October 10, 2017 | Articles by Rev. David Bodanza
Wise parents teach their children to be wise. A good father or mother will teach their child, as the old saying goes, not to touch the stove for in touching the stove you will get burned. Parents may warn their children from their own painful experiences: "Don't make the same mistakes I made." There is only pain and misery in that path. Don't go there! It is a wise person who listens to advice and heeds it. The Bible says, "The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but a wise man listens to advice." (Proverbs 12:15) "By insolence comes nothing but strife, but with those who take advice is wisdom." (Proverbs 13:10) But despite wise advice, even the advice to heed wise advice, many times we are tempted not to accept it. We refuse to listen. We may vainly imagine that it will be different this time; that the laws of the universe will somehow be suspended only for us. We are foolish to think that we will be the first ones to touch the stove and not get burned! Yogi Berra once quipped, "There are some people who, if they don't already know, you can't tell 'em."
The Bible states that King Solomon was the wisest person who ever lived. Solomon wrote the Proverbs through divine inspiration. In the early chapters of the Proverbs, Solomon writes as a wise father or teacher instructing his son or a student. It stands written, for example, in Proverbs 3: "My son, do not forget my teaching, but let your heart keep my commandments, for length of days and years of life and peace they will add to you. Let not steadfast love and faithfulness forsake you; bind them around your neck; write them on the tablet of your heart. So you will find favor and good success in the sight of God and man." (Proverbs 3:1-4)
No one likes a know-it-all. There are those who are ignorant and quite confident about it.
Benjamin Franklin once noted, "The doorstep to the temple of wisdom is a knowledge of our own ignorance." The thing about ignorance is that one does not know what he does not know. Worse yet, some even scoff at wise advice. The Bible says that "Whoever corrects a scoffer gets himself abuse, and he who reproves a wicked man incurs injury. Do not reprove a scoffer, or he will hate you; reprove a wise man, and he will love you. Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be still wiser; teach a righteous man, and he will increase in learning." (Proverbs 9:7-9) A humble, teachable person will only gain more wisdom in the hearing of sound advice.
The Bible tells us that God created man righteous and in communion with God. About Adam, it is written, "The LORD God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it. And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, 'You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.'" (Genesis 2:15-17) Apparently, it did not take too long before the fall. As the London Baptist Confession aptly summarizes, Satan used the "subtlety of the serpent to subdue Eve, then by her seducing Adam, who, without any compulsion, did willfully transgress" or disobey the commandment God gave Adam. The King James translation of the Scriptures records the satanic seduction this way: "Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?" (Genesis 3:1) The serpent deceived Eve by questioning whether God really said what he said.
Walter Elwell observes that "[t]he difference between good and evil was not concealed from man prior to the fall, though man’s experiential knowledge was only of the good. Adam was to receive instruction concerning the nature of this distinction and the consequences of eating or not eating only from God. As he had received life in the beginning from his Creator, so
he was to live in obedience to every word that proceeded from the mouth of God. Such obedience was believing trust in God. Adam was a righteous man whose destiny was to live by faith. The point of the temptation was to urge independence from God. Satan called into question the truth of God and challenged his authority. He led man to think that he could determine for himself the difference between good and evil and that he could control the consequences to his own advantage. It was the temptation for man to be a god to himself. "
In other words, Adam touched the stove although God warned him not to. Adam did not believe God's warning that he would be injured. He thought he could decide the matter all by himself. Adam touched the stove and he got burned. And we, his progeny, got burned as well. We are under the wrath of God as sin has pervaded and infected all humanity. Born we are and die we must.
The only solution to the pervasive and damning effects of sin is Jesus Christ. "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed. But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God." (John 3:16-21)
What about you? Do you place believing trust in the God of the Bible? Or do you, like the serpent of antiquity, question, " Yea, hath God said?" I respectfully urge you to read the
Bible about these important matters of true wisdom. John Tillotson wisely observes, "He who provides for this life, but takes no care for eternity, is wise for a moment, but a fool forever." Jesus asks, "For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul? For what can a man give in return for his soul?" (Mark 8:36-37)
It is usually not a question of understanding, but of humility. Mark Twain quipped, "Most people are bothered by those passages in Scripture which they cannot understand; but, as for me, I always noticed that the passages in Scripture which trouble me most are those that I do understand." Read the Scriptures for yourself to see what God really said and is still saying.