Tag Archives: proverbs

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. 

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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!”


Pay Attention!

Proverbs 5:1-2

“My son, attend unto my wisdom, and bow thine ear to my understanding: That thou mayest regard discretion, and that thy lips may keep knowledge.”

Many parents have tried for just about ever to get through to their children. If our  attention begins to wander, they would yell at us “Pay attention!” If we started doing things against their wishes, we might hear them announce “Listen to me!” If we mouthed off to them, they would scold “Watch your mouth!” Solomon is doing basically the same thing.

PAY ATTENTION!

This passage essentially starts with Solomon saying, “Pay attention to the wisdom I have shared with you!” He knows how easily we can be distracted by the pretty, fun, and new things in this world. He sternly warns his son (and God, therefore, warns us) to pay attention to wisdom of those who have come before.

Listen to me!

He continues, “Listen to what I have learned.” If only Solomon’s children had listened to him! It was the actions of his children which led to the split in the Kingdom of Israel.

God calls us to listen to His word and His people. There is wisdom and experience there. All we have to do is listen (and act on what we hear). We can know how to interact with God and others.

Watch your mouth!

“This way you will know when to bite your tongue and when to speak.” James told us, “We all stumble in many ways. If anyone is never at fault in what he says, he is a perfect man, able to keep his whole body in check.” (James 3:2, NIV) With the wisdom of God and the understanding gained from those with experience, we can learn when and how to control what we say and how we act.

The most perfect example, naturally, was our Lord Jesus Christ. He always seemed to have just the right thing to say, but he also knew when to be silent, such as when on trial for His life (Matthew 26:57-68).

The Perfect Man

Has has been said time and again on this blog and through Proverbs, seek wisdom and understanding. This is achieved through knowing Jesus Christ, the Perfect Man who makes all things perfect in His time.

Allow Him to make you perfect as our Heavenly Father is perfect. Listen to your teachers, pastors, and other church leaders. Read your Bible. Pray to God daily, every moment as you are able. Allow His love and grace to change you, to move through you and into others. Seek true wisdom and understanding with every fiber of your being.

Abba, Father, Lord, Savior, and Friend, give us You and grow that passion for You, that we may know You, Your wisdom and understanding, and love. Grow in us a passion to show that love, and give us the wisdom to know when and how to share it the most effectively.


Unity of Purpose

Proverbs 4:25-26

“Let thine eyes look right on, and let thine eyelids look straight before thee. Ponder the path of thy feet, and let all thy ways be established.”

Parts of the Body

Recent verses discussed in Proverbial Thought have dealt with different parts of the human body and their importance in developing and maintaining a relationship with God. The ear is the focus of Proverbs 4:20 and this is followed by a brief mention of the eyes in verse 21. Two days ago in Proverbs 4:23 the subject matter was the human heart. Yesterday in Proverbs 4:24 it was the mouth.

Solomon returns to the eyes in Proverbs 4:25 but this verse has to be considered in conjunction with verse 26, as Solomon moves to the opposite end of the body and deals with the feet. Eyes and feet may not seem to have much in common, but our ability to see where we are going is essential to the performance of our feet in taking us there.

Unity

While the above verses give a clear message of fixing our eyes on what is ahead and not deviating from the path God has placed us on, these two verses and those that precede them build another picture. As this blog gets deeper and deeper into Proverbs the more I appreciate the imagery used by Solomon. Read verses 20-25 again and see if you see what I see:

My son, attend to my words; incline thine ear unto my sayings. Let them not depart from thine eyes; keep them in the midst of thine heart. For they are life unto those that find them, and health to all their flesh. Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life. Put away from thee a froward mouth, and perverse lips put far from thee. Let thine eyes look right on, and let thine eyelids look straight before thee. Ponder the path of thy feet, and let all thy ways be established.

This is a picture of unity in which each part of the body, when acting in accordance with God’s will and instruction, will achieve all that He desires. The message in Proverbs may be directed at individuals, but New Testament teachings (1 Corinthians 12) show that it is also a vital message to the church. The message is that while every part of the body is important, it is equally important that each part of the body functions together as intended by the Creator.

The Challenge

On an individual basis the challenge for those who follow God is to ensure that every part of their daily life reflects the hand of the Creator upon that life, to the extent that others are drawn irretrievably into a similar relationship with God.

The challenge for the church is the same. Every part of the daily life of every church should reflect the hunger and desire of God for all humanity to be in relationship with Him. If the church is the body of Christ then why is it so difficult for it to point the way to God? Casting Crowns put it like this:

But if we are the body

Why aren’t His arms reaching

Why aren’t His hands healing

Why aren’t His words teaching

And if we are the body

Why aren’t His feet going

Why is His love not showing them there is a way

There is a way

Casting Crowns. If We Are The Body.