02 October 2014

Don't want to listen? Go ahead...but you'll regret it.

by Dan Phillips

From 2006 to 2012, PyroManiacs turned out almost-daily updates from the Post-Evangelical wasteland -- usually to the fear and loathing of more-polite and more-irenic bloggers and readers. The results lurk in the archives of this blog in spite of the hope of many that Google will "accidentally" swallow these words and pictures whole.
This feature enters the murky depths of the archives to fish out the classic hits from the golden age of internet drubbings.

The following excerpt was written by Dan back in August 2011. Dan addressed the warning that Solomon gives in Prov 19:27.

As usual, the comments are closed.
Cease to hear instruction, my son,and you will stray from the words of knowledge.
Interpretation. In form, this is an ironic command (a concept I develop at length in God's Wisdom in Proverbs, 373ff.; just sayin'). Grammatically Solomon is saying to do something, but semantically he doesn't really mean it. The force is similar to what we do, when we've warned someone not to take a course of action for the thousandth time, and then we give up and say, "Fine, go ahead, do it. Let's see what happens."

In an ironic command such as this, Solomon says, "Tell you what: if you insist on not listening, go ahead, stop listening. And here's exactly what will happen when you do." What will happen? He will stray from the words of knowledge. Period. Sure thing, guaranteed, you can take it to the bank.

Somber backdrop. A factor that saves Proverbs 19:27 from being a bland truism is the grim spectacle of Solomon's own life. The author himself became a wretched illustration of the wisdom and truth of his own words.

It is impossible to read 1 Kings 11 and Proverbs with an engaged heart, and not to ask, "How could this man do that?" Solomon himself answered the question, as if in sad anticipation. We can't read his mind, but we know sin, from wretched and extended experience. How did this happen in Solomon? Inch by inch, probably; neglect by neglect, unchecked pride after unchecked pride.

Pride, I say, because like all believers who sin, Solomon must have thought his sin was different. Otherwise, how could he have read Deuteronomy 17:14-20 and yet gone contrary to it so frontally that some have held that passage to have  been written after Solomon as a polemic against him? But there is no need to reject the Scriptural testimony about Deuteronomy's authorship and time frame. We know too well that awareness of a Scriptural prohibition will not eo ipso prevent the sin itself. (Would that it did.)

What a frightening spectacle. Solomon's horrid choices and foolish sins hang him up like a scarecrow athwart the paths of our own straying — or should do so. Could there be scarier warnings? As it turns out, yes, there could be. And are.

It gets worse. Of course Judas looms up from the shadows, as someone who stayed with Christ's teaching for all appearances for three solid and difficult years. But he "ceased listening" to Christ's education, and he most certainly strayed... to eternal conscious torment in Hell, according to the only natural reading of Jesus' words (Matt. 26:24Jn. 17:12).

I don't know if you're getting this yet. Let me try to give you a shake. Think: what do you and I have to do, to run afoul of Solomon's warning, and head in the exact same direction?

Nothing. Not one thing.

It's what we have to stop doing. We have to stop listening, which is to say we have to stop paying attention, stop applying ourselves, thinking, analyzing, breaking down and putting back together, stop making personal application. We have to stop cracking open our Bibles every day and sweating over them, we have to stop attending and attending to Biblical preaching in our local assemblies. Neglect, that's the key. Simply desist.

This isn't a small thing, and I can't stress it enough. Remember what Jesus said is the heart and soul of genuine discipleship:
"So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed Him, 'If you continue in My word, you really are My disciples. You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.'" (Jn. 8:31-32 CSB)