Wisdom's Warnings and Family Circles

In reading the Book of Proverbs, we become familiar with the expression, "My son"; and the frequency with which it occurs shows the importance of the relationship it implies. Relationship in the Christian sense of the word did not exist until Christ had died and risen again. After His ascension to heaven the Spirit was given to believers, and hence we read, "And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, whereby we cry, Abba, Father." (Gal. 4:6.) The calling of the Christian also is heavenly, whereas the bearing of the book referred to is earthly, showing at the same time that true happiness can never be possessed apart from "the fear of the Lord, which is the beginning of wisdom." (Chap. 1:7.)

Relationship, according to the Book of Proverbs, is expressed by wisdom and her sons, who form a kind of family circle to which we are introduced, in order to receive instruction from wisdom's lips and profit by her communications. Wisdom warns her sons individually, and appeals to them most affectionately, in view of the difficulties and dangers which beset them. And foreseeing the evils around, she carefully instructs them as to their path through a scene where foes and snares abound. The importance of this is evident from the fact that a moment's hesitation or unwatchfulness on their part might afford the enemy an opportunity of ensnaring them for a lifetime.

Wisdom's warnings are frequently accompanied with words of encouragement, such as, for example, "In vain the net is spread in the sight of any bird." A bird in the tree above with the snare on the ground is like a Christian walking in the Spirit, he is safe for the time being; but wisdom's children have need to be kept aloft after having been carried thither, and not only should they "pray without ceasing," but also should watch with diligence the movements of the enemy; for Satan is not altogether ignorant of our propensities, neither ought we to be ignorant of his devices. Mark how crafty the fowler is, and how carefully he spreads his net, and conceals himself so as to be neither seen nor heard! And not content with taking captive such as were seeking their portion below, he seeks to decoy even those that are on the wing.

Satan knows the tendency of our hearts towards the world, and what the things are which charmed us most in our unconverted days, and the weaknesses we are still liable to; and his constant study is to seek to overthrow "those that go right on their ways," to entangle their feet, and to bring them back again into bondage. Satan has recourse to the things we were once enslaved in to bring us down from the high position to which wisdom has elevated us, as her children, to the level of the world again. And when temptation is yielded to, and the unseen hand of the enemy has enclosed us in his net, dearly indeed have we to pay for the self-gratification which occasioned our fall. On the other hand, when prayer has been offered up by us, and the words of the Psalmist appropriated, "Hold Thou me up, and I shall be safe," the needed grace has been given, and the promised aid supplied. Then, instead of reaping the fruit of our folly in the snare of Satan, we are kept in the sense of His presence, and participate in that peace which the Lord never withholds from them that walk with Him and cleave to Him. May we know more of its preciousness and power, according to His own words, "Peace I leave with you, My peace I give unto you." (John 14:27.)

The things which characterize the world are described in the Epistle of John as being "the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life." All these are at Satan's disposal, and afford him material in abundance for the accomplishment of his dark designs and means by which he allures and deceives many precious souls. "Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are His." (2 Tim. 2:19.)

Let us now, then, turn our attention for a moment to another family as presented in Exodus 29, and in connection with which the wisdom of God is strikingly displayed. It is to a priestly family we are introduced this time, with Aaron the high priest as its representative and head, and with whom his sons are identified. The former is a type of Christ and was anointed alone, and afterwards his sons were anointed with him; and thus they were consecrated to God with blood upon the tip of their right ear, the thumb of their right hand, and the great toe of their right foot. They are a beautiful type of the Church in association with Christ according to the second chapter of the Epistle to the Hebrews, where Christ is seen in resurrection and in company with His own, as the Head of a heavenly family and the Leader of their praises. Such is the position of all true Christians as being redeemed by the blood of Christ and anointed with the Holy Ghost, and set apart with their risen Head to offer sacrifice and render acceptable service unto God. (1 Peter 2:5.) Their responsibility as individuals is shown in another scripture: "He that saith he abideth in Him ought himself also to walk, even as He walked." (1 John 2:6.) The ear turned to God to receive the communications of His mind as made known in His Word, the hand to work for Him while it is called day, and the foot to walk with Him and run in the way of His commandments.

Every Christian is entitled to a place in the family circle composed of wisdom and her children, and also to a share of that joy which she produces in the hearts of those that obey her voice. But when we find ourselves in the family circle of Hebrews 2, and which we saw in figure in Aaron and his sons, we are in a new sphere and upon resurrection ground. The Church is in relationship with Christ as the heavenly One, and is composed of those who are said to be dead with Him and also risen with Him, and therefore we read, "As is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly." (1 Cor. 15.) And the more we enter into the truth of our identification with Christ as risen with Him, the more familiar we shall become with the things that are above and the scene to which we belong. The Spirit of God will engage Himself in our behalf to this end. And then the things of the world will have but little hold on our hearts, so that the enemy will be the less likely to ensnare us in his ways. Then, as our hearts rise higher and higher, we shall be enabled to sing in truthfulness:

"O worldly pomp and glory,
Your charms are spread in vain,
I've heard a sweeter story,
I've found a truer gain." H. H.