Monday, December 16, 2013

CCXIX - Proverbs 4-7

As stated before, I encourage you to read ahead in the book of Proverbs, and not hurriedly, as these words deserve your attention and reflection.

Chapter 4

This entire chapter speaks of the obligations of the father and the son in every family.  The father’s obligation is to teach the son wisdom and the importance of pursuing it throughout his life.  The obligation of the son is to pay strict attention to the teachings of his father, plus be prepared to pass it along to his own sons in the future.  In this chapter you often see phrases that plead and remind the son to “pay attention; listen; accept what I say; do not forsake my teaching”.  This is not to suggest that the son was inclined to trivialize the father’s teachings, or that his mind was inclined to wander.  But rather, the father was continually emphasizing the importance of the subject of wisdom.  This chapter, like much of Proverbs, compares the wise to the foolish.  In verses 5 and 6 you will also notice that the writer refers to wisdom in the feminine person, using “her” and “she” as the pronouns when referencing wisdom.   This has been used in earlier chapters and we will see it again.  One scholar suggests that the writer is comparing wisdom to a woman saying that wisdom, like a woman, deserves our love.  And, like a precious woman, wisdom will protect you and watch over you.

Chapter 5

There are so many men that should have read this chapter of Proverbs.  This chapter is dedicated to warning against involvement with an adulterous woman.  It starts out with the father pleading with the son to pay attention to these words, as they can have a positive effect on his entire life.  Verse 3 tells how alluring a woman can be.  “Her lips taste as sweet as honey.”  She is a flatterer in that “her speech is smoother than oil”.  But your involvement with her will end in disaster.  You are to stay far from her.  Do not enter her house and give ear to her words, as they may be stronger than you can bear.  Also, in verse 9, it says that your dignity will be damaged as others will learn of your weakness.  Verses 10-14 describe what will happen as a result of yielding to the temptation of a woman who is not your wife.  Then, in verse 15 it advises the young man to embrace his own wife.  Treat the wife of your youth with the love, affection, and respect she deserves, and she will reward you with her Godly womanhood, blessing you with wonderful children (vs 18).  I like 19b speaking of the faithful wife:  “may you ever be intoxicated with her love”.  Then, to emphasize the point he asks rhetorical questions about “why should one be so foolish to involve himself in an adulterous affair?”  {We will continue to see this subject of adultery throughout this book.}

Chapter 6

This chapter is in three parts, the first fifteen verses of which addresses specific sins, against which we should be on guard.  The second part is the infamous list of the six things God hates.  The third part, which carries into chapter 7, again addresses adultery.

6:1-5 speaks of a mistake that has already been made, and is comparing the mistake being like an animal caught in a trap, struggling to get out, but the trap is too strong.  The mistake mentioned here is signing your name as security for a neighbor’s loan.  Sounds like a nice gesture, but the Bible is very clear on this:  DON’T DO IT.  It’s that simple.  If you ever get pressured to do this, simply refer to the Bible and say it is forbidden.  Verses 6-11 changes subjects abruptly.  It speaks of laziness, using the ant as a good example to follow.  Be wise about this my son.  We have seen all around us that verse 11 is true that “poverty will come on you like a thief……” Verses 12-15 warn us to stay away from evil people.  They are sneaky and alluring.  They are easy to recognize by the things they do and speak about.  These four verses are a good lead-in to the next four, as they seem to be interjected abruptly into the text.  These verses (16-19) state six things God hates:

*  A haughty heart (a blatantly and disdainfully proud and arrogant person)
*  A lying tongue (it is never OK to lie)
*  Hands that shed innocent blood (God punishes this)
*  A heart that devises wicked schemes
*  A false witness (in the gates of the cities; perverts justice)
*  A troublemaker (can’t stand when there is peace among people)

The Bible is clear on this.  These six things are listed as absolutes, not to be compromised or over-paraphrased.  Think on these six things.  Remember, God HATES them.  (Don’t forget which one was number one on the list.  Your mother always said “Pride cometh before the fall”}

Verses 20-35 of this chapter speaks again of adultery.  Please read these verses with concentration.  Verse 26 tells that a prostitute can be bought for a cheap price, but another man’s wife will cost you dearly, probably for the rest of your life.  {This scripture is certainly not condoning the involvement with a prostitute, but rather stating that adultery with another man’s wife is hundreds times worse.}  It says in verses 27-29 that disaster is certain when adultery is committed, even by a righteous man.  The Scripture goes on to say that a thief is not as bad as an adulterer.  Think on this.  The worst things one can steal are those things which cannot be given back.
Chapter 7 continues with adultery being the main subject.  Overkill?  Absolutely not!  Adultery destroys marriages, which means it also destroys families.  Look what happens to a society when families are weakened, let alone destroyed.  This subject cannot be overdone.

 This will be my final post until after the holidays.  I sincerely wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.  If and when you travel, please be careful.   

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