Tag Archives: proverbs

A Timely Missing Post

Proverbs 9:6

“Forsake the foolish, and live; and go in the way of understanding.”

A while back, in the process of re-posting entries, I found that Proverbs 9:6 was not only left off the blog, but out of the book! (click here to purchase) That’s terribly embarrassing, especially since all the editing that had been done. Therefore, this post is what you could call a “web exclusive!


Forsaking

The first word in this verse is an imperative: forsake.  It’s not a word that suggests temporarily turning away, but abandonment. To forsake something is like saying “to heck with you,” turning on one’s heels, walking out the door, slamming it, going to the airport, buying a plane ticket, arriving at the destination, then burning one’s passport.

Why are simple words hard to understand?

Foolish

If you have been reading Proverbs at all, even the least bit, you should be aware what foolishness is. Foolishness is man’s wisdom, not God’s. Foolishness is acting stupidly, even when you know there is a better way. Foolishness is rebellion, selfishness, seeking one’s own way, and never caring where the road leads, just as long as the trip is fun.

The “foolish” we’re commanded to forsake could be a combination of things. The “foolish” could be people, ideas, actions, philosophies, worldviews, attitudes, etc. There are foolish friends, foolish plans, foolish job opportunities, foolish desires, and foolish dreams – all of which lead down a bad road.

Forsake the foolish, and you might survive; don’t, and you’re in trouble.

The Way

The “way of understanding” can be interpreted as the “right” way, or even the way on which wisdom has already walked. It is the way in which people walk who walk in wisdom, seek wisdom, and love wisdom.

When we walk in the “way of understanding” we consider the consequences of each step and the direction we are going. The direction is a 180 away from foolishness.

Living

But why is it that so many are more likely to hold on to the “foolish” rather than travel in the way of understanding? Instead of walking out the door and leaving the old ways behind, why is it that so many are more apt to slam the door from the inside, lock it, and turn up the music? The reason is based on one’s understanding of “living.”

playstationOne beer company is famous for touting the “high life.” Another shows people partying away the night saying, “It doesn’t get any better than this.” Everything from hotels to video game systems have encouraged consumers by promising, “This is living!”

Funny. Even kind of ironic, I must say. It’s hard to go down any path when you’ve locked yourself inside with computer game.

Timely?

Yes, this post is technically 2 years late. On the other hand, God knew exactly who would be writing it and what would be going on. As my daughter Katie looked over my shoulder and read the proverb about which I was to write, she said, “Well, that’s timely…”

This week we’ve dealt with foolishness, the foolish, and an unwillingness to forsake it. I have personally witnessed a close family member, blinded by a lack of wisdom, detail a specific plan for destruction. I’ve even faced down a foolish physical threat. Foolishness…simply foolishness.

There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death. – Proverbs 16:25

Forsake foolishness and live, or shut the door and die. The way is up to you.

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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!


God’s Not Safe

Proverbs 6:16

“These six things doth the LORD hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him:”

He’s Not Safe

So many people have the impression that God is nothing but love, love, love. Thinking all He cares about is their happiness and well-being, they forget that angels surround His throne crying “holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty” (Rev. 4:9).

In the “seeker-friendly” community of churches, many focus on a God who is “for us,” while avoiding any mention of a God who hates sin. They treat Him like a rich grandfather who winks at their indiscretions. They treat Him like a tame pet. But He’s not tame. And He’s not safe.

When I read the above verse I was reminded of a conversation in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C. S. Lewis. Susan, Lucy, and Peter were talking to Mr. and Mrs. Beaver about Aslan:

“Is he – quite safe? I shall be nervous about meeting a lion [said Susan]”

“That you will, dearie, and no mistake,” said Mrs. Beaver, “if there’s anyone who can appear before Aslan without their knees knocking, they’re either braver than most or else just silly.”

“Then he isn’t safe?” said Lucy.

“Safe?” said Mr. Beaver. “Don’t you hear what Mrs. Beaver tells you? Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the King, I tell you.”

A “safe” God is one who doesn’t care what you do, as long as you love Him and worship Him, but a Holy God hates sin. And He is nothing to trifle with.

Abominations

In the next few “thoughts” we will be looking at verses 17 through 19 and the seven things God hates – yes, hates. It might be hard for some to contemplate, but even though God is love (1 Jn. 4:8), He is righteous, and He tests the hearts of men (Ps. 7:9).

As we look at these things, remember that we are all guilty of them. If you don’t think so, then you’re deceiving yourself (1 Jn. 1:8). All of us have sinned (Rom. 3:23) and fallen short of God’s righteous standards. He hates our sins, and that will never change (Mal. 3:6).

Salvation Not a License

It might be tempting to leap right to the good part – the Gospel. John 3:16 says that Jesus came to die for our sins and make things right between God and us (Col. 1:20). But hold on! That doesn’t change God’s view of sin. He still hates it.

God is love, but the Bible also says that a man who loves God will keep His commandments (Jn. 14:15; 15:10). Christ paid our sin debt on a cruel cross, and those who are truly His will avoid sin. What God hates, the Christian should hate.

“Who is wise? He will realize these things. Who is discerning? He will understand them. The ways of the LORD are right; the righteous walk in them, but the rebellious stumble in them.” – Hosea 14:9 NIV

A Prayer

Lord God, thank you for loving me. Thank you for the gift of forgiveness. But help me to remember Who you are – King. Help me to hate the things you hate, and love the things you love. 


Are You a Troublemaker?

Proverbs 6:12-15

“A naughty person, a wicked man, walketh with a froward mouth. He winketh with his eyes, he speaketh with his feet, he teacheth with his fingers; Frowardness is in his heart, he deviseth mischief continually; he soweth discord. Therefore shall his calamity come suddenly; suddenly shall he be broken without remedy.”

