Today we begin a series on where to find security in today’s very unstable word. Where do you look for security? Derek mentions various agencies, organizations, and services that provide certain types, but not real peace-giving security. In the book of Proverbs, however, Wisdom offers this very thing.
It’s good to be with you again at the beginning of a new week, sharing with you Keys to Successful Living which God has placed in my hand through many years of personal experience and Christian ministry.
In my talks this week I’m going to deal with a question which is asked by people everywhere, irrespective of nationality, or culture, or social or economic status. The language they use to express the question may vary, but the question is the same for all people everywhere: Where to Find Security.
But first, let me say thank you to those of you who’ve been writing to me. Before I finish this talk we’ll be giving you a mailing address to which you may write. It means a great deal to me to hear how this radio ministry of mine has been helping you and blessing you. So please take time to write, even if it’s only a brief personal note.
Now back to our question: Where to Find Security?
I’ve said that this is a universal question, asked by people everywhere, irrespective of the many differences between people, they are all concerned with finding security. In fact, a major part of all human activity is directed toward this end: To find security.
One way to estimate the importance people attach to a thing is to consider how much they are willing to spend for it. In our contemporary culture there are various agencies or industries or organizations in some way or other devoted to providing security, which together spend uncounted billions of dollars every year.
Let me mention just a few of such agencies or organizations. First of all we have insurance agencies that do a tremendous job but their scope is limited. You can insure yourself against an accident, but there’s no way to be sure that the accident won’t happen. You can insure against fire or theft, but there’s absolutely no way to be completely sure that no fire will break out and no theft will take place. So though insurance agencies do a tremendous job, their scope is limited. There are some things they can guarantee, there are other things outside their control.
Then there are what are called security agencies, both public and private. The public are the police and so on. Then there are countless private security agencies and their numbers are multiplying every year. With the advent of hijacking, a whole new industry has arisen of providing security in airports. And yet, in the very area where I’m speaking from at this very moment, there’s a sad fact that crimes of violence are rapidly on the increase. That’s no criticism of our police force; it’s just an indication that there are limits to what security agencies can achieve.
Then there’s that which we call today, social security, which has become a major element in the life of nearly all western nations. They talk today about “cradle-to-grave” security. But we have to question whether that’s completely a valid description. The idea is that for every kind of major need that will arise in the life of a normal person, there will be provided by the government out of taxes and so on, a way to cushion that need to guard against it. You get sick, your hospital and medical expenses will be paid. When you get too old to work, you’ll get an income that will cover your needs. Of course, the fact is, unfortunately, that inflation is already deflating some of these claims of social security. Interesting enough, there are various nations that have achieved a very high degree of efficiency in their social security system. Two of them are in Scandinavia, nations that I myself are familiar with, Sweden and Denmark which have a marvelous social security system. Unfortunately it’s matched by high taxes. But statistically two of the nations with the highest suicide rate in the world, have been Sweden and Denmark, which indicates that even social security doesn’t provide total security. Here are people who theoretically have all their obvious physical and financial needs cared for, and yet these people somehow can’t face life and opt for that other alternative, suicide, taking their own lives, which is no evidence of complete security.
Then there is another kind of security element in the world, what we call security forces, armed forces, armies, navies, air forces, and so on. And every nations claims that it maintains it’s armed forces for it’s own security, which probably, in many cases, is a true statement. But you see, they don’t provide security, because let’s just take the example of the United States and Russia, the stronger the security forces of Russia, the greater the insecurity of the American people, and vice versa. The stronger the security forces of the United States, the greater the insecurity of the Russians. Because what’s security for one nation is automatically insecurity for another nation.
Now, in no sense am I criticizing any of these attempts to provide security. In fact, many of them are very worthwhile and to be commended and to be supported. But at the same time, what I am saying is none of them have achieved or can achieve either total or permanent security. There are areas in which they cannot provide security. And even in those areas in which they can provide security, the time scope is very limited. So I come to a conclusion which I think is very important as we turn this week to seek the answer to this question: Where to Find Security? My conclusion is this: that in spite of all man’s efforts and expenditures, there are many ways in which he is ultimately powerless to achieve real security. And I believe the only hope of achieving real security is to come to that conclusion, to face the facts not to build on something that’s unreal and doesn’t do what’s claimed for it.
Later this week I’m going to give you a familiar contrast from the Scriptures, the parable of two men, each of whom built a house, the one upon rock and the other upon sand. I want to suggest to you that to look for total and permanent security merely to human efforts and achievements is to build your house on the sand. And there will come some time in your experience when that house will be washed away by calamity.
Now I want to tell you that there is another source of security, completely different in nature and in what it offers. I want to tell you that this alternative source of security can provide both total and permanent security. The source that I’m speaking about is the wisdom of God. I’m going to read to you a somewhat lengthy passage from the first chapter of the book of Proverbs. I want you to listen carefully and to see the alternatives, the instability of human achievement and the total security that God offers. Remember, as wisdom speaks, it’s not human wisdom, but it’s the wisdom of God speaking through the Scriptures. These are the words Proverbs 1:20-33:
“Wisdom calls aloud in the street, she raises her voice in the public squares; at the head of the noisy streets she cries out, in the gateways of the city she makes her speech: How long will you simple ones love a your simple ways? How long will mockers delight in mockery and fools hate knowledge? If you had responded to my rebuke, I would have poured out my heart to you and made my thoughts known to you. But since you rejected me when I called and no one gave heed when I stretched out my hand, since you ignored all my advice and would not accept my rebuke, I in turn will laugh at your disaster; I will mock when calamity overtakes you, when calamity overtakes you like a storm, when disaster sweeps over you like a whirlwind, when distress and troubles overwhelm you. Then they will call to me but I will not answer; they will look for me but will not find me. Since they hated knowledge and did not choose to fear the Lord, since they would not accept my advice and spurned my rebuke, they will eat the fruit of their ways and be filled with the fruit of their schemes. For the waywardness of the simple will kill them, and the complacency of fools will destroy them; but whoever listens to me will live in safety and be at ease, without fear of harm.” (NIV)
Ponder on that last sentence, “whoever listens to me will live in safety and be at ease, without fear of harm.” That’s total security. That’s the offer of wisdom, God’s wisdom speaking through the pages of Scripture. “Whoever listens to me will live in safety and be at ease, without fear of harm.” That passage that I read indicates that though wisdom makes that offer, there are not many that accept it. There are not many that accept wisdom’s instruction and heed her rebuke. Consequently they are headed for a calamity that they could have avoided. The question that I want to ask you as I close today, are you prepared to listen? Are you prepared to give heed to the voice of wisdom promising you total and permanent security? In the rest of my talks this week I’m going to give you the opportunity to listen to wisdom.
Our time is up for today. I’ll be back with you tomorrow at this same time. Tomorrow I’m going to invite you to listen with me to the voice of wisdom directing us to the source of true security.