Category Archives: sin

The Heartless Thief

Proverbs 6:32-33

“But whoso committeth adultery with a woman lacketh understanding: he that doeth it destroyeth his own soul. A wound and dishonour shall he get; and his reproach shall not be wiped away.”

In verses 30 and 31 Solomon talked about a starving man. He said, “Men do not despise a thief, if he steal to satisfy his soul when he is hungry.” But there is a huge difference between a man who will steal food and a man who will steal another’s wife.

Difficult Words

I have lost track of how many times I have written and deleted words, sentences, and whole paragraphs. Finding the right words for today’s “thought” has proven quite difficult. Why is that? Could it be because it’s late as I write this? Could it be that I am in a writer’s slump? Should I have let Jason Sneed write this post, instead?

Maybe the real reason I am having a hard time finding the right words is linked to verse 33. My disgust for the sin of adultery is making it hard for me to remain calm. Thinking about the excuses so many give for this crime makes me sick. Unlike the man who steals food to survive (v. 30), men do despise the adulterer.

No Heart

What kind of man commits adultery? Many do it because they say they couldn’t help themselves. Many blame others for their sin. But if the truth be known, an intriging word in verse 32 may hold a vital clue. That word is “understanding.”

When I asked my wife to describe for me what she thought “lacketh understanding” meant, she said, “An adulterer is a person who doesn’t understand what he is doing – he doesn’t comprehend the consequences – he’s clueless.” Yet, when I went to the original languages I found something else.

The word translated “understanding” in verse 32 is the Hebrew word leb (Strong’s H3820). More often than not, this word is used to describe the “inner part” of man, such as his heart, his soul, or his conscience. As a matter of fact, out of the 593 times this word is found in the Authorized Version, it is translated “understanding” only 10 times. It is translated “heart” 508 times.

What my wife suggested may be true, but it may also be true that an adulterer, a man that takes another man’s wife, is a man that has no “heart.” In other words, he doesn’t care who he hurts. All he cares about is getting what he wants – not what he needs.

Is it any wonder this man is worthy of dishonor and reproach?

Final Thought

Not all crimes deserve the same punishment. And even thought sin is sin, the consequences are not all the same. Galatians 6:7 says, “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.

Stealing bread and stealing sex are totally different seeds.

Advertisements

Playing With Fire

Proverbs 6:27-29

“Can a man take fire in his bosom, and his clothes not be burned? Can one go upon hot coals, and his feet not be burned? So he that goeth in to his neighbour’s wife; whosoever toucheth her shall not be innocent.”

Playing With Fire

Do you remember how the king of the monkeys in The Jungle Book wanted to learn the secret of man’s red fire? Like the monkey king I used to be fascinated by fire when I was a child. I just loved to strike matches and make fire. I especially enjoyed bonfires and always looked forward to the annual celebration of bonfire night on 5 November. Where I lived in Guernsey people from our road would meet at one of the vineries where there would be a massive bonfire, soup, hot dogs, and fireworks. Bonfire night was a real treat for the kids, but we were always warned to keep a safe distance from the fire and not to pick up the remnants of any fireworks. Our parents knew the dangers and taught us that if we played with fire we would probably get burned.

Desire

Desire is no different to fire. If you desire the wife or husband of another person and surrender to your desire you will get burned. The problem is that fire is hard to contain and inevitably causes devastation elsewhere. Images of firefighters trying to extinguish wild fires come to mind. In similar fashion extramarital activity usually causes untold damage to many lives.

No Immunity

The Church is not immune. Satan loves to mess up Christian marriages. Why else would such warnings be included in Scripture? God gave men and women a special gift. He intended it to be used within the boundaries of marriage. This was defined from the very beginning as ‘one man, one woman, together for life’ (Genesis 2:22-24).

