Proverbs 2:20

This verse gives us the concluding matter from Proverbs 2:11. Everything from Proverbs 2:12-2:19 is example after example of what discernment guards against, and to help us avoid all of these things. But they are the subpoints to Solomon's main flow of thought. 

This idea of being a subpoint is not to minimize the Scriptures, for I would never encourage or practice that in any way shape or form. However, when we talk or write, we all do this. This helps us to illustrate, to reveal, to call attention to, and to help guide our thoughts from one point to another. 

In this case, Solomon says that discernment will preserve and understanding will keep, now we find in what way that happens: So we may walk in they way of goodness, and keep to paths of righteousness. 

It should be very well known what goodness and righteousness is by this point. We have had two chapters of Proverbs so far and have really developed these two words to the degree that we should understand their meaning. 

But, if there are some who will wonder about these words, here they are:

1. Goodness - That which is good, exceelent, rich, valuable, right (ethically) and morally good. We talked about how this cannot be based on our own opinions or our own ideas of what is good for that can change drastically. Look at our culture, as we have done greatly in just two chapters. We will see that what was considered abhorrent to a society, just a mere 50 years ago, is now celebrated and lifted up in parades and pride. Goodness must be objective and be a standard upon which all will have a general working knowledge. 

But not just any working knowledge. For there are many who will equivocate words. What does that mean? They use words we are familiar with and give them new defintions. They steal the old word and apply it to something the old word never meant! Then they use this mixed up hodgepodge in argument and debate. This makes the opponet seem unreasonable or foolish. 

There is a great article by Jacob Brunton who delves into this topic of equivocation from a racial standpoint and it is well worth the read (Please note: I agree with many things they say. However, they are from a reformed and creedal position. I am neither and therefore would not agree on that). 

Instead, goodness must be used and worked through a common knowledge based on an objective standard of what is right and wrong. That can only happen when there is One who is not swayed or moved because of public opinion or changes in culture and morality. The Only One who fills this is God. Therefore, we must use God's meaning and standard of what is good. As such, Proverbs delivers this to us, and the Bible as a whole shows us God's standards of good and right very clearly. 

So in our text, we see that discernment keeps us walking in the good way. The way that God approves and wants. But this word good is very deep and should be explored. Here are a few examples: God is described as being good (Psalm 107:1). Those who do the commands of God have good understanding (Psalm 111:10). It is better to have little but have righteousness, than have a lot of stuff without justice (Proverbs 16:8), etc. There are many, many other passages, but notice the standard is never from within. It is always from without. We must conform TO THE STANDARD, not BECOME THE STANDARD. The standard of goodness comes from without and from God alone. Therefore, to stay on the good path, one must follow He who is good. 

2. Righteous. This word means, to be right and just. To be vindicated by God, correct, lawful. Of course, the only way to have that is to be that in the eyes of the Lord. The only way to be right in the eyes of the Lord is to be made right. 

Of course, every religion has their way of accomplishing this. Humanism says that if we just keep ourself happy, that is what is right. Many Monastic lifestyles says that denying everything and living separated from all things is the way to be right with God. Sadly, some Christians say that the way to be right with God is if we feel right with God. Some relgions say we must work, others say we must give, others say we must be part of their group or we are not right, etc. 

What does the Bible say? To be right with God is to have a right standing before Him. The ONLY way to have that is to have our sins forgiven (Romans 1:16-17; 3:22; 5:17). The ONLY way to do that is to go through Jesus Christ (John 14:6). Therefore, if anyone says anything regarding a right standing and it is not a humble confession and repentance of sin and acceptance of the Gospel of Jesus Christ (His death, burial, and resurrection) then it is a manmade system. Even if it is the Gospel + something else, that is still man made. 

There is nothing you and I can do to earn righteousness. There is nothing you and I can do to have this right standing. We must admit we are a sinner. We must confess our sins. We must believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the Living God, and that He rose again from the dead (1 Corinthians 15:2-11). Our confession is us admitting that we are wrong. Our repentance is a turning away from our sin. We cannot say we are a Christian and then live like Satan. If we are saved, we no longer want to sin. We no longer want to do what the world does. We desire the Holiness and righteousness of God. If that hunger and thirst is not there, why not? Are you truly saved? If so, are you being discipled in what it means to be a Christian? There is a difference between believing in God and actually living a life that reflects what it means to be a Christian. 

Now that both words have been defined, notice that discernment keeps us in the way of goodness and the path of righteousness. This is the path to walk. Everything from Proverbs 2:11-19 lead off this path. They lead away from the direction we should walk. 

Discernment is the guard rail that keeps us from straying. Does it always work? No. We are humans, and we still have a sin nature. But if we sin, we have a mediator to forgive us (1 John 1:8-10; 2:1). Notice in 1 John 2:1, it is IF we sin. Not, While we are practicing a life of sin. If we feel we can just live a life of sin, including sin that our culture says is ok, we run afoul of what it means to be on the right path. As such we will deal with Hebrews 10:26. How will that fair before God. 

Those who live a life of sin and practice sin, as based on God's standards, will be judged and I would even venture to say, those who have no issue practicing sin, are they really saved? Sure, that may make me a bigot, closed minded, hateful. But I desire to please God first and foremost and if He has said something is sin, then who are we to try and change things so we can be comfortable in our lifestyle of sin? We will answer to God. 

These guardrails are to help us keep moving forward toward Holiness, righteousness, and eventually, the Heavenly City where we will dwell with the Lord forever. 

Discernment is that guardrail. 

Now, Proverbs 2 ends with the results of whether we stay on the path or not. But that will be for next Wednesday.