Pr verbs 1:1 The proverbs of Solomon son of David, King of Israel: Prologue 2 For learning about wisdom and instruction, for understanding words of insight, 3 for gaining instruction in wise dealing, righteousness, justice, and equity; 4 to teach shrewdness to the simple, knowledge and prudence to the young— 5 let the wise listen and add to their learning, and let the discerning get guidance—, 6 to understand a proverb and a figure, the words of the wise and their riddles. 7 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; fools despise wisdom and instruction. Warnings against Evil Companions 8 Hear, my child, your father’s instruction, and do not reject your mother’s teaching; 9 for they are a fair garland for your head, and pendants for your neck.
Where wisdom and life intersect…….
10 My child,if sinners entice you, do not consent. 11 If they say, “Come with us, let us lie in wait for blood; let us wantonly ambush the innocent; 12 like Sheol let us swallow them alive and whole, like those who go down to the Pit. 13 We shall find all kinds of costly things; we shall fill our houses with booty. 14 Throw in your lot among us; we will all have one purse”— 15 my child, do not walk in their way, keep your foot from their paths; 16 for their feet run to evil, and they hurry to shed blood. 17 For in vain is the net baited while the bird is looking on; 18 yet they lie in wait—to kill themselves! and set an ambush—for their own lives! 19 Such is the end of all who are greedy for gain; it takes away the life of its possessors.
Ready: The book of Proverbs mentions wisdom or being wise 125 times. From the beginning of the book until the end we see that the purpose of Proverbs is to teach us about wisdom. In the western world we think that a person can have knowledge, but not live it out practically. We often hear the idea that we need to practice what we believe. In the ancient Hebrew context, in which Proverbs was written, this was not the case. Proverbs teaches that a person who believed one thing and practiced another would be a fool. “In the Hebrew mind, to ‘know wisdom and instruction’ necessarily means to put it into practice. Wisdom occurs when knowledge produces obedience.” Charles Swindoll, Living the Proverbs Pray for wisdom, insight and understanding. Wisdom is about God revealing what the values of life are and how they may be achieved. Instruction involves the moral and intellectual discipline in acquiring wisdom. Insight is the discernment and the ability to read between the lines and make correct distinctions. Get ready for today’s readings by asking God to teach you about wisdom that is believed and is lived out. Read: Read through the verses provided at least twice. Read through the first time for understanding. As you read through a second time ask God to give you guidance. “This Hebrew word, guidance, is used only in Proverbs and Job, means to guide, steer, or direct. It highlights the importance of right thinking and experience in decision making.” Reformation Study Bible. Reflect: The starting point for wisdom is the fear to the Lord. “What the alphabet is to reading, notes to reading music, and numerals to mathematics, the fear of the LORD is to attaining the revealed knowledge of this book.” Bruce Waltke, The Book of Proverbs Proverbs teaches that there are two paths. There is a path of wisdom and there is a path that goes down to the pit. Sinners are trying to entice you to get off of wisdom’s path. Getting off the path of wisdom, these verses say, is in fact very dangerous. What appears as wisdom to the world really ends up as an ambush that takes the life of those who seek greed instead of the fear of the LORD and His wisdom. (v. 18-19). The wise father pleads with the son, “my child, do not walk in their way, keep your foot from their paths.”(v. 15) Repent: Spend some time today in repentance. The way to get back on the path of wisdom when we’ve gotten off of the path is through repentance. Acknowledge any ways that you have allowed sinners or your own desires to entice you to get off the path of wisdom. Use this time to start once again at the beginning point with the fear of the Lord Rejoice: “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom”. God has given us a starting point. It is not like a board game or a race where we are behind or we are losing because we are at the beginning place. Every day we get the opportunity to start at this beginning place of the fear of the LORD. Thank God and rejoice that He has given you this path of wisdom as a starting place.
Pr verbs The Call of Wisdom 20 Wisdom cries out in the street; in the squares she raises her voice. 21 At the busiest corner she cries out; at the entrance of the city gates she speaks: 22 “How long, O simple ones, will you love being simple? How long will scoffers delight in their scoffing and fools hate knowledge? 23 Give heed to my reproof; I will pour out my thoughts to you; I will make my words known to you. 24 Because I have called and you refused, have stretched out my hand and no one heeded, 25 and because you have ignored all my counsel and would have none of my reproof, 26 I also will laugh at your calamity;
Where wisdom and life intersect…….
I will mock when panic strikes you, 27 when panic strikes you like a storm, and your calamity comes like a whirlwind, when distress and anguish come upon you. 28 Then they will call upon me, but I will not answer; they will seek me diligently, but will not find me. 29 Because they hated knowledge and did not choose the fear of the Lord, 30 would have none of my counsel, and despised all my reproof, 31 therefore they shall eat the fruit of their way and be sated with their own devices. 32 For waywardness kills the simple, and the complacency of fools destroys them; 33 but those who listen to me will be secure and will live at ease, without dread of disaster.”
