Perplexity involves confusion as to how to resolve something.
For Pharaoh will say of the children of Israel, They are entangled in the land, the wilderness hath shut them in. (Exodus 14:3)
entangled > Hebrew – buwk > perplexed, confused
Perplexity exists even for animals when there is a sudden encounter with a situation that there is no explanation for and no awareness of how to move forward in.
How do the beasts groan! the herds of cattle are perplexed, because they have no pasture; yea, the flocks of sheep are made desolate.
O LORD, to thee will I cry: for the fire hath devoured the pastures of the wilderness, and the flame hath burned all the trees of the field.
The beasts of the field cry also unto thee: for the rivers of waters are dried up, and the fire hath devoured the pastures of the wilderness. (Joel 1:18-20)
When things are incomprehensible they perplex us. Perplexity can trouble our spirit.
And the king said unto them, I have dreamed a dream, and my spirit was troubled to know the dream. (Daniel 1:3)
– Man is troubled in his spirit when things are tangled, confused, in a mess, or unresolved.
– He does not like suspense, mystery, or uncertainty.
– When things are such they cause feelings of anxiety and insecurity.
– Man likes clarity, order, predictability, and resolution.
– He does not like to be “up in the air” or of a “doubtful mind.”
– Because of this he gravitates toward a certain word, or a solution; an answer, resolve, or explanation that can calm his heart.
The Greeks sought “wisdom” in order to find tranquility of mind.
For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom:
But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness (1 Corinthians 1:22,23)
Man typically seeks peace (i.e., a quiet spirit, tranquility of mind) through knowledge and understanding.
God offers man peace through relationship with Him.
Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands;
That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world:
But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.
For he is our peace… (Ephesians 2:11-14)
Despite experiencing perplexity, God’s covenant people do not have to live without hope (i.e., “in despair”).
We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair;
Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed (2 Corinthians 4:8,9)
We want things to work out in a good manner. To be despaired is to doubt the good resolution of something.
Our spirit is troubled when we are left wanting a satisfactory conclusion or understanding of a situation.
For things to be up in the air; for them to remain a mystery is not comfortable.
We want to know where we stand. We want things to be moving forward toward a solution.
Continuing perplexity is a “trial of darkness” requiring patience.
Perplexity naturally produces anxiety.
And the asses of Kish Saul’s father were lost. And Kish said to Saul his son, Take now one of the servants with thee, and arise, go seek the asses.
And he passed through mount Ephraim, and passed through the land of Shalisha, but they found them not: then they passed through the land of Shalim, and there they were not: and he passed through the land of the Benjamites, but they found them not.
And when they were come to the land of Zuph, Saul said to his servant that was with him, Come, and let us return; lest my father leave caring for the asses, and take thought for us. (1 Samuel 9:3-5)
take thought > Hebrew verb – da’ag > to fear, to be anxious, be concerned
We look for news in order to still the anxiety produced by perplexity.
Heaviness in the heart of man maketh it stoop: but a good word maketh it glad. (Proverbs 12:25)
heaviness > Hebrew noun – d’ aga > care, carefulness, anxiety, fear, sorrow
Getting “good news” brings refreshing joy to our heart and soothing peace to our mind.
As cold waters to a thirsty soul, so is good news from a far country. (Proverbs 25:25)
The light of the eyes rejoiceth the heart: and a good report maketh the bones fat. (Proverbs 15:30)
But God does not want us to strictly depend upon knowledge for joy and peace.
And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:7)
Our joy, hope, and peace is connected to our relationship with God through Christ.
For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open unto their prayers: but the face of the Lord is against them that do evil. (1 Peter 3:12)
Even when Israel was out of right relationship with God, the false prophets promised them peace.
They say still unto them that despise me, The LORD hath said, Ye shall have peace; and they say unto every one that walketh after the imagination of his own heart, No evil shall come upon you. (Jeremiah 23:17)
Then said I, Ah, Lord GOD! behold, the prophets say unto them, Ye shall not see the sword, neither shall ye have famine; but I will give you assured peace in this place. (Jeremiah 14:13)
Knowing “where we stand” in relation to someone brings us peace. We feel insecure when we don’t know where we stand.
Nevertheless God, that comforteth those that are cast down, comforted us by the coming of Titus;
And not by his coming only, but by the consolation wherewith he was comforted in you, when he told us your earnest desire, your mourning, your fervent mind toward me; so that I rejoiced the more. (2 Corinthians 7:6,7)
Satan takes advantage of our being “in the dark” as to where we stand with God.
Wherefore I beseech you that ye would confirm your love toward him.
For to this end also did I write, that I might know the proof of you, whether ye be obedient in all things.
To whom ye forgive any thing, I forgive also: for if I forgave any thing, to whom I forgave it, for your sakes forgave I it in the person of Christ; Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices. (2 Corinthians 2:8-11)
God told His people that if He was for them they could live without anxiety even in the most troubling situations.
Blessed is the man that trusteth in the LORD, and whose hope the LORD is.
For he shall be as a tree planted by the waters, and that spreadeth out her roots by the river, and shall not see when heat cometh, but her leaf shall be green; and shall not be careful in the year of drought, neither shall cease from yielding fruit. (Jeremiah 17:7,8)
When they were not walking in obedience to Him, He told them that their fears would be come to pass.
Then it shall come to pass, that the sword, which ye feared, shall overtake you there in the land of Egypt, and the famine, whereof ye were afraid, shall follow close after you there in Egypt; and there ye shall die. (Jeremiah 42:16)
Jesus told His disciples that they should be so assured of God’s care for them that they should:
1.) Live without the anxieties that those outside of relationship with God have; and.
2.) Give of even the little they possessed to the needy around them.
And he said unto his disciples, Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat; neither for the body, what ye shall put on.
The life is more than meat, and the body is more than raiment.
Consider the ravens: for they neither sow nor reap; which neither have storehouse nor barn; and God feedeth them: how much more are ye better than the fowls?
And which of you with taking thought can add to his stature one cubit?
If ye then be not able to do that thing which is least, why take ye thought for the rest?
Consider the lilies how they grow: they toil not, they spin not; and yet I say unto you, that Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.
If then God so clothe the grass, which is to day in the field, and to morrow is cast into the oven; how much more will he clothe you, O ye of little faith? And seek not ye what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink, neither be ye of doubtful mind.
For all these things do the nations of the world seek after: and your Father knoweth that ye have need of these things.
But rather seek ye the kingdom of God; and all these things shall be added unto you.
Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.
Sell that ye have, and give alms; provide yourselves bags which wax not old, a treasure in the heavens that faileth not, where no thief approacheth, neither moth corrupteth.
For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. (Luke 12:22-34)
To live in the knowledge of the love of God is to live without despair even in times of trouble and perplexity.
Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.
Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.
For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:35-39)
To remain in the knowledge of God’s love we must keep His commands.
As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love.
If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love. (John 15:9,10)
And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.
Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world.
There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love. (1 John 4:16-18)
If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen?
And this commandment have we from him, That he who loveth God love his brother also. (1 John 4:20,21)
God’s promises of good are vouchsafed only to those who love God.
And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:28)
But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. (1 Corinthians 2:9)