Website owner: James Miller
When Jesus said he was "the way, the truth and the life" (John 14:6) he meant that the Way of Truth and Life consists in the following of he teachings. When he said he was the light of the world (John 8:12) he meant that the Way of Light and Life was in following his teachings. When he said he was the resurrection and the life (John 11:25) he was referring to the following of his teachings. In John 4:13-14 he said, "Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again. But whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life." He was again making reference to the following of his teachings. This way that Jesus keeps referring to, the way of his teachings, is in fact the very same way that is also referred to much in the Old Testament books of Psalms and Proverbs. The book of Proverbs speaks of the way of Wisdom and Understanding. The way of Wisdom and Understanding spoken of in Proverbs is the very same way Jesus was speaking of. If we study Proverbs we see that the way of Wisdom and Understanding is the way of Fear of God, love of God, obedience to God, obedience in following his commandments. Psalms speaks continually of the same way. The central thrust of Psalms is love of God, obedience to him; obedience in following his law, his precepts, his commandments (see Psalms 119). It is about this Way, this Way of Righteousness and Goodness. This is the narrow way Jesus referred to when he said, "broad is the way that leads to destruction and narrow is the way that leads to life and few there are who find it." (Matt. 7:13-14). This way of Wisdom, Understanding --- this way of fear of God, love of God, obedience to God --- is represented in the Bible as the "enlightened path", the path of Light, Life and Truth. It is the path that leads to heaven. It is a path followed by few. The masses follow the way of the world, the way of wickedness. What is this Path of Righteousness, this path of Truth and Light? What is the system of outlooks, attitudes and values that characterize it? We can answer that by studying the teachings of Jesus. The emphasis of Jesus was on certain central spiritual principles. What are these principles? Love of God, truthfulness, honesty, meekness, kindness, forgiveness, compassion, peaceableness, self-denial, purity, morality, concern for neighbor, humility, goodness, virtue, service. These spiritual principles are found in the Old Testament. Christians do not follow the large mass of rules, laws and rites that God gave to the Jews on everything from diet to the sowing of crops as found in the books of Leviticus and Deuteronomy (i.e. Jewish law), but they are supposed to follow the teachings of Jesus, which are these central principles. And it is these central principles that you find emphasized in the books of Psalms and Proverbs. Jesus was often criticized by the scribes and Pharisees for breaking Jewish laws and rules. For example, he was often criticized for healing on the Sabbath. They said it was working on the Sabbath, a violation of Jewish law. Jesus emphasized the central principles and the spirit of the law as opposed to a lot of rules and regulations. What are God's central spiritual commandments to man as found in the Old Testament? Well, first, we are supposed to love God. Then we are supposed to love our fellow man. God tells us how we are to treat our fellow man. We are supposed to treat him justly and fairly. We are supposed to treat him well. We are not to lie, steal, kill, covet or commit adultery. We are not supposed to wrong our neighbor. Deu 10:12-20 And now, Israel, what does the LORD your God require of you, but to fear the LORD your God, to walk in all His ways and to love Him, to serve the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and to keep the commandments of the LORD and His statutes which I command you today for your good? Indeed heaven and the highest heavens belong to the LORD your God, also the earth with all that is in it. For the LORD your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome, who shows no partiality nor takes a bribe. He administers justice for the fatherless and the widow, and loves the stranger, giving him food and clothing. Therefore love the stranger, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt. You shall fear the LORD your God; you shall serve Him, and to Him you shall hold fast, and take oaths in His name. Deut. 6:1-2,6-9 Now this is the commandment, and these are the statutes and judgments which the LORD your God has commanded to teach you, that you may observe them in the land which you are crossing over to possess, that you may fear the LORD your God, to keep all His statutes and His commandments which I command you, you and your son and your grandson, all the days of your life, and that your days may be prolonged. