Proverbs 18:1 & Lone Bloggers

Whoever isolates himself seeks his own desire;
He breaks out against all sound judgment.
Proverbs 18:1 (ESV)

This verse was a good tonic for my soul today.  As I read it the Lord seemed to apply it to the world of blogdom.  Particularly the land of blogdom that I live and surf have my scorning.

The first line speaks to that man who stands apart from the congregation. Regarding this first line Keil & Delitzsch state it “denotes one who willingly (Judg 4:11), and, indeed, obstinately withdraws himself.”  As the term is used in the Old Testament it always refers to a physical separation, though an emotional separation can also be involved (Prov. 16:28; 17:9).  So the situation this Proverb applies directly to is one in which a person can be characterized as standing apart.  While it is not advisable to absolutize proverbs, even the biblical ones, the wise son is advised that men do this because of their “own desire.”

Like jealousy, the term desire is both encouraged and condemned in the Old Testament.  The easiest place to see this is Psalm 10 in which the wicked boast of a desire the LORD hates (10:3) while the LORD answers the desire of the humble heart (10:17).  The connotation in Prov. 18:1 certainly seems negative.  Hence, we cautiously may estimate a motivating factor in the actions of lone bloggers: to fulfill some sort of selfish desire.  We are not told what their desire is.  The desires are probably manifold.  Nor are we advised to probe what the desire might be.  As helpful as such an exercise might eventually prove to be.

The lone blogger has separated himself from the assembly of believers and seeks his own desires.  Two actions the Scripture speaks quite clearly against.  In a grave manner.

In so separating himself, the lone blogger breaks out against all sound judgment.  BDB gives the verb a primary meaning of “expose, lay bare, disclose, make known.”  As it is used in Proverbs it is to “break out in contention, strife.”  I admit I have seen both aspects fulfilled.  The lone blogger loves to make things known, air dirty laundry; and to do so in a contentious manner.  I confess to joying in this blood sport.  Of seeing victims thrashed like a chicken in the jaw-teeth of a lion.   But all of this is against sound judgment.

However right the cause, however accurate the diagnosis, Jesus has only promised to confirm the judgment of the two or three gathered in his name.  Whatever else the church may be, the church is also the pillar and ground of the truth.  The one who isolates himself from the assembly has also isolated himself from the Scriptural security of judgment, of loosing and binding.  It will not do to say there are no good churches in my area.  If that were true, and if it mattered that much, you would move to an area where there was a “good” church.  Or you would be an active participant in the attempt to plant one where you already are.

Please pray for me and my family.  We are looking for a church to join and fellowship with.  Pray that in these days I will not yield to the temptation of isolation.  I was glad when they said to me, “Let us go to the house of the Lord.”

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13 thoughts on “Proverbs 18:1 & Lone Bloggers

  1. Why seek a particular, isolated group to join and so restrict your fellowship ? The bane of christendom is the isolation of thousands of falsely called congregations. From a few to a few thousand is still restrictive. All are controlled by one “senior pastor” at the top, who alone is the public spokesman. Such is against the Proverb quoted. It is in keeping with the Babylonian system criticized throughout all of scripture. One aspect of that system is a temple on every block. Is not that which has developed by the isolation created by the false idea of joining a “church”. The abuses that have occurred, and continue to occur, show the fruit of this isolation. It even becomes that what is promoted is “church”. Join “church”. There is but one congregation and that is the body of the Head, Jesus Christ, the ever living High Priest. Anything less is isolation of one from another. If humble men led, we would not have all the many churches led to feed the ego of one or more in charge, (always under one top man). Such is devisive and only serves the self-indulgent desires of the carnal nature.

  2. I am convinced that this verse talk about holiness and separation from the flesh. This person is wise to separate himself and not a wicked one.

  3. Ed,

    I think you first question is rhetorical and that you are probably not seeking or desiring an answer. But fools rush in.

    “Why seek a particular, isolated group to join and so restrict your fellowship ?”

    I seek a particular group because I think that is what the New Testament requires. But in doing so I certainly do not seek to restrict my fellowship to only one assembly.

    “The bane of christendom is the isolation of thousands of falsely called congregations.”

    Actually, I tend to agree with you on this one.

    “It is in keeping with the Babylonian system criticized throughout all of scripture.”

    I assume your basis for many of your comments is the notion that the assemblies of the church inherited many practices from the synagogue. My reason for assuming this is your mention of “the Babylonian system.” I assume this is referring to the synagogue “system” since many assert that it began during the exile. If you are referring to the synagogue I think there are problems with your assertion.

    First of all, “all of scripture” goes beyond hyperbole and is plainly false. Certainly the bulk of the Old Testament cannot condemn it because (if) the synagogue system began during the exile, there were over 4,000 years of biblical history in which it did not exist. So it could not have been condemned by anyone except the latter prophets.

