Pro 18:1-2 He who separates himself seeks his own desire, He quarrels against all sound wisdom. (2) A fool does not delight in understanding, But only in revealing his own mind.
Tonight we look at two verses in what is sometimes ascribed to as the Proverbs of Solomon, similar to the way in which the Psalms are largely ascribed to King David. In reality the Book of the Proverbs is not the limited to the work of a single author-just as the Psalms are not entirely the work of a single author. Biblical scholars have concluded that a certain number of Solomon’s “wise sayings” are included.
1Ki 4:32 He also spoke 3,000 proverbs, and his songs were 1,005.
The wisdom recorded in the Proverbs were likely recorded by the “men of Hezekiah”.
Let’s begin with verse 1:
Pro 18:1 He who separates himself seeks his own desire, He quarrels against all sound wisdom.
Verse 1 is somewhat difficult to break down-even though it appears simple enough. Looking at some of the Hebrew definitions:
These two words actually translate as the same word.
From an unused root probably meaning to substantiate; support or (by implication) ability, that is, (direct) help, (in purpose) an undertaking, (intellectual) understanding: – enterprise, that which (thing as it) is, substance, (sound) wisdom, working.
A primitive root; to be obstinate: – (inter-) meddle (with).
Most often I study using the NASB Verson. In this verse let’s look at the King James Version:
Pro 18:1 Through desire a man, having separated himself, seeketh and intermeddleth with all wisdom.
The KJV uses the word “meddle” instead of quarrel.
FROM the value of friendship there is a natural and easy transition to the evil of isolation. We must try to fathom the profound meaning which is hidden under this simple but striking proverb. To begin with, what are we to understand by “one that separates himself”? This same word occurs in 2Sa_1:23 concerning Saul and Jonathan, that “in their death they were not separated.” Theirs was a togetherness which accompanied them to the grave. On the other hand, there are people who shun all togetherness in their lives, Expositor’s
2Sa 1:23 “Saul and Jonathan, beloved and pleasant in their life, And in their death they were not parted; They were swifter than eagles, They were stronger than lions.
There are two potential aspects to verse 1, these stand in opposition to each other. Let’s look at what Barnes says about this:
(1) He who separateth himself from others seeks his own desire, and rushes forward against all wise counsel: a warning against self-will and the self-assertion which exults in differing from the received customs and opinions of mankind.
he who separates himself (from the foolish, unlearned multitude) seeks his own desire (that which is worthy to be desired), and mingleth himself with all wisdom. Barnes
First let’s look at the negative of isolation. Have you encountered persons who-out of selfishness, avoid friendly speak or relations with others. I do, and not infrequently either. I have some difficulty, in my natural self in dealing with people like this. I recently had to deal with a person like this at my job. This person was unkind to me and insisted that I had lied to her-when in fact I told the absolute truth. There was no convincing her of the truth at all as her mind was closed to the influence of another person, who happened to be me. This is difficult, especially as a follower of Christ, and I think the expectations of someone who has the title of Pastor is expected to be absolutely Christ like in all matters (in my flesh I wanted to lash out at her accusing me of something which Idid not do). But, in the end these isolated people are often thise whom we prefer not to spend too much time with, it is kind of like eating a lemon before being made into lemonade.
Jud 1:19 These are the ones who cause divisions, worldly-minded, devoid of the Spirit.
Pro 14:10 The heart knows its own bitterness, And a stranger does not share its joy.
Pro 26:17 Like one who takes a dog by the ears Is he who passes by and meddles with strife not belonging to him.
Now on the other side of the coin-let’s look at the positive side of isolation.
Desire – Thro’ desire of wisdom, a man having separated himself from the company, and noise, and business of the world, seeketh and intermeddleth with all wisdom, uses all diligence, that he may search and find out all solid knowledge and true wisdom. Wesley
We do well to avoid much of the nonsensical unimportant things of this world. Personally, though a usually harmless activity, I avoid televised sports, and the television generally-though I enjoy a good uplifting movie upon ocassion. Entertainment-just for the sake of mindless entertainment is a collosial waste of time and resources. It can rob you of time with our Creator and actually draw you into the world and it’s ungodly practices.
Exo 33:16 “For how then can it be known that I have found favor in Your sight, I and Your people? Is it not by Your going with us, so that we, I and Your people, may be distinguished from all the other people who are upon the face of the earth?”
Rom 1:1 Paul, a bond-servant of Christ Jesus, called as an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God,
Mat 13:11 Jesus answered them, “To you it has been granted to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been granted.
Eph 5:15-17 Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, (16) making the most of your time, because the days are evil. (17) So then do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.
And the prophet Jeremiah knew this well:
Jer 15:17 I did not sit in the circle of merrymakers, Nor did I exult. Because of Your hand upon me I sat alone, For You filled me with indignation.
Apparently he had no desire to sit around, drink beer and watch the Cowboys throwing a stupid ball around and knocking each other silly. I ask “what is really important” in your life?
Pro 18:2 A fool does not delight in understanding, But only in revealing his own mind.
Lets look at two words in the Hebrew:
A primitive root; to denude (especially in a disgraceful sense); by implication to exile (captives being usually stripped); figuratively to reveal: – + advertise, appear, bewray, bring, (carry, lead, go) captive (into captivity), depart, disclose, discover, exile, be gone, open, X plainly, publish, remove, reveal, X shamelessly, shew, X surely, tell, uncover.
A form of H3824; the heart; also used (figuratively) very widely for the feelings, the will and even the intellect; likewise for the centre of anything: – + care for, comfortably, consent, X considered, courag [-eous], friend [-ly], ([broken-], [hard-], [merry-], [stiff-], [stout-], double) heart ([-ed]), X heed, X I, kindly, midst, mind (-ed), X regard ([-ed)], X themselves, X unawares, understanding, X well, willingly, wisdom.
So we can see that “reveal” translated means to disclose, publish, uncover. But it also says to “denude”, meaning “in a disgraceful sense”. Denude means to make nude, or strip. Some synomyns would be disrobe, undress, lay bare.
The word “mind” translated from the Hebrew indicates a few things. I seem to usually consider the term “mind” as referring to the intellect. Jhowever the term “mind” involves a wider range definition as shown above. One of the problems with a person acting foolishly is his propensity toward having a closed mind and an open mouth.
Pro 15:2 The tongue of the wise makes knowledge acceptable, But the mouth of fools spouts folly.
Pro 17:28 Even a fool, when he keeps silent, is considered wise; When he closes his lips, he is considered prudent.
Pro 18:6-7 A fool’s lips bring strife, And his mouth calls for blows. (7) A fool’s mouth is his ruin, And his lips are the snare of his soul.
Barnes says a fool is self-assertive-talking about himself and his own opinions. We have all been around people who have acted like this, and perhaps at times we have acted the same way ourselves.
Pro 1:22 “How long, O naive ones, will you love being simple-minded? And scoffers delight themselves in scoffing And fools hate knowledge?
The aptitude of natural man (the unsaved) is the inability to understand spiritual things as regards the Scriptures. The natural man takes no delight in the Word of God. The natural man concocts theories and opinions which run contrary to the Bible. Natural man dominates most of our cultural values today in our post-Christian world. Politics, acedemia and “mainstream” media dominate the most vulgar anti-Christian values imaginable. Even some of our post-modern “Christian” churches have compromised the full Gospel of Christ and have become much like natural man. “How long, O naive ones, will you love being simple-minded? And scoffers delight themselves in scoffing And fools hate knowledge?
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