I have watched first hand as friends have been tempted from their marriage partners, and I have witnessed the damage, much of it collateral. They always begin with excuses such as “I don’t think I ever loved her in the first place.” They talk themselves into believing that no one will be hurt. They tell friends that what they are doing is for the best. But these are not excuses, they are lies. It is inevitable that adults and children will be damaged by the pain and the hurt, that lives will disintegrate, and tears will flow.

If you play with fire you will get burned. But so will others. You have been warned.


Dangerous Eyes

Proverbs 6:25

“Lust not after her beauty in thine heart; neither let her take thee with her eyelids.”

Blink Like an Egyptian

When I think of seductive eyes, I think of Susanna Hoffs. Her name might not ring a bell with a lot of people these days, but back in the 80’s she had everybody walking “like an Egyptian.” In the last few second of a music video, Susanna Hoffs, lead singer for The Bangles, paused, looked side to side, and made every red-blooded male swoon (and buy records, cassette tapes, and posters).

It was amazing…no music…no seductive clothing showing…just those eyes. Susanna Hoffs reminded the world how powerful they can be.

A Little Irony

The above verse contains a very ironic twist: the eyes of the deceived are taken by the eyes of the deceiver. Do you see it? When we lust after someone, we fall victim to a trap set for our eyes. In this case, the eyes are the bait.

It is so dangerous to lust after a woman. Yet, we live in a culture that depends on lust to make billions of dollars every year. Seductive beauty is everywhere, and hard to avoid. But avoid it we must! It is in the moment of lusting we run the danger of eye contact. When she sees us looking, she looks back, and it’s over.

Real Danger

Believe it or not, do a quick search on the internet and you’ll find plenty of instructions for seducing with the eyes. “How to Seduce Someone Using Only Your Eyes: 6 Steps” and “Eye Seduction Secrets” are only a fraction of the links available. Obviously, there are plenty of women who want that info.

One suggestion in WikiHow reads, “Spend about 20 minutes a day or more practicing this in front of a mirror. The look you want in your eyes could best be described as ‘intense’. Think lustful thoughts…” Isn’t that sad? Some women are spending far more time each day practicing the art of seduction than most men ever spend in God’s Word. Is it any wonder why so many fall prey to their “eyelids?”

Decide Now

Men (and women), we need to be more like Job in the Old Testament. We need to decide beforehand what we allow our eyes to see. We should avoid people, places, and things that tempt us to lust. We should also know our weaknesses. But like Job, we should make “a covenant with [our] eyes not to look with lust at a young woman [or man].” – Job 31:1 NLT

When we don’t decide early on, that is when we are subject to fall. And as we will see in the next few verses, a fool falls hard.


Bloody Hands

Proverbs 6:17c

“A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood,”

Disgusting!

We are taught that ‘God is love’ but rarely hear the word hate associated with God. Verses 16-19 of Proverbs 6 are not about God hating people, but confirm His absolute distaste for some of the characteristics they display, and the things that they do. The seven things listed in these verses are described as an abomination to God. Abomination is a strong word more usually reserved for God’s opinion of idols. A more modern translation might be that these things are disgusting to God.

The Shedding of Innocent Blood

The list of sins that God hates is not exhaustive, but the inclusion of hands that shed innocent blood requires closer examination. Similar language is used in Proverbs 1:11. Why? Is it because all sins, including those referred to in Proverbs 6:16-19, ultimately led to the shedding of innocent blood (Isaiah 53)?

It would be surprising if those whose hands were covered in the innocent blood of Jesus were not aware of Proverbs 6:17c. The truth is that we are all covered in the innocent blood of Jesus. Every time we sin we cause His blood to be spilt. While we are equally guilty of causing His death, the blood of Jesus that splashes over us has power to remove all evidence of our guilt.

How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God! Hebrews 9:14


A Lying Tongue

Proverbs 6:16-17b

“These six things doth the LORD hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him: A proud look, a lying tongue…”

The Culture

Stop for a moment and think of all the lies we hear everyday. Will that pill really make you thinner? Is that automobile really the best buy? Will that sugary, sodium-filled soft drink really quench your thirst? Will that politician really do anything he promises?