    Secondly, how is Scripture condemning the synagogue when Jesus made it His practice to attend it? When Paul attended it as well?

    But maybe you are not speaking of the synagogue.

    “There is but one congregation and that is the body of the Head, Jesus Christ, the ever living High Priest.”

    I agree.

    But the same book that speaks of us coming to the heavenly Mount Zion with the angels and souls of those made perfect also commands us not to forsake the assembling “ourselves” together–even daily. So how am I to assemble faithfully with my brothers and sisters in China, Russia, Greece, Kenya on a regular basis? How are they to encourage me daily as we see the Day approaching? Who exactly so I go to when my brother offends me?

    Trust me Ed, I treasure the truth of the one, holy, catholic, apostolic church. I long to experience it and joy in it. But how can I say I love the fellowship of those I do not see when I will not fellowship with those who I can see?

  4. Proverbs 18:1 NET version (net.bible.org) – One who has isolated himself seeks his own desires; he rejects all sound judgment.
    The person who isolates himself will do so for maybe one of two reasons. First, there are those who believe their own capabilities are superior so they should rely on themselves rather than others. This is called pride. Against all sound judgement (reason) such a person will choose to listen to their own voice rather than others. Thankfully, with time and work, it is possible for such a person to be shown their pride so they can repent.

    Another reason, bitterness, can be much more devastating on the personal level. As one becomes bitter, their view tends to turn inward and thoughts about the positive (ie: Philippians 4:8) are easily forgotten or ignored. Bitterness cannot be handled like pride because a bitter person usually analyzes their own life and finds shortcomings all over the place. Their actions and thoughts show disrespect or outright rebellion towards God and as the analysis goes on, more and more proof is found. This is a vicious cycle that can tear a person apart. In the downward spiral, it seems the very life of the person is leaving them. They don’t listen to sound judgement because they have been isolated by their pain.

    Sorry to say, from what you have written above, you are NOT a prideful person.

    Should one leave bitterness? The one thought that comes to mind is we will be spending an eternity together with a group of people who have accepted Jesus Christ as Saviour. Can’t I spend my time now learning who these people are and helping them any way I can? Will I always act perfectly with all the people? Who says I have to? God says love them, not be perfect around them. And if (when) I fail, I can apologize. If I think they won’t accept this, I can first pray to God that they might then apologize. If they won’t accept it, then God will deal with them, I don’t have to. That is why we have a supreme spiritual Father, to take care of us.

    Hebrews 12:15 warns about becoming bitter and causing trouble. If some denomination or Church group has done something that has made you bitter, take it to God in prayer. Ask for wisdom in how to see this from your point of view and from the other point of view. Gather your thoughts, maybe write them down on paper and pray some more. In Romans 3 Paul likens our bitterness as belonging with those who are under sin. We are not under sin who have accepted Jesus Christ as Saviour, as Romans 8:1 states. Then we are also no longer under bitterness. We handle it differently. We do something about it rather than allowing it to tear us or others apart. Also, we are not alone in our struggle. We have the Holy Spirit to comfort and guide us.

    And lastly, Church can be looked at as something I have to do – a law. It shouldn’t be. It should be joy. This joy will only come as you understand more deeply what Christ has done for you. As your understanding grows, you will start to attend Church to worship Christ. This really needs to be a prime motivation for attending, along with service and the joy of meeting other brethren who will be with you for eternity.

    Oh well, much more to say, hope something I said helps. Focus on bearing the fruit of the Spirit, let bitterness go. Christ says you are not that kind of guy anymore.

    Philippians 4:8, Galatians 5:22

  5. Warren,

    Thanks for the warning about bitterness. It is something I have definitely been alert to lately. Trying to make sure it never takes root and causes me to fall short of the grace of God.

    I completely agree about church being a joy, not a law. I wish we lived in better days, or a better place, in which it was the practice to meet daily. And so much the more as the day approaches.

    Thanks again.

  6. I still agree with what I had written previously but now see this verse from a different, and perhaps better, view. I went to Thru the Bible (www.thruthebible.org) to listen to Dr. McGee explain 18:1. After reading from the Bible version he was accustom to (I think it was his own), he reworded it slightly to “A man having separated himself for his own pleasure rages against all sound wisdom”. He went on to give an explanation for those converted and those not converted. You can go listen if you want to know the full detail. However, it stirred up my thoughts.

    He had emphasized – separated. This was not a condition but an action. It is a stubborn action saying I don’t care what you say, I am still going to do this. Maybe a little like the little boy admitting to his father “I might be sitting down on the outside but I am still standing up on the inside!”. And not only is this an action but there is a specific recipient – self. Having a desire for the self is not inherently evil or wrong. However, 18:1 talks about wisdom and the person being spoken about was rejecting sound wisdom. In this case, it was against all sound wisdom to leave and be separated from the group. We worship God because Jesus came to be part of the human “group” so we can be forgiven and join the group of fellow heirs with Christ. It is against sound judgment, against sound wisdom, to do otherwise. And you might think that might have been the end of my thoughts. Nope.

