Proverbs 19:1–3 Better is a poor person who walks in his integrity than one who is crooked in speech and is a fool. 2 Desire without knowledge is not good, and whoever makes haste with his feet misses his way. 3 When a man’s folly brings his way to ruin, his heart rages against the Lord.
This trio of verses pack a powerful punch. They are at once laser sharp in their insight into human nature and revelatory of divine truth. How we need the mirror of God’s Word to open up the reality of our own hearts before us. We love deceiving ourselves. And how we need the light of God’s Word to show us Christ again – on every page and in every circumstance.
Three things are unpacked here.
First, in verse 1, notice that it is better to be lacking whatever it is that makes me feel deprived – and do so trusting in the Lord – than to be scheming and manipulating God and man to bring my desires about.
Our culture deems any sense of need as inherently bad. As though even thirst and hunger are themselves enemies, rather than indicators. So we’ll immediately try to quash the desire with whatever is at hand, rather than analyzing our desire, to see if it is legitimate, and/or what is best suited to truly satisfy it, rather than just feed it in the moment.
Our writer here tells us that it is OK to be lacking in some things. Not every perceived need, is a real need, nor HAS to be met. That walking in integrity – within the boundaries of being a creature made in the image of God – made to reflect His glory – is more important that scratching every itch. And that if we abandon this course, we will be found misrepresenting the truth at least to ourselves if not others, making ourselves fools in the pursuit of our whims.
Hence it is that verse 2 warns us about not understanding our own desires. Both at their base in how we were made (what we were MADE to rightly desire) and in how sin has impacted our desires. Such driving desire, not knowing why God may have withheld what I want, will lead me to mistrust Him: It will kill faith. I will miss His path.
Additionally, aimlessly seeking to fill up inward desires we have not even properly identified will lead us into all kinds of wickedness. The lost person does not realize their deepest need is Christ. And often, even the Believer fails to recognize that deep, still unmet desires, must be brought to Him. He, wants to satisfy us fully. The problem is, we, do not WANT to be satisfied in Him. We do not see that our desires unmet in Him, are desires for Him that are mis-labled, mis-understood or perverted from their rightful object. Heavenly Father – open our eyes!
Verse three then tells us the result of pursuing this path. The strange truth is, when we see how empty our pursuits have been, or we suffer the disastrous results of such pursuits – amazingly, we blame God! He, who all the while waits to be our satisfaction, who loves us immeasurably and fully, who desires our best, gets blamed because WE did not stop to recognize it was Him we were meant to be satisfied in all the while.
Heavenly Father – open our blind eyes. Bring light into our sin-darkened minds. And lead us back to Jesus. Teach us to see all of our desires as lights pointing to Him – and to seek Him until those desires are fully met in Him. Do not leave us to ourselves.