Proverbs 21:22, A wise man scaleth the city of the mighty, and casteth down the strength of the confidence thereof.
In this proverb, as in many proverbs, God provides us a word picture to help us in our learning.
He wants us to picture a man who scales the walls of a city.
He wants us to see that this man is able to reveal the walls for what they are.
The walls have been built for other men to stay behind and to be protected from danger.
The walls are to provide security for the people of the city.
That is why people build walls.
But here we have a wise man climbing the walls that men have built, to show the people that they should not place their confidence in those walls.
Why is this? What is God telling us here? How does this apply to us in 1994?
One of the main obligations of a preacher of the word is to point people to Christ as the one and only Savior.
The wise man knows that Christ is the one and only one in which to place your confidence. There is no other.
But pointing people to a Savior pre-supposes their need for a Savior.
It pre-supposes that people have a need. It pre-supposes that their confidence is mis-placed.
These are the people who live in the city of the mighty as mentioned in this proverb.
These are the people who are confident in the strength of that which they have surrounded themselves.
These are the people who put their trust in the mighty workings of man, the cities of the mighty.
What are the cities of the mighty?
What are the cities that a wise man will climb to show that the the walls are weak, to show that they are not worthy of confidence?
Well, pride of life is a city that is trusted in,
wealth is another city where the walls are high and strong,
the city of power makes a man feel secure and provide walls which he thinks no one can penetrate.
What about the city of self esteem? The city of self confidence or self reliance. What about the city of good works.
There are more cities that man attempts to take refuge in, than we can imagine.
What cities do we seek protection from? What cities have we built?
In what cities do we place our confidence?
Is there anything that man can build that he can place confidence in? Anything at all?
This proverb tells us that a wise man is not afraid to climb the walls of the city of the mighty and show them how really weak is the city that they trust in.
The wise man is to involve himself in demolition, in the tearing down of those cities.
The walls of the city of the mighty are nothing to the wise man.
They present no problem to wisdom. Wisdom is far above any mighty city.
Any city is easy to scale with wisdom and to cast them down so that confidence in them is lost.
The wise man has wisdom to show that there should not be confidence in the cities of the mighty.
One of the major responsibilities of a preacher is to scale the walls of the cities of the mighty and by wisdom, one by one, tear down those cities that men substitute for the only true city that is trustworthy, Jesus Christ.
They are to tear down the strength of the confidence that men place in those cities.
Don't be irritated when your pastor preaches negatively!
Preachers are to be negative about the things that man has invented to place his confidence in and they are to be positive about the city that God has prepared for his own.
They are to be positive about the only one worthy of our confidence and they are to tear down all those things that keep man from the true mighty city, Jesus Christ.
The message of this verse appears again in: 2 Corinthians 10:4-5, (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;
Again in: Romans 13:12, The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light.
And again in: Matthews 18:8, Wherefore if thy hand or thy foot offend thee, cut them off, and cast them from thee: it is better for thee to enter into life halt or maimed, rather than having two hands or two feet to be cast into everlasting fire.
The message is clear,
Power is no strong city,
imaginations shall perish,
every high thing shall be brought low,
wealth will not endure,
pride of life brings destruction,
self esteem and self confidence and self reliance will only reveal wickedness,
and the city of good words produces filthy rags.
And even if your hands or feet are your confidence instead of God, Jesus tells us to cut them off rather than losing out on eternal life.
All wise men, all wise women, scale the city of the mighty, and cast down the strength of the confidence thereof.