I like to be alone.
There is nothing like it in the world.
No one around – just me and God.
It’s the best case scenario for rest. No one waking you up when they need you.
It’s the best case scenario for studying for a message, or writing.
It’s nice to be alone…
So when I read the first verse today, it stopped me in my tracks.
there was a long pause and a reread of the first verse in chapter 18…
“Whoever isolates himself seeks his own desire; he breaks out against all sound judgment” ESV
Does this mean I must always have someone around me?
Does this mean I am selfish?
Does this mean I need to study where there are people and not alone?
What is this verse saying?
What is really meant by “He who separates himself?”
What is he distancing himself from?
The word that is used here for “separation” means “dividing from” something or “separating from” something. For example, in Genesis 10:5, it is described as dividing (or separating) people into nations. Other places it is used as dividing individuals or groups from one another (Gen 13:9, 11, 14), or separating a person from his tribe (Judges 4:11). Here in proverbs 18:1 it is the individual that “separates” himself “from” a type of community.
Within the context of Proverbs, the group he is separating himself from would, no doubt, be the faithful, wise community of God’s people.
Why can we say this?
Because up to this point, the writer of Proverbs has been telling us over and over again not to hang around foolish people (he tells us to separate from them) and he has been encouraging us to find people that are wise and “walk with them” (Proverbs 13:20).
Here, he is saying that the person who decides to “go it alone” as separate (or independent) from the fellowship of believers (in our day it would be the church) is “breaking up against” sound judgment.
“Breaking up against.”
The term “breaking up against” in scripture, always has to do with quarreling. So the one that feels he does not need others quarrels against wisdom’s instruction to walk with the wise. It is a feeling of prideful independence that vehemently resists any counsel or guide.
“Breaking up Against”
It is the person that has a desire to go it alone and do things his way…
therefore losing touch with sound wisdom…
and winds up living the life of a fool.
For us today it is the family that says…
“We just do church at home”
It’s the person that says…
“I watch Charles Stanley on TV and that is my church”
It’s the person who says…
“I stream Andy Stanley every Sunday Morning and I have church at home.
It’s the person who says…
“I study the Bible on my own for myself”
It’s the person that thinks they can go it alone and grow in Lord at the same time.
The fact is, you and I need church. Not because it is some religious requirement. Instead, it’s because we need to be around each other and fellowship with one another to gain insight and guidance.
When the writer says “whoever isolates himself seeks his own desire” it’s not our occasional desire to be alone from time to time he is speaking of here. Instead, it’s when someone chooses to continually neglect “community” with God’s people.
Remember, Church is plural in definition… it is made up of more than just you.
That’s what jumped out at me from the passage today.
What did you see?