A wise man once wrote these proverbial words, “Whoso despises the word shall be destroyed: but he that fears the commandment shall be rewarded”. “Good understanding gives favor: but the way of transgressors is hard”. “A wicked messenger falls into mischief: but a faithful ambassador is health” (Prov. 13:13,15,17).
Most of the difficulties and differences in religion today could be solved or settled by a proper attitude toward the word of the Lord. Solomon could have had more in mind in his statement than just God’s word, but it definitely is included and seems to be the primary thought. To me, it has direct reference to God’s word and commandments. The “honor” must refer to both man and God. To respect the advice of wise men will bring honor from them. The same is true with God, but to despise either is disrespecting and dishonoring toward them.
The conclusion and consequences are here given of two choices which express two attitudes. “Whoso despises the word” and “he that fears the commandment.” The contrast is absolute. To despise the word is to disrespect, refuse to reverence, or reject its authority. To “fear,” means to respect, revere, to regard with love and honor, accept. To “despise” the word of God is to refuse it as being from God and/or to reject its message, commandments, or direction. Notice the warning of the apostle Paul about those who do not love the Word of God: “With all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie, that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness” (2 Thess 2:10-12).
We are living in an age and society where all established religious truths are looked upon with scorn and distaste. “Orthodoxy” of any kind is considered trite in nature and narrow in application. Those who teach a true commitment and fidelity to any established rule or standard of measurement for a life style are classified as “legalists” or “behind the times,” or seeking to become “judges. ” Yet, the Book of God claims to be from God and to reveal His eternal and divine will for man’s salvation. To reject or “despise” this claim is a blatant refusal to accept God’s revelation.
The attitude most emphasized from Genesis to the close of Revelation is that of absolute trust and unwavering devotion to the will of God which the Bible claims to set forth. To reject the Bible as being inspired, the very word of God, is to reject God, Christ, the Holy Spirit, and every divine principle or revelation set forth (2 Tim 3:16,17). A rejection of God’s will is a rejection of God (Matt 7:21). This leaves man to his own will, plans, and design for life (Matt 15:7-9). However, and what a tragedy it is, such an attitude towards God and His Will robs man of every spiritual blessing or aspiration he has. It leaves man a barren, unprofitable, spiritless mortal and robs him of every hope of living after death. He becomes his own God or accepts some other creature’s philosophical theory of man’s evolving from nothing to live and return to nothing. If that is education, wisdom and progress, I don’t want any part of it.
Look at these terms: “fears the commandment”; “Good understanding”; “faithful ambassador.” These expressions promise blessings, rewards, favor, and healing. These are for the ones who look to God for guidance and direction, and who faithfully accept and adapt them to practice. They keep God’s commandments with love. They understand God’s will and gladly grasp it by faith. They arise with zeal and tell others of God’s way.
We believe that God is alive. Jesus Christ is His only begotten Son who came to this earth, lived, died, was buried, arose from the dead, ascended back to the Father (1 Cor 15:1-4), and then sent the Holy Spirit to reveal and confirm His word so that it could be understood for man’s salvation (Jn 14:26 cf; 16:13). We believe it, love it, obey it, and teach it for the salvation of man. All men “whosoever” will hear it, believe it, obey it, and remain faithful to it — have eternal life (Rom 10:10 ff; Acts 2:38; Rev 2:10). All those who do not have eternal damnation (Mk 16:16 f; 2 Thess 1:7-9)