Tam - posted on 06/24/2009 ( 8 moms have responded )
Thanks for waiting, sorry this wasn't up this morning, as mentioned in update. But wanted to make sure to pray over it to encourage and bless you for HIs glory. At any rate, we are here, a new week and studying Proverbs Chapter 6.
1My son, if thou be surety for thy friend, if thou hast stricken thy hand with a stranger,2Thou art snared with the words of thy mouth, thou art taken with the words of thy mouth. 3Do this now, my son, and deliver thyself, when thou art come into the hand of thy friend; go, humble thyself, and make sure thy friend. 4Give not sleep to thine eyes, nor slumber to thine eyelids. 5Deliver thyself as a roe from the hand of the hunter, and as a bird from the hand of the fowler. 6Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise: 7Which having no guide, overseer, or ruler, 8Provideth her meat in the summer, and gathereth her food in the harvest. 9How long wilt thou sleep, O sluggard? when wilt thou arise out of thy sleep? 10Yet a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep: 11So shall thy poverty come as one that travelleth, and thy want as an armed man. 12A naughty person, a wicked man, walketh with a froward mouth. 13He winketh with his eyes, he speaketh with his feet, he teacheth with his fingers; 14Frowardness is in his heart, he deviseth mischief continually; he soweth discord. 15Therefore shall his calamity come suddenly; suddenly shall he be broken without remedy. 16These six things doth the LORD hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him: 17A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, 18An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief, 19A false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren. 20My son, keep thy father's commandment, and forsake not the law of thy mother: 21Bind them continually upon thine heart, and tie them about thy neck. 22When thou goest, it shall lead thee; when thou sleepest, it shall keep thee; and when thou awakest, it shall talk with thee. 23For the commandment is a lamp; and the law is light; and reproofs of instruction are the way of life: 24To keep thee from the evil woman, from the flattery of the tongue of a strange woman. 25Lust not after her beauty in thine heart; neither let her take thee with her eyelids. 26For by means of a whorish woman a man is brought to a piece of bread: and the adultress will hunt for the precious life. 27Can a man take fire in his bosom, and his clothes not be burned? 28Can one go upon hot coals, and his feet not be burned? 29So he that goeth in to his neighbour's wife; whosoever toucheth her shall not be innocent. 30Men do not despise a thief, if he steal to satisfy his soul when he is hungry; 31But if he be found, he shall restore sevenfold; he shall give all the substance of his house. 32But whoso committeth adultery with a woman lacketh understanding: he that doeth it destroyeth his own soul. 33A wound and dishonour shall he get; and his reproach shall not be wiped away.34For jealousy is the rage of a man: therefore he will not spare in the day of vengeance. 35He will not regard any ransom; neither will he rest content, though thou givest many gifts.
As we discussed in the early chapters, God (through Solomon) uses repitition to reinforce the good and the bad. The same is true for this chapter. Let's take a look at see what it's all about.
This time it doesn't start out with the warning in first verses to listen to wisdom but rather focuses on one specific part we need to learn--extending ourselves unwisely. Verses 1-5 talks about becoming an unwise surety for another.
So, what does that mean?
A surety can be looked at like collateral or guarantee. While this is mostly in business dealings (co-signing for a loan, etc.) I believe that this can also apply to projects and jobs we do for work, for family or even for Church that we do not need to be involved in.
Hasn't there ever been a time that someone has asked you to help out either financially or personally and you really didn't feel it was right but they cajoled you into agreeing? Your own mouth went against what your heart was telling you? I think this is what Solomon is talking about.
When we unwisely go into such an agreement (without prayer and careful consideration) we leave ourselves open to all kinds of pain if that person dumps the job or loan in your lap and bails out on you. Not only could it harm a friendship, it could render you resentful or angry. If it's a loan, you could find yourself and your family, your home, your bank all in jeopardy. You could ruin your own credit rating and your own reputation.
I also think we could take this for those business transactions we enter into for ourselves with banks and corporations. If we do so unwisely, it could result in disaster. If we do not go to God for His wisdom, we could ruin ourselves by making poor choices and agreeing to them.
We are to help each other but God did not create us to harm ourselves in the process for that adds stress to our load, takes our focus off Him and allows the enemy to use fear and anger to manipulate his way into our lives. The world is full of people who live to use others and it seems that Christians are targets a lot because we are supposed to be compassionate people and help when we can. Yet we should have compassion with Godly wisdom. If not, we could be encouraging another to sin by aiding their laziness, sloth, dishonesty, etc.