Ready: Wisdom in these verses speaks like a person. Wisdom has a woman’s voice and calls out to those who are willing to listen. Use this time to prepare your heart to hear wisdom’s call. Read: Wisdom does not wait for listeners to come to her, but she goes to the busiest corners and begins calling out to those who are willing to hear. Wisdom does not withhold her knowledge, but she pours out her thoughts like a fountain gushing forth. As you read today’s verses, ask God to speak to you. Read through today’s text twice and listen for Wisdom’s voice. Reflect: Wisdom is personified here. She is like this courageous woman who goes to street corners and any place where she can encounter people and makes herself available as a personal coach or mentor to those who are willing to listen. “Wisdom does not laugh at disaster, but at the triumph of what is right over what is wrong… The victory is so lopsided that there is a comic aspect to the reversal of fortunes, provoking mockery over the enemy. Truth has a harsh edge, and Wisdom does not dull it. Her shock tactics aim to persuade the young to turn to her. ” Bruce Waltke, The Book of Proverbs. “Wisdom strives to wake up her complacent and unresponsive audience to their dreadful plight.” And here is the crux of the problem. “Their willful disobedience and hostility are against Israel’s God not against an impersonal created order or even a human wisdom. Submission to Wisdom is equated with submission to God.” Bruce Waltke, The Book of Proverbs Spend some time in reflection on these verses. Wisdom is personified here. Wisdom can be heard and is available. Wisdom can be ignored and rejected. To ignore Wisdom has grave consequences because you are in reality, ignoring God. Repent: V. 25 “ because you have ignored all my counsel and would have none of my reproof.” Verse 25 and verse 30 show how Wisdom has to repeat herself to those who are not listening. Use this time to repent of not listening to Wisdom. Make sure you have made the mental jump of realizing that to ignore the voice of Wisdom is to ignore the instruction of God. When you drive your car, it has a gauge that you shows you when you need an oil change. To ignore the first light is not good, but you are probably not in danger. If you continue to not change your oil, your car will begin to show signs of distress. You could hear sounds that show that the engine is having trouble or smell the oil burning. These signs would have been accompanied by more warning lights within the car. To ignore these signs is to invite danger. At some point your car would just stop and refuse to work. Wisdom gives you warning signs and to ignore them is to invite disaster. Repent for not listening to the warning signs of Wisdom. Rejoice: Verse 33, “but those who listen to me will be secure and will live at ease, without dread of disaster.” There is disaster for all who resist listening to Wisdom but verse 33 shows us for those who are willing to listen there is blessing. Spend some time in thanksgiving for the benefits that you have seen because you have listened to Wisdom’s voice.
Pr verbs The Value of Wisdom 2:1My child, if you accept my words and treasure up my commandments within you, 2 making your ear attentive to wisdom and inclining your heart to understanding; 3 if you indeed cry out for insight, and raise your voice for understanding; 4 if you seek it like silver, and search for it as for hidden treasures— 5 then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God. 6 For the Lord gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding; 7 he stores up sound wisdom for the upright; he is a shield to those who walk blamelessly, 8 guarding the paths of justice and preserving the way of his faithful ones. 9 Then you will understand righteousness and justice and equity, every good path; 10 for wisdom will come into your heart, and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul; 11 prudence will watch over you; and understanding will guard you.
Where wisdom and life intersect…….
12 It will save you from the way of evil, from those who speak perversely, 13 who forsake the paths of uprightness to walk in the ways of darkness, 14 who rejoice in doing evil and delight in the perverseness of evil; 15 those whose paths are crooked, and who are devious in their ways. 16 You will be saved from the loose woman, from the adulteress with her smooth words, 17 who forsakes the partner of her youth and forgets her sacred covenant; 18 or her way leads down to death, and her paths to the shades; 19 those who go to her never come back, nor do they regain the paths of life. 20 Therefore walk in the way of the good, and keep to the paths of the just. 21 For the upright will abide in the land, and the innocent will remain in it; 22 but the wicked will be cut off from the land, and the treacherous will be rooted out of it.
