An Ordered Life
Key Verse: “The fear of man bringeth a snare: but whoso putteth his trust in the LORD shall be safe.”
FROM THE BOOK OF PROVERBS, we receive much instruction as to living a properly ordered life. In today’s lesson, we will focus on several of these found in chapters 28 and 29.
In Proverbs 28:11, we read, “The rich man is wise in his own conceit; but the poor that hath understanding searcheth him out.” While the “rich” in this verse can certainly refer to literal wealth, it can also mean the riches of nobility and status in this world and the richness of a worldly spirit. Such thoughts cause many to be wise in their own conceits—full of pride. Pride is an enemy of the servant of God. It must be conquered in order to receive God’s approval in any endeavor of life. Likewise, the “poor” of this verse, although applicable in some cases to the literally poor, are those who are humble, meek, and of a contrite heart—those who are “poor in spirit.”—Matt. 5:3
Just being “poor,” however, is not sufficient to be pleasing to God. This verse indicates that “understanding” and “searching out” are also necessary. Being disposed to meekness and humility will make one more likely than the “rich” to desire understanding from God and to search out his ways. This is because such, unlike the rich, realize their own insufficiencies. It is this meek and humble desire to know and understand God, and search out his will, that should motivate the Lord’s people.
Another lesson is found later in Proverbs 28 relating to the enemy of pride. “He that is of a proud heart stirreth up strife: but he that putteth his trust in the Lord shall be made fat.” (vs. 25) How true this is! Those with the spirit of pride in their heart will desire selfishly to have their own way in life’s experiences. For many with this mind-set, it does not matter how others feel, believe, or think. Thus their heart “stirreth up strife” by always wanting its own way.
Such a proud attitude also leaves the Lord out of the picture. That is why the latter part of the verse says, by contrast, that the one who “putteth his trust in the Lord shall be made fat.” In other words, their humble trust in God will be rewarded, “be made fat,” in due time by the Heavenly Father. As the Apostle Peter states, “Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time.”—I Pet. 5:6
The Key Verse of our lesson also points out the need for humble trust in the Lord. If we truly trust in him, we will safely abide under the shadow of his wings. This does not mean that he will spare us from trials and difficulty, but he will be with us in all these things. He will never ask us to bear more than he sees we are able to bear. By contrast, this verse indicates that we should not put our trust in man in his current fallen condition, or act in “fear” of man-made creeds or doctrines. To do so would be a “snare” to anyone desiring to serve God.
By properly understanding and searching out God’s will, and developing the necessary qualities of humility, meekness, and trust, we will be properly equipped to live a life ordered in accordance with the Divine purpose. “Order my steps in thy word: and let not any iniquity have dominion over me. Deliver me from the oppression of man: so will I keep thy precepts. Make thy face to shine upon thy servant; and teach me thy statutes.”—Ps. 119:133-135