7 Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the Lord, and depart from evil.
8 It shall be health to thy navel, and marrow to thy bones.
There are many ways we might become wise in our own eyes.
We become wise in our own eyes when we listen to the notable men and women of this world and consult with their wisdom instead of consulting with the wisdom of God. We become wise in our own eyes when we consult with politics and develop strict allegiances instead of consulting with the wisdom of God. We become wise in our own eyes when we consult with the wisdom of society and social movements instead of consulting with the wisdom of God.
We become wise in our own eyes in matters large and small when we are ruled by emotions of fear, resentment, envy, and pride.
We might find ourselves supporting a cause, thinking that we are doing right, when we are actually supporting wickedness. We might think that we are “zealously affected in a good thing” when we are full of self-righteous indignation. If we feel satisfied in the destruction of other people, even verbally, then there is something prideful and murderous to our intentions, however small. If the causes we support fuel these emotions in us, then we might need to rethink our priorities.
Maybe our cause is just, but if our heart is not in the right place then we will not bring any good resolution to the matter. If we place love of others over love of self, then we will care more about reaching people in an effective way than simply proving how right we are. If we truly act out of love then we are then less likely to harden hearts and fuel evil, but instead open hearts to what is true so that the evil can be repented of.
Most importantly, we keep the reputation of our Lord from becoming damaged. If they cannot hear, it is God’s will. Some cannot hear no matter how we approach them. Simply speaking right and true things or mentioning Jesus turns many ears off. Even so, we do not want to be the cause for hard hearts in an unrighteous manner.
If we trust in Jesus, then we will learn true wisdom. We will learn a healthy fear of the Lord that is in awe of the majesty and power of our God—a God that loves righteousness and hates inequity. We will learn that it is not just the iniquity of one group of people that God hates, but all iniquity, including the sins we have presently or in the past—one of which being a holier-than-thou attitude which is a “smoke in His nose.” We will also learn that God is merciful, slow to anger, and kind. We will learn to grow in these attributes as well.
If we learn these things, we will learn to separate ourselves from common issues ranging from large-scale matters to daily disagreements and interactions with others. We will learn to see things more objectively, seek the Lord for understanding, and find the right path to take according to His wisdom. This path is often moderate, merciful, selfless, and stands on the rock of Jesus and His teachings.
We can learn humility and adjust our perspective according to new information if necessary, because we are not proud and loyal to an idea, but loyal to God and Truth. However, we never waiver on what is right according to the ways of Christ. We can be “simple concerning evil and wise in well doing.”
What does verse 8 mean? That is a strange saying.
This makes me think of a promise of revitalization or refreshing. If we depart from the wisdom of this world, learn humility and fear of the Lord, seek Jesus for real wisdom and live according to His will, then we are refreshed. We will have peace in knowing that we stand for what is true and right, even if we are hated for it. We will thrive in Spirit which provides us with soundness of mind and heart even when the entire world is falling apart.
The more the world goes after the wisdom of man, wickedness, and forsakes the true ways of Jesus Christ, the more miserable the world becomes. It will starve, it will grow dark, it will die. We will be refreshed and renewed in Jesus—even resurrected from the dead.