Category Archives: Parenting

Need a Rod?

Proverbs 10:13

“In the lips of him that hath understanding wisdom is found: but a rod is for the back of him that is void of understanding.”

Whack On the Head

One of my favorite television shows of all time has been NCIS. I love the combination of drama, action, and genuine humor that is so characteristic of each episode. The characters in this crime drama have become almost like family over the years. And when I read verse thirteen, I thought of two of the main characters, Jethro Gibbs (Mark Harmon) and Tony DiNozzo (Michael Weatherly).

So many times, when DiNozzo says or does something inappropriate, Gibbs is famous for coming up behind DiNozzo and whacking him on the head (as a form of endearment, of course). Instead of getting a “rod” to the back, DiNozzo gets a palm to the back of his skull, all because he said something stupid.

I’ve Heard it Said

I have heard it said somewhere that the less you say, the smarter you appear. Likewise, the more one runs his mouth, the more ignorant he appears, not to mention how obnoxious he becomes. Have you ever met a person like that? Someone who thinks he knows everything, but is “void of understanding?”

People love to hear the words from the genuinely knowledgeable. In their words wisdom can be found. Good can come from listening to one who has experience in a matter. People may even seek him out to hear him speak.

On the other hand, people tire quickly of the one who thinks he is an expert. He has no wisdom, only pride. This man constantly offers his advice on anything and everything from love to lampshades, even though he has never been in a relationship and he’s a filament short of a light bulb. Solomon essentially says that this man is asking for a beating.

The Back Saver

Having been in ministry a while, I have visited my fair share of hospitals, jails, and prisons; not to mention broken homes and funeral homes. In so many of those places there are people who have suffered from the result of foolishness. Void of wisdom, they suffer the consequences of their actions. Yet, when offered help, they speak again of things they refuse to understand.

Folly is bound up in the heart of a child, but the rod of discipline drives it far from him (Proverbs 22:15 ESV). That leads me to believe that wisdom in the mouth of an adult could be a back saver.

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A Fool Is a Fool

Proverbs 9:9

“Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be yet wiser: teach a just man, and he will increase in learning.”

A Different Angle

There are various commentaries that center on what is obvious about this proverb. However, what if we looked at it from a different angle? Let’s try to imagine it being written a little differently.

“Give betrayal, deceit, deception, falsehood, lie, misinformation, and misrepresentation (all antonyms of instruction) to a fool, and he will be yet more foolish: don’t teach a man, and he will increase in ignorance.”

When you look at it this way, do you see a contrast between the wise and foolish man? Do you sense any difference, other than what’s on the surface?

A Different Reaction

Given betrayal, deceit, deception, falsehood, lies, misinformation, and misrepresentation, what would the wise man do? Would he become foolish? “Give instruction to a wise man,” we are told, and he will become even wiser; but will his character be changed if given the opposite?

The real truth of Proverbs 9:9 is that no matter what instruction you give a fool, unless he has been transformed, he will always be a fool. Give instruction of any kind, true or false, to a wise man and he will be able to discern between good and evil. The key is whether or not the student loves Wisdom.

A Different Response

As a parent, I know that I will not always be able to manage what my children learn. One day they will go out into the world and receive instruction written by fools, for fools. But even in the midst of all that deception and falsehood, truth can be found. The key to success will be determined by instilled character and training in “the way [they] should go” (Prov. 22:6).

As believers, we should pray that God give us His Wisdom in ever-increasing portions. Because truth is so hard to find, we need Wisdom to give us discernment, allowing us to grow in wisdom, despite the misinformation of the world.

They say “the rich get richer, but the poor get poorer.” Profound observation, isn’t it?


“Cut it!”

Proverbs 8:1-2

Doth not wisdom cry? and understanding put forth her voice? She standeth in the top of high places, by the way in the places of the paths.”

“Cut it! Cut it!”

The thought of losing a child is one that no parent ever wants to entertain. Having more than one die is almost unthinkable. But to have them die in front of your eyes while you’re helpless to intervene is the stuff of nightmares.

In February of 2012, in the little town of Altamont, TN, the nightmare came true. Below are excerpts from the news story written by reporter Joy Lukachick:

Calvin and Nicholas had driven their go-kart down a short, grassy slope near the side of their home on Northcutts Cove Road, according to a Tennessee Highway Patrol report. As the go-kart reached the two-lane county road — only a short way from their house — and the boys started to drive across it, an Oldsmobile was coming up a small hill in their direction. Neither the boys nor the driver of the car, a 30-year-old woman, saw each other, the report shows. The Keeners were standing outside their house and could see the car coming, said Joyce Myers, a neighbor who lives across the street. The parents began screaming, “Cut it! Cut it!” trying to get the boys to turn the wheel before reaching the road, but the boys couldn’t hear over the noise of the go-kart’s engine…

[When neighbors came to the scene] Wanda Keener was cradling her 4-year-old son, Calvin, in her arms. He was bloody and not moving. Keener’s husband, Wesley, was lying on the road next to his 11-year-old son, Nicholas, who was trapped inside the go-kart.

