Five duties on our response to the Word of God are set out in these verses of Proverbs chapter 2.
"Receive my words" verse one.
King Solomon’s Look At The Church Of Rome
Receive the instruction, the information, the wisdom, the truth, divinely originated and divinely revealed.
We must open our ears.
Humanly speaking, we must open our hearts to it.
Divinely speaking, the Word itself is the great eye-opener and the great heart- opener.
Receiving "the engrafted word" is the apostolic exhortation. James 1:12. Remember, "Faith cometh by hearing", Romans 10:17.
"Hide my commandments with thee", v. 1.
The divine truth and wisdom must not only be received but retained. The truth must be held on to, and it must be firmly grasped.
The ground by the wayside does not retain the seed. Our Saviour reminds us that such seed is taken away by the Devil, depicted as the ‘fowls of the air’.
It is the cultivated soil which retains, holds and hides the seed, until it ‘bringeth forth much fruit’.
‘Apply thine heart to understanding’, v. 2.
We cannot retain wisdom if we do not reflect upon it. We hide it in our hearts when we reflect upon it. Reflection is indispensable to retention. We must apply ourselves to it with understanding.
‘Thou criest after knowledge’, v.4.
Our response will be to cry after its meaning. The Ethiopian eunuch spoke as all true seekers do, ‘How can I (understand) except some man guide me?’Acts 8:31.
The Author of the Book is at hand always and we can respond by calling upon Him to help us. His name is Paraclete, ‘the one called alongside to help’.
Remember you have not only the Divine Word but its Author, the Divine Spirit, always at hand.
He gives wisdom to all who ask Him. ‘If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him." James 1:5.
If we ask we shall receive.
‘If thou seekest her as silver, and searchest for her as for hid treasures’, v.4.
There can be no let-up. We must be resolved to keep on receiving, keep on retaining, keep on reflecting, keep on responding and keep on keeping on resolving.
Then, and only then, shall we understand.
These laws of God are immutable, that is, they never change.
The seeker after the true knowledge of the true God will never be turned away.
THE BIBLE WAY OF INSTRUCTION
The Bible has wonderful ways of teaching God’s holy truth. It takes symbols and types and draws parallels, revealing the most solemn and sublimest of truth.
In the Bible the Church of Christ is depicted as a woman, a chaste Bride adorned for her husband.
Satan however, has a counterfeit to all which God reveals in His Holy Word.
He has a false church - a woman, a harlot, the Bride of Antichrist.
In the Book of Proverbs the picture of this harlot church is very carefully portrayed under the title of the "strange" woman, the harlot of Revelation chapter seventeen is etched with minute accuracy by Solomon inspired by the Holy Spirit of God.
THE WICKED MAN
The introduction of this Wicked Woman is preceded by the revelation of the Wicked Man. As Christ and the Church are indissolubly linked, so is the Church of Rome with the Roman Antichrist, the Pope of Rome.
‘To deliver thee from the way of the evil man, from the man that speaketh froward things; who leave the paths of uprightness, to walk in the ways of darkness; who rejoice to do evil, and delight in the frowardness of the wicked; whose ways are crooked, and they froward in their paths.’ Proverbs 2:12-15.
1: His talk -
His speech is corrupt, v.12.
2: His walk -
He walks in the way of darkness, v.13.
3: His lot –
He ‘rejoiceth to do evil’, v.14; he engages in ‘crooked pursuits’, v.15; and makes arrogant claims, v.14.
One: HIS TALK
‘The man that speaketh froward things’.
The Evil Man is first of all indicted for his claims. His tongue is his supreme weapon. In Daniel we have him portrayed as the little horn, with ‘a mouth speaking great things’.
‘I considered the horns, and, behold, there came up among them another little horn, before whom there were three of the first horns plucked up by the roots: and, behold, in this horn were eyes like the eyes of man, and a mouth speaking great things.’ Daniel 7:8.
He is described thus: ‘And of the ten horns that were in his head, and of the other which came up, and before whom three fell; even of that horn that had eyes, and a mouth that spake very great things, whose look was more stout than his fellows. I beheld, and the same horn made war with the saints, and prevailed against them … And he shall speak great words against the most High, and shall wear out the saints of the most High, and think to change times and laws: and they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of time. But the judgment shall sit, and they shall take away his dominion, to consume and to destroy it unto the end.’ Daniel 7: 20-21 & 25-26.