Ready: “1 My child, if you accept my words and treasure up my commandments within you, 2 making your ear attentive to wisdom and inclining your heart to understanding.” What a tender message this is, it is the words of a wise father giving advice to his son. Get ready for what this passage has to say by focusing on the relationship of God the Father and you his child. Read: As you read through this passage pay close attention to the “if” statements and the “then” statements. The father is explaining to his son that to get wisdom will require effort on the son’s part. Read the text looking at the change the father tells his son can happen if…… and the benefits that come then…… As you read the passage look at the if and then statements as markers that are revealing what you need to change if you are going to gain wisdom. Reflect: “How does God want us to pay attention to him? Look at the verbs. Look how they escalate in intensity: “If you receive . . . treasure up . . . make your ear attentive . . . incline your heart . . . call out . . . raise your voice . . . seek . . . search . . . .” Do you see the point? Wisdom is not our default setting, and we will never get there by drifting. You cannot become a significant person by being neutral and cute and safely unchanged. That is complacency. God is offering you a treasure infinitely worth seeking – more of himself entering into you, renewing you, safeguarding you.” Ray Ortlund Jr. As you reflect on this passage look at the amount of activity that is needed in order to gain wisdom. Reflect on the danger of complacency and the need you have to actively pursue wisdom. The passage also uses the image of path once again. There are two paths. Wisdom has a path and there is a path of darkness. When you stop listening to wisdom and begin to “listen to those who speak perversely” you “forsake the paths of uprightness to walk in the ways of darkness”. Getting off of the path of wisdom can also lead you into the path of the adulterous woman. That path leads to death and those who go to her never come back. Repent: The path of wisdom leads to change when we accept …treasure… listen… and incline our heart. The benefits come as we seek God intensely. Seeking God has an upward trajectory. The reverse is also true. There is a downward trajectory when we forsake the path and follow those who speak perversely and walk in darkness, rejoice in evil, and delight in doing wrong. Use this time to repent of any way that you have gotten off of the path of wisdom. Rejoice: Wisdom is more than avoiding sin. Wisdom escorts us into the path of everything desirable. Verses, 20-21 “Therefore walk in the way of the good, and keep to the paths of the just. For the upright will abide in the land,and the innocent will remain in it.” Thank God for the amazing benefits of wisdom.
Pr verbs Admonition to Trust and Honor God 3:1 My child, do not forget my teaching, but let your heart keep my commandments; 2 for length of days and years of life and abundant welfare they will give you. 3 Do not let loyalty and faithfulness forsake you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart. 4 So you will find favor and good repute in the sight of God and of people. 5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own insight. 6 In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. 7 Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord, and turn away from evil. 8 It will be a healing for your flesh and a refreshment for your body. 9 Honor the Lord with your substance and with the first fruits of all your produce;
Where wisdom and life intersect…….
10 then your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will be bursting with wine. 11 My child, do not despise the Lord’s discipline or be weary of his reproof, 12 for the Lord reproves the one he loves, as a father the son in whom he delights. The True Wealth 13 Happy are those who find wisdom, and those who get understanding, 14 for her income is better than silver, and her revenue better than gold. 15 She is more precious than jewels, and nothing you desire can compare with her. 16 Long life is in her right hand; in her left hand are riches and honor. 17 Her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace. 18 She is a tree of life to those who lay hold of her; those who hold her fast are called happy.
Ready: The wise Father pleads with his child to seek Wisdom. For many of us, wisdom is not something we think we have to have right now. We think of it as something we can wait on and we will acquire it when we get old and have white hair. Wisdom is not just for our old age, but it is for now! Once we have wisdom, we will reap the benefits for the length of our days and the years of our life. Proverbs teaches that you are a youth but once, but you can be a fool all of your life. As you read today’s passage, begin to focus on your need for wisdom and the benefits of wisdom. Decide that NOW is the time to pursue wisdom. Read: Proverbs 3:5-6 are the most beloved and well known verses of the whole book. As you read today’s passage allow yourself to read it with fresh eyes. Remember that these are the loving words of a father to his son. The father who has won the son’s trust, instructs him that the most important thing is to trust the Lord with all of your heart. Read today’s passage giving the Lord your wholehearted trust. Reflect: “My child, do not forget my teaching, but let your heart keep my commandments. “The word for “keep” here means more than “obey”; it means “guard, maintain with vigilance”. Your heart is where you keep your valuables. The father is telling his son to make his heart like a vault and guard and keep the commandments of God there. The wise man then instructs his son to trust in God with all of his heart and to not rely on his own insight. Take time to reflect on these verses. He uses the verbs, TRUST, RELY, ACKNOWLEDGE…..That effort on our part results in God making our paths straight. Repent: v. 9 Honor the Lord with your substance and with the first fruits of all your produce; v. 10 then your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will be bursting with wine.11 My child, do not despise the Lord’s discipline or be weary of his reproof, “Here we are at the two opposite extremes of life – when the good times roll, and when hardship strikes. When life is sweet, trusting God with all our hearts feels unnecessary. When life is bitter, trusting God with all our hearts feels impossible. We need wisdom for those seasons in life when we’re on top, and for those seasons in life when nothing is going right. God is with us in both, with a wisdom that really helps. Earlier in chapter 3 God called us to trust him wholeheartedly (verse 5). Now, in Proverbs 3:9-12, he leads us to trust him wholeheartedly when we’re pushed out to these two opposite edges of our lives – plenty and pain.” Ray Ortlund Jr. Use this time to repent for the ways that you have despised God’s discipline. Repent for withholding from God the first fruits. Repent of any ways that you have grown weary of God’s rebuke. Rejoice: “Happy are those who find wisdom” Reread verses 13-18. Spend some time rejoicing for the happy benefits that you have received from wisdom. Wisdom produces true happiness that is more valuable than your barns being filled with plenty and your vats being filled with wine. Remember that vault that we talked about earlier. Rejoice with God because of all the deposits you have been making into the vault that really matters, your heart.
