In Your Own
Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the LORD, and depart from evil.
It shall be health to thy navel, and marrow to thy bones. Prov 3:7-8 (KJV)
The phrase ‘wise in thine own eyes’ brings to mind an attitude of arrogance, pride, and self-reliance. “I don’t need God, I can do this myself” is the bold and brassy version of this attitude. Or, we can add a touch of false modesty to make it sound religious, and think to ourselves “I don’t really need God, I can do this myself, can’t I?” This second version is really the same attitude but with the edge knocked off so that it doesn’t sound quite as arrogant. It almost sounds humble, doesn’t it?
The Proverb says “Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the LORD, and depart from evil.” We are instructed in three things here; 1. Don’t be cocky, 2. Fear God, and 3. Depart from evil.
Think of Eve and the Serpent. “And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.” Gen 3:4-5 (KJV)
And Eve fell for this reasoning. She forsook the wisdom of God, and reached out and ate from the tree, thereby committing the first sin. But please note that the sin was preceded by the attitude “I can see that God is wrong here. The tree is beautiful. It will give understanding, and that is good. God really shouldn’t keep wisdom and understanding from me. A-ha, I know better than Him! I will take advantage of my enlightenment and reach out for more!” Her imagined self-enlightenment actually blinded her to the wisdom of fearing God and departing from evil.
Oh, if Eve would only have taken the counsel “Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the Lord and depart from evil”. The world might have avoided the plethora of sin and misery that came into it at that point.
Consider the parable of the prodigal son. Did he not get the same attitude? “I’m smarter than Father. I am old enough and wise enough to wisely handle a large inheritance. And I’m smart enough to handle the cheats and swindlers of the big city. I will boldly demand my inheritance and go to the city and make my own way and enjoy life! Farewell Farm!”
Of course we know where this led him – to ruin and destruction.
Sad to say, but Satan is running the same scheme on mankind today, and it is still working for him in most cases. Young girls today still cast aside the wisdom of their elders, going out into the world and giving their honor and righteousness to it, thinking that they will reap mountains of popularity and good will from others. But they wake up one day in shame and hurt, realizing that they have been deceived.
Young men today (as it has been though out history) still tell their fathers to "take a hike - I can see more clearly than you”. And they go on to build lives that look like the building in Gatlinsburg that houses Ripley’s Believe It or Not museum. Their lives appear to their own deceived eyes to be sound and strong, but in reality, are lit with the fires of hell, and are crashing down around them.
Oh for a vision of reality through God’s eyes! It is quite different from the view seen through humanly-wise eyes.
And speaking of humanly-wise eyes; think again of Eve. Her wisdom was not really her own. It actually came from the Serpent! How quickly we forget that, and in our eager pride, so quickly claim ownership of that which, through humanly-wise eyes, looks so great.
It is a simple Proverb; “Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the LORD, and depart from evil.” Perhaps that is one reason why people cast it aside. We don’t like simple. We don’t want to be considered simple. We think that the more complex, the greater the wisdom. We think that to be considered great thinkers, we must make everything appear complicated. And guess what, world? We are wiser than you are, for only we can unravel the great complexities of life!
I am not saying that deep mysteries are necessarily wrong or evil. But sometimes the greatest wisdom can be found in the simplest Proverb, and like the rough diamond in the tale “Acres of Diamond”, can be overlooked so easily.
“Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the LORD, and depart from evil.” The Proverb goes on to say “It shall be health to thy navel, and marrow to thy bones.” Prov 3:8 (KJV)
My center reference says that ‘health’ can also be translated ‘medicine’. The navel is actually a scar. It came from the wound of having our umbilical cord cut. So, it makes simple sense that the doctor, and then our mothers, put Neosporin on the wound until it healed.
The navel is symbolic of our separation from God. We must naturally be separated from our mothers, and eventually make our own way in the world. But in a spiritual sense, we should never be separated from God. And yet, our sins did indeed separate us from Him. Unsaved man needs a balm to heal the wound at the very center of his being, and restore that spiritual connection to the Father. Every ounce of our spiritual sustenance should be pure and come straight from the bloodline of God. Proverbs is saying that to fear God and depart from evil will be that medicine that restores us to our Father.
Proverb 3:8 also says that obedience will also be like “marrow to thy bones”. Again, my center reference indicates an alternate definition of marrow. It can also be translated as ‘water’.
Remember the dry bones? Disobedience brings separation from God, which leads to death, which leads to decay and hence, dry bones.
Our physical bodies are 75% water. When that level goes down, we become dehydrated. We become dry-mouthed and thirsty. Our eyes quit making tears, and we quit sweating. Muscle cramps may come. We become nauseated and may begin vomiting. We become lightheaded.
Medicine.net says this: “With severe dehydration, confusion and weakness will occur as the brain and other body organs receive less blood. Finally, coma and organ failure will occur if the dehydration remains untreated.”
These physical symptoms apply spiritually also. When we walk in our own wisdom and counsel, we grieve the Spirit of God and he withdraws his vital flow through our souls. When Satan succeeds in getting us to go his way, we walk through dry places. We thirst for the true water. We lose our tears for our own sins as well as for lost mankind. Our spiritual muscles become cramped and we no longer can sweat in the harvest field for Christ. Spiritually, we become sick at heart, weak, and lightheaded. And if this spiritual condition remains untreated, we die, and become dry bones on the plains of life.
Let me point you to the scriptures one last time. “Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the LORD, and depart from evil. It shall be health to thy navel, and marrow to thy bones.”
“Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper. Psalms 1:1-3 (KJV)