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Study Resources :: Text Commentaries :: F.E. Marsh :: Readings 251-300 (Kept - Peace)

F.E. Marsh :: 297. Wisdom's Start and Separation

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PROVERBS 1: brings out in vivid contrast the wisdom of the wise and the folly of the foolish. The one is under the power of God, and therefore has His authority, and the other is under the will of self, and in consequence ends his career in dismay and destruction.

  1. Wisdom’s start. “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge” (Proverbs 1:7). Gladstone said some time since, “The older I grow the more confirmed I am in my faith and religion. I have been in public life fifty-eight years, and forty-seven in the Cabinet of the British Government, and during these forty-seven years I have been associated with sixty of the master minds of the country, and all but five of the sixty were Christians.” The above gives colouring to the statement that the men were what they were because they were Christians.
    What a difference there is between the fear of the Lord and the fear of man. The latter brings “a snare” (Proverbs 29:25), while the former is:—
    Departing from evil (Proverbs 3:7).
    Hating all evil (Proverbs 8:13).
    Prolonging of days (Proverbs 10:27).
    Inspirer of confidence (Proverbs 14:26).
    Fountain of life (Proverbs 14:27).
    Minister of contentment (Proverbs 15:16).
    Instructor of wisdom (Proverbs 15:33).
    Satisfier of soul (Proverbs 19:23).
    Harbinger of true riches (Proverbs 22:4).
    Keeper of the heart (Proverbs 23:17).
    Steadier of the soul (Proverbs 24:21).
    The fear of the Lord means to reverence Him humbly, to submit to Him gladly, to trust in Him wholly, to obey Him continually, to love Him supremely, to follow Him fully, and to walk with Him confidingly.
  2. Wisdom’s separation. The three “nots” are pointed in their bearing and practical in their application. They are “Forsake thou not” (Proverbs 1:8), “Consent not” (Proverbs 1:10), and “Walk not” (Proverbs 1:15).
    Forsake thou not.” The law of the mother which the son is exhorted not to forsake, is the law of God which the mother had made hers by her faith and obedience, just as Paul speaks of the Gospel of God as “My Gospel” (2 Tim. 2:8). Sherman says, “‘Wanted-a boy who obeys his mother.’ So advertised one employer. Thousands of such boys are wanted. I never yet knew a lad prosper in the world who did not love his mother.” The mother’s apron strings, if fastened on by the Lord, are cables to keep the soul steady on the sea of life.
    Consent not” (Proverbs 1:10). “This is the defence, a blunt, peremptory ‘No.’ The method of defence must be different from the enemy’s mode of attack. His strength lies in making gradual approaches; ours in a resistance, sudden, resolute, total.” As a good man said of temptation, “I cannot help an ill bird flying over my head, but I can prevent him from making a nest in my hair.” Whoever hesitates and argues when a known sin is presented before him, is already half lost.
    Walk not” (Proverbs 1:15). Separation from sin and sinners is the Christian’s safety. If we walk with the ungodly we shall be contaminated by them, even as a canary if put with a sparrow, will begin to chirrup like it. Abraham (Gen. 12:10), Lot (Gen. 19:17), Jehoshaphat (2 Chron. 18:1), Peter (Luke 22:55), got into bondage of spirit, bitterness of soul, and lost the blessing of the Lord’s approval, through fellowship of the ungodly.

The Blue Letter Bible ministry and the BLB Institute hold to the historical, conservative Christian faith, which includes a firm belief in the inerrancy of Scripture. Since the text and audio content provided by BLB represent a range of evangelical traditions, all of the ideas and principles conveyed in the resource materials are not necessarily affirmed, in total, by this ministry.


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