Pr verbs God’s Wisdom in Creation 3:19 The Lord by wisdom founded the earth; by understanding he established the heavens; 20 by his knowledge the deeps broke open, and the clouds drop down the dew. The True Security 21 My child, do not let these escape from your sight: keep sound wisdom and prudence, 22 and they will be life for your soul and adornment for your neck. 23 Then you will walk on your way securely and your foot will not stumble. 24 If you sit down, you will not be afraid; when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet. 25 Do not be afraid of sudden panic, or of the storm that strikes the wicked; 26 for the Lord will be your confidence and will keep your foot from being caught.
Where wisdom and life intersect…….
27 Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to do it. 28 Do not say to your neighbor, “Go, and come again, tomorrow I will give it”—when you have it with you. 29 Do not plan harm against your neighbor who lives trustingly beside you. 30 Do not quarrel with anyone without cause, when no harm has been done to you. 31 Do not envy the violent and do not choose any of their ways; 32 for the perverse are an abomination to the Lord, but the upright are in his confidence. 33 The Lord’s curse is on the house of the wicked, but he blesses the abode of the righteous. 34 Toward the scorners he is scornful, but to the humble he shows favor. 35 The wise will inherit honor, but stubborn fools, disgrace.
Ready: As you prepare to read this passage think of the wisdom that founded the earth and established the heavens. That same wisdom is making itself available to you. Wisdom is calling out to you. Wisdom says choose the path where I am directing you. Wisdom says it gives you life, and it is better than any jewel that can be worn around your neck. Marvel at the gift of wisdom that is being offered to you. Read:“Proverbs chapter 3 explains why wisdom matters and what wisdom creates. Wisdom matters, according to verses 19-26, because wisdom is the open secret of the universe. It is not a private option, take it or leave it. Wisdom is how life works. We can disregard that for a while and get by without it, because God built everything so well. But we want the last chapter of our stories to be the best, don’t we? So, wisdom matters. Wisdom also creates something, according to verses 27-35. Wisdom creates a culture of life amid this culture of death called our world. Wisdom is a community experience. It is a shared experience of life in its fullness. Let’s go there together.” Ray Ortlund Jr. Read the quote by Ray Ortlund and let it help you frame the passage as you get ready to read it. Reflect: “23 Then you will walk on your way securely and your foot will not stumble. 24 If you sit down, you will not be afraid; when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet. 25 Do not be afraid of sudden panic,or of the storm that strikes the wicked; 26 for the Lord will be your confidence and will keep your foot from being caught.” Wisdom and security are related. As we grow in wisdom, God shows us those places where we could trip and stumble, or those places where we could get trapped. Wisdom is a life saver. Reflect on the many ways that wisdom has saved you…. Wisdom from God is rooted in trust in God. That is why we are to trust God with all of our hearts and then can believe Him to be our confidence. That confidence is not only about our own protection, but it begins to impact our relationship to others and to our neighbors. When we trust God with all of our heart and He is directing our paths, then we can do good to others whenever we have the power to do so. The impact of wisdom means that we will speak truthfully to our neighbors, choose to not quarrel with our neighbors and do no harm to them. Reflect on how wisdom has impacted the way that you treat your neighbors. Repent: v. 27“Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to do it.” Meditate on what this verse means to you specifically. Repent for not only the bad that you have done, but the good that you have withheld. Realize how much power you have everyday to do good and yet you do not act. Rejoice: 1:7, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” Remember that the starting point for wisdom is the fear of the LORD. If we see after meditating on v. 27 that we have really gotten off the path of wisdom, we can rejoice that there is a way to begin anew and afresh. Rejoice and thank God that the fear of the LORD allows you to begin again and get back on track.
Pr verbs Parental Advice 4:1 Listen, children, to a father’s instruction, and be attentive, that you may gain insight; 2 for I give you good precepts: do not forsake my teaching. 3 When I was a son with my father, tender, and my mother’s favorite, 4 he taught me, and said to me, “Let your heart hold fast my words; keep my commandments, and live. 5 Get wisdom; get insight: do not forget, nor turn away from the words of my mouth. 6 Do not forsake her, and she will keep you; love her, and she will guard you. 7 The beginning of wisdom is this: Get wisdom, and whatever else you get, get insight. 8 Prize her highly, and she will exalt you; she will honor you if you embrace her. 9 She will place on your head a fair garland; she will bestow on you a beautiful crown.”
Where wisdom and life intersect…….
