Study 5 ARE WE WISE OR FOOLISH SONS
TEN STUDIES IN PROVERBS
by Francis Dixon
(Key-verse: Proverbs 10:5)
How down-to-earth this book of Proverbs is! Our key-verse gives us yet another example where it reads: “He who gathers crops in summer is a wise son, but he who sleeps during harvest is a disgraceful son.” Here is an encouragement and a warning for those of us who are serving God. The words apply to the harvest of the earth and any farmer will agree with them; but they are equally applicable to the spiritual harvest, to the business in which every Christian should be engaged, of seeking to gather in precious souls for the Lord. If you look at these words carefully you will notice that they emphasise four truths.
1. The days in which we live are summer days: they are harvest days
This means that they are days of opportunity for ingathering; or to put it dispensationally, this is the Day of Grace which began at Pentecost and which will go on until the Lord comes – the period of time in which men and women are invited to be saved, and are in fact day by day being saved (Acts 2:47). To clarify this, notice what the Day of Grace means:
- 1. In relation to God – look up John 6:37; 2 Peter 3:9; Revelation 22:17.
- 2. In relation to the Church – look up Matthew 28:19; Acts 15:13-14.
- 3. In relation to men and women – look up Isaiah 55:6-7; Hebrews 3:7-8.
These are the summer days of opportunity in the ministry of the gospel; opportunity for God to save, for the Church to evangelise and for the lost to be saved through faith in the Lord Jesus (Ephesians 2:8-10). How great is our opportunity for seeking to win men and women to the Saviour! Wherever we go we meet with men and women for whom Christ died. These days in which we live are terrible days, but wonderful days of opportunity. But the question is this: Are we claiming our opportunities and gathering in the harvest? This leads us to our second point.
2. Those whom the Lord uses as His harvesters in the summer days of opportunity are His sons
The qualification for service is sonship. The Lord says, “Son, go and work today in the vineyard” (Matthew 21:28). We are not sons of God by nature, except that God is our Creator – (Acts 17:24-29); we only become sons by spiritual birth (John 1:12-14; John 3:3). Today the doctrine of the universal Fatherhood of God and the universal brotherhood of man is taught. This is altogether unscriptural, but many teach it and believe it. With what result? With the result that many are seeking to do the work of harvesting who are not sons, because they have never been born again and adopted into God’s family (Romans 8:15; Titus 3:4-6). What a sad thing it is to be engaged in the work of harvesting and yet not to be one of God’s sons! – because only a son of God can wield the sickle of prayer and of soul-winning. All God’s true harvesters are His sons. Now notice the third thing which our key-verse tells us.
3. God has two kinds of sons: those who are wise and those who are foolish
It is very important to see this. Some of His sons are disobedient. In New Testament language they are worldly and not spiritual (1 Corinthians 3:1-4). Indeed, God has some sons who are prodigal sons (Luke 15:11-24); they are rightly related to Him, they are His sons, having been born into His family, but they are not following on to know Him (Hosea 6:3); they are not growing in grace (2 Peter 3:18); they are not fulfilling here and now the purpose for which He has saved them and made them His sons. In the verse before us the wise and the foolish sons are contrasted and described: the wise sons are those who gather the harvest in summer time; and the foolish sons are those who sleep – who are lazy and apathetic. The wise sons reap a glorious harvest which brings praise and honour to their father; but the foolish sons bring shame to the name of their father.
All this should lead us to ask: in relation to the great matter of winning souls, are we wise or foolish? Are we seeking to gather in the lost, or are we sleeping? Now notice the solemn statement with which we conclude this study.
4. To be asleep in these summer days of harvest is to cause shame
To be wise sons brings joy to ourselves, now and in eternity (Psalm 126:6); but above all it brings honour to the Lord. But to be asleep is to be foolish because this brings shame: (1) upon the name of the Lord; (2) upon the cause of Christ; and (3) upon ourselves (Proverbs 24:30-34), and compare 1 John 2:28.
If we are sons of God, having been born into His family through faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, our salvation is secure; but how sad it will be to suffer loss at the Judgment Seat of Christ! – look up Romans 14:10; 1 Corinthians 3:9-15.
In conclusion, please turn to Daniel 12:3, which gives us an inspired commentary on the theme of this study.