An Idea Borrowed

Years ago on a radio program someone shared that they read a chapter in Proverbs every day. Since there are 31 chapters and the longest month has 31 days it allows you to read through Proverbs on a regular basis. I use it as the launch pad for my personal worship time and branch out from there. On this blog I will try to share some of the insights I have in the Word. I will try to organize them in the archive by reference.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Straw Men Build Straw Laws

(Proverbs 28:4 KJV)  They that forsake the law praise the wicked: but such as keep the law contend with them.

This is a timeless indictment that reaches down through the centuries to our times and our leaders.  We need to strive to keep it from applying to us as well.  Our leaders “forsake” (5800a) the “law” (8451) [torah].  At it’s heart it is talking about the law of God.  Notice that the Hebrew is “Torah.”  This obviously means precept or statute.  When you look back to the root it has the idea of pointing out or teaching.  This is not a bad thing.

It irritates me that when anyone talks about the law they focus on the most absurd portions. I am not sure the details they pick are, in reality, part of the law.  For example, I heard a sermon recently where the pastor was focusing on some obscure laws itemizing how many steps you could take on the Sabbath.  His point was that no one can keep all of the law perfectly.  Okay, no argument with that basic statement, but the Bible doesn’t say anything about how many steps you can take on the Sabbath.  At least I don’t think so.  Let me know if I am wrong.  But it does say we are to keep a Sabbath on which we do not work.  Just because some Pharisees wanted to write a doctoral thesis loaded with their own opinions does not mean that the entire law is ridiculous.  We should not erect straw men and feel proud about tearing them down.

We should not abandon the law of God.  I understand that we live under grace, not law.  I know we have liberty in Christ.  Jesus came that we might have life abundantly, but He also came to fulfill the law.  Instead of throwing it away we should be studying it so the Holy Spirit can show us ways to apply it to our lives.  It helps us to know right from wrong.  We may have four-wheel drive and big tires.  We can go anywhere we want.  But the roads are still the best way to arrive in good shape.

The basic meaning of “forsake” (5800a) is to loosen.  Other translations include “abandon” and “leave.”  It implies that what you are leaving is important.  If you walk away from the table and leave a half-eaten piece of pizza it is not considered forsaken.  I might feel that way when I leave it but that is appetite, not a moral statement.  If I decide to leave the pizza palace and head home while my wife is still in the bathroom, that might be abandonment.  It implies that you know what you are doing is wrong.

So?  Right and wrong exist.  Truth exists.  The Bible is not a book of relativism, it is a book of absolutes.  Jesus did not say, “I am a way, a maybe, and an alternate lifestyle.  It was much narrower than that.  Don’t forsake the Highway of Holiness.  Expect to grow.

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