Sunday October 25, 2009
The purposes of a man's heart are deep waters, but a man of understanding draws them out, Proverbs 20:5.
Deep waters indeed! It is in the innermost recesses of our soul that our greatest unspoken shames and ambitions reside, and as long as we have a conscience, however distorted or dulled by sin, it threatens a future judgment. After all, our conscience at least gives sufficient innate knowledge of right and wrong to suggest that one day we must all face an accounting. This is the greatest fear of death: what will happen to us when we die?
One way to overcome this fear is to assume God doesn’t exist, or if there is one, he is simply irrelevant. However, with a little thought, it must be obvious that what we believe about God must affect the way we live. If we believe there is a God to whom we are probably accountable, then we will try to adore, fear, respect, appease or worship him—at least try to seek his favour in some way. If we don’t believe he exists, then we will live by laws imposed on us, fear of what others think of us, or by our own moral values or lack of them.
Without God, human ambition tries to assert a natural world that exists on its own as the final truth. Unfortunately, truth based on human reason alone undermines itself because truth then becomes each person’s individual property. With no universal or absolute truth about life, the slogan becomes, “All truth is relative.” Because the truth of that statement is also relative, a postmodern approach where intuition trumps reason is a natural outcome.
The idea in our text that “a man of understanding draws them out,” suggests that a wise man will be able to see into the deep recesses of the human heart, but in addition, “draws out” the false conclusions that those dark recesses invent for cover. In fact, the wisest man, whose foolishness begins where human wisdom peaks, not only made us aware of our hidden proclivities, but also came to deliver us from them. His wisdom is not a cold recitation of facts about us, but also a love for us that passes all human understanding.
It may be a stretch to say that this verse is a prophecy of Jesus Christ, but at least it provides the basic truth about us: In our fall into sin we also fell from truth, and all our human reasoning contains error about life. What we believe about the God who not only insisted that sin and its reasoning be recognized and judged, but also gave himself to ransom us from our predicament, will affect the way we think and live. Particularly it gives life meaning now, and future hope for earth and eternity.