Imagine a father sitting across from his adolescent son. The father stares deep into his son’s eyes and doesn’t beat around the bush. “Listen to me,” he says with loving intensity.
The boy’s dark eyes lock onto his dad, as he speaks. In the moments that follow this loving father paints a picture for his son that will affect the rest of his life. A crossroad is described. There is no middle road, only two paths going in opposite directions.
The Father colors one road as a path to life. It’s as if the father wants to take his son firmly by the hand and lead him on the path that is secure, a path that will add many days and years to his son’s life.
But before the son can get too comfortable on this described path the father quickly adds black onto the white pages of his son’s mind by sketching another path. He draws for him, the path of death. This path is smeared with foolishness, selfish desire, and scoffing at correction. The son is left at the crossroads and so are you.
As this father and son live on the lines written in Proverbs, they are waiting to be found by us on the pages of Scripture. They invite us to open our Bibles and take our seat as a son. They ask us to listen to our Heavenly Father who stands ready to teach and instruct us.
Today God is offering us a divine invitation to gain wisdom. He is calling us to know the person of Jesus and to worship Him by obeying His commands.
You Are At A Crossroad.
As you open your Bible to Proverbs 9, you must first know that you are at a crossroad. As you stand before two paths, you have a choice to make. You will not be left alone to make your decision because two voices will be calling out to you, both pleading with you to come down their path. One voice shrieks, “There is no God. Do whatever you want.” Fool-heartedly laughing one voice shouts her vulgarities while she waits to seduce you, dare you go near her. This is the voice of folly.
But there is another voice calling. This voice calls you to turn at the Lord’s reproof. The voice of wisdom calls you to leave your simple ways. Being simple is characterized by being young, niave, or easily deceived. Wisdom lovingly pleads with you to quit being deceived and come and dine with her.
It is important to know, that there is no middle road. You will either choose the path of wisdom, or you will choose the way to destruction.
You are given instruction.
Right here you are given instruction, and it may seem obvious which path you should take. But it is important to know that you can’t choose the right path by yourselves. If you choose alone, you will always choose the way to death. Why? Because as shown in Romans 5:18-19 each person is born into sin.
I must stop and tell you right here, the book of Proverbs is not about moral reform. And it sure isn’t a book of manners. This is not a code of ethics or good behavior. This book is about having a new heart- a transformed heart. Only God can give you that. Only He can enable you to walk down the path to life by transforming your inner man. The good news is: God made a way by giving us Jesus. As John 3 says, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”
That is amazing, and therefore you must pay attention to the book of Proverbs because it holds the key to life. It unlocks the door to wisdom and introduces you to the person of Jesus who is wisdom Himself.
Like the son in the book of Proverbs must respond to his father, you too must respond to your Heavenly Father. His correction, instruction, and reproof will meet your life.
What does God’s discipline/ training look like? Training may look like a rebuke from a brother (1 Tim. 5:20). It may appear in the shape of a trial. James 1:2-3 exhorts you to “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.” God’s training is a call to walk in the light. It is a call to speak the truth in love to one another so each one may grow up in the Lord. The Lord’s correction, instruction, and discipline will meet your life and you will respond one of two ways.
You will respond one of two ways.
This loving call/correction from the Lord will find you in one of two states. First, you may be a transformed believer who knows Jesus. You would be characterized as a wise person because you turn at the Lord’s reproof. This will look like, 1) You not taking God’s discipline lightly, and you don’t become unglued when reproved by Him (Heb. 12:5). 2) You believe the truth. You believe His word which says, “For the commandment is a lamp and the teaching a light, and the reproofs of discipline are the way of life, (Pr. 6:23). 3) You obey God. (Pr. 9:9) 4) You do not scoff and hate those who deliver the Lord’s rebuke (Pr.9:8)
If this is you, the book of Proverbs paints you as one who grows in wisdom. Proverbs 9:9 says it best, “Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be still wiser; teach a righteous man, and he will increase in learning.” Matthew 13:12a puts it this way, “For to the one who has, more will be given, and he will have an abundance.” If this is you, you are one who is no longer dead, but now alive in Christ.
Yet there is another response. Second, you are in rebellion against God, and are walking in hatred toward Him. When the correction comes, or the reproof meets your life, you scoff. You incur injury on those who correct you and you seethe with hated toward the one giving correction.
Here’s your result:
Your choice is a life and death matter. The results of your choice are literally the difference between eternal life and everlasting death. If you listen to wisdom, you will be one who fears the Lord (Pr. 9:10). If you are known by Jesus, and are obedient to His word, which is walking in wisdom, your result will good. Your days will be multiplied, and years will be added to your life (Pr. 9:11) But if you scorn, ridicule, and sneer at the ways of God, you alone will bear it. For when you smirk and mock God to his face, you rebel against him. And you alone will bear the punishment.
Which way will you walk?
Whose voice will you listen to? Whose feast will you attend? Will you obey God’s instructions? Will you let God’s word master your life? Or will you scorn his discipline and walk in rebellion? The crossroad is before you. I implore you to let wisdom leave its signature on your life.
P.S. If you are wondering if you truly know God and are asking “How do I know that the Lord has given me a new heart?”
Some great questions are: Do I repent? Do I turn? Do I love God? Do I die to myself? Do I obey God?
*Some of this material was taken from a Wednesday morning prayer meeting taught by Kathy Tarr.