Proverbs 29b

World Gone Wild.

“When people do not accept divine guidance, they run wild. But whoever obeys the law is joyful.” – Proverbs 29:18 NLT

Take a look around you. The world has gone wild. It has cast off the restraints imposed on it by God by rejecting His Word and His will and refusing to acknowledge Him as God. There are few, if any, restraints to public morality any more. Everything is acceptable, tolerable and normal in society. In the New International Version, this verse reads, “Where there is no revelation, the people cast off restraint.” The idea is that there is no longer any word from God from the lips of the prophets of God. They are no longer speaking because God is no longer talking. Without God’s divine guidance and righteous rules for living, the people literally, “let loose.” They throw caution to the wind and embrace anything and everything as morally acceptable. The mantra, “If it feels good, do it” becomes the rule of the day. Everyone becomes motivated by their own pleasures and desires. Whether God’s restraining hand gets removed or the people simply reject it, the outcome is always the same. There will be unchecked, unrestrained immorality and rebellion against God. They will run wild.

But there is another side to this proverb. It says, “But whoever obeys the law is joyful.” Those who choose to listen to the Word of God and obey it, will find joy. Rather than restrictive, they will find the Word of God restorative and rest-producing. Throughout the Word of God we are given clear indications of what God expects from His people. He does not save us, then allow us to live according to our own standards or some arbitrary set of guidelines set by the majority of our peers. No, God has righteous and holy standards which are designed to guide His people in their daily interactions with Him and with one another. Unlike during the days of the Jews, who were required to try and keep God’s law in order to live righteous lives, as believers we do not obey God’s Word out of some sense of earning favor or brownie points with God. Our righteousness is not based on the effectiveness of our obedience, but on what Jesus Christ accomplished on the cross. We obey because we have been redeemed. We gladly keep God’s law because we love the One who gave it. We obey because we know how much He loves us and wants what is best for us. That is what produces joy.

If we choose to disobey, which we all do at times, we “run wild.” We end up casting off the loving restraints put there by God and choose to live according to our own selfish, self-satisfying standards. We do what is right in our own eyes, not God’s. We become driven by our passions, rather than God’s Word. But God has called us to a life of obedience. He has set His divine rules over the world, not as some kind of cosmic kill-joy, but because He knows what is best. His standards are righteous and right. His rules have a restraining and restorative quality to them. They bring peace and joy. But when they’re ignored, the people run wild.

Father, may we learn to be a people who cherishes Your Word and obeys it. May we recognize the joy found in Your divine standards. We see the world running wild because they have cast off all restraints and rejected Your Word. May we as Your people remain a restraining and restorative factor in society because we value and cherish Your commands. Amen.

Ken Miller

Grow Pastor & Minister to Men

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