Wednesday, October 03, 2007

BETTER TO DWELL IN THE WILDERNESS...


"BETTER TO DWELL IN THE WILDERNESS ..."
Proverb 21:19


"Better to dwell in the wilderness, Than with a contentious and angry woman."
Pity the man married to a "contentious" woman - who is also "angry"! (And vice versa!) What a shame that she who should be the "crown of her husband" is instead "rottenness in his bones" (Proverbs 12:4)!

The Hebrew word here translated "contentious" derives from one used of a person who is angry (Proverbs 29:22), wrathful (Proverbs 15:18), perverse (Proverbs 16:28), scoffing (Proverbs 22:10), proud and not trusting in the Lord (Proverbs 28:25). The fact that Solomon spoke five proverbs regarding such a woman (Proverbs 19:13; 21:9; 25:24; 27:15) perhaps indicates he spoke from experience.

Solomon elsewhere says it is "Better to dwell in a corner of a housetop" than with such a woman as here is described (v.9; 25:24). As bad as living in a corner of a housetop would be, living in the wilderness would be far worse. We here speak of a "great and terriblewilderness, in which were fiery serpents and scorpions and thirsty land where there was no water" (Deuteronomy 8:15), "a desert land and the wasteland, a howling wilderness" (Deuteronomy 32:10).

We here would make a spiritual application:

I. What are we taught in this proverb?


"Better to dwell in discomfort with Christ than in comfort with false religion." False religion may be comfortable, but it is an angry and contentious woman. She is contentious against God and His Christ, and all who worship Him. And she is contentious within herself, for she is comprised of many differing sects, each vying for supremacy.

The testimony of the children of God throughout the ages has been that they would rather live in the worst discomforts and deprivations with Christ than in the temporal pleasures and treasures of false religion(Hebrews 11:25, 37): "choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin, esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt ...."

As it was better for Israel to sojourn in the wilderness for forty years than to remain in contentious and angry Egypt, so is it better for the church of Christ today to live in a spiritual wilderness than with contentious and angry false religion. Indeed, we read that the church of Christ has "fled into the wilderness, where she has a place prepared by God" (Revelation 12:6). Spiritually speaking, Jehovah's people have always been "the congregation in the wilderness" (Acts 7:38).

II. How do we know this proverb is true?


As God met all the needs of Israel in the wilderness, so does He through Christ for His church today in her spiritual wilderness.

1) Divine Presence. Israel always had the presence of God in the wilderness (Exodus 33:14); the church has the same in the person of Jesus Christ (Matthew 28:20b).


i) He says regarding His presence, "I will make the wilderness a pool of water" (Isaiah 41:17f);

"I will make a covenant of peace with them, and cause wild beasts to cease from the land; and they will dwell safely in the wilderness and sleep in the woods" (Ezekiel 34:25).

ii) His people say regarding His presence, "He will make her wilderness like Eden, and her desert like the garden of the LORD" (Isaiah 51:3).

2) Food. Israel was provided daily manna (Exodus 16); the church is provided Christ the True Bread (John 6:31-58).

3) Water. Israel was provided water from the rock (Exodus 17:1-7); the church is provided Christ the Rock (1 Corinthians 10:4) and the Water of Life (Revelation 21:6; 22:17).

4) Clothing. Israel was provided clothes that never wore out (Deuteronomy 29:5); the church is clothed in the everlasting never-fading imputed righteousness of Christ (Revelation 19:14; Philippians 3:9), her "garments of salvation" (Isaiah 61:10; Ezekiel 16:10-14).

5) Health. Israel was spared from all the diseases God inflicted upon the Egyptians (Exodus 15:26); the church is by Christ spared from spiritual infirmity (Ephesians 5:25-27) and the destruction God brings upon false religion (Revelation 17).

6) Final Deliverance. Israel was brought out of the wilderness into the promised land (Joshua 3:14); Christ will bring His church out of her wilderness into glory (Solomon 8:5).

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Your servant for Jesus' sake, Daniel E. Parks (2 Corinthians 4:5)
Pastor, Redeemer Baptist Church
2801 Cleveland Boulevard, Louisville, KY 40206 / 502.899-9205

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