Sunday, June 21, 2009

Proverbs 7: 24-27

21With her many persuasions she entices him;
With her flattering lips she seduces him.

24Now therefore, my sons, listen to me,
And pay attention to the words of my mouth.
25Do not let your heart turn aside to her ways,
Do not stray into her paths.
26For many are the victims she has cast down,
And numerous are all her slain.
27Her house is the way to Sheol,
Descending to the chambers of death.

Today's Thought Questions:
  1. How serious are the consequences of adultery?
  2. Read and reread verse 21. (Yes, we're going back to yesterday's verses.) We see example upon example in Scripture of women persuading men to do things they should not do. Words are powerful and we need to have a thorough understanding of their potential impact on those who receive them. Read the following passages and see if you can find a common denominator in these situations:
  • Genesis 3: 6-13
  • Judges 16: 4-22
  • I Kings 21: 7-16
  • Job 2: 9-10

The consequences of adultery are about as severe as you can imagine. Those engaged in it are "victims" who are "slain," taking steps down "to Sheol" and "the chambers of death." The other words we might hope to grasp are the numbers--"many" and "numerous." You would think just talking about death would be enough. But, no, apparently many, numerous people have fallen prey to the wiles of the harlot.

The second thought question has us digging around in the Word a bit, which is great. The Bible is full of wisdom about the tongue and the troubles with it. What about the persuasive tongue?
Little root fun, here. Persuasion means "to urge through" and contains the word suasion, which means the act of persuading by appealing to one's sense of morality, from the root word for sweet. Wow....does that scream adulteress or what? Where's your level of morality, you simple one who lacks teaching and understanding in wisdom??

On to our verses:

  • Genesis 3: 6-13....Eve. Now, you could argue that the Serpent was the one who was persuasive here first. That would be true, but Eve was lacking in wisdom, as she directly disobeys God's command about the tree. She listens to the wrong source, does what he says, then (verse 6, NIV) "gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it." The passage doesn't say that Eve said anything to Adam. But, what looked good enough to her must have looked good enough to Adam, and he merely follows without so much as a "What is this?" Had he not seen the fruit on the tree before?
  • Judges 16: 4-22....Delilah. Unlike Eve, Delilah has to speak, and she is the epitome of the sweet talker, per our definition of persuasion. She has to try several times to convince Samson to give up the source of his strength. Finally, she gets to the real issue (verse 15)--..."How can you say, 'I love you,' when your heart is not with me? You have deceived me these three times and have not told me where your great strength is."
Samson needed Proverbs 7: 25a, "Do not let your heart turn aside to her ways...." She
needed to get right to his heart in order to persuade him. And she succeeds. "So he told her
all that was in his heart" including the source of his strength. The Philistines seized him,
gouged out his eyes, and left him in shackles (not too many steps away from yesterday's
"stocks") in prison.
  • I Kings 21: 7-16....Jezebel. Woo! Conniver of the greatest sort and lead promoter of Baalism. Not a nice gal. Her husband, King Ahab, is depressed over not being able to obtain some special land (which the current owner will not give up because God told him not to!). Jezebel, wanting to do everything to make her hubby happy--NOT! Take 2: ....Wanting to do everything to control her husband's kingdom, keeps her mission alive by using his good name in an intricate plot that kills the landowner, leaving the land to Ahab.

    Jezebel his wife said to him, "Do you now reign over Israel? Arise, eat bread, and let your heart be joyful; I will give you the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite." (verse 7)

  • Job 2: 9-10....Job's wife.
"Then his wife said to him, 'Do you still hold fast your integrity? Curse God and die!' But he
said to her, 'You speak as one of the foolish women speaks. Shall we indeed accept good
from God and not accept adversity?' In all this Job did not sin with his lips." From my S.B.,
"Her argument in effect was 'let go of your piety and curse God; then He will end your life
for blaspheming,' (i.e., death under these conditions would be preferable to living). She
added temptation to affliction because she advised him to sin."

There's a lot here, folks! I think there's a reason God tells us to hold our tongue sometimes; it sparks a world of trouble. We may not be Jezebel. But even if we're closer to Job's wife, just commiserating and giving advice, we need to do so with wisdom! It's not easy to give sound advice, but that's why the acquisition of wisdom is so important.

God didn't say we weren't to guide others through our words. Sometimes, we really do need to speak up! Save some folks from their sinful ways. But, unless we are sure of where our wisdom comes, we might do well to look to the lamp and the light, and keep our hearts from swaying. Leading folks to sin is not something we want to do, lest we truly be fools.

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Tomorrow's Scripture Focus and Thought Questions:

Proverbs 8: 1-11
  1. What words does wisdom speak?
  2. Reread verse 6. To what or whom do you listen? Read Ecclesiastes 5: 1-3. Reflect on the importance of listening more and speaking less. [Look at that!! Guidance on when to speak...just what we need next :-) ]

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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).

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