And if we do enter into an unwise agreement, we should humbly try to remove ourselves from the situation. If we can't then we should do what we can to finish our obligation as quickly as possible. We shouldn't "sleep" on it too much. A great example which most of us can understand is credit, specifically cards. If we do not pay off the balance, you get a monthly finance charge that accrues each month that a balance is one the card. Until we pay it off it will keep adding to the original charge.
When we move to the next section, we see a sluggard (habitually lazy person). And they can often be the ones who come to us for help. You all know them, that friend who won't work but often comes and eats everything in your fridge. The family member who has all kinds of money-making schemes instead of legitimate work so they are always broke and need just a hundred dollars to make this next idea take off. So on and so on.
Being gifted in Godly wisdom, Solomon gives us a great example to follow to keep us from harm in these respects. We are made in the image of God, but often our pride (want to keep up with the Jones' either in material items or in "giving" or in "service") will prevent us from saying no when we should and we end up getting ourselves into debt to someone else financially or we agree to an unwise project that God does not want us working on, even if it might be good it's not our place in the body.
But Solomon tells us that we can learn from the ant. One of the tiniest creatures in God's creation, yet it has so much to teach us. An ant is a "self-starter." It doesn't require constant nagging or even the crack of a whip to work. An ant doesn't borrow nor beg. He does work with the colony for the benefit of all but he knows his own place in the colony and doesn't try to take short-cuts to get the work finished. Their homes underground are wonderous to behold and they work during easy times so they don't find themselves in famine during the hard times.
Did you know that an ant who doesn't have a "load" will make way for another who does? Watch them sometimes. It's really interesting. And if the load is too much to bear for a single ant, another ant or two who aren't carrying something will come to the aid of the one who has too much on its "shoulders". But notice, they help the one who is working.
Some of us are just not self-motivated. We need that push to get started or to keep going. We need to go to our ultimate motivator, God the Father and ask Him to help us continue working for His kingdom--no matter if it's the dishes or teaching, etc. Instead we are so busy rushing to and fro, we become scattered in our thoughts and actions. There is no order, so there can't be good results. We need to focus on God and ask Him for direction, no matter if it's daily life, a special project or even if someone asks us to co-sign a loan!
We also are not to encourage sloth in anyone, if we do we encourage the sin. We are responsible to help and encourage the poor and needy (in physical or spiritual) but not to the detriment of our family or the Kingdom. We need to be aware of those things (even that seem good) that might sap our strength from our God-given purpose.
If we don't we risk poverty of the physical and/or spiritual. God gave us everything we have, it is His given into our care while we are here. We should be good stewards of it, as demonstrated in the Parable of the Talents. But we should not work for things, nor allow our good reputations be used by others for things. Our treasure and hearts should be stored up for eternity with Him! We should not rest on our laurels nor procrastinate for a bit of comfort, but continuously pray for direction and do His will. Not work ourselves to the bone, but if we are steady in work for Him, our lives are simpler, less chaotic (and He is not the author of confusion!), and we are less likely to become anxious and fall into the hands of wicked or slothful people who would take advantage of God's goodness in us.
And that leads us to the wicked people. The next few verses really go into detail about that truly evil person who would do whatever they can to steer you from your God-given purpose in this life. The word "worthless" in Hebrew is blyiyaal (sorry if misspelled) which means "a wicked person of perdition." That person is also labeled "awen" in this passage which is a Hebrew word that means "a person given over to idolatry. Interesting how the wicked is equated with an idolator. Most likely (me thinking here) because when a person is wicked they are putting self above others, most especially above God. They've made themselves into an idol.
God shows us that their wickedness can be seen even in their actions. The way they speak (twisting words, making lies, etc.), their eyes (often called the windows to the soul) and how even their hands and feet will show the fruit of their heart--wickedness. This person continuously lives to make his own life easy or even just for kicks will devise schemes to harm others physically or spiritually. They sow discord. They just love to cause trouble or stir the pot wherever they go.
We see in this section the repeated warning to stay away from such people. Solomon warns his son (and God warns us) that calamity will come suddenly, that the wicked person will be broken suddenly and without remedy.
All too often Satan will fool sinners into believing they have "plenty of time" to repent and give their lives to God yet they will die before they take the time to know the Savior and give their hearts into His keeping. They fall into sudden calamity and there is no remedy for death. We should be careful not to fall into this trap and we should remind those sinners that this life is all-too-short, to not hesitate to repent.
In fact, Solomon uses some very strong language when he says God hates such characteristics and they are an "abomination" to him. In the Bible,the term "hated by God" is most often associated with idolatry and hipocracy. Abomination in Hebrew is toevah, which means detestable or morally disgusting.
