What the Bible says about
(From Forerunner Commentary)
We can see the human reasoning coming into play here: "I have a bullock that I am going to give to God, but he looks really great. Maybe I can use him for awhile before I give him," or, "God certainly would not want the wool, so I will shear that off!" This is just human nature in the raw at work. I could not help but smile at this because, over the years, I knew of people who had invested their tithe money with the hope of giving more to God. They invested in factory or farm equipment and then the bottom of the equipment market fell out. It just does not work that way! God tells us not to do anything else with what is due Him. He says, "It is Mine!"
John O. Reid (1930-2016)
"Lean on" is used here in the sense of relying upon or trusting someone or something for help or protection. The object of our secure trust is the Lord, a most reliable object of confidence!
When we lean against a wall or on a cane, we trust it to support us. If it should fail to do its job, we will fall to the ground and perhaps be hurt. In a figurative sense, in times of distress we lean on members of our families or friends; we rely upon them for encouragement, support, help, or protection. In this verse, "lean on" functions figuratively. Relying on our own understanding is compared to leaning on a cane that cannot bear our weight; it is unreliable for support. It is dangerous for a person to rely upon mere human wisdom or understanding because it is likely to fail him.
Acknowledging the Lord in all our ways means keeping Him in mind in every event of our lives. Godly living is not to be confined to the Sabbath, for God is involved in each moment of each day. His instruction covers our lives from waking up in the morning to going to sleep at night. He wants us to remember Him all the time and to trust and obey Him to guide our conduct in everything we do.
That "He shall direct your paths" suggests that God will "smooth" or "make straight" the road of our lives. This is a promise that God will go before us and remove many of the obstacles from our path. He wants us to be successful, so if we trust Him and follow His instructions, He will lead us forward, sweeping many of our potential problems to the side. How encouraging!
My Parents Won't Let Me!
Verse 5 appears in context with the questions in verse 4. The questioner asks, in effect, "Is anything better than the Word of God? Has any man ascended to heaven? Who is this person? To whom can I turn to receive instruction better than the Word of God?"
Verse 6 warns the reader not to delve into dangerous speculations and then take it another step farther by adding it to God's Word. Nor should one give it authority equivalent to the Word of God, as if the person speaking such things has been to heaven and returned to earth. Doing so is adding to the Word of God.
This prohibition is a well-established principle that first appears in Deuteronomy 4. In this context, "the word" means the commandments of God that appear in Deuteronomy 5:
You shall not add to the word which I command you, nor take from it, that you may keep the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you. . . . Therefore be careful to observe them; for this is your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the peoples who will hear all these statutes, and say, "Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people." (Deuteronomy 4:2, 6)
Notice also what David says in Psalm 18:30-31:
As for God, His way is perfect; the word of the LORD is proven; He is a shield [or, defender] to all who trust in Him. For who is God, except the LORD? And who is a rock, except our God?
Who can we depend on? We can depend on the Word of God to deliver us, to provide the right guidance, to give us the truth regarding everything we might face in life.
Connecting these thoughts to Proverbs 30:4-6, we find that the way of God is not improved by alloying it with human philosophy and speculations. Blending God's instruction with such things has always been a major problem. Within the framework of a covenant, this idea makes its first vivid appearance in Exodus 32, in the incident of the Golden Calf, and it continues to the end of the Bible.
Philosophies are the conclusions of men garnered through human experience and reason. So far, so good—because God requires us to use our reasoning powers in relation to His Word. So, we must gather evidence from His Word, use our reasoning powers, and then apply our conclusions to our individual situations.
However, human philosophies frequently begin with faulty premises or introduce evidence that does not agree with biblical truth. The conclusions drawn are thus wrong—and sometimes downright evil—because the wrong premise or the faulty evidence skewed the conclusion.
John W. Ritenbaugh
The Covenants, Grace, and Law (Part Twenty-Two)
It is not that God gets tired, as we do physically, but that He becomes annoyed by human reasoning and self-justification of sin. He does not accept complaints from people who say that living His way of life is useless. His way of life is the only way to long life and happiness.
