For a man’s ways are before the eyes of the LORD,
and he ponders all his paths.
The iniquities of the wicked ensnare him,
and he is held fast in the cords of his sin.
He dies for lack of discipline,
and because of his great folly he is led astray.
We would be foolish to assume and eventually believe that we could hide from God. Sure, we would have secrets that would never be revealed, even when our physical bodies expire, but all angles and perspectives of each and every human being that has ever walked this earth is before the eyes of the Lord. He knows all – no, more than this, His knowledge is infinite. His perspective is infinite, seeing each and every one of us from different angles and dimensions.
And not only does He observe us, but the verse continues to say that He ‘ponders all (our) paths’. The concept of Doctor Strange gives us an perspective of how difficult this is – Considering all possibilities for as many degrees as possible, in every given moment, for each and every human being… I mean, Doctor Strange took so much time to consider just one situation, but imagine God knowing all of this from the start, knowing exactly what to speak, how to act, etc… And really, this is all to say that He ‘predicts’ our paths; so when we say He ‘ponders’ all our paths, it’s to say that He has intention, not necessarily doing all this thinking just because, but He certainly wants to think about each and every one of us.
As I write that I’m reminded of where Peter tells us to cast all our cares upon Him, for He is thinking of us – And that’s already saying a lot, to say that the Creator of the Universe is thinking about us!
He thinks about us, and it’s certainly wisdom imparted upon the Preacher (the writer of the Proverbs) – to share that in all His thinking, He knows for a fact that each and every time we are set back, each time we stumble, each time we are compromised and brought to consequences ultimately leading to death, it’s all because of the wickedness present in this world, the wickedness still present in the hearts of men who have not taken in the Gospel of Christ.
See, I’m led to believe that the iniquities of the wicked do not only ensnare him, and him alone; no, there’s always the possibility of anything and everything he is involved in to be just as affected and impacted as well. As long as sin exists in this fallen world, and as long as iniquity has its way, we could only expect more and more people and entire communities to be ensnared, and to be held fast – held back from their full potential as Christ has created them to have, blinded from the Truth that sets them free.
The New King James Version shares that the wicked dies for lack of ‘knowledge’; Indeed, ignorance is not bliss, especially when it is ignorance to the good news… but I do find it interesting that in the English Standard Version is uses ‘discipline’ instead. I’m thinking that ‘discipline’ and ‘discipling’ have their roots in each other, and in this case, we can say that when the wicked die for lack of discipline, it’s for lack of somebody who knows to share the good news to them. But that’s not to say that the fault is upon us who believe, solely – no, I think that discipline works both ways, in that everyone involved has to be… well, involved. In other words, while we project the everlasting love of God, whether intentionally or intentionally, in not only our words but our entire lives, it takes a vulnerable heart to take in the good news.
Am I making sense here? I might as well offer another perspective to this verse – that is, that the wicked die for lack of wanting knowledge, or maybe not realizing the need for discipline and knowledge. It’s not so much as they don’t know, more than they’re holding on to what they already know, making them vehemently against anything else that presents itself to them as good news.
It’s sad, because as I continue down this road of elaborating why I’ve been impacted by these verses today, I realize, indeed, how hopeless it is for one apart from Christ to have some sort of freedom, or even reprieve from the snares and the chains of looking only this reality, not knowing that there is an everlasting love and an infinite peace that is just ready to be poured out into all aspects of their being, the moment that they would give even the smallest of consideration to who God says He is.
And let’s not forget that we were once like this. We were once in a hopeless, pathetic state of being the kings and queens of our own fallen castles, thinking we had it all figured out, not knowing that every step we took was a step closer to absolute oblivion. Not only were we lost, but we led other people astray, just as we ourselves had no clear direction.
To take the time to realize where we were truly would have us refreshed in appreciating where we are today, and who we have today – No less than the Lord Jesus Christ Himself, lover, savior of our souls.
The Word says that the Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness could not comprehend it.
On the other hand, because we have the Living Word, we have Life – and this Life is the Light of men.
By the Light of the Living Word, the Word made flesh, we are able to comprehend… even in the darkness.
“..let all who take refuge in you rejoice;
let them ever sing for joy,
and spread your protection over them,
that those who love your name may exult in you.
