Through desire a man, having separated himself, seeketh and intermeddleth with all wisdom.
I rather accept the expressions in this verse as referring first to the person of Christ in his human nature, and next in him to all his people. The desires of Jesus were wholly of this kind. They were all his own. His desire is towards me, saith the church. Song of Solomon 7:10. And it was for the sake of the church that Christ separated, that is sanctified, set apart, himself. John 17:19 And when a child of God is also set apart, and sanctified, is not his desire towards Jesus in all wisdom? Paul's account of himself suits all of Paul's sentiments. When it pleased God (saith he) who separated me from my mother's womb, and called me by his grace to reveal his Son in me, immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood. Galatians 1:15-16.
A fool hath no delight in understanding, but that his heart may discover itself. When the wicked cometh, then cometh also contempt, and with ignominy reproach. The words of a man's mouth are as deep waters, and the wellspring of wisdom as a flowing brook. It is not good to accept the person of the wicked, to overthrow the righteous in judgment. A fool's lips enter into contention, and his mouth calleth for strokes. A fool's mouth is his destruction, and his lips are the snare of his soul. The words of a talebearer are as wounds, and they go down into the innermost parts of the belly. He also that is slothful in his work is brother to him that is a great waster. The name of the LORD is a strong tower: the righteous runneth into it, and is safe.
What a refuge there is in a covenant God in Christ for a believer, however buffeted, to take shelter in? Let a child of God sit down if he will, and ponder over all his discouragements and difficulties; and I will be bold to say, that in the Lord's name, that is in Christ Jesus, he will find somewhat exactly corresponding, to suit and answer for all. Is he poor? Christ's name is riches; yea, durable riches and righteousness. Proverbs 8:18. Is he surrounded with enemies? Then Christ is the mighty God. Isaiah 9:6. Is he sick? He saith, I am the Lord that healeth thee. Exodus 15:26. Do his people need in critical moments a thousand supplies, they know not what, and they know not how? How blessed is that name by which Abraham called the Lord in his moment of necessity; Jehovah-jirah, the Lord shall provide; and at this day in the mount of the Lord it shall be seen. Genesis 22:14. In short, in the name of Jehovah we have all; wisdom to guide, power to help, grace to save, mercy to pardon, righteousness to justify, and all temporal, spiritual, and eternal blessings. Surely, Lord, they that know thy name will put their trust in thee; for thou, Lord, hast not forsaken them that seek thee. Psalms 9:10.
The rich man's wealth is his strong city, and as an high wall in his own conceit. Before destruction the heart of man is haughty, and before honour is humility. He that answereth a matter before he heareth it, it is folly and shame unto him. The spirit of a man will sustain his infirmity; but a wounded spirit who can bear? The heart of the prudent getteth knowledge; and the ear of the wise seeketh knowledge. A man's gift maketh room for him, and bringeth him before great men.
If a man's gift which at the utmost must be of a scanty and transitory nature, hath such a power of opening the heart, what effect, ought the great, the glorious, durable, and eternal gift of God's dear Son to have in opening our souls to love him who hath so loved us? Qh! that a deep sense of this unspeakable Mercy may bring my soul continually before the Lord, with all the acknowledgments of love, and obedience, and faith, and praise.
He that is first in his own cause seemeth just; but his neighbour cometh and searcheth him. The lot causeth contentions to cease, and parteth between the mighty. A brother offended is harder to be won than a strong city: and their contentions are like the bars of a castle. A man's belly shall be satisfied with the fruit of his mouth; and with the increase of his lips shall he be filled. Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof. Whoso findeth a wife findeth a good thing, and obtaineth favour of the LORD. The poor useth intreaties; but the rich answereth roughly. A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.
I pass over again all the intermediate verses, to dwell upon this very sweet one in the end of the chapter. Amidst all the ingratitude and unfriendliness which my heart hath shewn to Jesus, the best of friends; still he is and will be the friend that sticketh closer than a brother. When I Call to mind how I have treated him, and shewn myself towards him; and this, not only before I knew him but since he manifested himself to me, otherwise than he doeth to the world; I blush to think of his unequalled grace, and my unequalled undeservings. In him I behold that description of him by his servant the prophet, and more especially as it concerns myself, most strikingly set forth and confirmed: He will rest in his love. Zechariah 3:10. He doth indeed rest in his love, for the Lord God of Israel saith, that he hateth putting away. Malachi 2:16
Reader! what a blessed thing it is to sit down under the teaching of the Holy Ghost; and while this book of God appears indeed truly parables, and must continue so unexplained, until that Jesus by his Spirit opens it to our understanding, for us to be led therefrom to see, the mysteries of his kingdom: To the pure (saith an apostle) all things are pure, but unto them that are defiled and unbelieving is nothing pure. Mark it down my brother, among the gracious things of God, to be brought out of the darkness of a natural state and to be introduced into the kingdom of his dear Son; what an unspeakable mercy is here! By this one act of sovereign grace all the blessings, privileges; titles, inheritance; all are made over and secure in the everlasting covenant. The Father engageth to bestow all the blessings of it. Jesus hath secured them by his blood and righteousness. And the Holy Ghost undertakes to instruct them into all the knowledge suited to their adopted state and character. He will guide them into all truth. He shall take of mine (saith Jesus) and shew unto you. All mysteries, parables, proverbs, essential for their furtherance in grace, and the knowledge of the Lord, shall be explained unto them. Unto you is given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God, but to others in parables. Hence, saith the Lord God; in one of the sweetest and most encouraging portions of scripture, wilt thou not from this time cry unto me, My Father thou art the guide of my youth? Jeremiah 3:4.
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Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on Proverbs 18". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". https://pro.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 25 / Ordinary 30