There’s a Proverb for That: Will the True God Please Stand Up?
Many are confused about the personality of the God revealed in the Bible. Is He judgmental and harsh or loving and kind? The Proverbs tell us a lot about God.
Though it covers many aspects of human life, the book of Proverbs is not limited to physical matters only. This great piece of inspired wisdom literature contains deep insights into the spirit world that cannot be seen by physical eyes, providing important details about God.
Pick a god, any god
Different Christian denominations believe in different versions of God. Take the following examples:
- God is angry and wrathful and hates all sinners.
- God is tolerant and merciful and loves everyone no matter what they do.
- God is distant and unfeeling, creating the world and then letting it be.
- God used the “big bang” and evolution to create everything.
- God created all and predestined every action we would ever make.
And so on, and so forth, to the tune of over 10,000 different sects or denominations.
So who’s right between all the opinions? The first of the 10 Commandments instructs us to have none other than the true God (Exodus 20:3). This doesn’t just mean rejecting openly false gods, but also false versions of the true God. The apostle Paul warned of a different gospel, which includes a different God, that perverts the true gospel (Galatians 1:6-7).
Because of all this confusion, we need to go to the Bible to learn about the true God. Thankfully, there’s a proverb for that.
Proverbs and implications
1. Proverbs 20:12: “The hearing ear and the seeing eye, the LORD has made them both.”
If we think that denying God as the creator of everything is limited to atheists and agnostics, we haven’t been paying attention to recent trends in Christianity. Perhaps in order to attract more congregants, many professing Christians—even the pope—advocate the idea of God “using evolution.” Others personify nature as a god. But Proverbs tells us, “The LORD by wisdom founded the earth; by understanding He established the heavens” (Proverbs 3:19).
Implications: God created all things through Jesus Christ (Ephesians 3:9; Colossians 1:16). It may not always be popular to believe this, but are we more worried about popularity or truth? It’s important to remember that not all scientists believe in every element of evolution. You may find it helpful to read this article by a science teacher who rejects evolution, “A Science Teacher’s Bold Confession.”
2. Proverbs 21:12: “The righteous God wisely considers the house of the wicked, overthrowing the wicked for their wickedness.”
Oh no, here comes that wrathful, intolerant and vengeful God so many people feel the Bible presents! Well, not really. People’s opinions of what is righteousness and wickedness change with the times, but not God’s. The Bible shows God hating and being angry at sin, such as pride, lying, harming the innocent, wicked thoughts, openly evil behavior and sowing discord where there should be unity (Proverbs 6:16-17, 18-19). He will always hate evil, no matter what the circumstance or human justification. There’s nothing harsh or negative about that. In fact, you should hate the same things, because they destroy people and relationships.
Even though He clearly hates sin, God is also a merciful parent offering forgiveness and mercy to those who repent of their sinsImplications: Asking God to tolerate sin is like asking parents to tolerate the abuse of their children. Most parents would agree that they should be intolerant and hateful of anything that harms the children they are responsible to protect.
But, even though He clearly hates sin, God is also a merciful parent offering forgiveness and mercy to those who repent of their sins (Joel 2:13). He is not a harsh judge holding humans over the flames of hell, as the classic 1741 Jonathan Edwards’ sermon describes Him.
3. Proverbs 16:9: “A man’s heart plans his way, but the LORD directs his steps.”
As we mentioned earlier, many see God as a distant being who has little involvement in our affairs. But the Bible shows Him as a being who wants to be involved in our lives and will be if we allow Him to be. He wants us to go in the right way, because without His guidance we are all on a path of confusion (Proverbs 20:24). The reality is that we are the ones who choose to be distant from God (Isaiah 59:2).
Implications: Human beings seem to want God involved in life only when it comes to His blessings and protection. But we want to live our lives however we want. Basically, we want the benefits, but we don’t want the responsibility to follow Him. God wants to bless us—but He also wants us to let Him direct our steps. He wants us to let Him be the guide to the only human beings we can control: ourselves.
Plenty more where those came from
The proverbs above give important insights into the true God, but there is so much more to learn. Yet from the few proverbs we’ve looked at, a general theme can be constructed: God loves us, His creation, so much that He wants to be involved with and help us refrain from hurting ourselves and others.
We recently released a new booklet that takes readers on a journey through the scriptures that reveal what the true God is like. To read it, download Getting to Know the God of the Bible.