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Proverbs 17:24, Wisdom is before him that hath understanding; but the eyes of a fool are in the ends of the earth.
This is a proverb about boundaries.
Boundaries are good things.
They establish endings and they establish beginnings.
Boundaries are markers of separation and they provide clarity in decision making.
Boundaries of land, permit the farmer to know the extent of his land.
When he knows this he knows where to plow and where not to plow.
He knows that he cannot plow his neighbor's land.
Don't you like the boundaries that traffic lines establish?
When you are traveling along at 65 MPH and the car coming toward you is traveling along at 65 MPH with a closing rate of 130 MPH aren't you glad that there are center line boundaries to give each driver direction?
Don't you appreciate the no passing lines established to prevent you from colliding head on with another driver?
I like the boundaries that the walls of my house establish so that the weather knows it cannot come in.
Are we not trying to firm up the boundary that our church roof presents to the rain so that it cannot come in.
Boundaries are good and without boundaries there is only confusion.
In this proverb we are told that wisdom is a boundary to those that have understanding.
It is always before those that understand.
It provides fencing to limit the actions of the understander.
It provides a framework of life that if followed will guarantee real success in life.
Wisdom provides principles of conduct which are principles that separate those things that will help from those things that will hinder.
Wisdom warns the understanding ones of danger
A person who is governed by wisdom, voluntarily limits himself to that which wisdom allows.
Wisdom is the center of his thoughts, his motives, and his pursuits.
Wisdom provides him order to life.
Every desire, everything for which he has affection, every talent that he has been given finds its proper place within the order that wisdom allows.
Those that understand do not have affections, desires, nor use their talents outside of that order.
The person that has understanding is content with wisdom and satisfied with wisdom and has no need to look to the ends of the earth as the fool constantly does.
The understanding agree with Psalm 19:8, The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes.
and the person of understanding agees with:
Psalm 119:18, Open thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law.
But the fool's eyes are never satisfied for he has said, No God for me!
As we read in Proverbs 27:20, Hell and destruction are never full; so the eyes of man are never satisfied.
The fool says No boundaries for me. No fences for me.
Let my eyes gaze where they will and let them wander from one thing to another.
Let my thoughts roam to and fro unhindered and let them scatter and not settle on anything that may cause me good.
I do not want anything that is absolute or definite.
I do not want any principle that is settled and fixed.
I love to stay in the grays of life, I abhor the blacks and the whites of life.
Let me care for those things that are the furthest away, those things that are in the ends of the earth.
My eyes crave those things.
I love to be compassionate about the starving millions but I do not desire to care about my neighbor next door.
I feel good just being compassionate about those that are impossible to help,
but I do not want to be bothered about those that live close to me and may need my help.
I like to halt between two opinions. No need to take sides if I can help it.
Why rock the boat and commit yourself today to one side.
It may be more profitable to commit to the other side tomorrow.
So the desire of fools to look to the ends of the earth is the weapon of the enemy of God.
Satan's purpose is to turn the mind from that which is immediate to that which is indefinite,
from that which has substance to that which is slippery and vague,
from that which is plain and important to that which is unsearchable,
from that which is personal to that which is not relevant.
How the unimportant of life takes the place of the thing that is of eternal value: that one thing that is needful.
How we fail in keeping wisdom before our eyes. How we fail in our understanding.
Where are our eyes or our thoughts during prayer?
Are they on the ends of the earth instead of on the object of our worship, Jesus Christ?
Do we turn our eyes upon Jesus as the song says.
Do we engage our mouth in cruise control without our mind entering into our prayer?
Where are our eyes during the teaching of the word in church and in Sunday school?
Wisdom is before him that has understanding.
Wisdom is our guardian, our guide, our protector, our teacher.
Our eyes are to be single, not letting wisdom depart from our eyes and casting our eyes to the ends of the earth as though a fool.
Psalm 119:37, Turn away mine eyes from beholding vanity; and quicken thou me in thy way.
Proverbs 4:20,21, My son, attend to my words; incline thine ear unto my sayings. Let them not depart from thine eyes; keep them in the midst of thine heart.
Proverbs 23:26, My son, give me thine heart, and let thine eyes observe my ways.
God knows that if he captures our heart he will capture our eyes.
Our duty as God's children is to fix our eyes on the things that are not seen, the things that are eternal and are seen only through the eyes of faith.