Tag Archives: Book of Proverbs

Come Into My Parlor

Proverbs 7:12 

“Now is she without, now in the streets, and lieth in wait at every corner.”

Lieth In Wait

I can visualize the following event just like it happened yesterday even though it took place some 31 years ago. I was 7 years old and my parents and brother lived in a two story house right outside of Chattanooga, TN. Our den was located in the basement while all of our bedrooms were upstairs. The evening was coming to an end and so we started to gather up our belongings to take them upstairs. As we began cleaning, I noticed that my father was no where to be found. I didn’t give it another thought and continued to help my mom and brother.

With arms full of blankets and pillows, I made my way up the stairs and started down our hallway. Because this happened during the winter time, it was already dark outside and my arms were full so I could not turn the hallway lights on. I walked about ten feet down the hallway and stopped in my tracks. There was something that was telling me that I should not go any further and that my best bet would be to turn around slowly and go back. I quickly exited the hallway and run to find my mom who was still downstairs.

My mother began to laugh when I told her what just happened.

She explained to me that she was pretty sure that my father was hiding in one of the rooms just waiting for me to walk by so he could scare me (there was never a dull moment in the Sneed household). Sure enough, when I returned upstairs and turned on all of the lights, my father was laying on his stomach on the floor just “lying in wait”.

Her Prey

Solomon is explaining to us that the “strange women” is lying in wait for this man to come by and just like the spider, she is ready to pounce on her prey. She is out on the street, but she is lurking around each corner just waiting for her victim to arrive.

The Take-Away

How many times have we seen it or heard about it? How many times have we seen homes broken up and children being torn apart by a man that has gone off and had an affair?

In today’s society, the “strange women” is ever so prevalent in JUST ABOUT EVERYTHING! The TV, internet, radio, smartphones – she is everywhere and if we are not grounded in the Word of God, we are doomed to fall. That is why Solomon was again telling his son to make sure and keep his commandments!

Men, we must guard ourselves against sin each and every day. We must keep God’s commandments and do our best to obtain wisdom and understanding, so that we can live!

Lord, help us to guard our hearts and minds against anything evil that comes our way. Help us to always be on the lookout for things that are not according to Your Word. Help us to always seek your face each and every day!

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Is This You?

Proverbs 7:11

“She is loud and stubborn; her feet abide not in her house:”

Do you know this kind of person?

Solomon is telling us about that wayward woman, the adulteress. But do you know someone like this?

This is the person who seems to struggle with speaking with an “inside voice” and has to be right … even when they know they are wrong.

This is the person who starts the party … and often ruins it.

This is the person who has hundreds and even thousands of friends … and no one who is close to them.

This is the person who has been in numerous relationships … and either something is wrong with the other person or they are “friends with benefits” … or just “good friends”.

Is this person you?

We have all been this person, in one way or another.

No, we have not all been loud, but we have all been stubborn in some way.

No, we have not all been the partier with numerous “friends” and hook-ups.

We all, however, have yelled at God and known we were justified in our argument.

We all have wandered from God by following our own desires in one way or another.

We all have cheated on God by pursuing something or someone we loved more in one way or another.

Thankfully, God pursues us and quietly waits for us.

Thankfully, He came after us in Jesus Christ.

Lord Jesus, thank You for coming after us and saving us. Help us to pursue You in every moment. Give us the wisdom and guidance to avoid those which can lead us astray, and give us the strength to overcome temptation when we walk into it once again.


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


Related to Wisdom

Proverbs 7:4-5

“Say unto wisdom, Thou art my sister; and call understanding thy kinswoman: That they may keep thee from the strange woman, from the stranger which flattereth with her words.”

Related to Wisdom?

If you are struggling with the point Solomon is trying to make through Proverbs, here it is plain as day:

The Wisdom of God is very, very, very, very, very important!

It is so important, we are told in today’s passage that wisdom should be considered our sister and understanding our close relative.

In almost every family, it is they who know “you” best. Whether it is your parents, your siblings, or your wife, only your best friend might know you better (which is why it is good for your spouse to be your best friend).

