy.
The king slept well and was probably also quite fit!
The fear of the Lord leads to life, So that one may sleep satisfied, untouched by evil.
Proverbs 19:23, like much of the book, is about Solomon’s accountability for his wisdom to govern. Solomon showed no interest in adopting the ideals of Judaism, the first of which is to belief and worship a single God, namely the God of Abraham, identified as creator of the universe.
Proverbs have been a refuge for many believers because of their relation to daily life or because of observations that are common and viewed as helpful. It is often forgotten that Solomon’s wisdom was targeted at ruling the Iraelite nation and it was what he asked for. Much of dismay at what seems like incorrigible malicious behaviour may be attributed to misapplication of commands and observations. People doing business with or for the state are not the same as individuals walking with God.
What’s in a proverb
There are 139 commands in the Book of Proverbs and we are not surprised to find that the terms of the Covenant are not highly featured. After all Solomon seems to have been oblivious to the first stipulation of the Covenant. Proverbs are for rulers and no one gets life by being in charge of anything. If Genesis has anything to say about the subject, it is that dominion by smarts kills.
The sayings in the Proverbs are observations of human life, warnings about careless living, and declarations about the ruler’s relationship with God. The proverbs reflect the life of someone in charge. A person in possession of proverbs is expected to rule successfully. If anything seeps in from the covenant it is family life; parents and children in harmony and the dangers of prostitution.
Rule by proverb or power?
Solomon’s exorbitant wealth is no token of divine approval and his rule over Israel mirrors with precision the rule of Adam over the world: disastrous. It is raw power that Adam and Eve shared as dominars of sky land and sea.
Listen to your mom and dad
The message of Messiah’s mighty messenger addresses the quality of the relationship between parents and children. Every generation has an obligation to work on dancing to what is appropriate for parents and children. This can only happen when the parties are willing and courageous to repent of their futile ways. Parents can take little pleasure in seeing only that their children simply follow their lead. Children can take little pleasure only in rebelling against their parents’ simply lead. To fail this test is to court a curse.
And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.
And he shall go before him in the spirit and power of Elias, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just; to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.
All that wisdom: poof
Is it a coincidence that the books at the center of Hebrew wisdom are often lacking in the grand themes of divine excellence? Wisdom, righteousness and greatness seem locked up in the Law, but the winds have never found the sails. Like the choice offerings in the sanctuary, the great wisdom has vanished in a flash.
And what nation is there so great, that hath statutes and judgments so righteous as all this law, which I set before you this day? Deuteronomy 4:8
Wisdom that comes and goes
The nations of the world were impressed with Israel’s holy things, but the covenant lay in ruins from Moses to John the Baptist. Wisdom and understanding were supposed to be manifested in performance
… do them; for this is your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the nations, which shall hear all these statutes, and say, Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people. Deuteronomy 4:6b
What about that great law lends itself to people everywhere? Mercy, justice, and faithfulness appear as God’s priorities in every age.
- Job gets dragged through the wringer of adversity to reveal, apart from the Law, that people cannot save themselves. He leaps on and rejoices in the coming resurrection, God’s covering righteousness, and a philanthropic lifestyle.
- David is all over those things that are both mysterious and material to the salvation of all people. His vision is not of Moses law as primary. It is a king who saves and rules by extreme righteousness
- Solomon, the wisest man who ever lived, says nothing about salvation, endurance, worship, idolatry, faith, and forgiveness.
Slinging maxims and proverbs is no way to build a spiritual life
But I say unto you, That in this place is one greater than the temple. Matthew 12:6
The queen of the south shall rise up in the judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: for she came from the uttermost parts of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and, behold, a greater than Solomon is here. Matthew 12:42