May 2008


My son, if sinners entice you, do not consent.  If they say, Come with us; let us lie in wait [to shed] blood, let us ambush the innocent without cause [and show that his piety is in vain];  Let us swallow them up alive as does Sheol (the place of the dead), and whole, as those who go down into the pit [of the dead]; We shall find and take all kinds of precious goods [when our victims are put out of the way], we shall fill our houses with plunder; Throw in your lot with us [they insist] and be a sworn brother and comrade; let us all have one purse in common–

My son, do not walk in the way with them; restrain your foot from their path;  For their feet run to evil, and they make haste to shed blood.  For in vain is the net spread in the sight of any bird!  But [when these men set a trap for others] they are lying in wait for their own blood;  they set an ambush for their own lives.  So are the ways of everyone who is greedy of gain; such [greed for plunder] takes away the lives of its possessors.                  Proverbs 1:10-19

 So, this excerpt from chapter 1 has caught my attention today.  First, I will admit, I had to look up piety in the dictionary.  I found that it meant reverence for God among other things.  While I was using the dictionary, I also decided to look up plunder which was defined as loot or anything taken by robbery, theft, or fraud.  I think this one is great to start off with- A father advising his son to resist the pressure of his peers to commit awful deeds for the sake of a “common purse”.  The group has devised a plan to ambush innocent passersby in order to take their valuables,etc.  They hope to lure the lad to take part in their deeds and become an official part of the group.  In short, they’re looking for a new recruit… 

Now what does dear old dad have to say about this?  He is advising his son to stay away from such groups.  He warns of the danger of engaging in such activities. Quite frankly, he advises him that payback comes with that sort of a lifestyle.  “But [when these men set a trap for others] they are lying in wait for their own blood;  they set an ambush for their own lives. ”   This truth is repeated over and over in the bible.  It’s the seedtime and harvest principle- you’ll reap whatever you sow.  Many times the harvest is not immediate.  It takes time to bring in a crop.  However, just as a seed that’s planted will eventually come up if it’s not uprooted, so will our words and deeds whether we mean them to or not. Dad is warning Jr. that these fellows and those like them are going to reap a terrible harvest although they probably don’t realize it.   

Folly loves company.  The first thing that came to mind when I read this excerpt was gangs.  Street gangs, among others, are infamous for plotting attacks and chasing plunder.  In order for these gangs to survive, they must actively recruit new members- whether it is through fear and intimidation or through painting the life of a thug as glamorous and a thing to be sought after, fresh blood is always necessary.  No doubt, peer pressure has its part to play in the process as well.  Kids need help to say no to the heavy pressure their environment is placing on them everyday.  They need instruction, as this father from Proverbs is giving his son, guidance (shown through how one’s life is lived before the child not from just what is said to the child), love (unconditional), committment (they have to know that an adult is committed to them and their future – that they are on their side and that their thoughts are for the child’s success), self- worth and value (to be derived from a relationship with Christ).  Then, they will have the proper tools to withstand the pressures of this world and make the right choices. 

Of course, a street gang is only one type of gang.  What about the office gang, or the gossip gang, or even the church gang?  I’m sure most of us have had the unfortunate opportunity to be asked to chime in on someone’s reputation, their job performance, or even their moral character.  Of course, the proposal is more subtle than this one from Proverbs but just as indecent to be sure. We’re invited to take part in a lethal tongue lashing of the intended victim. It may start off by the person saying something that seems to be kind about the individual, but then it turns to something else… the person’s faults (whether real or imagined, or just plain made up for evil puposes) are now being highlighted in a manner that invites our agreement.  Before taking part in such sessions, take care to consider the advice from above… “My son, do not walk in the way with them; restrain your foot from their path;  For their feet run to evil, and they make haste to shed blood.”   Although the plunder may look attractive to you at the time, there is always the big payback to consider.  Your tongue is sowing seed for your own destruction when you take part in such activities.  It is helping you to set an ambush for your own life, yet on a grander scale.  The harvest is always more than the seed planted… and payback is the reward for the plunder. 

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Whew!  It’s been a long time since I posted anything!  Well, that certainly needs to change and the change begins today… I was reading in the book of Proverbs the other day and the thought struck me to do something with it on my blog.  Proverbs is one of my favorite books of the Bible.  It is so cut and dry and filled with the wisdom of God.  It gives you tips and pointers on how to act.  Basically, it tells you how to live your life…what are some of the pitfalls to look out for…how to raise your kids…how to have a happy home…how to conduct yourself in various situations… what to value… what to stay away from… etc.  I love it!  Everyone is interested in pointers on how to have a better life!  The Book of Proverbs is definitely a place to start.  It’s like the Dear Abby of the bible except it’s all the answers without the questions. 

Why is the book of Proverbs in the bible?  The answer to that question can be found in the first chapter:

The Proverbs (truths obscurely expressed, maxims, and parables) of Solomon son of David, king of Israel: That people may know skillful and godly Wisdom and instruction, discern and comprehend the words of understanding and insight, receive instruction in wise dealing and the discipline of wise thoughtfulness, righteousness, justice, and integrity, that prudence may be given to the simple, and knowledge, discretion, and discernment to the youth–   The wise also will hear and increase in learning, and the person of understanding will acquire skill and attain to sound counsel [so that he may be able to steer his course rightly]–    Proverbs 1:1-5

There you have it!  In case that went over your head, this book is to give some wisdom to the simple-minded… some guidance for the young ones… and to even increase the learning of the wise.  Now that sounds like some book! 

Alright, I’m getting excited!  Wisdom is something we all need desperately.  It will help us in any given matter.  The most important thing to recognize is stated so eloquently in Proverbs 1:7

The reverent and worshipful fear of the Lord is the beginning and the prinicpal and choice part of knowledge [its starting point and its essence];  but fools despise skillful and godly Wisdom, instruction, and discipline. 

 

So let’s not act in a foolish manner and ignore the book of Proverbs!  I believe this is the start of something big… I intend to go through all of the chapters of Proverbs over the next few days… months… years… well- until I’m finished!  I’m not going to place a time frame on it.  Will it be an indepth study?  No- not at all.  I simply plan to pull some lines out and go with whatever the Holy Spirit gives me.  I’m going to make some personal observations on parts of my favorite book!  Hopefully, it will be enough to whet someone else’s appetite for this oh-so-necessary book of the Bible.  After all, nothing is like reading God’s word for yourself and having it speak to you and your situation. 

So, stay tuned everybody and anybody…Let the Observations Begin!!