For you bless the righteous, O LORD;
you cover him with favor as with a shield.”
As mentioned a couple of days ago, let us forget not all of His benefits. And surely, as we have seen in today’s derivation from the book of Proverbs, one definite benefit is that we have been separated from sin, and therefore rescued from death. In the process our eyes have been opened to bear a perspective far beyond that which would have us only looking within our limited range of view, but to see this finite reality from the infinite perspective of Christ, who is alive in us, and in whom we live and have our being. I go through the lengths of sharing that only to add that while we have been rescued from sin and death, we have therefore been rescued from a perspective totally hindered by darkness, leaving us confused and easily rattled.
I say all this only to say that we really shouldn’t be forgetting there’s so much more for us to see when it comes to the benefits we have in Christ. It’s not at all limited to the fulfillment of our own wishlists of money, healing, and relationships. No, more than this, we have freedom in the form of peace in the absence of money, calm in the presence of intense pain, and comfort when we are lonely. We have freedom, indeed! We are free to run to our Father, who owns the cattle on a thousand hills, who heals us of all our afflictions, and who restores our souls.
And with that, yes! Let us rejoice, for we take refuge in the LORD, in our God, who by the power of the Holy Spirit, we call our Father! We can run boldly to His throne of grace at our time of need, telling Him anything and everything, opening up to him as we would open up to our own fathers… and, may I add, even if we never knew our fathers, or if we didn’t exactly have a good relationship with our earthly fathers, our great God is more than willing to fill in the voids, correct the misconceptions we have, to stand as Father to the fatherless!
I share this only to testify once again, that I was wrong in thinking I couldn’t know the love of God, because I didn’t have a loving relationship with my own Father. No, on the contrary, because I knew the love of God as expressed by no less than Jesus Christ, I understood how my Father loved me – again, it may not have been according to how I wanted to be loved, but my word, did he love me with his best. Thanks, Dad. Thank You, Lord.
Let us rejoice, let us be glad in our Refuge, our God, our very present help in our time of need and in our time of trouble! Let us sing songs of joy, wherever we are, overjoyed, knowing that even in the greatest of pain, our Savior is present to help us and to keep us together.
He protects our minds and our bodies, and all that we are concerned about is in the palm of His hands… oh, may we always meditate on this Truth, and as the truth is being digested, let faith arise.
Let faith arise, from the basis of Christ’s finished work making us righteous – Not only as an attribute bestowed upon us, as a covering, but in the form of Christ Himself alive in us, as we are alive in Him. Yes, take note: the only reason why we are confident in calling ourselves righteous is because Christ is as close to us as He could ever be, that He is in us, and we are in Him; And therefore, since He is righteous, so we are righteous. And because this is righteousness that leads to eternal life, so we are sure that we have eternal life.
When we think about righteousness and life in this way, we would eventually come to the realization that Christ has fulfilled His word, as He mentioned to Martha; Indeed, He is the Resurrection, and He is the Life. By His resurrection He has reconciled the seeming conflict in His words when He said that even if we die, we live, and those who believe in Him shall never die. I took the time to express all this, only to emphasize how this righteousness that we have is so much more than just a status bestowed, much more than just an adjective we can associate with ourselves.
Just as it is so overwhelming to sit and think about how God thinks about us, so it is just as humbling to take time to understand the righteousness Christ paid such a huge price for us to have. It’s a righteousness that isn’t just stamped on us, but alive in us; It’s who we are, no matter what we do, and no matter what happens to us. It’s who we are, no matter what we’re thinking about, and no matter what we aren’t prioritizing. We’re righteous, no matter what we feel or think.
And so I’m led to share precisely that, today. Today, before anything else, may we all benefit from meditating… For in meditating, we forget not all of His benefits.
Let the firm Foundation, let the solid Rock be our Power and our Peace, especially in these times which are proving to be turbulent, for our world, for our countries, for our communities, for our families, and for ourselves. Let us find our footing in meditation of the living Word, and for all He has done for us. And in our meditation, again, let faith arise.
Oh give thanks to the LORD; call upon his name;
make known his deeds among the peoples!
Sing to him, sing praises to him;
tell of all his wondrous works!
Glory in his holy name;
let the hearts of those who seek the LORD rejoice!
Seek the LORD and his strength;
seek his presence continually!