On a national radio talk show, the host interviewed a young man who had written a book at age 17 about ex-President Bill Clinton's immoral influence on America's youth. His conclusion seemed to be that Mr. Clinton's immorality while in the White House so profoundly and negatively affected the youth of this nation that his generation is not responsible for their immoral way of life today. According to him, it is Clinton's fault. He did concede to a caller's point that parents share in the blame for not teaching them morality and for not calling for Mr. Clinton's removal from office for his despicable behavior, including his sexual assaults on both willing and unwilling women.
Shortly afterward, a black woman called, jumping on the bandwagon to complain about Bill Clinton's immoral behavior while in the White House. Her main point was that for three generations the Democrats' leadership had intentionally encouraged blacks to shun marriage and family life in favor of single-parent, welfare status. She claimed the Democrats targeted black Americans with social programs that were available only to non-married parents, thereby encouraging teen pregnancy to increase with each succeeding generation until it became a way of life for the black community and permanently endearing her particular race to the Democrats' welfare policy. If this were true, it would have undeniably influenced the morality of her community in a negative way. According to her, it is the Democrats' fault.
Next, a man, identifying himself as a Democrat, called to place blame on the Republican Reagan administration, which he claimed caused more immorality because people were encouraged to make money and have fun at any cost. This, he argued, had caused an increase in immorality in America through the 1980s. He asserted that Reagan encouraged sheer greed, taking people's minds off morality and placing their focus on material things. According to him, it is Republican Reagan's fault.
We cannot help but see the common thread running through each of these arguments. Hardly anyone is willing to take personal responsibility for his own actions. Was each of these arguments a factor in influencing increased immorality in this nation? Certainly! Are the people innocent when the leaders lead them astray? Can we legitimately blame others for our own actions? Do we not have an individual responsibility to "behave ourselves"?
Most people are not convinced that sin has consequences until they acquire a deadly disease such as AIDS, and even then, they deny that it is spread primarily by an immoral lifestyle. They are willfully blind and seek to place the blame on someone else. Generally, people refuse to acknowledge that their sins are their own—committed personally by them—and penalties must be paid. The continent of Africa is a case in point, where AIDS is killing off millions from the populations of many nations mostly because of the personal sin of sexual immorality.
The root cause of the immoral condition of today's society lies clearly in the fact that few people truly fear and reverence God. Because God is longsuffering in his temporary forbearance of sin and His seemingly slow enactment of the penalty, each individual who does not fear and obey Him is going to do evil. King Solomon of Israel, known for his wisdom, expressed it this way:
Because the sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil. Though a sinner does evil a hundred times, and his days are prolonged, yet I surely know that it will be well with those who fear God, who fear before Him. (Ecclesiastes 8:11-12)
Immoral behavior is the result of a choice made by each individual, making the individual responsible. No other human being can choose our behavior for us. We choose how we will conduct ourselves. We choose whether or not to fear God. When we fear Him, it will be well with us.
Martin G. Collins
In What Way Have We Wearied Him?
1 Corinthians 2:9-13
Because of the action God took once Adam and Eve sinned - they were cut off from the Holy Spirit - all of the cultures of mankind have been built on reasoning apart from God's Spirit. Man has been doomed to produce the kinds of cultures that are based on his own reasoning, because access to God's Holy Spirit was closed off, and therefore there is a missing dimension in mankind's reasoning processes.
Thus, the separation can only get wider - unless God acts to heal the breach. Mankind is unable to bridge the gap because spiritual things are not physically discerned; eyes, ears, nose, mouth cannot sense and understand spiritual things. So mankind is trapped - he is doomed in that regard. Even though God created mankind with a spiritual capacity, it is so limited that it cannot find the true things of God. Man, therefore, is easily overpowered by Satan.
