Deuteronomy 32:28, 29
For they are a nation void of counsel, neither is there any understanding in them.…
I. IN WHAT WISDOM CONSISTS.
1. The choice of right ends.
2. Of right means to secure these ends.
3. In harmony with a just and proportioned view of all the circumstances of our situation.
When essential circumstances are omitted in the calculation, when the horizon is unduly narrowed, when all-important factors of the situation are left wholly out of account, - it is vain to speak of wisdom. Absolutely, and as regards our standing as moral beings, wisdom embraces:
1. The choice of a true end, i.e. the choice, as our end in life, of that end for which we were created.
2. The practical sharing of conduct with a view to that end, and in the way best calculated to attain it. And this:
3. In view of all the circumstances of the case, i.e. with right apprehensions of God, of the issues of moral conduct, of eternity. What wisdom is more to be desired than this? What efforts ought to be put forth to attain it! What incalculable value ought to be set upon it!
II. SIN IS THE ABSOLUTE UNWISDOM.
1. For the true end of life it substitutes a false one. The end for which we were made was holiness - the service of God with all our powers of soul, body, and spirit. In this consists our life, our happiness, our well-being. In pursuit of this end, our nature works harmoniously with itself, and With the general constitution of the world. But sin substitutes for this an end which violates, disturbs, perverts the harmony of every sphere of our existence. It asserts a false independence of the creature. It bids us use our powers for self, and not for God. It holds up as an end a shadowy good which is never realized. It cheats with insincere promises. By perverting the nature, it gives to fleshly lusts a tyrannical predominance, and degrades the spirit to the position of a bondservant. For unity there is thus established anarchy - each lust, as its own master, seeking an independent gratification. Life in this way falls asunder - it has a proper end no longer - and the strife continues till a new equilibrium is established by one lust or passion usurping the mastery over the rest.
2. For the true conduct of life it substitutes a course of conduct resting on false bases. The false end yields its natural fruit in false principles of life. The sinner's whole career, whatever he may think of it himself, is one tissue of errors and illogicalities. If measured by the end he ought to set before him, it is seen to be a course leading him wildly and hopelessly astray. The more skillfully and assiduously he applies himself to his ends, only the more conspicuously does he convict himself of folly.
3. Instead of taking all the factors of the case into account, it usually leaves God and eternity out of it. This is that which most convincingly brands the sinner's course as folly. If God exist, and if he have the power to bless or blast our schemes, and if in the end we have to meet him as our Judge, - it surely cannot be wisdom to leave this fact unnoticed. So, if we are beings made for eternity, destined to exist forever, he must be a fool who makes preparations for everything but for eternity. If, again, the issues of obedience and sin are on the one hand life, and on the other death, he must be insane who deliberately makes a preference of the latter. Even if the choice is not deliberately made, but the eyes are kept closed to the issues, this does not alter the unwisdom of the choice itself. We can see, therefore, how a man may be most wise as regards this world, and yet the veriest fool as regards the whole scope of his existence. He may be gifted, talented, energetic, a shrewd man of the world, sagacious in pursuit of earthly ends, yet totally blind to his eternal interests. He may be neglecting the "one thing needful," making no preparation for a hereafter, missing the end of his existence, treasuring up wrath and sorrow for himself at the end. "Thou fool!" was the stern word of Heaven to a man who, in earthly respects, was probably deemed very wise (Luke 12:20). Men are fools who neglect the voice of religion. - J.O.
Parallel VersesKJV: For they are a nation void of counsel, neither is there any understanding in them.