Wisdom Cries Out

Can you not sense a little of the helpless terror that swept over those two parents as they watched their children drive down that hill? Can you feel the pain in your throat as you imagine how hard they screamed? On a hill they cried out, but to no avail. Two young lives had no idea what was about to happen.

Yet, Wisdom stands upon the high places and cries out to us. Wisdom says “Turn! Turn!Turn from your wicked ways!” But too many can’t hear (or won’t listen) over the noise of their own entertainment.

Oh, that we would listen; oh, that we would “cut it” before it’s too late.

In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. – Pro. 3:6


Brazen Church Girl

Proverbs 7:13-15

“So she caught him, and kissed him, and with an impudent face said unto him, I have peace offerings with me; this day have I payed my vows. Therefore came I forth to meet thee, diligently to seek thy face, and I have found thee.”

One of the greatest myths is that all church-going girls are “good” girls. These verses are a good example. Not only has this woman been waiting in the dark for her prey, she is openly religious, and uses her surface piety to lure the fool. But let’s break down these verses one at a time.

“So she caught him, and kissed him..”

Look who is the aggressor; it’s not the man. Conventional wisdom (not godly wisdom) has taught us that men are always the aggressor and that women should be wary. However, there are plenty of young women, as young as middle school, who know exactly what they want, and how to get it. Consider the words of this mother…

“I have a very outgoing, charming, attractive 15-year-old son. I have literally been chasing the girls away from the door ever since the seventh grade. … The aggressiveness and promiscuity of young girls nowadays is beyond words. Their dress is so alluring and inviting to a young man, what’s a guy to do? Moreover, what’s a mom to do?” (source, Family Life Today)

“Impudent face…”

It is amazing how people can look you right in the eye and tell a bold-face lie. That is what this woman was doing. The Hebrew word translated here as “impudent” could also be translated as brazen. She just looked this naive boy in the face and told him what he wanted to hear.

“Peace offerings…vows…found thee.” 

It is obvious in verses 14 and 15 that something doesn’t add up. Why is it that a woman of the night would be telling this young man about how she went to church? Oh, it’s pretty simple, really. She was just saying what a good Jewish boy wanted to hear.

Here was the total, irresistible package: a young, gorgeous and religious woman calling out to be rescued from breaking the Law. “I am so glad I found you! You’re the answer to my prayers! This must be God’s will,” she essentially said.

In the Old Testament, when a peace offering was made, the leftover meat was to be eaten that night, and no later (Lev. 7:15). She presented her case in such a way that said, “We have to do this now!” She played to his religious chivalry.

When this woman grabbed the man, kissed him, lied to him, and trapped him, she did it with everything that said: “This must be a good girl – she’s only trying to do the right thing – and she likes me!” I can almost imagine him repeating the words of an old Debbie Boone song, “This can’t be wrong when it feels so right.”

A Prayer

Oh, Lord God, open our eyes to the tricks of the Enemy! Give us the wisdom we need to discern between a treasure far above rubies (Prov. 31:10) and a trap. Help us to teach our sons and daughters to be godly. Help us to be parents who set the example.


He Met a Harlot

Proverbs 7:10

“And, behold, there met him a woman with the attire of an harlot, and subtil of heart.”

Simple Observations

I am sure that much could be said about this verse, but I would like to make some simple observations.

First Observation. “And, behold, there met him…” Believe it or not, there are some places a man, much more a Christian man, should never go. This applies to the women, also. There are places such as bars, strip clubs, night clubs, and chicken wing places with servers wearing next to nothing, that invite not only temptation, but leave one open to attack.

Notice, the young man went to a place “near her corner,” next to her house, in the dark, and late at night (7:8-9). Folks, when you walk into a spider’s lair, expect her to come out to meet you. She’s looking for you.

Second Observation. “with the attire of a harlot” Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls of all ages, there are ways to dress that are decent, and then there are ways to dress that make you look like a hooker. Why is this so hard for some to understand?

The whole idea, here, is that there is a woman on the prowl, and she has dressed herself in such a way to lure a man to his doom. If it didn’t matter how one dressed, then it wouldn’t have meant anything for Solomon to point out the obvious. But Solomon did point out that what this dangerous woman was wearing was typical of her trade.

Men, stay away from any woman who dresses in such a way that intentionally makes your eyes wander. Women, when you dress provocatively, you send a message that is ungodly. Parents, shame on you if you let your little girl leave the house looking like a prostitot!

Third Observation. “subtle of heart” I was curious about the use of the word “subtle.” According to one online dictionary*, “subtle” means “not loud, bright, noticeable or obvious in any way.” This didn’t seem consistent with what I was reading. There’s nothing much “subtle” about a woman who goes out into the dark wearing clothes that look like a harlot. So, I dug deeper.

It seems that the word translated “subtle” is the Hebrew word natsar**, which means “to guard, watch over, keep.” In other words, “subtle of heart” means something like, “you don’t know how hard, cold, and wounded her heart is.” She will never let you know the pain she hides, but she will unleash it on the fool she finds in the dark.

