Wisdom and Safety
Brian D. Dykstra, Teacher at Hope PR Christian School in Walker, MI
Proverbs 3:23-26: “Then shalt thou walk in thy way safely, and thy foot shall not stumble. When thou liest down, thou shalt not be afraid: yea, thou shalt lie down, and thy sleep shall be sweet. Be not afraid of sudden fear, neither of the desolation of the wicked, when it cometh. For the Lord shall be thy confidence, and shall keep thy foot from being taken.”
Solomon continues to instruct his son about the benefits of sound wisdom and discretion. Sound wisdom is the wisdom which comes from God’s Word, a standard of morality which does not change, but is firmly established by the Creator. God’s wisdom alerts us the temptations we meet each day so we can tell the difference between the way that leads to fellowship with God in Jesus Christ, and the way which leads away from Him.
We can walk in our way safely. A way is a well travelled path. It refers to our day -to-day living. Straying from the path leads to danger. David left the path marked by God’s law in his sin with Bathsheba and the murder of Uriah. Peter was ashamed of the Lord and denied Him three times. We all face temptations too. Some of these temptations are common to us. We become frustrated with students’ behaviour or work. We struggle to be patient and control our tongues so we do not give vent to what is on our minds. Other temptations are more unique to us either because of our situation in life or our personalities. We are busy and have plenty of things to do. There is not the time we would like for ourselves or our family members. Yet, that lousy car needs our attention or that miserable water heater leaks. We become irked and annoyed with what is our Father’s will for us at the present. We are assured we shall not stumble when we remember the promises of God that all things work for our good and that we can trust in Him in our small frustrations as well as the large issues in our lives.
God’s wisdom will keep us in safety during the hours of the night. Perhaps today we feel safer at night than people of long ago. There was a time when it was foolish to travel alone from one city to another even during the daylight. Bands of robbers waited by the roadside. The night was the domain of thieves, drunkenness with its associated evils and a wide variety of sexual perversions. Yet, wisdom allows us not to be afraid because we will struggle to keep ourselves from such sins. Our sleep will be sweet because we will not have to listen to the accusations of a violated conscience. Though we sin and are burdened with a corrupt nature, we are assured that God’s way of salvation for His elect takes away all our shame and guilt. We can sleep, not because we rest on our own righteousness, but because Christ’s righteousness is credited to our account. Peter had to be roused from deep sleep the night before his expected execution. Jacob, fleeing from his brother and facing an uncertain future, slept soundly though he had a rock for his pillow.
Next, we are told not to be afraid of sudden fear or of the desolation of the wicked. We are no longer dealing with our day-to-day routine. Life has changed. There is sudden fear and the desolation of the wicked. Here the commentaries I have read disagree. Charles Bridges thinks this refers to God’s judgment against the wicked. When God’s judgment comes against the wicked, the elect will not be unaffected. God’s people also lose their lives and property in the floods, earthquakes and famines He sends because He is just. We need the reassurance of our heavenly Father’s love for the Church during these times. Matthew Henry says the sudden fear and desolation of the wicked refer to the persecution the wicked bring against the elect in their hatred for God’s Truth and rebellion against the rule of Christ. Persecution will not be easy to face. Will our suffering be so great we will wonder about our Father’s love for us? Will we fear we have served Him in vain? Will we lose our confidence in His promises because our suffering is so great? We enjoy our freedom and liberty in this nation. It will be hard to suffer such horrible treatment at the hands of the government which will be over us. Why should we, who only seek to do our sovereign Lord’s will, be punished more harshly than rapists, murderers and violent thieves? Why should we be viewed as a greater threat to society than the evil-doers?
Verse twenty-six tells us why we should not fear. God shall be our confidence. Jehovah is firm and stout. The word “shall” is used to express a guarantee from God. He is a sure confidence. This confidence does not mean we will preserved from all physical hurt or suffering. God is not promising a primrose path of dappled sunlight and comfortable temperatures as we merrily hike along our paths. It is not a life of ease where all of His people have the Midas touch and our success glitters for all the world to see. There will be no Christianizing of the world where we can live in peace and prosperity under the banner of God’s Truth.
When the world experiences the just judgment of God and fills its cup of iniquity by persecuting the church, God will be firm and unmovable for us. Our feet will not be taken by the evil one. He will assure us that His promises always stand and will be kept. He delivers us. Salvation is sure. We might be weak and bend, but God’s strength is stout, strong.
May God use the efforts of covenant parents through the means of our Christian schools to write His Word on our children’s hearts so they have wisdom and discretion. Then they will be safe throughout all their lives.