What God Says About You

God has several things to say about you:

God created you and knows you better than anyone else in all of Creation. God also has your back:

There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.
1 Corinthians 10:13

God’s wisdom and understanding is so great that it can save us from any temptation – whether it is a woman, a man, food, entertainment, drugs, alcohol, etcetera – because God knows what we can handle, what we are unable to handle, and the best way for us to escape when our own stupidity leads us into whatever confronts us.

Heavenly Father, grant us your wisdom and understanding that we may escape temptation. Give us the wisdom to live righteously and the understanding to know when we are tempted. Show us the way out when we become trapped by our own desires. Above all, may we be used to bring glory to Your Name!


The Father In the Window

Proverbs 7:6-9 

“[6] For at the window of my house I looked through my casement, [7] And beheld among the simple ones, I discerned among the youths, a young man void of understanding, [8] Passing through the street near her corner; and he went the way to her house, [9] In the twilight, in the evening, in the black and dark night:”

The Science of Sin    

In the New Testament epistle of James, chapter 1, verses 14 & 15, the author outlines the process of someone falling into sin.  In that passage James the Just tells how it begins with an “evil desire” by which the individual is “dragged away and enticed”.  Once that desire is conceived, says James, “it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death”.

In a similar way, the Father (7:1) assumes the viewpoint of an intelligent observer of sin in today’s verses.  The Father watches from his window, not with voyeuristic delight, but as one who wants to see what lessons can be deduced from the sad spectacle in front of him.  Sin can be observed, studied, and understood.  There are definable, universal patterns at work in the fallen human nature leading to sin, and the wise son can and should learn from the costly mistakes of others.  If you skim on through the rest of the chapter, you see that ultimately the foolish youth being observed is “dragged away and enticed” by the adulteress (v. 21).  How did this tragic moral failure occur?  Proverbs 7:6-9 provides a case study in a young man taking three downward steps into the sin of adultery.

Step 1:  “I Know What’s Best for Me.”

            The young man is described as a “simple one” and “void of understanding”.  Here is a youth who feels no need for the blessings of moral instruction.   Were you to ask him if he thinks of himself as “void of understanding,” he would flatly deny it.  “No,” he would say, “I know how life works; I know what’s best for me; and I know how to achieve my goals.”  Were you to offer him counsel, he would scoff at the seriousness of your concerns.

Step 2:  “After All, I Can Come Close to the Sin Without Sinning.” 

Notice how the young man just happens to be walking in the neighborhood of the adulteress.  As he is “passing through the street near her corner” (v. 8).  He tells himself that he’s not walking anywhere in particular; no, he’s just out for an evening stroll.  Oh, how deceptive is the human heart!  Readers, how many times have we wandered into sin’s neighborhood, with one side of our mind rationalizing that we are fully under control and will not fall this time; all the while knowing deep inside exactly where we’re headed, and what we intend to do when we get there.

Step 3:  “I Can Manage This Sin and its Consequences.” 

            By the second half of verse 8, the foolish youth is no longer kidding himself.  Tonight, he’s going to the adulteress’s house.  He’s crossed the line of no return.  Does he recognize sin for what it is?  Of course he does.  He’s bears the Creator’s image, and his conscience screams for him to turn around.  But now, he is no longer merely entertaining the notion of sin; rather, he’s determined that he’s going into the situation full steam ahead, because, he believes, he can manage the sin and its consequences.  The lady’s husband?  He’s out of town (v. 19).  Witnesses to the immorality?  There’s no one watching, thinks the youth.

Ah, but here he’s wrong.  There is one watching – the Father in the window!

The Watcher in the Window

Is there a sense in which the narrator of the passage (the Father in the window) is a type of Jesus Christ?  If we take the narrator to be Solomon (and we have every reason to do so), and Solomon is a son of David, could Solomon here in a particular way be pointing us to David’s Greater Son, Jesus Christ?

