Prov. 3:7 “Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the LORD and depart from evil.”
This Proverb, Young Pilgrim, immediately follows the familiar “Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him.” If in fact there is total trust and acknowledgement of Him, then it is also impossible that we are wise in ourselves. The promise is that “He shall direct thy paths.” So there is the fear of the LORD and the departure from evil as we understand this Proverb.
Without delay the matter of sin is held before us. Young Pilgrim, we must tangle with our natural spiritual condition! And why not? A lack of understanding our sins only subtracts from our understanding of the glorious salvation God has given. Then too, lost is the urgency to walk sanctified lives.
“Be not wise in thine own eyes.” “O no,” we say, “that isn’t me, that is so and so!” We recognize immediately that such an attitude of applying this proverb to another person makes the other person a little less in our own eyes and makes a little more of ourselves.
Then there is the “I’m alright, everybody else is all wrong” type of attitude. Those dumb parents, they don’t know nothing! Why don’t they let me do it? I know how, besides I gotta learn sometime. And those crazy teachers, honestly, they treat us like little kids. Don’t they know we are practically grown up now? And where am I gonna git that money I need? There ain’t no fun if there ain’t no money! That tight-wad boss of mine. (Honk! Honk!) That idiot driver, what’s he switchin’ lanes like that for? Don’t he know this is my lane when I’m in it? There sure are a bunch of goofs out there! Why can’t people be more like me?”
“Be not wise. . . .” As we contradict this exhortation we touch many lives. But are we ashamed? Perhaps when we realize the type of characters we are we proceed to make excuses. “Well, it has been a bad day – nothin’ went right for me.” (This basically means “I didn’t get my way.”) Sometimes we reflect on these attitudes with a smile: “I must be going crazy or something.” Seldom do we allow ourselves to call this sin.
Ah, yes, Young Pilgrim, our smart, self-centered, self-righteous selves! Sounds like the Pharisees, does it not? And how does Jesus Christ address this? “. . . except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.” Matt. 5:20.
Christ had perfect, righteous fear of Jehovah. He fulfilled all righteousness, that is, He make us “right” with God.
He did this in His earthly sojourn, as He touched many lives. He spoke with the woman of Samaria (John 4). He ate with publicans and sinners (Matt. 9). He healed the sick, gave sight to the blind, made the deaf to hear, the lame to walk and raised the dead. All this did He, not being wise in His own eyes, but in perfect righteousness, fearing the LORD. In perfect obedience to God. He did all that the Father gave Him to do. Finally on the accursed tree – for earth rejected Him, and Heaven would not receive Him – He hung in perfect obedience.
“Be not wise. . . Fear and depart! Imperative, Young Pilgrim.
You say that you are not wise in your own eyes? You say the fear of the LORD is in you? Illustrate that then! Depart from evil!
This involves a certain awareness of our own evil. We must be instant to identify and confess and turn from our evil ways. In order to do this, we must see ourselves not wise in our own eyes, but rather in the light of God’s Law as fulfilled in Christ. This is a humbling experience. But remember, Christ, in fulfilling righteousness, humbled Himself unto death. (Phil. 2:8)
And this humility will touch many lives. With humble honor we obey our parents who know something after all. With humble respect of our teachers we find that respect is reciprocated. With humble courtesy extended toward our peers we discover a mutual relationship of caring and sharing.
Young Pilgrim, fear the LORD and depart from evil. In doing this you will not be wise in your own eyes. Rather, your eye of faith will be fixed on One greater, the Most High God!