Admonition to Keep to the Right Path 10 Hear, my child, and accept my words, that the years of your life may be many. 11 I have taught you the way of wisdom; I have led you in the paths of uprightness. 12 When you walk, your step will not be hampered; and if you run, you will not stumble. 13 Keep hold of instruction; do not let go; guard her, for she is your life. 14 Do not enter the path of the wicked, and do not walk in the way of evildoers. 15 Avoid it; do not go on it; turn away from it and pass on. 16 For they cannot sleep unless they have done wrong; they are robbed of sleep unless they have made someone stumble. 17 For they eat the bread of wickedness and drink the wine of violence. 18 But the path of the righteous is like the light of dawn, which shines brighter and brighter until full day. 19 The way of the wicked is like deep darkness; they do not know what they stumble over.
Ready: Get wisdom! Get insight verse 5 tells us. The word for “get” expresses the idea of a business transaction. The idea is more buy for yourself wisdom and insight. As you get ready for this passage, realize that there is a price to pay to get wisdom and ask yourself if you are willing to pay that price. The wise father tells the son the importance of getting wisdom, but the son has to decide if he is going to take the step of getting or buying wisdom. Read: The father explains wisdom in even more tender ways in this passage. The father learned wisdom from his father and he was the favorite of his mother. Read today’s text as the favorite child receiving tender instruction from your parent. Reflect: “The father tells his sons to treat wisdom the way they would treat their mother, sister or wife; love her, honor her, embrace her, exalt her! The bumper sticker that asks, ‘Have you hugged your children today?’ ought to be balanced with,’Have you hugged wisdom today?’ In Proverbs, Wisdom is personified as a beautiful woman who invites us to her lavish banquet, while Folly is the adulteress or prostitute who tempts us to poverty and death.”The one you love is the one who will control your life. Embrace Wisdom and you will have security v. 6, honor v. 8 and beauty v. 9.” Warren Wiersbe, Be Skillful- Proverbs “The beginning of wisdom is this: Get wisdom, and whatever else you get, get insight.” v. 7 Wisdom is showing us another beginning place. Buy, purchase, do anything it takes it says to get wisdom. Reflect on what that might mean for your priorities, schedule, even your checkbook. Verses 10 - 19 portray two paths offered to the child. There are 6 references to either way or path in these 10 verses. There is the path of uprightness. On that path wisdom takes your hand, leads you and teaches you her ways. The father tells his son to hold on to wisdom’s hand and not let go of it, because if you do let go ,you might find yourself on the path of the wicked. The verbs are interesting when you walk on the path. On the path of the upright, you walk, step and run, but on the path of the wicked, you only stumble. The writer is adamant about what to do when you see the path of the wicked, avoid it…do not go on that path, turn away… Finally, the father tells the son that the path of the righteous is not only bright and new like the dawn, but it shines brighter every day. That is quite a promise, everyday wisdom shines more and more light into your life. In contrast, the darkness of the path of the wicked is deep, so deep that even when you get tripped up, you have no idea what you even stumbled over. Repent: Repent for any dark paths of the wicked that you have chosen recently. After repenting, remember that you have a beginning point in this passage. The beginning point for wisdom’s path is choosing to GET WISDOM at any cost. Rejoice: Rejoice in the picture that we see in v. 18, “But the path of the righteous is like the light of dawn, which shines brighter and brighter until full day.”
Pr verbs 4:20 My child, be attentive to my words; incline your ear to my sayings. 21 Do not let them escape from your sight; keep them within your heart. 22 For they are life to those who find them, and healing to all their flesh. 23 Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life. 24 Put away from you crooked speech, and put devious talk far from you. 25 Let your eyes look directly forward, and your gaze be straight before you. 26 Keep straight the path of your feet, and all your ways will be sure
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27 Do not swerve to the right or to the left; turn your foot away from evil. Warning against Impurity and Infidelity 5:1 My child, be attentive to my wisdom; incline your ear to my understanding, 2 so that you may hold on to prudence, and your lips may guard knowledge. 3 For the lips of a loose woman drip honey, and her speech is smoother than oil; 4 but in the end she is bitter as wormwood, sharp as a two-edged sword. 5 Her feet go down to death; her steps follow the path to Sheol. 6 She does not keep straight to the path of life; her ways wander, and she does not know it.