    On the way home from work, it finally dawned on me what was being illustrated. Ok, maybe one thing as there are others. The verse shows that isolating yourself can be going against all sorts of wisdom. But really, what is the root problem with isolating yourself? Because you have put this entry into your blog, you really don’t know. I do.

    I make the assumption you are converted. You have accepted Jesus Christ as Saviour believing it was his faith and sacrifice of love for all of mankind that made it possible to be forgiven and live for eternity with God. You believe after your resurrection from death you will live with God to be taught / encouraged / strengthened / etc. in purity, holiness, and righteousness. The human nature that makes you so miserable and messed up will be gone and you will be able to worship God with all your heart and being. Now let’s connect all of this with the verse.

    You still have your human nature! Duh! Sorry, that just slipped out (I was really talking to myself). For us to try to separate ourselves and live isolated is easy. It’s our nature! But we already know how but build up our old nature because that is why Christ had to come and give his life as a ransom for ours. What we find difficult is to live like Christ while we still have this human nature. But this is because we don’t passionately pray before God to live like Christ. We are not right or wrong if we do or don’t but we ARE missing out on the opportunity to live like Christ now. It takes more effort and determination and prayerful help from God but it really is worth it. Your first step is to get on your knees with diligence and ask. God loves it when we ask.

    Amen.

  7. Corrected sentence in last section (bummer, now everyone knows – sad face 😦 ):

    For us to try to separate ourselves and live isolated is easy. It’s our nature! But we already know how to build up our old nature because that is why Christ had to come and give his life as a ransom for ours.

  8. Warren,

    I thank you for teaching me that I need to write with more clarity; less ambiguity.

    My “lone bloggers” remark was not actually meant to refer to myself, but to Christian “watchblogs” that exist solely to point out the errors of everyone else. Sites like Slice of Laodicea come to mind. For a time I enjoyed places like that; seeing how bad everyone else is. I suppose such a job is made easier by the fact that many such sites seem to be run by loners or pastors with 14 people in their church.

    But I can see how you thought I was referring to me: my comment at the end about looking for a church. That search was due to some unfortunate events, but had nothing to do with me deciding it was time to get back into church. I honestly do not recall the last Sunday- when I was not in church. Happily, I can report that my family and I seem to have found a place to join.

    Thanks for your comments though. I am glad you were driven to meditate on the Word.

    Grace and peace.

  9. Ahhhhh! The light bulb illuminates!

    Well none-the-less, I appreciate what you have put up because it caused me to dig deep into Psalms 18:1. And I don’t believe my posts are out of line with it. Those who isolate themselves run the risk of becoming bitter. If one is bitter, then it becomes much easier to seek out just how bad others are. Perhaps this is the recipe for some of the blogs you speak about. Unfortunately the root cause for isolation and bitterness boils down to our human nature.

    To contrast, the example of Christ coming into mankind represents love, not bitterness. The Bible says we are to let our love cover sins, not expose them. Being forgiven and accepted by God because of Christ’s sacrifice is clear evidence our sins have been covered. This is the nature God wants us to live with, this is the nature Christ has, it is the nature we need to strive to develop. Following what Psalms 18:1 warns against means the standard I choose to live by comes from self rather than God. Clearly, that is going against all sound wisdom as this verse states.

    Well, thanks for the opportunity to yap. I have to go now – I have things to pray about and work on.

  10. Warren,

    No, thank you for the encouragement. It is such a blessing to my soul to know that the Lord used one of my meager posts to drive one of His children deeper into the Word.

    I pray your love for the brethren will ever abound as you grow together with them into the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.

    Praise God from Whom all blessings flow!

  11. Not sure how old this blog is, but I just wanted to comment. The church is n0t that built with hands, but each of us are temples of the Holy Spirit. What you are feeling is not sinful or evil. What you are feeling is what A.W.Tozer, Leonard Ravenhill, John Wesley, Thomas a Kempis, Charles G. Finney and many others warned the church was coming. Churches today are not about fellowship in an effort to meet God or worship Him. For the most part we have been led to believe we are in sin for judging the sins that have leavened into the American churches. Read I Corinthians 5:9-13. Unfortunately, many of us are not bitter, but our spirit man is GRIEVING because the church has linked arms with the world introducing entertainment, social ministries, humanism (psychology excusing sin) and a host of other ungodly practices into the church. Paul warned about a little leaven leavening the whole lump. Many of us have been called out to a place of sanctification unto GOD so that he can purge this humanistic form of religion out of us and rebuild the church as it was in the New Testament. I encourage you to follow that “still small voice” and the scriptures. There are many of us out here who LOVE THE LOST, LOVE GOD, LOVE OUR BRETHREN, and desire to have a sanctified place of fellowship. GOD Bless!

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