Thursday, June 18, 2009

Proverbs 6: 20-35

My son, observe the commandment of your father
And do not forsake the teaching of your mother;
Bind them continually on your heart;
Tie them around your neck.
When you walk about, they will guide you;
When you sleep, they will watch over you;
And when you awake, they will talk to you.
For the commandment is a lamp and the teaching is light;
And reproofs for discipline are the way of life
To keep you from the evil woman,
From the smooth tongue of the adulteress.
Do not desire her beauty in your heart,
Nor let her capture you with her eyelids.
For on account of a harlot one is reduced to a loaf of bread,
And an adulteress hunts for the precious life.
Can a man take fire in his bosom
And his clothes not be burned?
Or can a man walk on hot coals
And his feet not be scorched?
So is the one who goes in to his neighbor's wife;
Whoever touches her will not go unpunished.
Men do not despise a thief if he steals
To satisfy himself when he is hungry;
But when he is found, he must repay sevenfold;
He must give all the substance of his house.
The one who commits adultery with a woman is lacking sense;
He who would destroy himself does it.
Wounds and disgrace he will find,
And his reproach will not be blotted out.
For jealousy enrages a man,
And he will not spare in the day of vengeance.
He will not accept any ransom,
Nor will he be satisfied though you give many gifts.

Today's Thought Questions:
  1. What are the promises in verse 22 if we keep the teachings of the Bible in our hearts forever?
  2. Proverbs 6:23 tells us of the importance of discipline. Read Hebrews 12:11. Are you able to recognize the Lord's discipline?
What is the value of following the commandments and obeying instruction?

"When you walk about, they will guide you;
When you sleep, they will watch over you;
And when you awake, they will talk to you.
For the commandment is a lamp and the teaching is light;
And reproofs for discipline are the way of life...." (vss 22 & 23)

Such lovely writing here! I love the thought that when I wake up in the morning, the commandments and teaching--wisdom--will talk to me! More accurately, browsing the Hebrew, 'talk' may also mean ponder or converse, pray, meditate. Sometimes, wisdom does speak right to us. Most of the time, for me, there is a lot of thinking about things. Talking out loud, even. Prayer.

The commandment, the Law, the Word of God is a lamp--'glistening' is the root of the Hebrew. Teaching is an 'illumination.' We are given these wonderful, literally shining, elements for receiving and making firm in our hearts wisdom from God. Although there are no such "bright" terms for "reproofs for discipline," there is also no question that this needs to be part of the package. We are not always going to get things right.

"All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness."
--Hebrews 12:11

There's the "bright" part--the peaceful fruit of righteousness! Training illuminates our mistakes, our imperfections. But when we have come to a state of righteousness, what great peace we find in knowing that we are truly following God's Word and way! Part of His grace, my friends....

Just when you think we are done reading about the adulteress, we have more warnings and description about her. (Spoiler alert: This chapter doesn't even close out this subject!)

We are reminded not to listen to what comes from her lips, nor be taken by her eyes. Solomon likens her to an animal on the hunt (vs 26). "One is reduced to a loaf of bread," facing "poverty" (NLT), which is not just wealth but loss of "freedom, family, purity, dignity and even his soul," says my S.B. I am quickly reminded of yesterday's post, becoming impoverished at the loss of wisdom. Verse 32 here follows up that idea--"the one who commits lacking sense."

Again, the consequences: wounds, disgrace, his reproach or shame will not go away. And he will face the harlot's husband and take what is coming to him. "For jealousy enrages a man." Jealousy is poison! "And he will not spare in the day of vengeance." (vs 34) No matter what is offered in terms of money, it will not be enough.

Whew! When we are "friends with the world," we may realize the foolishness of our activities, our lacking sense. But, do we really understand and accept the depth of the consequences? Wounds, disgrace, shame.... And if others are involved--and there is always some "other" involved, whether it's a person or some other influence--do we understand that we are not spared from earthly conflicts or vengeance of a sort?

Feeling the need for a reminder, I wish Solomon had repeated what he opened with in this section:

"My son, observe the commandment of your father
And do not forsake the teaching of your mother;
Bind them continually on your heart;
Tie them around your neck." (vss. 20 & 21)


* * *

Tomorrow's Scripture Focus and Thought Verses:

Proverbs 7: 1-5

Before reading this chapter, ask God to speak to you uniquely and specifically regarding these verses. If Solomon wrote the following verses, or all of the verses in Proverbs regarding adultery, two things about him will give us added insight into this topic:
  1. God promised Solomon that he would be given wisdom and discernment unlike any other man before him or any man to come. (Read I Kings 3: 10-12 and I Kings 4: 29-34.)
  2. Solomon's downfall was women. (Read I Kings 11: 1-8.)

* * *

Note: I read from the New American Standard Bible translation, specifically, The MacArthur Study Bible (NASB). I will quote other sources if used in a post.
I also use Strong's Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible (with notes from the King James Version).


B His Girl said...

Yesterday I was thinking about something the Lord corrected me on a few years ago. I use it in teaching now. His correction was powerful and it did illuminate the dark spot in my mind. I do welcome His correction. It stings but I want to walk in His ways. I think I recognize His correction most of the time. I shutter typing that last sentence. Do I recognize your correction Lord? B

KelliGirl said...

How do you do it? This is awesome. Your writing is so eloquent, insightful and life giving.

When we look around the world for signs as to what is right, what is OK and what is desirable, 9 times out of 10 it is folly in the eyes of God. Finding and following wisdom is not about common sense. We need a singular focus on God's word to light our path.

I've often said I should get a few key verses and reminders that speak loudly to me (like, "It's not about me!") tatooed on my forearm as continual reminders. (I sure think that might be more comfortable than stone tablets dangling from my neck! :-0

Once again...back to the New much of being able to follow Jesus' teachings begins with our ability to discern. Without wisdom, we can't tell good from bad...or even more difficult, good from best.

Blessings and prayers,

Carmen said...

How easily we are enticed. How blind and apathetic we are to the consequences, which are often much deeper than we first suspected.

This portion is written to men, but I always like to switch it around. Many young women are "hunted" by men, and they fall headlong, while looking for love and acceptance. Young women need to hear their fathers, who know what is in the hearts of many young men. Father's have much importance in their role with their children. As, of course, do mothers.

Today's society devalues the wisdom of the aged, and even parents. Modern technology has blindsided many over the age of 35, and our children have become our teachers in this area. However, they forget that it's only one area. Better than that, and not to be taken lightly, is the wisdom that is passed on through godly parents.

Another good post today. Thanks so much for doing this!

Sue J. said...

These are all such excellent and powerful comments today....

B, the way you speak of the Holy Spirit, I have no doubt that you recognize His correction. 'Stings' is an excellent choice, as, for me, that pain is often tangible in just that way.

Kelli, the Word is inspiring, praise God! This is why I like to look deep and respond naturally to His revealing. Thank you, too, for always bringing in the NT for some perspective. Even now, I'm acquiring knowledge, but how much discernment?

Carmen, thanks for turning the tables! It's so true!! The gender roles are quite unclear, along with the relationships between men and women--all so far from God's original plan. Can we be surprised at all that we have things like divorce, spousal abuse, and other gender-tied issues at such high levels?

What kind of legacy are we leaving our children? For those of us trying to walk in God's wisdom, will we give our children that wisdom before they leave us and become parents?

Prayers for all of us, that we may provide those commandments and that teaching that is light to our children!