Ready: The key verse for today is verse 23, “Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life.” Get ready for today’s text by meditating on what this verse means for your life. “In Solomon’s writings, heart rarely refers to the physical organ. We learned that heart refers to our inner being, our seat of consciousness, our core of decision making, the center of our mind, our emotions, and our will. In fact the Hebrew term appears in this context more than seventy times in Proverbs alone. So when I address an ‘unguarded heart’,I am thinking of the responsibility we have to guard our inner selves from enemy invasion.” Charles Swindoll, Living the Proverbs Read: The father once again addresses the son. His teaching about wisdom is always personal and compelling. He says come close son and lean into me. As you read today’s passage, turn your ear toward your Heavenly Father and really listen…. make sure what HE says is kept within your heart. Reflect: “Keep your heart with all diligence.” The word, “keep”, here has the idea of a guard on a watchtower who is continuously looking in the distance to see if an enemy is approaching. This guard is the one who decides who enters into the city. Not only does the verse say keep your heart, but we are told to do it with all diligence. We are to constantly be focused on guarding the treasures of our heart because all of life originates and flows out of this place. Reflect on the paraphrase of this verse, “More than all else be closely watched and protected (like a city or a bank vault), protect your inner self- your mind, your emotions, your character, your discernment- like a sentry at the gate watches over a city from his watchtower, because this is the source of all the decisions, responses, and deeds, that represent your life.” Charles Swindoll, Living The Proverbs v.20 “What comes into my ears?” Whatever enters my ears will end up influencing my mind, heart and my decisions so that means I have to be careful about what I am listening to. v. 23 “What is within my heart?” Whatever the heart wants and loves will dictate the course of one’s life. Your heart is the wellspring of your life. No one wants their well to be polluted. v. 24 “What is upon my lips?” Whatever is in the heart will eventually come out of the mouth. Those things in your heart will find a voice. v. 25 “What is before my eyes?” What you see determines where you will go. That is very important when you are trying to decide which path to take. Verses 26- 27 speak to how you are to follow your path. Keep straight and don’t swerve to the left or right and God will make your way secure. The wise father again speaks to the son in 5:1. This path is so important the father has to make sure the son understands that there are real dangers on the path. One of those dangers is a loose woman. Up front it all appears like honey and sweet when you meet a woman like this, but the end in fact is bitter and ends up in death. Repent: Repent of any ways that you have not guarded your heart. Your heart is the well of your life. If you sense that there is any thing that has polluted your well or heart this week, take time to confess that now. Rejoice: The wise Father tells his son to keep his sayings about wisdom in his heart. v. 22 “For they are life to those who find them,and healing to all their flesh.” We have been focusing on wisdom and investing in these wise sayings. God says they are bringing you life and healing. Spend some time rejoicing because life and joy are being released into your life.
Pr verbs Warning against Impurity & Infidelity 5:7 And now, my child, listen to me, and do not depart from the words of my mouth. 8 Keep your way far from her, and do not go near the door of her house; 9 or you will give your honor to others, and your years to the merciless, 10 and strangers will take their fill of your wealth, and your labors will go to the house of an alien; 11 and at the end of your life you will groan, when your flesh and body are consumed, 12 and you say, “Oh, how I hated discipline, and my heart despised reproof! 13 I did not listen to the voice of my teachers or incline my ear to my instructors. 14 Now I am at the point of utter ruin in the public assembly.” 15 Drink water from your own cistern, flowing water from your own well.
Where wisdom and life intersect…….
16 Should your springs be scattered abroad, streams of water in the streets? 17 Let them be for yourself alone, and not for sharing with strangers. 18 Let your fountain be blessed, and rejoice in the wife of your youth, 19 a lovely deer, a graceful doe. May her breasts satisfy you at all times; may you be intoxicated always by her love. 20 Why should you be intoxicated, my son, by another woman and embrace the bosom of an adulteress? 21 For human ways are under the eyes of the Lord, and he examines all their paths. 22 The iniquities of the wicked ensnare them, and they are caught in the toils of their sin. 23 They die for lack of discipline, and because of their great folly they are lost.
Ready: “God wants to give us the wonderful gift of sexual wisdom. His introduction, in verses 1-6, is a blunt warning. In the body of the chapter, he has a two-part message: “Keep your hands off every other woman” (verses 7-14), “Keep your hands on your wife” (verses 15-19).” Ray Ortlund Jr. Prepare to read this passage by focusing on the importance of sexual purity. Read: God is serious about sexual sin. Read this passage realizing that today’s moral standards are not your guide, but you are being asked to let the word of God shape your understanding about sin and sexual purity. Reflect: “Do you think you can play with sin and keep it under control? Do you think you can compartmentalize God? Sexual folly complicates everything, as these verses say. When we disobey God, our hearts harden. The other people we violate become hardened and embittered toward us, because sooner or later they find out too. That’s the point of verses 9-11 – the wider impact of sexual folly. It depletes a man financially in cover-up and alimony and lawsuits, socially in his reputation, emotionally in his conscience, and of course in his marriage. Jealousy, hurt, loneliness, regret – the cost is high. Satan shows the bait, but he hides the hook. Verse 9 says we men can end up giving our years to the merciless. When Proverbs was written, the author probably had in mind the husband offended by an adulterous affair. That can happen today too. But in addition, the porn industry is merciless. It wants to enslave us. Verse 11: “And at the end of your life you groan.” Ray Ortlund Jr. Sexual sin can bring us to the point or ruin as verse 14 tells us. God has given us the wonderful gift of sexuality, but when is it abused it can bring us to ruin quickly. God is the creator of the gift, the one who truly knows how our sexuality works. He tells us not to ignore His instructions and to listen to His discipline, suggestions and directions. Vs. 15-18 uses the image of water for sexual fulfillment. The verses clearly teach to keep that fulfillment within prescribed boundaries. Sexual fulfillment should not poured out like water in multiple places. Exclusivity means blessing in terms of sexuality, “Let your fountain be blessed,and rejoice in the wife of your youth.” Our sexuality has an exclusivity to it. “Drink water from your own cistern,flowing water from your own well.” Sex is made for you to enjoy, but exclusively within the confines of marriage and in no other place. Repent: Take time to repent of any sexual sin. Vs. 12 -13 say, “Oh, how I hated discipline,and my heart despised reproof! 13 I did not listen to the voice of my teachers or incline my ear to my instructors.” Repent of these attitudes and repent of not listening to God’s instruction about your sexuality. Acknowledge before God that, “human ways are under the eyes of the LORD and HE examines all their paths.” Submit yourself to the LORD. Submit your physical body and sexuality to the LORD. Rejoice: Rejoice that God promises sexual enjoyment for those who follow his directions and discipline in terms of their sexuality. The promise is that you will be intoxicated with your partner’s love as you follow God’s prescription.