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates. Lev 19:2-4 You shall be holy, for I the LORD your God am holy. Every one of you shall revere his mother and his father, and keep My Sabbaths: I am the LORD your God. Do not turn to idols, nor make for yourselves molded gods: I am the LORD your God. Lev 19:11-18,35-36,26,28,31 You shall not steal, nor deal falsely, nor lie to one another. You shall not swear by My name falsely, nor shall you profane the name of your God. You shall not cheat your neighbor, nor rob him. The wages of him who is hired shall not remain with you all night until morning. You shall not curse the deaf, nor put a stumbling block before the blind, but shall fear your God: I am the LORD. You shall do no injustice in judgment. You shall not be partial to the poor, nor honor the person of the mighty. In righteousness you shall judge your neighbor. You shall not go about as a talebearer among your people; nor shall you take a stand against the life of your neighbor. You shall not hate your brother in your heart. You shall surely rebuke your neighbor, and not bear sin because of him. You shall not take vengeance, nor bear any grudge against the children of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself. You shall do no injustice in judgment, in measurement of length, weight, or volume. You shall have honest scales, honest weights, an honest ephah, and an honest hin. You shall not eat anything with the blood, nor shall you practice divination or soothsaying. You shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor tattoo any marks on you. Give no regard to mediums and familiar spirits; do not seek after them, to be defiled by them: I am the LORD your God. Lev 19:33-34 And if a stranger dwells with you in your land, you shall not mistreat him. The stranger who dwells among you shall be to you as one born among you, and you shall love him as yourself; for you were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the LORD your God. Deut 15:6-7,11 If there is among you a poor man of your brethren, within any of the gates in your land which the Lord your God is giving you, you shall not harden your heart nor shut your hand from your poor brother, but you shall open your hand wide to him and willingly lend him sufficient for his need, whatever he needs. For the poor will never cease from the land; therefore I command you, saying, "You shall open your hand wide to your brother, to your poor and your needy, in your land." Lev 18:22-24 You shall not lie with a male as with a woman. It is an abomination. Nor shall you mate with any animal, to defile yourself with it. Nor shall any woman stand before an animal to mate with it. It is perversion. Do not defile yourselves with any of these things; for by all these the nations are defiled, which I am casting out before you. Lev 20:10,13,15-16 The man who commits adultery with another man's wife, he who commits adultery with his neighbor's wife, the adulterer and the adulteress, shall surely be put to death. If a man lies with a male as he lies with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination. They shall surely be put to death. Their blood shall be upon them. If a man mates with an animal, he shall surely be put to death, and you shall kill the animal. If a woman approaches any animal and mates with it, you shall kill the woman and the animal. They shall surely be put to death. Their blood is upon them. We see in the above commandments certain general spiritual principles: the importance of love of God, truthfulness, integrity, moral rectitude, justice and fairness toward your fellow man, mercy, compassion for the poor and needy. In the book of Proverbs we read: These six things the Lord hates, Yes, seven are an abomination to him: A proud look, A lying tongue, Hands that shed innocent blood, A heart that devises wicked plans, Feet that are swift in running to evil, A false witness who speaks lies, And one who sows discord among brethren. Prov. 6:19-19 In the book of Proverbs it is emphasized that this way of Wisdom and Understanding must be sought and pursued. We read: Get wisdom! Get understanding! Do not forget, nor turn away from the words of my mouth. Do not forsake her, and she will preserve you; Love her, and she will keep you. Wisdom is the principal thing; Therefore get wisdom. And in all your getting, get understanding. Exalt her, and she will promote you; She will bring you honor, when you embrace her. She will place on your head an ornament of grace; A crown of glory she will deliver to you. Prov. 4:5-9 My son, if you receive my words, And treasure my commands within you, So that you incline your ear to wisdom, And apply your heart to understanding; Yes, if you cry out for discernment, And lift up your voice for understanding, If you seek her as silver, And search for her as for hidden treasures; Then you will understand the fear of the LORD, And find the knowledge of God. For the LORD gives wisdom; From His mouth come knowledge and understanding; He stores up sound wisdom for the upright; He is a shield to those who walk uprightly; He guards the paths of justice, And preserves the way of His saints. Then you will understand righteousness and justice, Equity and every good path. When wisdom enters your heart, And knowledge is pleasant to your soul, Discretion will preserve you; Understanding will keep you, To deliver you from the way of evil, From the man who speaks perverse things, From those who leave the paths of uprightness To walk in the ways of darkness; Who rejoice in doing evil, And delight in the perversity of the wicked; Whose ways are crooked, And who are devious in their paths; Prov. 2:1-15 God's way must be sought and pursued with seriousness. Jesus said, "Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and it will be opened to you." Matt 7:7. In James we read: If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given him. James 1:5. God's way is the way of Wisdom and Understanding. His way is about practice and obedience, not theory, dogma or ritual. Wisdom and Understanding teach the fear of God and the importance of living by his principles --- the principles taught by Jesus: love of God, truthfulness, honesty, meekness, kindness, forgiveness, compassion, peaceableness, self-denial, purity, morality, concern for neighbor, humility, goodness, virtue, service. Dec 2008 More from SolitaryRoad.com:
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