Eat The Hay And Spit Out The Sticks

“Wisdom shouts in the streets. She cries out in the public square. She calls to the crowds along the main street, to those gathered in front of the city gate: ‘How long, you simpletons, will you insist on being simpleminded? How long will you mockers relish your mocking? How long will you fools hate knowledge? Come and listen to my counsel. I’ll share my heart with you and make you wise.

‘I called you so often, but you wouldn’t come. I reached out to you, but you paid no attention. You ignored my advice and rejected the correction I offered. So I will laugh when you are in trouble! I will mock you when disaster overtakes you – when calamity overtakes you like a storm, when disaster engulfs you like a cyclone, and anguish and distress overwhelm you.

‘When they cry for help, I will not answer. Though they anxiously search for me, they will not find me. For they hated knowledge and chose not to fear the Lord. They rejected my advice and paid no attention when I corrected them. Therefore, they must eat the bitter fruit of living their own way, choking on their own schemes. For simpletons turn away from me – to death. Fools are destroyed by their own complacency. But all who listen to me will live in peace, untroubled by fear of harm'” (Proverbs 1:20-33, NLT).

A wise man once said that we need to have enough sense to eat the hay and spit out the sticks when it comes to Bible doctrines. How true it is.

Remember when Jesus was being tempted by Satan? Satan quoted scripture to decieve Jesus: “Then the devil took Him up into the holy city, set Him on the pinnacle of the temple, and said to Him, ‘If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down. For it is written: “He shall give His angels charge over you,” and “In their hands they shall bear you up, lest you dash your foot against a stone.”‘ Jesus said to him, ‘It is written again, “You shall not tempt the Lord your God'” (Matthew 4:5-7).

The devil told the truth. He quoted Psalm 91:11-12. But Jesus didn’t take the bait. Why? He had the wisdom to know that if He volunteered to commit suicide that was on Him. Jesus spit out the sticks without compromising the word of God.

As believer’s, we need to learn to do the same thing. We need to recognize what may be a trap and what the word of God is really saying: “Study and do your best to present yourself to God approved, a workman [tested by trial] who has no reason to be ashamed, accurately handling and skillfully teaching the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15, Amplified Bible). If we can accurately know the word of God, we can inaccurately know it also.

Our opening scripture describes the person who is lukewarm, naive, and refuses to listen. The end result is their own self-destruction. The time will come when they need wisdom, but they won’t have it; and the seed they’ve sown will be what they have to reap.

The Holy Spirit warns us: “Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all lonsuffering and teaching. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables” (2 Timothy 4:2-4). We can be decieved when we shut out the word of God for a belief that suits our own agenda.

Deception is often very subtle. We see that with the temptation of Jesus. A few scriptures taken out of context, ignoring other scriptures that will allow a fuller view, and allowing secular humanism and philosophy to make us feel good will cause us to fall away from sound wisdom and doctrine.

Example: Many will have nothing to do with biblical prosperity. They’ve seen how some have used it to fleece the sheep. There will always be those who will pervert things for their own gain. But what does the word of God say? Don’t throw out the baby with the bath water. Don’t base your faith on what a counterfeiter does. Should we tithe? Should we give? Is there blessings for it?

Here’s a fair question. If you were a counterfeiter, would you counterfeit a seventy-five dollar bill? No, of course not. Why? There’s no such thing as a seventy-five dollar bill. Satan didn’t try to deceive Jesus by quoting the Illiad. There would have been no deception in that. Counterfeiters use enough truth to make the scam appear real. With Bible doctrine sometimes things seem to contradict, but in reality they don’t. For example: grace is real, but ultimate grace, where we can do anything we want without judgement, is a deception: “I find that I must write about something else, urging you to defend the faith that God has entrusted once for all time to his holy pople. I say this because some ungodly people have wormed their way into your churches, saying that God’s marvelous grace allows us to live immoral lives. The condemnation of such people was recorded long ago, for they have denied our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ” (Jude 3, 4; NLT). What’s the end of ultimate grace? Destruction without understanding because wisdom was rejected.

What does the Bible say about healing, prosperity, judgement, faith, baptism, gifts of the Spirit, etcetera? Study to show yourself approved by God, rightly dividing the word of truth.

What has this to do with wisdom or the rejection of it? Think about this. How many people care enough about being healthy to study all they can about Biblical healing? Most of us know virtually nothing on the subject. And unbeknownst to us, what little we know may actually be hindering someone from receiving their healing. We can pray and pray, have a prayer chain going, go to every prayer line we can find, and still walk away sick. At some point some give up and declare that God is out of the healing business, or worse, there is no God. Maybe, just maybe, we don’t know as much as we think. Does the Bible teach to pray and lay hands on the sick? Absolutely! But there’s more to getting healed than the laying on of hands or the anointing of oil; just as there’s more to salvation than the prayer of salvation. How can we have wisdom for healing if we won’t listen to what God says about it? If we don’t study to show ourselves approved of God, rightly dividing the word of truth?

What happens when we don’t have wisdom? When we need it, it’s not there: “Then they will call on me, but I will not answer; they will seek me diligently, but they will not find me. Because they hated knowledge and did not choose the fear of the Lord, they would have none of my counsel and despised my every rebuke. Therefore they shall eat the fruit of their own way, and be filled to the full with their own fancies. For the turning away of the simple will slay them, and the complacency of fools will destroy them; but whoever listens to me will dwell safely, and will be secure, without fear of evil” (Proverbs 1:28-33).

There’s a great rule of thumb: You can’t have what you speak against. If we speak against our spouses, we will destroy our marraige. If we speak against God’s willingness to heal or supply our needs, it will hinder or stop God’s ability to help us. We may not agree with what so-and-so T.V. evangelist says, but we should seek out the word of God for a strong foundation for our faith and not deny everything just because we don’t like the guy.

Using what I just said for example: I wasn’t insinuating that we should listen to somebody we know to be a wolf in sheeps clothing. Most people sharing the gospel aren’t wolves; yet, we can’t just eat everything put in front of us. We also need to be able to recognize what a wolf is, a predator who uses subtle deception to destroy its prey.

These are the days of deception. Knowing who to trust has become difficult. Jesus’ warning “do not be deceived” was the first concern for His people when asked about the signs of His coming (Matthew chapters twenty-four and twenty-five).

If we are willing and obedient to our Lord’s directions, then He can protect us and guide in the journey of life. When study to show ourselves approved of God, a workman that needs not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth, we’ll know the difference between the sticks and hay.

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