Tuesday, July 14, 2009

The Way to Gehenna: Be Wary; Avoid It (Proverbs 14)

The Merriam-Webster dictionary has Gehenna defined as, “a place or state of misery.”[1] Those who’re spiritual might otherwise align it with the concept or ‘place’ of hell. It is no good place to be.

Proverbs 14:12-13 (Msg) has an eloquent rendering of ‘the hell concept,’ at least in terms of the hellish life:

“There’s a way of life that looks harmless enough; look again--it leads straight to hell. Sure, those people appear to be having a good time, but all that laughter will end in heartbreak.”
These two verses conclude an important section. Hell is interposed with spiritual death, a ghastly place. We’re implored by the wisdom of the writer of Proverbs to stand firm on the foundation of diligence, prudence, humility, integrity and faith toward the abundant life of wisdom (see Proverbs 3:16).

For those who successfully avoid Gehenna, staying on Wisdom’s path, knowledge comes easily--they’re receptive vessels, and no significant barriers does Wisdom find to reach this heart (v. 6). The ‘scoffer’ on the other hand is trapped by their own stupidity. The knowledge they receive is quite basically flawed; they seek knowledge but they never find real truth as they don’t recognise it, pride being their blinding stumbling block.

The foolish think either too much or nothing of guilt and shame and don’t enter into it, never perceiving God’s purpose for it. The wise, however, heed the reproof of conscience and make amends in the appropriate way out of awed fear of God. (See verse 9) This life response is a fountain and it offers us escape from the jaws of death (v. 27).

Gehenna is a place of destruction. It is a pit. It is both a journey and a destination. Be wary to not go there, ever!

Copyright © 2009, S. J. Wickham. All Rights Reserved.

[1] Gehenna. (2009). In Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary. Retrieved July 14, 2009, from http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/Gehenna

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