"Whoever isolates himself seeks his own desire;
he breaks out against all sound judgment."
A deserted island castle? Some would say, "Why in the world would I want to do that? There would be no people around!" Others would retort, "A deserted island? When do I go?" We all have very different stages of comfort in social situations. Some love to be the life of the party, mixing and mingling and enjoying every person there. Others tend to find the nearest dark corner to blend into discreetly so that they don't have to speak to anyone. That's a matter of temperament; the sanguine and choleric tend to dominate a situation, whereas the phlegmatic and melancholy tend to hold back. That's okay to an extent, because that's the way God made us.
Yet the Proverb warns about isolationism. Noah Webster defines isolate as "To place in a detached situation; to place by itself or alone; to insulate; to separate from others." He also relates the word "isolate" to the word "isle."
It's just not okay to pull away from all interaction with others. Why? Verse 1 of chapter 18 tells us two reasons:
1. To do so means to seek our own desire. What do I want? What is most comfortable for me? What benefit to I get from being around that person? I only tend to get hurt. I don't like being with people I don't know. I don't want to have to talk with him. I'm just not a good conversation maker. Groups make me uncomfortable. I don't know what to say. (Notice the words in italics?) In other words, when we refuse to give ourselves to others, we become selfish. It's all about me!
2. We are not using sound judgment. Why is that?
First of all, God created us as a social being. One of the reasons God made us was to fellowship with Him: 1 John 1:1-4 says, "That which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ." No one who knows the Lord Jesus Christ would argue the fact that fellowship with Him is of utmost importance.
Secondly, we are exhorted in Hebrews 10:24 and 25, "And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near." As believers, we are to interact with one another in such a way that we are an encouragement to love and good deeds. Can't do that on a deserted island, can we?
Third, we are to be busy about our Father's business of spreading the gospel to the world. "Go therefore and make disciples of all nations...teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you..." (Matthew 28:19a, 20a).
There is no getting out of it. No castle in the sand away from civilization for us! It is not our lot in life. Not what God intended. Nope. We can't get away with it from a spiritual point of view. It's poor judgment on our part to try it.
Getting ready for a full day with little disciples,