Troublemakers

The words in these verses appear to combine to build a picture of a professional troublemaker. One who gets pleasure from making mischief, causing trouble, hurting other people. We’ve all met them, they exist in all walks of life, even in church. They thrive in politics, and they are present in almost every workplace, university and school. It is easy judge them because we are not like them. We don’t cause trouble, do we?

Self Examination

Why did Solomon use so many words to define a troublemaker? Why didn’t he just insert the word troublemaker into verse fifteen and omit verses twelve, thirteen and fourteen?

Therefore shall a troublemaker’s calamity come suddenly; suddenly shall he be broken without remedy.

Perhaps we should read the description again while examining ourselves to see if even one of the characteristics listed in verses twelve to fourteen could apply to us. These verses are not here to be skipped over with the assumption that they describe something we are not. They are included in Scripture by God’s design to challenge us to examine ourselves, not other people. And they are included in Scripture as a warning.

Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates? 2 Corinthians 13:5 KJV

It is useful also to remember that God also examines us (Psalm 139) so complete honesty is essential.

Redemption

The results of our self examination matter because they form a basis for redemption. Jesus didn’t die to save a perfect world. He died to save the troublemaker from calamity. He is the Remedy.

Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up,that everyone who believes may have eternal life in him.” For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. John 3:14-18 NIV


Thoughts On Co-signing

Proverbs 6:1-5

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.

Practical Wisdom

When it comes to the wisdom of Proverbs, some think it’s all spiritual. Much like the person who thinks faith should be kept out of everything secular, such as politics or the workplace, these people assume biblical wisdom is incompatible with everyday life. How wrong they are!

Today’s passage is a lesson in financial wisdom. Here, Solomon is addressing the dangers of unwisely obligating one’s self to a creditor (stranger) on behalf of a friend.

Unsure Surety

There is nothing wrong with helping a friend. As a matter of fact, it was Paul who told Philemon that if Onesimus owed him anything to “put that on my account…I will repay” (Phil. 1:18-19). Helping someone out when they are truly in need, especially when you have the ability, is the right thing to do.

“If there is a poor man among your brothers in any of the towns of the land that the LORD your God is giving you, do not be hardhearted or tightfisted toward your poor brother. Rather be openhanded and freely lend him whatever he needs.” – Deuteronomy 15:7-8 NIV

However, Solomon is warning that we should be very careful when entering agreements (striking hands) on behalf of others, even our friends. You see, to be a “surety” for someone means guaranteeing the lender your friend will pay his debt. The problem comes when you end up owing what you cannot pay, therefore putting your family and your self at risk.

“Can You Co-Sign for Me?”

How many times have you been asked to co-sign on a loan? How many times have you had a brother-in-law ask for help starting a business that “can’t fail?” How many times have you felt sorry for someone, only to get burned in the end?

Many times we want to help our friends and loved ones, but end up snared by people we don’t even know. “I’ll help you this time,” we say. Then, a few months later, Hunter Loan Company is tracking us like deer.

Spiritual Application

There is a practical, yet spiritual principle to be found in the following verse: “[If] any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel” (1 Tim. 5:8). The principle is “if you can barely afford to take care of your own family, don’t make financial commitments you can’t keep.”

Solomon says that even if you have become surety for a friend, prove his friendship – get him to relieve you of your obligation. Otherwise, when the rubber check hits the road, you risk losing not only your money, but your good name, your friend, and even your faith.


Drink Your Own Water

Proverbs 5:15-17

[15] Drink waters out of thine own cistern, and running waters out of thine own well. [16] Let thy fountains be dispersed abroad, and rivers of waters in the streets. [17] Let them be only thine own, and not strangers’ with thee.”

The Addiction of Adultery

Last night I attended an event in which a famous former British boxer and his wife (Nigel and Carolyne Benn) gave testimony to the power of Jesus in their lives. Nigel spoke of the way that his substantial earnings failed to bring happiness, but instead led to various addictions, including numerous affairs. Nigel testified that for sixteen years he was unfaithful to his wife. Some of the women Nigel slept with sold their stories to the press, increasing the hurt inflicted on his wife and other members of his family.

Carolyne explained how she reacted the day when Nigel came home and confessed absolutely everything to her. By now they were living on the island of Mallorca, attending church, and it seemed that everything was OK. But Nigel couldn’t take his eyes off other women and had another affair. He confessed to one of his pastors and was challenged to make the same confession to his wife. That confession resulted in Nigel and Carolyne spending a year apart. Nigel lived with his pastors, while immersing himself in God’s word, and finally surrendering everything to God.

Stay in the Ring

Why did Solomon write so many verses warning about adultery? Because He knew that when a man or a woman looks outside marriage it is like stepping outside the boxing ring. Nigel Benn was an acclaimed fighter for whom the fight held no fear. But he couldn’t handle his life outside the ring where he was surrounded by temptations he could not resist. In Proverbs 5: 15-17 Solomon uses water to make the point – drink only from your own well. In other words keep your love for your marriage partner, the person God chose for you. However exciting life outside the ring may seem, however tempting it is to drink from another well, sleeping with a person you are not married to is going to damage not just your life, but many.

What is the best defense against such damaging behavior? Nigel Benn would probably say that a good boxer never lets his guard down. Substitute God for guard. Don’t ever let God down by looking outside of your marriage for pleasure. Instead examine what you have, and return to Proverbial Thought tomorrow to learn what Solomon has to say about cherishing all that God has blessed you with through the gift of your wife (or husband).


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!”