We live in a culture of lies, and we mirror it more than we would like to admit. Lying is deemed acceptable in the right context and when the results are worth it. We tell ourselves, “a little white lie never hurt anybody.” We pad resumés. We tell our wives the dress looks fine. We tell our husbands we’re proud of them. Christians even say, “I’ll pray about it.”

The Truth

The truth is that we hold on to lying as a tool, or a weapon. It’s there when we need it, even if we don’t use it very often. We hold on to it in case of an emergency, like when our pride is at risk, or when our needs are not met. Our flesh is utterly selfish and will do anything to survive.

The truth is that Satan is the father of lies (John 8:44). Lying was literally part of his nature, and there was “no truth in him.” So, when we lie, we not only mirror the culture, but the “prince” of the culture…

“Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience.” – Ephesians 2:2

Three Good Reasons

Why does God abhor a lying tongue? Well, I can think of three good reasons. For starters, it is the opposite of His nature. Lying has nothing in common with God, but everything in common with His enemies. It was Jesus who said, “I am the way, the TRUTH, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” (John 14:6).

Secondly, the Father loves his Son. Jesus gave his life as a ransom for us (Matt. 20:28), bearing our sin on the cross (Isa. 53:5; 2 Cor. 5:21). The “wounds” He suffered were due in part to our lies. Wouldn’t you be disgusted by the thing that brought your son pain?

Then too, God loves us! It must break His heart to see the consequences we bring upon ourselves, the tangled webs we weave, when we lie. And the more we lie, the less like Christ we are.

A Prayer

Dear God, forgive me for my selfishness. Forgive me for my lack of faith. Forgive me for the times I have not trusted you, but lied to make things go my way. Forgive me, reign in my tongue, and cleanse me, “because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips” (Isa. 6:5).


Celebrating His Coming: Thoughts for the 2nd Week of Advent – Day 3

Then Jerusalem and all Judea and all the region about the Jordan were going out to him, and they were baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins. -Matthew 3:5-6

angelic architecture art baptism

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

With repentance comes confession. Even in the time of Advent, when we look forward to the coming Messiah, we must remember the importance of confession:

That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. -Romans 10:9

Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much. -James 5:16, KJV

As we prepare for the Messiah, it has to include the preparation of our hearts, as we confess our sins to God and to others and are baptized.

God in Heaven, we have sinned against You. As we confess, we thank You that You are faithful to forgive.


Celebrating His Coming: Thoughts for the 2nd Week of Advent

Welcome to the second week of Advent!

Tradition holds that the second week of Advent is about preparing ourselves for the coming Messiah, with John the Baptizer being our model. This is when our focus turns from the promises to fulfillment of Messiah. Obviously, there is a connection between each week, as we begin by looking out our need for the promised Savior, and then we move to finding the truth of the living Savior.

The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God. -Isaiah 40:3, KJV (see Matthew 3:3, Mark 1:3, Luke 3:4)

John was prophesied centuries before either he or his cousin, Jesus, lived. John is also the final of the Old Testament Prophets. He was the last to prophecy the coming Messiah before Jesus began His ministry.

He was an ascetic – someone who separates from society in many ways through denying comforts and desires, including diet and habits, for religious purposes. (See Numbers 6 to understand more of John’s asceticism, known as the Nazirite vow.) He seemed pretty crazy and weird, but he laid the groundwork for the Messiah.

What did this mean?

He called out sin, decried fame, and [literally] pointed to the Lamb of God, the Messiah.

As Christians – believers in the life, death, and resurrection of the Son of God, Jesus – we are likewise called to point to the Savior. We are to prepare the the way for His return and encroaching Kingdom.

And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.
Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:
Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.
-Matthew 28:18-20

How are you pointing others to Jesus?

Good Lord, give us a passion for sharing the Good News of Jesus – to call out sin, love people, and glorify Your Name.