Practical Admonitions 6:1 My child, if you have given your pledge to your neighbor, if you have bound yourself to another, 2 you are snared by the utterance of your lips, caught by the words of your mouth. 3 So do this, my child, and save yourself, for you have come into your neighbor’s power: go, hurry, and plead with your neighbor. 4 Give your eyes no sleep and your eyelids no slumber; 5 save yourself like a gazelle from the hunter, like a bird from the hand of the fowler. 6 Go to the ant, you lazybones; consider its ways, and be wise. 7 Without having any chief or officer or ruler, 8 it prepares its food in summer, and gathers its sustenance in harvest. 9 How long will you lie there, O lazybones?
Where wisdom and life intersect…….
When will you rise from your sleep? 10 A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest, 11 and poverty will come upon you like a robber, and want, like an armed warrior. 12 A scoundrel and a villain goes around with crooked speech, 13 winking the eyes, shuffling the feet, pointing the fingers, 14 with perverted mind devising evil, continually sowing discord; 15 on such a one calamity will descend suddenly; in a moment, damage beyond repair. 16 There are six things that the Lord hates, seven that are an abomination to him: 17 haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, 18 a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that hurry to run to evil, 19 a lying witness who testifies falsely, and one who sows discord in a family.
Ready: Prepare yourself to hear God. Invite God to use today’s passage to speak into your finances, your need for discipline and to instruct you on how to live with others. Read: Read through the passage twice prayerfully. Reflect: God uses this passage to speak into three areas of our life. The first area is our finances. Second area is about discipline and refers to the sluggard. and the third area is about our speech, the one with crooked speech who winks his eye, causes mischief and sows discord. Area 1- Verse 1 talks about giving your pledge. This is like co-signing for a loan. This is taking a financial risk. Many places in the OT talk about giving freely but that does not mean signing our name to risky ventures. Ray Ortlund Jr. says clearly in his study of Proverbs that God wants us to be generous, but He does not want us to gamble. “You are being asked to guarantee this debt. Think carefully before you do. If the borrower does not pay the debt, you will have to. Be sure you can afford to pay if you have to, and that you want to accept this responsibility. You may have to pay up to the full amount of the debt if the borrower does not pay. You may also have to pay late fees or collection costs, which increase this amount. The creditor can collect this debt from you without first trying to collect from the borrower….If the person applying qualified for credit in the first place, they wouldn’t be asking you to back them up, would they?” Area 2- Proverbs introduces the sluggard into the passage. The sluggard is slow and won't make up his mind when the situation calls for movement and action. “That’s why the sluggard reappears throughout the book of Proverbs. What does Proverbs say about the sluggard? Three things. One, the sluggard will not make up his mind. Here’s a direct question in verse 9: “How long will you lie there? When will you rise from your sleep?” But that’s too definite for him. He doesn’t know. He won’t give an honest refusal, but he deceives himself by an endless sequence of little compromises. Two, the sluggard will not finish things. On the rare occasions when he finds the motivation to get going, it’s too much for him. The impulse dies: “The sluggard buries his hand in the dish; it wears him out to bring it back to his mouth” (Proverbs 26:15). He doesn’t stick with a task all the way through to a strong finish. He is a shallow person. Three, the sluggard will not face things as they are. Rather than embrace the challenge of life, he dreams up excuses: “The sluggard says, ‘There is a lion outside! I shall be killed in the streets!’” (Proverbs 22:13). A lion down on Main Street? I don’t think so. What’s really out there is a life, a job, a mission to fulfill for Christ.” Ray Ortlund Jr. Here is the remedy for the sluggard: look at the ant. The ant has no boss and yet he works tirelessly preparing for winter. The sluggard thinks time is no big deal while poverty is lying wait for him. Area 3-When the Old Testament uses this literary device“six things the Lord hates and seven is an abomination, “it’s the last item in the list that matters most. The seventh thing the Lord hates, ‘one who sows discord among brothers,’ is the key to understanding the other six things the Lord hates. What he hates about haughty eyes is that their arrogance sows discord among brothers. What God hates about a lying tongue is how its gossip and slander sow discord among brothers, and so forth. God hates all discord with a passion. That’s what “abomination” means. It turns his stomach.” Ray Ortlund Jr. Repent:Use this time to repent of any area where God has used this passage to convict you. Rejoice: Rejoice that Christ has paid the consequences of our financial sins, our lack of discipline and for the ways that we have created discord. Thank God that we get to study Proverbs from this side of the cross.
