This Week's Focus Passage

Walk with wise men and thou shalt be wise

Focus Passage: Proverbs 13:20

’Walk with wise men and thou shalt be wise.

That beautiful ‘string of pearls’ that we know as the Psalms, one hundred and fifty grand songs, or poems, from the hearts and pens of men guided by God the Holy Spirit, which one writer has spoken of as ‘an epitome of the Old Testament Scripture, begins of course, with the first psalm, which many have designated to be ‘a preface, or introduction to all the rest’ of the psalms. There is no author designated for this first among many, although the large majority of commentators believe that it was the ‘sweet psalmist of Israel,’ David himself who penned this beginning for the greatly blest book of Psalms. Charles Haddon Spurgeon speaks for many others when he has written;

We believe that David wrote this Psalm. It is Davidic in tone and expression, and it tallies with David’s experience in many interesting points. In our youth our teacher called it “David’s pocket book,” and we incline to the opinion then expressed that here we have the royal diary written at various times throughout a long life. No, we cannot give up this Psalm to the enemy. “This is David’s spoil.”

Give attention to the train of thought contained in the first few verses of ‘David’s spoil,’ his pointedly exciting ‘preface.’

Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the wicked,

Nor standeth in the way of sinners,

Nor sitteth in the seat of scoffers;

But his delight is in the law of Jehovah;

And on his law doth he meditate day and night.

If, indeed, David did write this Psalm, surely what Charles Spurgeon has had to say of it would be a mere echo of what David’s son, the author of many, or most, of the Proverbs of Solomon the son of David, king of Israel, would have thought of these asseverations. These asseverations set forward, do they not, two highly individualized and exclusive manners of walking? Both Solomon and his honored father are speaking of the narrow way and of the broad way. Solomon tells us what amounts to a promise; walk with wise men and thou shalt be wise, although not an absolute promise even as Proverbs 22:6, Train up a child in the way he should go, And even when he is old he will not depart from it. These are conditional promises but promises yet; promises that God will bless our following Him and our paying attention to His directions. He has directed us to walk with wise men and to avoid the companionship of fools, and He will bless our obedience to those injunctions. There is no guarantee that we shall be wise if we walk with wise men, nor is there such with regard to our children. As separated as we attempt to make our walk, and as diligent as we try to be in raising our children, we are not, with certainty, going to be wise in all things, nor are we given any assurance that our children are going to stray from the right path in their later years. But we should know that we will smart for walking with fools, and our children will not likely know the way to go if we fail to train them up in the way they should go.

We have numerous example given us in the Book. Lot, the nephew of the patriarch Abraham, is one such example. He chose to be a companion of fools when he chose to dwell in Sodom. And those he was spared by God, through the means of angels, nonetheless he surely smarted for his folly. He barely made it out of Sodom before the wrath of God fell upon that city of destruction; his wife only made it out part way; looking back she was turned into a pillar of salt. Lot’s case is so terribly questionable that if it were not for the statement in 2 Peter 2:7-8, we would despair. But indeed, God, delivered righteous Lot, sore distressed by the lascivious life of the wicked (for that righteous man dwelling among them, in seeing and hearing, vexed his righteous soul from day to day with their lawless deeds). Yes, the Lord is able to save those that are His own. He brought Lot out of Sodom by the hair of his chinny-chin-chin. It is only the word of the Holy Spirit through Peter that gives us any hope that Lot was saved at all. Lot had chosen to be the companion of fools rather than to walk with wise men; this cost him dearly though God saved his soul.

The example of this is emphatically demonstrated in the behavior of the son of Solomon. How is it that Solomon could write these important words of promise and exhortation while his very own son cared nothing for them? Though Solomon himself, when Jehovah had told him, Ask what I shall give thee, the new king answered Give thy servant therefore an understanding heart to judge thy people, that I may discern between good and evil. God’s response was behold, I have done according to thy word: lo, I have given thee a wise and an understanding heart; so that there hath been none like before thee, neither after thee shall any arise like unto thee. This son of whom we speak, Rehoboam, the offspring of this wisest of all kings, failed to grasp the wisdom of these words of his father about walking with wise men. He had many wise men to assist him in making decisions. Yet he willfully chose to ignore their wise counsel. He instead gathered unto himself his foolish companions, those companions of his youth, and chose to ignore the counsel of the old men that had stood before Solomon his father. When the people asked Rehoboam to deal more kindly with them than his father had, and so we read, the king answered the people roughly, and forsook the counsel of the old men which they had given him. Rehoboam refused to walk with wise men, choosing rather the companionship of fools, and so the kingdom was rent in two. While his grandfather, David, insisted that he would be blessed if he walked not in the counsel of the wicked; he stood in the way of sinners; he sat in the seat of the scornful. Rehoboam paid dearly for this. And there was war between Rehoboam and Jeroboam continually—1 Kings 14:30.

David Farmer, elder

Fellowship Bible Church

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