I tend to think so.  King Jesus allows us to make our own choices.  It’s difficult for us to get our puny minds around, but the Bible teaches both that Jesus is our Sovereign King with all authority at his disposal (Matthew 28:18), and yet we make our choices and we act freely, without coercion from God.  Dear reader, perhaps you are an adulterer or adulteress; then again, perhaps your sin of choice is of a different variety—gossip, slander, hatred, greed, and the like.  Whatever your sin is, Jesus knows exactly what’s going on.  He doesn’t coerce you into sin (James 1:13); no, you have chosen to walk those downward steps all on your own.  But neither does he typically leap in and interfere with the situation.  For many years Proverbs 7 troubled me:  Why doesn’t the observer in the window stop the foolish youth from rushing to destruction?  It has only been as I’ve come to recognize how many thousands of times Christ has watched me taking those downward steps – 1, 2, 3 – all the while gazing at me with love and sadness, that I’ve begun to understand.

The Good News

The good news is that the Watcher in the Window DID come down, not heroically to stop a foolish youth from his own stupidity, but to bear the guilt and shame of that youth for his sin and stupidity.  On Calvary’s Cross, Jesus died for all of our sin, guilt, and shame.  Yes, even for that sin that has just come to your mind, the one that you think nobody knows about, the one that makes you blush or break out in a cold sweat.  He did not come down to condemn the world, but that through Him the world might be saved (John 3:17).  When you place faith in Jesus Christ, trusting in Him alone for salvation and turning away from sin, the most curious thing then begins to happen.  You begin to change from the inside out.  You find that you are still free to do what you want, but your “wants” begin to change.  You no longer “want” to sneak down the dark alley and knock on sin’s door.  You no longer “want” to eat another bite of the forbidden fruit.  What you want, is to be in fellowship with Jesus, the one who came down from heaven, and lived and died for you.

In tomorrow’s posting, we return to the sad saga of the foolish young man and the adulteress.  Hope to see you then!

Father God, forgive this writer the many times he has walked those familiar steps outlined above.  Be merciful and gracious to us, Father, for the sake of your dear Son Jesus Christ, our Lord.  Transform us deep within, that we might truly hate sin and love righteousness.  And may we never forget that it is not our righteousness, but the imputed righteousness of Jesus Christ, by which we have this relationship with you.  In Jesus’ name, Amen. 


Reduced to Nothing

Proverbs 6:26

“For by means of a whorish woman a man is brought to a piece of bread: and the adulteress will hunt for the precious life.”

I started attending church at the age of 15, and I was given an NIV Bible. The NIV puts this verse this way:

for the prostitute reduces you to a loaf of bread, and the adulteress preys upon your very life.

For a while it confused me, because I read it as “the prostitute gradually turns you into a loaf of bread.” Before I saw another translation, I figured it out!

Broke and Worthless

As has been discussed for the past several days, the lure of the prostitute and foolishness leads to bad things. Not only is it dangerous because of diseases you might receive, you can find yourself practically penniless from spending so much on this habit. Not only might you lose all of your money, you may find your health in decline.

Do you know what happens to you when you can barely afford to buy a loaf of bread? You starve and either die or debase yourself publicly to get by.

You could also get caught doing something illegal (which prostitution is in most areas), and then you find you are in jail/prison.

Broken and Lost

On a purely spiritual level, beware of false preachers and teachers; beware of twisted and false teachings.

Prosperity gospel-, “Name-It-and-Claim-It”-, and Personality-centered messages/churches generally convince you to spend all of your money and/or give all of your money to the one speaking.

There are churches, denominations, and other organizations with teachings that sound great and biblical; yet, if you pay attention, you would find they are taken out of context (biblically and/or spiritually … there can be a difference) or, worse, twisted to serve an ungodly purpose.

If you do not end up broke and worthless in this life, the ultimate result may very well be that you have lost everlasting life.

Do not give your soul – your life – to another. Steer clear of the prostitutes, on the streets or in religion, by knowing the dangers they pose. Seek God and His path in all things.

Dear Lord, help us to stay away from the allure of the prostitute and adulteress. Help us keep our hearts, minds, and souls safe and pure. Reveal your love and grace to us all the more, that anything and anyone else is not as desirable.


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.