Proverbs


Alright, I felt led to repost this one originally posted here  last year around this time.  It seems it was extremely helpful to many people then so I’ll probably repost it every year around this time because it is so important.  If you haven’t already, please take time to read The The Virtuous Woman Demystified.  I believe you’ll be blessed!

My son, keep your father’s [God-given] commandment and forsake not the law of [God] your mother [taught you].  Bind them continually upon your heart and tie them about your neck.  When you go, they [the words of your parents’ God] shall lead you; when you sleep, they shall keep you; and when you waken, they shall talk with you.

Proverbs 6: 20-22

It is so important to immerse ourselves in God’s words, His will, and His way.  I think a lot of times we have failed to realize the creative and life-giving power of His Word.  After all, how did God create our environment?  He spoke words and heaven and earth were created as well as plants and animals, etc.  We need to carry on in His pattern and speak life to our situations, circumstances, and each other.  We learn how to do that by digging into the Word of God and keeping it in our hearts, minds, and even in our mouths.  We need to sleep, eat, drink, and speak the Word of God- that’s called meditating on the Word.  When we do this, we’ll find it easier to be led by the Holy Spirit thus resulting in protection and wisdom amongst many other benefits. Do you want to travel highways of pleasantness and paths of peace even through the worst of circumstances?  Try engrafting your heart with edification- God’s Words.  Then you’ll begin to travel the road ahead of you assuredly….”When you go, they [the words of your parents’ God] shall lead you; when you sleep, they shall keep you; and when you waken, they shall talk with you.”

These six things the Lord hates, indeed, seven are an abomination to Him:

A proud look [the spirit that makes one overestimate himself and underestimate others], a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, A heart that manufactures wicked thoughts and plans, feet that are swift in running to evil, A false witness who breathes out lies [even under oath], and he who sows discord among his brethren.

Proverbs 6:  16-19

This excerpt really cuts to the chase. What things do God find abominable?  Of course, we all know he hates sin!  The things listed above are indeed sin.  Somtimes, we may not think of some of them as such.  However, these verses make it clear.  Let’s consider all seven.

1.     A Proud Look- This is described in the Amplified Bible as the spirit that makes one overestimate themselves and underestimate others. I’m sure we’ve all either been guilty of or a victim of this spirit.  I know I certainly have.  What immediately comes to mind is an assumption I had made years ago about a t.v. evangelist who didn’t sound quite the way I supposed he should have sounded and I thought to myself, “Oh, she’s smarter than he is”- (it was a husband and wife team).  I looked at the presentation of those on the broadcast and made a hasty judgement just because of my own pre-conceived notions.  I didn’t take time to listen to what was being said.  I had easily rated the level of intelligence between the two mates by how the Word was presented (What did intelligence have to do with it anyway? Talk about shallow!  Of course, I realize now that just because one person may be a bit more polished than another in their outward presentation means absolutely nothing!).   One seemed “country-fried” while the other seemed to be not so country but presented the word in a business suit and a more reserved manner (less expressive than her husband).  She was calm while he was fired up- fired up and spitting out that country boy accent and expressions!  It took only a second for me to come up with a hasty judgement.  I easily underestimated him.  A couple of years after that, I had the opportunity to watch the broadcast frequently.  Of course, I found out how wrong I was.  This man is truly wise.  I judged a book without taking time to read it.  I judged a book by my perception of  its cover.  I don’t recall doing that a whole lot in my life.  But, that time I did. 

Oh, Holy Spirit is so good!- I just recalled two other times! These involved two men of whom now I am extremely fond of, but of course, it didn’t start out that way.  Basically, I had underestimated each one based upon their behavior.  I had the opportunity to witness the behavior of one first hand, while the other’s behavior was only “legendary”.  Both turned out to be men I now admire and have great respect for, although they made lousy first and even, with one, second and third impressions.  The best of people can do some of the worst things and, on the otherhand, the worst of people can do some of the best things.  We’re human.  We’re flexible….We’re fallible….We can adapt…change…be transformed spiritually…be misled….fall flat on our faces and then get back up and do it all again…etc.  The point is never underestimate others or overestimate yourself and your views.  There is so much more to people than what we often realize. It’s a valuable lesson we should not easily forget.

2.     A Lying Tongue-  Oh, boy!  Of course, everyone knows lying is a sin!  However, have you ever heard anyone trying to justify their actions by saying,  “Oh, it was just a little white lie!”  You can paint it any color you would like but the truth of the matter is whether you think you told an itty bitty lie or a whopper of a tale, it’s all the same to God.  If you meant to deceive someone by your words or actions, that makes it a lie.  Deal with it and do better!