The Lord Jesus denounces his false claims, the most blasphemous of which is his claim to be Christ. ‘For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many’, Matthew 24:5. ‘For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.’ Matthew 24:24.
God’s wisdom is the great deliverer from the great apostate, the Evil Man.
Two: HIS WALK
‘Who leave the paths of righteousness, to walk in the ways of darkness’, v.13.
The Godly Man walks with God. The Godly Man is none other than our Lord Jesus Christ. He is clearly depicted in Psalm one.
The Evil Man, the counterfeit Christ, the instead of Christ, the Anti-Christ, walks with the Devil. He walks in the counsel of the ungodly. He stands in the way of sinners. He sits in the seat of the scornful.
The walk of the Antichrist is the downgrade. From walking to standing and from standing to sitting, from the ungodly to sinners and from sinners to the scornful.
Old Adam Clarke, the ‘first Adam’ of Wesleyan Bible Commentators remarks,
‘That walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly’. Mark certain circumstances of their differing characters and conduct. 1, The ungodly man has his counsel. 2 , The sinner has his way; and 3, The scorner has his seat. The ungodly man is unconcerned about religion; he is neither zealous for his own salvation nor for that of others; and he counsels and advises those with whom he converses to adopt his plan, and not trouble themselves about praying, reading, repentance, etc., etc. ‘there is no need for such things; live an honest life, make no fuss about religion, and you will fare well enough at last." Now, "blessed is the man who walks not in this man’s counsel," who does not come into his measures, nor act according to his plan.
The sinner has his particular way of transgressing; one is a drunkard, another dishonest, another unclean. Few are given to every species of vice. There are many covetous men who abhor drunkenness, many drunkards who abhor covetousness and so of others. Each has his easily besetting sin; therefore, says the prophet, ‘Let the wicked forsake his way’. Now, blessed is he who stands not in such a man’s way.
The scorner has brought, in reference to himself, all religion and moral feeling to an end. He has sat down – is utterly confirmed in impiety, and makes a mock at sin. His consicence is seared, and he is a believer in all unbelief.’
The walk and ways of the Popes of Rome in history measure up fully to the description given by King Solomon by divine inspiration here in Proverbs. See ‘The Church of Rome at the Bar of History’ by William A Webster, (Banner of Truth publishers).
For leaving the paths of unrighteousness and walking in the ways of darkness the Popes have no equals. Their object by example and precept is to make men believe the lie and not the truth. ‘And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not in the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.’ II Thessalonians 2:11-12.
Three: HIS LOT
‘Rejoicing to do evil’, v. 14.
The great evil the Pope does is to take from the world the Word of God. He rejoices to do evil by keeping men and women in darkness by shutting out the light of God’s revealed truth. He rejoices to do evil by destroying the Word of God, the Light of God.
(a) He destroys the Word of God by simply confiscating it.
I remember being encountered by the Pope’s secret police in the Vatican at the commencement of Vatican Council II and commanded to hand over the Scriptures which my colleagues, Rev John Wylie and Rev John Douglas, and I were giving out. I remember a priest seeking to tear up the Scripture and screaming out in madness against us. One of many of the Pope’s mad dogs!
(b) He destroys it by substituting it. In its place he puts his counterfeit with added apocryphal books and mutilated Bible, maliciously changed to deceive seeking souls.
(c) He destroys it by multiplying it – by adding to it. He adds to it all the traditions of the church. This making void God’s Holy Word.
(d) He destroys it by claiming he alone can interpret it. He thus dismisses the Holy Spirit of God who wrote the Bible. The Pope claims that only his interpretation is the correct one, although it blatantly denies the very clear text of Scripture.
This is the Evil Man of the whole earth, the Son of Perdition.
1. He ‘Delights in the frowardness of the wicked’, v. 14
The word frowardness means ‘to turn aside’.
The Evil Man, the Pope of Rome, delights in the frowardness of the wicked. The Pope sang songs of delight when his minions murdered those who refused to recognise his blasphemous claims and idolatrous ceremonies.
‘Do evil that good may come’, is his motivating principle. In wickedness he revels and delights in debauchery and sensuality.
2."Whose ways are crooked" v. 15.
There is nothing under heaven more crooked than popery. Take their dogma of Papal Infallibility, how crooked it is!
3."Froward in their paths" v. 15.
The Pope has many paths, but they are all froward paths.
Solomon, having exposed the Evil Man, the Pope of Rome, then turns to expose the Evil Woman, the harlot. What a comment the Royal proverb-writer presents!
… To be continued …