Proverbs 2:21-22

We now conclude with this topic of discernment. There are two options that each one of us must take. Option one is obedience to the Scriptures and allowing discernment to shape, mold, move, and guide our lives away from all the major problems we have covered in this context. Option two is to ignore all that has been said, focus more on what would be lost. Pursue after those things, and be trapped into the mire and pits that discernment can protect us from but did not because of our personal choice. 

It was well said, in Pilgrim's Progress, when Christian was trapped in the mire that he was trapped because he left the way. In one way, he left discernment and was led astray. That is what our main text is going to show us today. 

Before looking at the verses, notice there are only two ways. Obedience to Scripture, or disobedience. We are not given any other choice. One cannot say they will keep discernment in part of what is done but ignore it in other places. That is folly and ignorance of the highest order. No where in the Bible is a middle ground given, nor is there anywhere God will give even an iota of thought to this position. The only place a middle ground is given is found in Revelation 3:15-16. How does this turn out? 

So knowing that we are either obedient or not to discernment, what is the end result? First the positive. The upright and perfect will dwell and remain in the land. There is so much pictured in these two texts. 

Dwelling has the idea of being in place, or being put into a place of residing. Remain has the idea of being left alone, but also not just being left, but excelling where they are at. We could look at many texts to speak of this, but there are two places we should look at specifically. 

I would start by looking at Psalm 1:1-3. Notice those who stay on the right path, be with the right people, do the right things, the Bible discribes them as a tree planted by the waters. This is vital for any tree, especially in the area of Israel. If we look at a desert map, we will see several areas that are rich and green, surrounded by brown desert and sand. It is in this green patch we have water. The trees and vegitation can live in the harsh climates of the desert because they are by the water. 

For those who are on the road and the path and guided by discernment, we are planted by the water. But not just any water,  but the living water (John 7:37-39). Jesus is the living water that we need to handle the harsh, cruel desert of this life. Failure to stay on the good way, the right path, the way guarded by discernment will lead us away from this water and we will neither dwell in the land, nor prosper in it. God's call, as we saw in one of the previous blog posts, is to be holy. We can only be holy if we are following Him who is holy. That can only be Jesus Christ. 

Then Israel, as a way of example, was told to not follow the path of the nations before them (Leviticus 18:24-28). If they did not follow in that ungodly path, they would stay in the land and inherit it as God promised them they would. This call and command was very clear and strong. It was a call to stay on the discerned way, the clean way, the pure way, the right way, the way of righteousness and holiness. 

But our text in Proverbs gives us a second option. This is Proverbs 2:22. It draws a sharp contrast to the upright and pure who will dwell and remain. Instead, this group decided to ignore the call of discernment from what we have discussed going back to Proverbs 2:11-19. These indiiduals decide the command of God is not good enough to follow, not fun enough to follow, foolish to follow, or too hard. The downfall is to remember that sin is only pleasurable for a small time (Hebrews 11:25). As one pastor said,

"Sin will take you further than you want to go, keep you longer than you want to stay,  and cost you more than you want to pay" (author unknown to me at this time).

Another great quote is from Mark Aulson who said,

"Sin has a diminishing factor to it. It always gives it's best in the beginning. It never gets better after only gets worse."

How sad it is, when mankind decides to rebel against God, pursue after that which can never promise anything worthwhile, and destroy their lives in the process. It is a sad thought of how many who had potential only threw it away for their own selfish, sinful desire.

I would direct you, dear reader, to consider the secondary position found in Psalm 1:4-6. They will not dwell, they will not abide, and God will judge them. Do not think this is false. "But where is He?" you may be wondering. It is only because of His mercy and grace are you still here. This mercy and grace should not cause you to grow cold but instead drive you to your knees seeking His forgiveness (2 Peter 3:3-10). It is because of his patient, loving kindness and mercy, we should beg God for forgiveness of our sins (Romans 2:4). 

The Jews failed to heed Leviticus 18:3, 24. God warned them to not follow in the sins and wickedness of the nations that was in the land before them. It is because of their evil sin God was removing the nation from the land, not because of Israel's righteousness (Deuteronomy 9:4). If we read Leviticus 18, we will find the full list of sins that the nations did before. Israel followed after them and they too were vomited out of the land and put into bondage, which to a small part exists today. It will only be after the Tribulation in Revelation that they will finally get their nation back as God promised them so many years ago. 

Oh dear reader, please consider how you stand before God! If you are not saved, come to Jesus for mercy and forgiveness. Please reach out to us and we will be most happy to share with you how you can be saved. But understand that God's patience, while long and deep, is not eternal. There will come a time when He will be done striving for your soul, heart and mind (Genesis 6:3). If the day comes when He grows tired of calling to you and wanting you to come to Him, and you still refuse, then He will withdraw His Spirit and you will forever be bound by your sin and eternally separated from Him in a place called hell. Please, I beg you with all that is inside me, do not go that way! Come to Jesus while He may be found (Isaiah 55:6). Ask Him to save you and then, when you start on that road which is narrow, hard, and guarded by discernment, then  you will find yourself at the foot of Jesus, worshiping Him and praising Him for His love for you, for all eternity!

Maybe you are a Christian, stay grounded in the Word. Stay on the way that is guarded by discernment. Do not allow Satan to derail your walk. Too many "Christians" have decided the world is more fitting and they have pursued after their god. While this is sad, it is also expected. They never served the One true God and they show that by their departing (1 John 2:19). Pray for them. Weep for them. Try to show them the foolishness of their path. 

But there is a third challenge here. Be careful you are not lulled asleep either. Our nation, our world needs to see and know the true power of Jesus Christ. For too long they have been lulled to sleep by the likes of the demonic teaching of the New Apostolic Reformation, the Prosperty Gospel, and the motivational style teaching that focuses only on how to make this your best life now rather than how to make you prepared to be more Holy and focus on the eternal rather than the physical. Christian it is time to take this call of Proverbs 2 seriously.

No one can and will force you to do so. Each one of us must make that choice. The world will never see a revival, a true revival, without this, and no, we still have not seen one yet in our nation. 

I leave you with a little longer video. It is a compilation of teachings from some older pastors who speak on revival. I cannot help but to weep when hearing what is being said, and I pray that this stirs your heart as well. 

Keep on the straight and narrow. Be within the guard rails of discernment. And constantly be looking toward Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith (Hebrews 12:2).  Please watch this video and may the Lord open your heart and mind and may we awake to the life, seriousness, and calling we have in Jesus Christ!