3.     Hands That Shed Innocent Blood-  This one seems to be pretty straight forward in the literal sense.  However, it also helps to think of it figuratively.  Have you ever ‘thrown someone under the bus’ so to speak?  Or should we say, made good use of a “ better him than me” attitude when it came to dealing with an issue where someone  or someone’s reputation had to suffer whether it was justified or not?  I’ve seen this happen in the workplace quite a bit.  Someone had to be the talk of the town whether it was known to be justified or not…  someone had to take the blame  whether or not  they had anything to do with the incident, someone had to pay the price even if they had nothing to do with the problem all because of another party’s selfishness, insecurity, lack of character,  jealousy, or spitefulness. Oh my, have I seen some innocent blood shed!

4.     A Heart That Manufactures Wicked Thoughts and Plans-  I’ve seen this one with my own eyes as well.  A particular person actually popped into my mind when I was meditating on this list of seven.  The person could be a poster child for six out of these seven.  I don’t say this lightly.  It’s not one or two or even a hand full of things that would qualify this person as the poster child.  I observed this person’s character, choices, scheming, plotting and planning, lying, and troublemaking etc. for years. This person had a heart for manufacturing evil- manipulation was usually a tool of choice.  They would plot constantly…sometimes for revenge, sometimes for leverage, sometimes to “keep people in their place”,  and sometimes, seemingly, just for amusement.  It really was a shame but quite eye-opening.

5.     Feet That Are Swift In Running to Evil– “Fight!” Remember the reaction this yell brought back in school whenever it was shouted at the top of someone’s lungs?  Usually, everyone took off running in order to see who was getting a beat down.  However, the wise one walked in the other direction.  That’s what we’re to do when the opportunity comes to participate in anything we know God would not be pleased with.  Can you picture someone who is always quick to run and hear the next juicy piece of gossip…. someone who is the first to always try and stir things up….someone who is quick to try to get in on whatever kind of bashing is going on?  These sorts seem to relish other’s misfortune and pain.  They seem to relish what God hates and are quick to pursue it.

6.     A False Witness Who Breathes Out Lies [Even Under Oath]-  What’s worse than someone who sees/knows the truth yet purposely proclaims falsehoods, in a court of law or otherwise?  The Lord hates it.

7.     He Who Sows Discord Among His Brethen–  God is big on unity among brethren.  He hates it when we fight amongst ouselves.  There is power in unity.  The one who plants strife amongst the body of Christ is indeed acting as an enemy to the whole body.  Ultimately, Satan is the sower of discord among the brethren.  However, we all need to look at what kind of seeds we are sowing through both our actions and our words. We should always strive to be used of God and not allow ourselves to be tools of the enemy.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               So, these are some of the things that elicit feelings of extreme disgust, hate, and loathing from our God.  That, alone, makes them characteristics we should fight hard against. One thing is for sure- we should not be content with any one of these traits abiding within us. When we begin to hate what God hates, we will begin to see a significant change in both our character and behavior.  Then, we will have more of an effect not only on our neighbor but the world

My Son, be attentive to my Wisdom [godly Wisdom learned by actual and costly experience], and incline your ear to my understanding [of what is becoming and prudent for you], that you may exercise proper discrimination and discretion and your lips may guard and keep knowledge and the wise answer [to temptation].

For the lips of a loose woman drip honey as a honeycomb, and her mouth is smoother than oil; but in the end she is bitter as wormwood, sharp as a two-edged and devouring sword.  Her feet go down to death; her steps take hold of Sheol (Hades, the place of the dead).  She loses sight of and walks not in the path of life; her ways wind about aimlessly, and you cannot know them.

Now therefore, my sons, listen to me, and depart not from the words of my mouth.  Let your way in life be far from her, and come not near the door of her house [avoid the very scenes of temptation], lest you give your honor to others and your years to those without mercy, lest strangers [and false teachings] take their fill of your strength and wealth and your labors go to the house of an alien [from God]– and you groan and mourn when your end comes, when your flesh and body are consumed, and you say, How I hated instruction and discipline, and my heart despised reproof!  I have not obeyed the voice of my teachers nor submitted and consented to those who instructed me.  [The extent and boldness of] my sin invlolved almost all evil [in the estimation] of the congregation and the community.   

Drink waters out of your own cistern [of a pure marriage relationship], and fresh running waters out of your own well.  Should your offspring be dispersed abroad as water brooks in the streets?  [Confine yourself to your own wife] let your children be for you alone, and not the children of strangers with you.  Let your fountain [of human life] be blessed [with the rewards of fidelity], and rejoice in the wife of your youth.

