November 14th, 2020 – Saturday – Late Morning
“A man who isolates himself seeks his own desire; he rages against all wise judgment.” ~Proverbs 18:1
This verse does not have the word “pride” in it, but it is filled to overflowing with it nonetheless. The isolation spoken of in this passage is self-induced for self-centered reasons: This person may physically distance himself from others because he is not interested in others or because he is trying to protect himself; he may surround himself with people, but hold them at arm’s length because they aren’t good enough for him or because he can’t allow them to know the real him; this person may shut everyone else out because people are difficult and bothersome and they get in the way of his agenda; he may say all the right things that people like to hear, but only because he is trying to control the situation. Whatever form pride takes, it manifests itself in separating oneself from others.
The irony of pride is that it is self-destructive. This verse reminds us that the one who isolates himself rages or quarrels against wisdom. Why? Well, if the epitome of true reality is found in my perspective, what happens if my perspective is skewed? Obviously we all need to think and we all need to have a perspective, but the warning in this passage is to not put our perspective at odds with all other opinions and ideas. To put it another way, if it is me against the world (not in the sense of “the world”, but in the sense of everyone else), I’ve got the wrong attitude. Doing such a thing will lead us to isolation from others (in one way or another) and it will lead us away from gaining godly wisdom. This is not to say that we should listen to others if they are pointing us away from the Lord and His Word (obviously, we must be true to Him even if all others are not); yet, even in our relationship with Him, we must be allowing Him to use others in our lives.
So, in our individualistic culture and in the midst of an ever-increasingly isolated world, are you and I fighting to stay connected – to the Vine and therefore to each other? Are we being lulled by the flesh to stand our ground on our opinion and our perspective or are we allowing the Spirit of God to renew our minds through His Word and grace, and with His people? Are we raging against all wise judgment or carefully growing in our fear of the LORD?