Puritan Catechism Question #46 - What is forbidden in the second commandment?
Answer - The second commandment forbids the worshipping of God by images, (Deut. 4:15-16) or any other way not appointed in his Word (Col. 2:18).
Devotional Thoughts When we talk about walking in wisdom we need to understand that there is good and godly wisdom and worldly and demonic wisdom. Wisdom, you see, is a perspective. How do we see life? What is our worldview? What determines our outlook and response to both good and bad circumstances?
Godly wisdom starts with a right perspective toward God. "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom." From this right perspective then we learn how to view the rest of life. Ungodly or worldly, demonic wisdom serve only to warp us (Isa. 47:10) and lead to utter foolishness (1 Cor. 1:20).
We see then that if we are to walk in wisdom, in godly wisdom, then we must "walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise." We have defined wisdom so building upon that foundation we will take a brief moment today to examine the difference between walking as fools or walking as the wise.
Our first step then is to search the Scriptures for the answer to this question, "Who is a fool and what does he do?"
The fool has said in his heart, "There is no God." They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none who does good.
The fool declares with pride and misplaced confidence that he knows all that there is to know. He has seen all that is, has experienced every possible experience, has studied and comprehended the vast expanse of all of the universe. There is nothing missing from his logic, his knowledge, or his insight. What does this all mean? It means that the fool is the most incomprehensibly ignorant person on the face of the earth! For the fool believes that he knows enough to declare with assurance that there is no God. But the only way to know that something does not exist is to instead know all that exists! So the fool, the atheist, sets himself up as if he were a god! He claims omniscience for himself.
In reality, deep down in his heart and mind, the fool knows the truth. All men do according to Romans 1:28. There we read, "And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind." They decided to deny that God is. They know the truth and actively suppress it. This is utter foolishness! To think, talk, or act as if there were no God. This is to walk as a fool instead of the wise.
Although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools.
The fool refuses to glorify God. They refuse to give Him His due. They refuse even to acknowledge that He is. This immediately leads to an attitude of ungratefulness. What is there to be grateful for if there is no one to whom we are indebted for life and goodness?
Their thinking is darkened. Their thoughts are futile. And though they profess to be wise they are in actuality fools. Contrary to their claims about seeking truth and setting up knowledge as the highest achievement to be reached in this life, they are truly ignorant of truth. They have chosen to ignore the truth of the Word of God. They have shunned truth and embraced a lie. They have been willingly self deceived.
How tragic to know the truth and reject it with the way that we live! But then, how often do we in the church do just that? We play the fool. For we know the truth, we understand the Word of God, and yet we do not glorify God, we do not obey God, we do not thank God, and we too become futile in our thoughts and lives. We must walk not as fools, but as wise!
Proverbs 1:7, 22
The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction.
How long, you simple ones, will you love simplicity? For scorners delight in their scorning, and fools hate knowledge.
While the fear of the Lord (a right perspective of God) is the beginning of true knowledge and wisdom, fools chose to despise wisdom and instruction. They will not be taught. Unteachable. They are set in their beliefs and will not be swayed by human reasoning, logic, or persuasion. They are convinced of the truth and call evil good and good evil.
From where is a person instructed in truth? It is the Word of God that is profitable for "instruction" (2 Tim 3:16). It is by the Word that we are taught and lead into all truth. But the fool rejects the Word of God as a fairy tale, as superstitious nonsense. Then again, many in the church approach the Bible with superstitions and hokey ideas about God and the Christian life, don't they?
Fools despise wisdom and instruction and we see that they hate knowledge. When it comes to true knowledge they would rather be ignorant. Have you ever noticed how complex the mind of man attempts to make things, as if the more complex and fantastic a belief or theory the more plausible it is? Rather than believe that God created all that is they would rather embrace a religion (humanism) that preaches a dogmatic doctrine of impossibility, namely evolution. It takes more faith to believe the lie of Darwinism than it ever takes to trust the sure Word of God.
Fools mock at sin
There it is in plain English. Fools mock at sin. A wrong view of God and a wrong view of self leads them directly into the snare of disbelief. They cheapen God's holiness by proclaiming that sin is not bad, evil, and horrid. Sin is a man made construct created to manipulate others they claim. And yet all the while they live to indulge their flesh and be enslaved by their own sin, they deny that sin exists at all.
When it comes to sin the fool laugh, excuse, justify, ignore, deny, joke, and reject truth. Sin is not evil. Sin is good. Sin is pleasing. Sin is watching our for #1. Sin is just a way of life.
How can we mock at sin? Sin is so awful and so unholy that God cannot stand it and must punish it. Sin is so heinous that the penalty for sin, the only remedy for sin, the only wage of which sin is ever worthy is death! It is not a toy with which to be played. Sin is not a game.
1 Corinthians 2:14
But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.
The sad truth for the fool, for the natural man, the lost man is that he is incapable on his own of receiving the things of God. The truth is foolishness to him. A waste of time. An unfathomable mystery. He cannot know the truth! He cannot discern that which is only discernable spiritually for spiritually he is dead, lost, enslaved, and unwilling.
The saved however are able to discern the truth. How tragic when we do not! How terrible when we play the fool and walk as the fool instead of in wisdom. It does not have to be that way.
O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you that you should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed among you as crucified?
Finally we see that the true mark of a fool is found in how his perspective works it way out in his life. Those who are foolish are those who have a wrong view of God, self, sin, and truth. That wrong perspective leads them into disobedience. There then is the chief mark of a fool. The fool does not obey the Word of God. This point is made even more clear from the very lips of Jesus Himself who told us in Matthew 7: The difference between walking as the wise and the foolish is the difference between obedience and disobedience. There it is - "whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them" vs. "everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them." This is the difference between destruction and safety, between contentment and ruin, between life and death.
This is not a small matter! If we are to walk in wisdom we must walk not as fools, but as wise. This means we must have the right perspective about God, His Word, ourselves, and sin. And as a result we must see this perspective work its way out in the way we live, motivating us to hear and do what the Word of God tell us.
We are foolish enough when we try to do things on our own, are we not? Let us determine today to no longer play the fool, but to be wise. Let us decide to hear and obey the Word of God. Let's face it - we all know those little areas of compromise, those areas where we refuse to surrender, where we indulge our flesh. Today it is time we give up! Surrender! Yield to the Spirit! Walk not as fools, but wise.
Here are 2 verses that will help us maintain a right perspective today, Psalm 111:10 and Psalm 8:4:
The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom; a good understanding have all those who do His commandments.
What is man that You are mindful of him, and the son of man that You visit him?
See God for who He is, and see self for what we are. And then we will stand in amazement that has been gracious to us and called us to walk with Him in wisdom.
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