“Do not move an ancient landmark or enter the fields of the fatherless, for their Redeemer is strong; he will plead their cause against you.”
This proverb has to do with social justice. Along with widows, orphans are a group that is socially powerless, not having parents to advocate for them. The Lord commands us to protect property rights and personal rights, especially the rights of the poor and helpless.
It is tempting to alter business practices for financial advantage, and God condemns such acts of injustice. It is tempting to take financial advantage of those who cannot defend themselves, and God condemns that as well. To take advantage of orphans is to oppose the Lord himself. He will come to the aid and defense of the fatherless.
“Apply your heart to instruction and your ear to words of knowledge.”
This proverb repeats the central theme of the Book of Proverbs: Be fully engaged in musar, which is the disciplined process of learning. Do the work of building knowledge and skill, and don’t be lazy about learning. Get off autopilot and commit to the process. Listen with your ears and engage with your heart.
Many today are not real learners; instead, they are dabblers. They don’t do the work that real learning requires. As a result, their knowledge is shallow and their skills are weak. However, they think they know more than they do. They speak with great confidence about topics they haven’t really studied and therefore know little about.
Dabblers develop a false-confidence simply because they read something on the internet or hear something in the news that aligns with how they feel. They don’t seek truth; they seek affirmation of their feelings and confirmation of their opinion.They focus and fixate on sound-bites and talking points, and avoid the essential process of disciplined evaluation.
Here’s the reality: Having an opinion is very different from having credibility. Everyone today has an opinion, but very few do the work required to have credibility.
Also, in today’s technology-driven media environment, people who share the same opinions cluster together on social media platforms to constantly reinforce each other’s opinions with sound-bites, tweets, and posts laden with pseudo-facts. This social/psychological phenomenon gives people the illusion of credibility, when in fact it is simply a bunch of undisciplined people who happen to share the same opinion.
Christians are not exempt from this phenomenon. Many times over the years Christians have boldly and confidently asserted opinions that were popular in the evangelical world, but lacked thorough research and ended up being wrong.
The Lord calls us to “stop thinking like children” but, “in your thinking be mature” (1 Corinthians 14.20). It is time for the Christian community to step up and demonstrate disciplined thinking. It is time to trust God, do the work of building knowledge and skill, thereby earning credibility through the fruit we bear.