God cannot abide sin, but it appears from these verses that these are especially hated by Him. He lists them in association with the wicked person:
PRIDE - we know from the lesson in Creationism (Fall of Man) that this is the very sin of Satan himself. Why do you think we struggle with it so much? If he can get us to give into this sin, we become on the same level as him. We put self before God. We make an idol of ourselves and our sin. We should be on guard against pride. We are human and we like to know that what we do is appreciated. And that's okay. It encourages us when we don't think we can continue or wonder if we are being effective in our place in His Kingdom. As long as we recognize that it's only through God that we were able to do what we did, and give Him the ultimate glory for it. It's when we do something for the purpose of garnering praise that pride comes into play and we make the intent of the job selfish and self-centered and prideful.
LIES - we know about this so I won't go on.
MURDER - we need to remember that Jesus taught to have anger against another is the same as having murder in our hearts. Shedding innocent blood can be physical or spiritual. It can even be imagery. You've heard of CEOs being "bloodthirsty," "cutthroats," "make a killing," "ruthless." Most often that person doesn't care for anyone but himself. OH, there's SELF again.
HEART DEVISING WICKED IMAGINATIONS - right smack dab in middle of the things God hates is the "heart" which loves to create and put into action wicked plans and schemes. It could be because the heart is the "center" of the problem. I don't remember if I've talked about flesh vs. heart here, but it is from the heart that your true character is shown. It is the heart that God looks at. The Bible talks about the heart more than the flesh. A heart set on doing wickedness is high on the list of abominations against God.
MISCHIEF MAKERS - Those that are quick to stir the pot or cause trouble. It could be that co-worker at work who wants your job so they plot to make you look bad. It could be your neighbor who doesn't like you so slanders you to the rest of the neighborhood. It could be that person next to you in church who is a wolf in sheep's clothing and trying to sow discord and starts gossip or lies about you. Or it could be someone trying to introduce doubt into the church to create chaos and discord in the Body of Christ. Do you see the thread running through this again? SELF. They are doing it for their own entertainment or to make themselves feel better or to gain something for their flesh.
FALSE WITNESS - As liars were already mentioned and verse 19 specifically says "a false witness that speaketh lies," I believe these to be the false prophets, and false Christians (apostates). The term "false witness" refers to altering the truth as it relates to another person, most specifically God. These people may (often) knowingly or (rarer) unwittingly lead people away from Christ and the truth path set before us in the Bible. Sometimes it's for self-gratification, to make themselves be the source of worship (I follow so-n-so). False witnesses can be found in many religions that deny the diety of Christ, or His death and resurrection, etc. Other false witnesses can be found in the occult, the paranormal sectors and even modern science (evolutionists).
DISCORD MAKERS - there are people in every area of our lives who love to sow discord. Most often in churches it is those people who hold to legalism of the church, which is often not even based in the Scripture. I'm not talking about those who truly defend the faith, but a great example would be the Pharisees. They were the church leaders, but they were so caught up in their stature (power) within the church and used the law of the church to hold on to that power. They used that law to try to sow discord when Christ came into contact with them. Yet Christ, who did uphold the law of God defended the faith, not create discord.
In verse 20 Solomon again reminds us to listen to God. He says to keep the Word of God by binding it on our heart and tying it around our necks. It should be such a part of us that we do not fall for the wicked schemes and prey to the sluggard. His Word will light our path and way so we can see clearly in Him. The Bible is our instruction manual, our map and guidebook, it is our love letter and our source of Godly wisdom.
There are movements to this day (it seems they are growing again) to discredit the precious Word of God and we need to cling tight to it so we have the Truth in our lives to keep us from harm and keep our feet on His path.
The last portion again reminds us of the damage getting involved in adultery can do. As we just covered that, I won't keep going, but do caution you to be careful not to commit spiritual adultery against God. Don't put one foot in the world and one foot in Him. Be in Him wholly, give yourself to Him wholly.
As you can see, this lesson really ties into the lesson I just put up on Creationsim. I think the Lord is trying to show us something as I'm seeing this pop up more and more. Everything, every sin and motivation comes down to our self. Do we follow self or do we give the gift of free will the purpose it was created for and give ourselves over to God? Pray daily that we don't fall into the traps of flesh and that we strive to honor God in all that we do.
Lord, we humbly come to Your feet to thank You for this wisdom, this guidance and reminder that when we fail to do Your will we will sin and we will fall prey to those who lay in wait to destroy Your goodness. Give us Your eyes so we can see and Your wisdom so we can use those moments to help those who You have Your heart on and to turn away from those set on nothing but lawlessness. We praise You daily for Your love and Your instruction. Your law is precious and we pray that Your Word lights our paths and leads us to You. Thank you, Almighty God, for everything You are and everything You do. We praise your name! In Jesus' name we pray, Amen.