A couple of weeks ago I was preparing a meal for the family. Pulling the rolls out of the oven (wearing mitts of course), I transferred the hot pan to the dining table where Jaxon was anxiously waiting. I looked at Jaxon and told him, “This is hot. Do not touch it.” I’m guessing that you already know what Jaxon did directly following my warning. Yep, he reached over and placed his little finger directly on the hot pan. Of course, it didn’t take him long to quickly remove it.
We have all done this at some point. Although we hear the waiter say, “This is hot, don’t touch,” we seem to be inclined to check to see if they are telling the truth. Or how often do we see a sign with the words: “Wet Paint: Do Not Touch” and yet many of us have been guilty of reaching over to check to see if it’s still wet?
We treat God’s instructions and warnings in a very similar way. We choose to use our own self-assessment in lieu of God’s instructions and warnings.
I told Jaxon that the pan was hot because I could foresee the possibility of him inadvertently touching it while reaching across, and more specifically, I wanted to let him know that touching it would bring him harm. I told him because I love him and don’t want to see him suffer any pain.
I couldn’t help but think of Solomon and what he said to his own son in Proverbs. You see his passion for his children to listen to wisdom in the following verses of Proverbs: 1:8, 2:1-5, 4:1-2, 5:1, 7:1-2.
But it’s not just children that have difficulty receiving instruction. Again, how many ADULTS have touched the wet paint, although they could clearly see the sign, “DO NOT TOUCH”?
When Solomon wrote so many of the proverbs and then when they were collected, many of the longer ones were placed together in the theme of “wisdom.” It was a topic that was close to his heart as it was the very thing he asked God for as a new king. But Solomon understood that wisdom was putting into action knowledge, which often was based upon “rules” or “what is right vs. what is wrong.”
Read Proverbs 3:1-8. In a series of lessons by Brother Don Truex he referred to them as “GUARDRAILS.” These good boundaries, or guardrails, are there to protect us and give us peace. Why were we told as a child to look both ways before crossing the street? Why were we told NOT to play in the street? Why were we told to be careful who we were “hanging out with” and where we went? Safety! Not just about guarding our physical body from harm, but about shaping and guarding us spiritually! It was my parents desire for me to have a life of peace, to have a satisfied life. God desires the same for His children, to have a full, secure, and good life (cf. John 10:10).
Just recently in our Sunday morning Bible study we noted the apostle Paul emphasizing that to have an abundant life in a relationship with the Father, it was imperative that they “come out from among them and be separate, says the Lord. Do not touch what is unclean, and I will receive you. I will be a Father to you, and you shall be My sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty” (2 Cor. 6:17,18, cf. Isaiah 52:11, Ezek. 20:34, 2 Sam. 7:14, Isaiah 43:6).
By touching that which is unclean, such will defile or corrupt one. Though the warning is given, there’s still the tendency to reach over and touch. Such is the reason the Proverb writer emphasized that heeding the warnings would bring “length of days and long life, and peace they will add to you; It will be health to your flesh, and strength to your bones” (Proverbs 3:1-2,8). Even Moses emphasized such to the children of Israel: “Now this is the commandment, and these are the statutes and judgments which the Lord your God has commanded to teach you, that you may observe them in the land which you are crossing over to possess, that you may fear the Lord your God, to keep all His statutes and His commandments which I command you, you and your son and your grandson, all the days of your life, and that your days may be prolonged. Therefore hear, O Israel, and be careful to observe it, that it may be well with you,” (Deut. 6:1-3a).
It comes down to a matter of trust. Do we trust that God’s way for us is always the best, even when we don’t like it or understand it? Solomon uses the word “lean.” To lean on something means that we put our weight on it, that we use it for support. Back in Solomon’s time, the word he uses here for “lean” was used to refer to leaning on a cane. If we put our weight on a cane, it means that we trust it—it means that we are counting on it—it means that if it were to suddenly vanish, we would fall over. Solomon is telling us that we are not to “lean” on our own understanding, but rather God’s.
If we lean on our own understanding, if we are wise in our own eyes, then we have a control problem. Most of us would like to think that we can figure things out on our own (i.e. our own self-assessment over God’s instruction). And yet when it comes to spiritual matters, we remember the words of Solomon in Proverbs 14:12, “There is a way which seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death.” Trusting in God means that we must admit that God is wiser than we are (cf. Isaiah 55:8,9). The benefit of living life God’s way is that we have a better life.
There are many warnings and instructions that the word of God provides, many are “DO NOT’s.” May we seek out our Heavenly Father’s instruction trusting that He wants only what is best for us and apply His words of instruction to our hearts in obedience. When we do what is good and right in the sight of our Father, rather than our own self-assessment, then we will find “favor and high esteem in the sight of God and man” (Prov. 3:4; cf. Luke 2:52; Heb. 5:8,9).
Something to think about. Have a great week! – DJ 🙂