 

*Source: http://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/british/subtle

**”Hebrew Lexicon :: H5341 (KJV).” Blue Letter Bible. Accessed 7 Nov, 2013. http://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=H5341&t=KJV


Take Heed

Proverbs 6:20

“My son, keep thy father’s commandment, and forsake not the law of thy mother:”

Recap

In the first few days, Proverbial Thoughts centered around practical warnings to each of us on how we should handle certain things such as:

The last few days Solomon was talking in verses 12-19 about “the wicked man” and how there are seven things that are an abomination to the Lord.

Today’s “Thought” begins to take the conversation back to a more practical warning to us about the topic of adultery.

Pay Attention To A Father’s Commandment

I have always had a difficult time paying attention. I know that this is not going to surprise anyone that knows me very well. I am very easily sidetracked with things that come my way. I will be in the middle of one project, then something else catches my attention and off I go.

Solomon begins verse 20 the same way he has started several other verses in the book of Proverbs, with a plea – “My son, keep your father’s commandments”. Solomon is telling us to pay attention, or to focus on the Word of God.  In a few days, we will be discussing verse 23 and how “the commandment” or the Word of God is a lamp and the teaching of light.

Heard vs. Heeded

If Solomon’s house was anything like mine growing up, then Solomon’s whole family heard the gospel. As a young child, we were always in church (whenever the doors were open – we where there!). My father has been in christian radio for over 40 years and the radio was always playing either christian songs or there was a preacher preaching – so God’s Word was heard.

But God does not want us to just hear the Word! No, He wants us to hear it and then do it! James 1:22 tells us,

But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.

Solomon is telling his son, you know the commandments of God’s Word – now KEEP THEM!

A Mother’s Teaching

The first President of the United States of America, George Washington, had this to say about his mother:

“My mother was the most beautiful woman I ever saw. All I am I owe to my mother. I attribute all my success in life to the moral, intellectual and physical education I received from her.”

Just about all of us can look back when we were younger and hear our mother giving us advice on how to do this or that. I can still hear my mother telling me that “you better be careful” or “I’m not so sure I would do it that way”.

Solomon is telling us in verse 20 to not only keep your father’s commandments but don’t stray away from what your mother taught you when you were younger!

Conclusion

In today’s society, we need more fathers and mothers to sit down with their children and simply say – pay attention to what I am teaching you from God’s Word! Listen to what we have to say and it will benefit you greatly!

Lord, please help me to be a father that is in your Word.  To be a father that is willing to take the next step and apply it to my life and then teach it to my daughter. Lord, use us to teach the next generation about you!


Run Away! Run Away!

Proverbs 5:7-9

7 Hear me now therefore, O ye children, and depart not from the words of my mouth. 8 Remove thy way far from her, and come not nigh the door of her house: 9 Lest thou give thine honour unto others, and thy years unto the cruel.”

Mean Cat

My grandmother used to have a mean cat. This cat was an absolutely anti-social, psychotic, frenetic feline. One couldn’t get near her without getting hissed at, and that just made us want to aggravate it more.

I know it probably wasn’t the smartest thing to do when we were young, but we would love to try to tease the cat without getting bit. Fortunately, the monster had been declawed; however, her piercing fangs remained. If we got too close she could leave a couple of bloody reminders that she still had a mouth. Playing with her was playing with danger. That’s why it was fun.

Temptation

It’s really all about temptation, isn’t it? Solomon knew that if you play with sin, or get too close, you will get bit, and it will hurt.

Jesus knew something about temptation, also. He said, “the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak” (Matt. 26:41). Maybe that’s why the Apostle Paul warned Timothy to “flee” from “youthful lusts” (2 Tim. 2:22). Lust tends to make us buy things we can’t afford.

“But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.” – James 1:14-15

Flirting

Many times we like to get just close enough to the forbidden fruit that we can smell it. No, we know we shouldn’t take a bite, but the aroma gives us a little thrill. Flirting with the wrong woman is nothing more than trying to sin a little. But a little sin is still a sin.

In reality, if we know where temptation lives, why would we want to drive by? Do we secretly long for what we know will harm us? If we have lust in our hearts, then the answer is “yes.” As James said, we are only tempted when we are drawn away by our own lusts. Flirting is dangerous.

Giving it Away

The consequences of sin are never worth the temporary fun. In this case, Solomon warns that the price is one’s honor and freedom. When a young man enters the “strange” woman’s door, the result is usually shame that rarely goes away.

On top of that, there’s the wasted time – time that could have been spent building a loving relationship. Instead, all your energy, your emotions, your wealth, and your health is squandered on a user of men.

“Do not let sin control the way you live; do not give in to sinful desires. Do not let any part of your body become an instrument of evil to serve sin. Instead, give yourselves completely to God, for you were dead, but now you have new life. So use your whole body as an instrument to do what is right for the glory of God.” – Rom. 6:12-13 NLT

Final Thought

My son, the next time you feel drawn to a “strange” woman, remember the words of King Arthur in Monty Python and the Holy Grail….

“RUN AWAY! RUN AWAY!”