Pr verbs Warning against Adultery 6:20 My child, keep your father’s commandment, and do not forsake your mother’s teaching. 21 Bind them upon your heart always; tie them around your neck. 22 When you walk, they will lead you; when you lie down, they will watch over you; and when you awake, they will talk with you. 23 For the commandment is a lamp and the teaching a light,and the reproofs of discipline are the way of life, 24 to preserve you from the wife of another, from the smooth tongue of the adulteress. 25 Do not desire her beauty in your heart, and do not let her capture you with her eyelashes; 26 for a prostitute’s fee is only a loaf of bread, but the wife of another stalks a man’s very life.
Where wisdom and life intersect…….
27 Can fire be carried in the bosom without burning one’s clothes? 28 Or can one walk on hot coals without scorching the feet? 29 So is he who sleeps with his neighbor’s wife; no one who touches her will go unpunished. 30 Thieves are not despised who steal only to satisfy their appetite when they are hungry. 31 Yet if they are caught, they will pay sevenfold; they will forfeit all the goods of their house. 32 But he who commits adultery has no sense; he who does it destroys himself. 33 He will get wounds and dishonor, and his disgrace will not be wiped away. 34 For jealousy arouses a husband’s fury, and he shows no restraint when he takes revenge. 35 He will accept no compensation, and refuses a bribe no matter how great.
Ready: “Can fire be carried in the bosom without burning one’s clothes?” As preparation for reading this text meditate on the question that the wise sage asks his child. Read: Read these verses for yourself and also for the children that you know and love. The wisdom that we have gained sexually is to be passed down to those younger than us. Our failures, and our victories sexually have produced a wisdom that is needed in the next generation. Reflect: “Basically, verses 20-35 make one point – the high price of committing adultery. We need to be told, and we need to take it to heart: “Bind [this teaching] on your heart always” (verse 21). How then does wisdom counsel us, when we men notice a beautiful woman who is not our wife? Wisdom says, Don’t even go there in your thoughts: “Do not desire her beauty in your heart” (verse 25). When a wise man sees a beautiful woman who is not his wife, here is how he thinks: “She’s beautiful. So? Nothing to do with me. Beautiful and irrelevant. I am so outta here mentally.” And that wise man keeps going straight on ahead, for Christ, into a destiny of greatness. But a fool doesn’t even have those categories. If only evil were always ugly, life would be simpler. If only everything were color-coded to make it obvious, if only there were warning labels on all the poisons. But in this world, disaster can be attractive. “Even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light” (2 Corinthians 11:14). He is magnificent. But does that magnificent person know how to build a relationship? He seems so successful, but does he know how to live? He’s a fool, and he wants us to be fools stepping on his well-placed land mines.” Ray Ortlund Jr. The loving father speaks practically to his son about the practical consequences of adultery and sexual sin. 1. Vs. 27 -28 make it clear that if you play with fire then you will be burned. Sexual things have an immediate gratification to them but the consequences will inevitably in the long term be that you will get burnt. Beyond the pain of burning, Proverbs says that this man or woman can expect punishment. V.29, “So is he who sleeps with his neighbor’s wife;no one who touches her will go unpunished.” 2. The punishment for adultery is steep. “If a man steals money to keep from starving, it’s wrong but understandable (verse 30). But if a man steals another man’s wife, if he sneaks into another man’s personal sexual world, the Bible says his disgrace will not be wiped away (verse 33). Even if that man repents and is restored to God through Christ, a footnote in the family history will be, “Grandpa was the one who committed adultery.” That is the truth about sexual sin. It matters. It matters to God, and it matters to us. But is that the warning we hear from TV and the internet and movies and magazines? No one but God levels with us. So we can praise God for being honest with us. He wants to help us walk in wisdom through the brothel of our modern world. And because every one of us is a sexual sinner at some level, here is how you can know right now where you stand with God: The difference between an unconverted man and a converted man is not that one has sins and the other has none; but that the one takes part with his cherished sins against a dreaded God, and the other takes part with a reconciled God against his hated sins.” Ray Ortlund Jr. Repent: Use this time to repent of anything God has brought up through these verses. Rejoice: Take time to thank God that there is a huge difference between facing our sexual sin as converted or unconverted. Thank Jesus for the cleansing we have in His blood.
Proverbs: Where Wisdom and Life Intersect