By S. Leonard Tyler
Solomon wrote a long time ago, “Whoso despiseth the word shall be destroyed: but he that feareth the commandment shall be rewarded . . . . Good understanding giveth favor: but the way of transgressors is hard . . . . A wicked messenger falleth into mischief: but a faithful ambassador is health” (Prov. 13:13,15,17).
Most of the difficulties and differences in religion today could be solved or settled by a proper attitude toward the word of the Lord. Solomon could have had more in mind in his statement than just God’s word, but it definitely is included and seems to be the primary thought. To me, it has direct reference to God’s word and commandments. The “honor” must refer to both man and God. To respect the advice of wise men will bring honor from them. The same is true with God. But to despise either is disrespecting and dishonoring toward them. Adam Clark, in his commentary on Proverbs, makes, this observation: “The revelation which God has given to man — ‘shall be destroyed,’ for there is no other way of salvation but that which it points out.” This is a very true observation of God’s word.
The conclusion and consequences are here given of two choices which express two attitudes. “Whoso despiseth the word” and “he that feareth the commandment.” The contrast is absolute. To despise the word is to disrespect, refuse to reverence, or reject its authority. To “fear,” as here used, means to respect, revere, to regard with love and honor, accept. To “despise” the word of God is to refuse it as being from God and/or to reject its message, commandments, or direction.
We are living in an age and society where all established religious truths are looked upon with scorn and distaste. “Orthodoxy” of any kind is considered trite in nature and narrow in application. Those who teach a true commitment and fidelity to any established rule or standard of measurement for a life style are classified as “legalists” or “behind the times,” or seeking to become “judges. ” Yet, the Book of God claims to be from God and to reveal His eternal and divine will for man’s salvation. To reject or “despise” this claim is a blatant refusal to accept God’s revelation.
The attitude most emphasized from Genesis to the close of Revelation is that of absolute trust and unwavering devotion to the will of Go4 which the Bible claims to set forth. To reject the Bible as being inspired, the very word of God, is to reject God, Christ, the Holy Spirit, and every divine principle or revelation set forth. A rejection of God’s will is a rejection of God. This leaves man to his own will, plans, and design for life. However, and what a tragedy it is, such an attitude towards God and His will robs man of every spiritual blessing or aspiration he has. It leaves man a barren, unprofitable, spiritless mortal and robs him of every hope of living after death. He becomes his own God or accepts some other creature’s philosophical theory of man’s evolving from nothing to live and return to nothing. If that is education, wisdom and progress, I don’t want “none” (any) of it. But thanks be to God that is not education, wisdom or progress!
Look at these terms: “feareth the commandment . . . . Good understanding . . . faithful ambassador.” These expressions promise blessings, rewards, favor, and health. These are for the ones who look to God for guidance and direction, and who faithfully accept and adapt them to practice. They keep God’s commandments with love. They understand God’s will and gladly grasp it by faith. They arise with zeal and tell others of God’s way.
We believe that God is alive. Jesus Christ is His only begotten Son who came to this earth, lived, died, was buried, arose from the dead, ascended back to the Father, and then sent the Holy Spirit to reveal and confirm His word so that it could be understood for man’s salvation. We believe it, love it, obey it, and teach it for the salvation of man. All men “whosoever” will hear, believe, and accept it — have life.
Guardian of Truth XXIX: 12 p. 353
June 20, 1985