The Psalm writer wrote: Open my eyes, that I may behold Wonderful things from Your law. As we come before a Holy God and hear his word, may we have eyes open to the wonderful and fearful things from his law. May it move us to repent and seek forgiveness, fear disobedience, and live in light of the grace we have received. This is the word of God. It is eternally true and applicable for all of life.
Proverbs 3:1-12 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. Do not let kindness and truth leave you; Bind them around your neck, Write them on the tablet of your heart. So you will find favor and good repute In the sight of God and man. Trust in the Lord with all your heart And do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He will make your paths straight. Do not be wise in your own eyes; Fear the Lord and turn away from evil. It will be healing to your body And refreshment to your bones. Honor the Lord from your wealth And from the first of all your produce; So your barns will be filled with plenty And your vats will overflow with new wine. My son, do not reject the discipline of the Lord Or loathe His reproof, For whom the Lord loves He reproves, Even as a father corrects the son in whom he delights.
We believe scripture teaches us that obeying God in how He has designed us as either man or woman is a key element in building civilization. It only takes a quick glance at the culture to see that when one casts off God’s commands regarding sexuality and relationships, all manner of evil follows: fornication, disease, abortion, gender confusion, broken homes, adultery, divorce, homosexuality, abandoned children and the like. The Word of God teaches that we are saved by grace through faith, not of works lest any man should boast. So it is by God’s grace that we are able to live lives that honor God in how He has designed us.
With these things in mind, I would like to speak directly to a specific group of Christians this morning: our young men. This Proverb begins with “My son, do not forget my teaching.” Written from a father to a son, what follows over the next twelve verses are instructions in the form of “do this, and what follows is this.” For example: “Do not be wise in your own eyes; Fear the Lord and turn away from evil. It will be healing to your body And refreshment to your bones.” Young men, as you move from childhood into manhood, you will be tempted to set aside the teaching you have received on manhood in favor of your own set of standards. Wise in your own eyes, you believe that unlike all those who came before you, you have a plan that will let you have your cake and eat it too. With respect to an issue such as marriage, your new set of standards may sound like this: “Marriage isn’t for me right now. Maybe it works for mom and dad, but I want to be free. Free to explore my options. When I bought a car, which may only last a few years, I test drove that. Why should a potential wife be any different? Anyway, there are so many fish in the sea, who can choose just one? Frankly, when will I have time for a wife, or kids? I have my gaming to think of. I have the kickball league twice a week, softball on Saturday, online gaming every Friday. I am only 21. I have my whole life ahead of me. Why would I want to be shackled with the burdens of a wife and kids? I just want to have fun. Is there anything wrong with that?”
So young men, for you, being wise in your own eyes may take the form of disobeying God in His command to leave your father and mother and join with your wife as one flesh (Genesis 2:24). Instead of being fruitful and multiplying (Genesis 1:28), a young man, wise in his own eyes, will squander his days away with childish pursuits. Instead of seeking out a wife with the adornment of a gentle and quiet spirit (1 Peter 3:4), the foolish young man, wise in his own eyes, will pursue the wayward woman, found in the streets, or online. To be sure, she is enticing, but her way leads to death.
“Fear the Lord and turn away from evil” says the Proverb today. A young man wise in his own eyes does not fear the Lord. In his lack of fear, this young man cannot discern good from evil. He is driven by the appetite of his flesh. “The heart wants what it wants” says he, and he denies himself nothing. His foolish heart becomes darkened, as he exchanges the truth about God for a lie, and worships and serves the creature rather than the creator. A young man who forsakes the Word of God, is given over to vile passions. Being wise in his own eyes, young men go down paths which lead to the destruction of their mind, body, and soul, and promote injustice in the land. “How does my choice to not marry, sow my wild oats, and have fun, promote injustice? Aren’t you being a little dramatic?” 60,000,000 babies murdered since 1973 due in big part to men who did not obey God’s command to leave father and mother and be fruitful and multiply. Countless women and children trapped in the sex trade in large part due to the pornographic appetite of young men who would rather burn in their lust for fake images on a cell phone than enjoy the wife of their youth. We know these things to be true, do we not young men? Yet some of you will trade the good things God has prepared for you, for dung. “Healing for your body and refreshment for your bones” awaits the man who fears the Lord and turns away from evil. Fearing the Lord and turning away from evil, for you, means denying what your flesh is telling you, and trusting in the Lord with all your heart. It means listening to the teaching of your father from God’s Word, and binding it around your neck and writing it on the tablet of your heart. Young men, seek out advice from godly men who have gone before you. If there is a fruitless path you are contemplating, we have probably gone down it. If there is a temptation you face, it is common to man. Learn from our past mistakes. Learn from your fathers when they warn you of the folly of a particular path. Understand that if you stray from God’s design for men and women, it will bring destruction and ruin to your life. Rather than healing to your body and refreshment to your bones, you will always be unsatisfied, dry, and in vain pursuit of peace. Instead of an abundant life, yours will be a life void of purpose. The instruction today is clear: trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He will make your paths straight. If able, please kneel at this time as we confess our sins to our just, holy God.
Heavenly Father, from whom all fatherhood gets its name, we come before You this morning, with our sins ever before You. We cannot hide them Lord; we cannot cover them up. You know our hearts, that they are deceitful and wicked above all else. Father, we are tempted to set aside Your designs for us to pursue the lusts of our flesh. It is true that in this world there are many things that entice us to this path, that Satan would seek to cause us to stumble onto this dead end, yet it is our own vile passions which ultimately lead us astray, and it is those that we confess to you this morning. Father, please forgive us for setting aside Your Word in favor of our own imaginations. Please forgive us when we forsake the sound teaching of our fathers who have gone before us, becoming wise in our own eyes. Father, help us to delight in Your Word, and be obedient to it, so that we may lay hold of the promises that You have for us. Help us to look to Your Son Who declared “It is finished”, and put all of our hopes and trust in Him, knowing that trusting in Him will lead us on straight paths, full of abundance. In Jesus Name we pray, amen.
Listen now to the comforting assurance of the grace of God, promised in the gospel to all that believe:
Psalm 113:5-9 Who is like the Lord our God, Who is enthroned on high, Who humbles Himself to behold The things that are in heaven and in the earth? He raises the poor from the dust And lifts the needy from the ash heap, To make them sit with princes, With the princes of His people. He makes the barren woman abide in the house As a joyful mother of children.
To all those who thus repent and seek Jesus Christ for their salvation, your sins are forgiven in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen. Lift up your hearts!
(From the 7/28/19 liturgy of Sovereign King Church written by Aaron Sabie.)