Let her be as the loving hind and pleasant doe [tender, gentle, attractive]–let her bosom satisfy you at all times, and always be transported with delight in her love.  Why should you, my son, be infatuated wath a loose woman, embrace the bosom of an outsider, and go astray? 

For the ways of man are directly before the eyes of the Lord, and He [Who would have us live soberly, chastely, and godly] carefully weighs all man’s goings.  His own iniquities shall ensnare the wicked man, and he shall be held with the cords of his sin.  He will die for lack of discipline and instruction, and in the greatness of his folly he will go astray and be lost.

Proverbs 5: 1-23 AMP

Alright, this one is just too good to stop at one version!  Please note the New Living Translation version of Chapter 5 of the Book of Proverbs below:

My son, pay attention to my wisdom; listen carefully to my wise counsel.  Then you will show discernment, and your lips will express what you’ve learned.  For the lips of an immoral woman are as sweet as honey and her mouth is smoother than oil.  But in the end she is as bitter as poison, as dangerous as a double-edged sword.  Her feet go down to death; her steps lead straight to the grave.  For she cares nothing about the path of life.  She staggers down a crooked trail and doesn’t realize it.

So now, my sons, listen to me.  Never stray from what I am about to say:  Stay away from her!  Don’t go near the door of her house!  If you do, you will lose your honor and will lose to merciless people all you have achieved.  Strangers will consume your wealth, and someone else will enjoy the fruit of your labor.  In the end you will groan in anguish when disease consumes your body.  You will say, “How I hated discipline!  If only I had not ignored all the warnings!  Oh, why didn’t I listen to my teachers?  Why didn’t I pay attention to my instructors?  I have come to the brink of utter ruin, and now I must face public disgrace.”

Drink water from your own well- share your love only with your wife.  Why spill the water of your springs in the streets, having sex with just anyone?  You should reserve it for yourselves.  Never share it with strangers.

Let your wife be a fountain of blessing for you.  Rejoice in the wife of your youth.  She is a loving deer, a graceful doe.  Let her breasts satisfy you always.  May you always be captivated by her love.  Why be captivated, my son, by an immoral woman, or fondle the breasts of a promiscuous woman?

For the Lord sees clearly what a man does, examining every path he takes.  An evil man is held captive by his own sins; they are ropes that catch and hold him.  He will die for lack of self-control; he will be lost because of his great foolishness. 

Proverbs 5: 1-23 NLT

Wow!  With these two versions laid out before us, it’s hard to mistake the wisdom here- godly Wisdom learned by actual and costly experience as stated in the Amplified version. Pops is warning his boy about loose women- or shall we just use the name Lucy Loose?  I think that has a ring to it.  You know Lucy Loose, don’t you?  She’s the one that passes it out like candy canes at Christmas. You  probably know a number of men she’s been with.  I’m not talking about speculation- I’m talking about the real deal.  Anyone can have a reputation.  Heaven knows the fellows will lie- as juvenile as that is- it happens everyday.  Of course, the girls will lie as well- whether it’s out of jealousy, spite, or just for the sake of wicked gossip- someone’s reputation is thrown to the dogs.  But what about when it’s not just a reputation?  What about when the behavior matches the perception?  Watch out!  You could have a Lucy Loose! 

What are some of her traits?  “For the lips of a loose woman drip honey as a honeycomb, and her mouth is smoother than oil;  But in the end she is bitter as wormwood, sharp as a two-edged and devouring sword.”  Those whispered words sure sound sweet and most assuredly stroke the ego in the beginning…but what about later?  Will they be able to take the sting out of what Ms. Loose is dealing out?  Of course not.  Why? Because, “Her feet go down to death; her steps lead straight to the grave.  For she cares nothing about the path to life.  She staggers down a crooked trail and doesn’t realize it.”  For reasons of her own, Lucy Loose is not interested in Wisdom.  Most likely she is only concerned with soothing that inner ache…that void in her life that she is always trying to fill…that little something she needs in order to feel good about herself…to feel wanted…to feel needed… to feel approved of… or maybe… just to put food on the table.  Whatever the motivation…the end is always the same… no good comes of it. 

Wisdom warns this young man away from Miss Loose.  He is to avoid the places of temptation at all cost.  Wisdom advises, “Drink water from your own well- share your love only with your wife.  Why spill the water of your springs in the streets, having sex with just anyone?  You should reserve it for yourselves.  Never share it with strangers.”  Wisdom later questions, “Why be captivated, my son, by an immoral woman, or fondle the breasts of a promiscuous woman?”  Why indeed, when as Wisdom later states, “An evil man is held captive by his own sins; they are ropes that catch and hold him.  He will die for lack of self-control; he will be lost because of his great foolishness.”