John W. Ritenbaugh
Reconciliation and the Day of Atonement
1 Corinthians 2:13-15
True wisdom is the result of human reason coupled with revelation. Yet, even true wisdom will result only if a person believes what God says. Only then does a person have the opportunity to see God. He is hidden from those who put their faith in human wisdom.
Natural in this context does not mean "evil." It simply refers to one whose horizons are bounded by the things of natural life, by "the around and the about." Such a person is not equipped to discern the activities of God. But a person with the Holy Spirit can examine God's activities and make judgments based on them. Therefore, in his process of judgment, God comes into the picture. When the Spirit of God comes into a person's life, the basis of his judgment should change! This occurs, not because the person is any "greater" or "better," but because the Spirit of God equips him to see and to use godly wisdom. Now he can judge all things from God's perspective. This indeed is our responsibility!
Because God has called us, we should see God so clearly and know His greatness so intimately that we can live in the expectation that something great can happen at any moment to those who are receptive. The God who raised up Jesus is equal to any occasion—any possibility! Is anything too hard for Him? Certainly not! He throws that challenge out to man—to those who truly see Him.
John W. Ritenbaugh
Do You See God? (Part Two)
1 Corinthians 4:6
The marginal comment on this verse in the New Revised Standard Version is, "What is written, in Scripture, thus avoiding speculations." Apparently, some of the ministers in Corinth were speculating on things that were not revealed in the Bible. They were using human reasoning to explain things that were not spelled out in the Word of God. This was probably one of the reasons that some members preferred some ministers over others, because they were "more interesting" than others.
The lesson we can learn from both the Corinthian experience and observing the fruits of theological speculation is that, to understand spiritual truths and grow in knowledge of the spirit world and spiritual principles, we must humble ourselves before the Word of God. In such matters, human logic and wisdom are totally worthless. Our understanding of God's nature is limited to those things that are revealed in His Word. All of our beliefs and practices must be based on the Bible, the whole Bible, and nothing but the Bible.
Earl L. Henn (1934-1997)
Can Theology Define God's Nature?
1 Thessalonians 5:21
I Thessalonians 5:21 instructs us to "test [prove, KJV] all things," which would include our old notions, and then "hold fast" to the good ones—the ones that pass the test. A mistake many make is to follow tenaciously the instruction of Revelation 3:11 to "hold fast to what we have" while completely ignoring the additional instructions of I Thessalonians 5:21 to test first.
Experience proves that not all that we believe is truth, even if held fast for forty years. We have to test our beliefs continually and rigorously against the only standard that counts—the Bible (Acts 5:29).
Human nature is lazy and takes the easy road at every opportunity. It will rely on human reasoning, the word of others, or tradition rather than do the hard work of studying the Bible and believing what it actually says. Human nature also will not naturally do the humbling work of allowing the Bible and its plain, unambiguous verses to prove matters rather than following humanly devised ideas. The church's history over the last few decades displays the fruits of taking doctrine for granted rather than allowing clear scriptures to guide our understanding of the truth.
Why do people have so many different opinions about what the Bible says? Generally, people come to the Bible with preconceived ideas and latch on to any scripture that seems to prove their belief. At the same time, they will ignore or make light of a clear verse that obviously contradicts their belief.
God can use this as a test to determine the true intents of the heart. Where does one's allegiance really lie? Will a person humbly submit to the clear instructions of God, allowing them to lead him or her to create a true spiritual foundation (Deuteronomy 8:2-3; Psalm 149:4)? Alternatively, will they choose instead to hold on to their preconceptions or other ideas of men—their idols (Revelation 21:8)—desperately grasping at the straws of unclear scriptures to build a shaky foundation?
When doctrinal disputes arise, if a person cannot or will not prove beliefs using clear and unambiguous scriptures, that fact should raise a red flag. Clear scriptures are a solid-rock foundation. Ambiguous scriptures, open to private interpretation, lead to a foundation of sand. Only one of these foundations will stand when storms come (Matthew 7:24-27).
Praying Always (Part One)
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