Ancient Wisdom for the Modern Christian: Proverbs 1:3 (Day 2)

 Josiah Espinoza | June 11th, 2019 

To receive instruction in wise dealing, in righteousness, justice, and equity. ~Proverbs 1:3

“to receive instruction in wise dealing”- There is a reason why Solomon qualifies “wise dealing” with righteousness, justice and equity because left to ourselves we would think that any dealing we undergo is a wise one. Much like a thief who sits and weighs the matter of his thievery; seeing if his crime is worth the possible punishment. That is not wisdom! That is a foolish man weighing his foolishness. Wise dealings wrestle with some of life’s ultimate battles, the battles of righteousness, justice and equity. It would be foolish to think that Solomon means a post-modernistic definition of these terms. As king of Israel, Solomon was a student of the law of God, for the law exposed God’s holiness to the people and God’s expectation of righteous, just and equal living. It was not based upon socialism, capitalism, or other types of social philosophies; it was God’s law, God’s standard, God’s instruction. Though the Christian is free in Christ and is no longer bound to the written code of the law, the law is still holy and good, and it has much to say about living in holiness.

“Wise dealings wrestle with some of life’s ultimate battles, the battles of righteousness, justice and equity.”

“in righteousness, justice and equity”- God’s standard of righteousness is absolute, there is no wiggle room. God expects his people to live in a morally upright and virtuous manner. He commands righteousness in all aspects of life, both spiritually and corporeal. We are commanded to have internal order (grace through faith) that manifests itself in communal, bodily order (the law). “Do not worship other gods” because the worship of false gods leads to false living causing all kinds of social and sexual evils.[1] “Honor your father and your mother” is a commandment continuously neglected today. Primarily because the authority of fatherhood and motherhood has been diluted by the post-modernistic hatred of authority, but also because parents (especially fathers) have given up their responsibilities to train and guide their children in righteous paths. “You shall not murder”, “you shall not commit adultery”, “you shall not steal”, and “you shall not bear false witness against your neighbor”, all of these are mandated by God so that the people of God can live in harmony with one another. To follow these is to live and commune in righteousness.

The justice of God is not the post-modernistic understanding of social justice. The post-modernist sees systems of power as the great social un-equalizer. In their view, the reason that there is injustice in society is because there are people in places of power that marginalize and disenfranchise certain people groups and the way to equalize power is to dethrone those who are in power and redistribute that power equally across the social spheres. The Scriptural understanding is that the reason there are injustices is because there is sin ruling and reigning in the hearts of humanity. People are sinful without God; they are heartless, ruthless, destructive and unjust by nature of their depravity. This was also true about ancient Israel. There were constant injustices taking places within the nation of Israel; murder, rape, idolatry, etc. And God’s justice was commanded through the law against the social injustices of Israel. There are many laws about caring for the widow and the orphan. There are laws about how to treat your slaves. There are laws about sexual immorality, unclean food, unclean bodies, adultery, how to deal with a thief, and so many other things that God commanded the people of Israel to observe so that they could live in harmony with one another. The problem is no one kept any of these laws, and so Christ came and replaced the sin that was ruling and reigning in our hearts with his righteousness, and so the code of holiness that was written in the law has been written in our heart, and we, by the Spirit, walk in the holiness of God by the Spirit through faith and not by observing the precepts of the written code.[2]

Therefore we ought to walk in righteousness, justice and equity. We should live a holy and morally upright life, following the commandments of Jesus—the law of God by faith through the Spirit—in order to show the world what justice and equity looks like. When we see one suffering we are to act in accordance to God’s justice. Are they hungry? Feed them. Are they thirsty? Give them water. Are they naked? Clothe them. This is a daily mindset. Every time we walk out our door we must ask ourselves, how can I live and act in accordance to God’s righteousness, justice and equality? It is not an easy task, but it is expected of the child of God nonetheless. The one who lives unjustly in this world will inquire the wrath God upon him, it is not about social justice, it is about God and his justice through us to the people we interact with every day.

Woe to him who builds his house by unrighteousness,

and his upper rooms by injustice,
who makes his neighbor serve him for nothing

and does not give him his wages,
who says, ‘I will build myself a great house

with spacious upper rooms,’
who cuts out windows for it, paneling it with cedar;
and painting it with vermilion.

Do you think you are a king because you compete in cedar?
Did not your father eat and drink and do justice and righteousness?
    Then it was well with him.
He judged the cause of the poor and needy;
    then it was well.
Is not this to know me? declares the Lord

Jeremiah 22:13-16

[1] Romans 1:22-32

[2] Rm. 7:6; Ga. 5:1-15;

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