Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Proverbs 11:27 --- Seeking Good or Seeking Evil

Proverbs 11:27 --- Seeking Good or Seeking Evil
Whoever diligently seeks good seeks favor,
    but evil comes to him who searches for it.
All people seek something.  All people expend lots of energy on whatever it is they seek.  Proverbs 11:27 teaches us that all people seek either good or evil.

This is difficult for us to understand, because we tend to make that class or group we call "evil," quite small.  We like to shrink the category of those who could be called "evil" to a tiny group of criminals that only includes tyrants like Hitler and Stalin and those guilty of murder.  We tend to group everyone else into the nice or good category, unless they have done something to us we really don't like!

But this is not a biblical worldview.  Consider how wide the category of those called "evil" is for our Lord Jesus.  On one occasion, Jesus' disciples asked him to teach them how to pray.  At one point in his answer, Jesus said this:
"What father among you, if his son asks for a fish, will instead of a fish give him a serpent; or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion?  If you then, who are evil, know  how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!" (Luke 11:11-13).

Jesus is talking to his disciples, and he calls his own disciples, "evil!"  It is an underlying assumption Jesus holds about the entire human race.  No father is excluded, no mother, no child.  The human race is infected with a nature that is evil.  And, even if we, like the disciples, have come to Jesus for salvation, our evil and sinful nature will still cling to us like a filthy garment we must put off in Christ Jesus each and every day, if not hour and moment.

If we seek anything less than our Lord's kingdom and righteousness, as the priority of our lives, then we seek that which is evil (Matthew 6:33).  To diligently seek good in Proverbs is to seek wisdom and the favor of the Lord with all of our heart and striving.  But Jesus is the Lord, and he is wisdom incarnate, and he is the One in whom we have God's favor.  He is the mystery that was present but hidden in the Old Testament, whom has now been revealed to us in the New.  As Paul says in Colossians 1:25-27:
"I became a minister according to the stewardship from God that was given to me for  you, to make the word of God fully known,  the mystery hidden for ages and generations but now revealed to his saints.  To them God chose to make known how great among the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of  glory." 

Paul makes known the word of God, i.e., the Old Testament.  Even more, the apostle Paul makes the Old Testament fully known, because he reveals the mystery that was hidden in it!  He reveals this mystery to be Christ, who now is in us through the Spirit who indwells in us.  Because Christ indwells us, we have the hope of glory, namely, the hope of being in his glorious presence one day, blameless and without fault, because Christ has died for all our sins and justified us with his perfect righteousness.  And so, Jude looks to this glorious hope which is given to all who are in Christ, and says:
"Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, to the only God, our Savior, through   Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen." (Jude 24-25)

This is the reward of seeking good!  And as we have seen, to seek good means to seek to glorify the Father and the Son by living righteous lives.  We seek Christ's kingdom and righteousness, not to earn his favor, but because we have his favor.  And just as good children want to please their fathers, so we want to please our Father.  And just as faithful wives want to please their husbands, so we want to please our Lord and Husband Jesus Christ.  To seek anything less, is to seek evil, and, sadly, to find evil now and in a Christ-less future.

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