What is the recommendation for avoiding this pitfall of a loose woman?  “Let your wife be a fountain of blessing for you.  Rejoice in the wife of your youth.  She is a loving deer, a graceful doe.  Let her breasts satisfy you always.  May you always be captivated by her love.”  It sounds like a lovely blessing to me.  I think that sums it up quite nicely and I’m sure I couldn’t have said it any better myself! 

Enter not into the path of the wicked, and go not in the way of evil men.  Avoid it, do not go on it; turn from it and pass on.  For they cannot sleep unless they have caused trouble and vexation; their sleep is taken away unless they have caused someone to fall.  For they eat the bread of wickedness and drink the wine of violence.  But the path of the [uncompromisingly] just and righteous is like the light of dawn, that shines more and more (brighter and clearer) until [it reaches its full strength and glory in] the perfect day [to be prepared].  The way of the wicked is like deep darkness; they do not know over what they stumble.                                                              Proverbs 4:14-19

Ever sit back and study those around you?  I mean, simply observe while consciously attempting not to add to the drama that personality always seems to stir up?  I have.  Believe me, it’s not a pretty picture.  Sometimes, the person may actually be pretty smooth with it.  They’re practiced enough to stir their cauldron of  trouble without making it obvious that’s what they intended (and secretly love) to do.  Then, there are the ones who are so obvious with it, that they couldn’t hide it if they tried.  Although they may have been practicing most of their lives, they just haven’t graduated to the upper levels of the craft of manipulation.  Yet, it still doesn’t seem to keep them from trying.   

Personalities like these can be extremely hard to deal with at times.  Yet, at other times they seem to be the nicest of people.  Often, they can appear to be syrupy sweet-  usually, right after they’ve cooked something up.  It seems to make them most pleased with themselves.  Like, the verse reads, “They cannot sleep unless they have caused trouble and vexation. They cannot sleep unless they can cause someone to fall.”   It’s always best to keep people who exhibit this form of behavior as a major part of their personality at a distance.  As written above, “Enter not into the path of the wicked, and go not in the way of evil men.  Avoid it, do not go on it; turn from it and pass on.” 

You can walk the path of light while they are feasting on wickedness and gulping goblets of violence .  Don’t get involved with their plans or schemes.  Don’t let them con you into “stirring the pot” for a little while.  As children of God, it is our duty and great privilege to walk paths that are lit by the lamp of God’s Word.  Darkness is no place for a believer.  Jesus is our Lord and we are to walk His way.  His way is like the light of morning dawn, which shines brighter and brighter the more you travel it.  You’ll have to make a conscious choice not to go down the wrong road.  It’s really about seeing the roads and ways for what they are… and then deciding which path to take.  Here in the 4th chapter of Proverbs, we find it spelled out for us once again.  The way of the wicked is like deep darkness; they do not know over what they stumble.”   So, if you’re fond of stumbling and all of the trappings that go with it, then keep on stirring your kettle of mess.  However, if you long for wisdom and to walk in the blessing, get into God’s word and begin walking His path.

Be Blessed!

I was just sitting here reminiscing about roller coasters and me.  An acquaintance mentioned that she was building roller coasters.  I laughed and commented that it sounded like fun.  Then went on to say that I hadn’t ridden a roller coaster in years.  I gave them up a long time ago because they made me miserable!  I would be in the midst of a ride, hanging on for dear life and wanting to kick myself for getting on the silly thing in the first place.  Why did I do it to myself?  Because I had the opportunity and opportunities like that didn’t come along often.  Then, of course, sometimes, I felt pressured to ride them… other times, it just seemed like it would be great fun, although deep down inside I knew better! Finally, the time came when I said, “No!” to roller coasters.  It was simply not worth it to me!  Why go through the agony just to say you did it.  What does it matter, when it’s all said and done?  I don’t enjoy roller coasters.  It’s no crime. 

Some might say I gained wisdom and a backbone.  Others might say I just wimped out.  I say I took a stand for what was right for me… over something seemingly insignificant- after all, it’s not like I go to an amusement park everyday of my life!  But, I say “despise not small beginnings“.  We have to start making right choices for ourselves sometime in life.  Well, we don’t have to, but it is needful.  Start making a stand for yourself on some of the smaller things which will help you when it’s time to make a stand for something that’s really important.  Don’t just fall in with the gang when you know you will regret it.  Exercise your freedom to make a choice!  God has made us all free agents and we don’t have to do anything just because the gang wants to.  There should come a time when we stop worrying about what our peers will say about us or think about us if we don’t agree with whatever they think is right.  You have to be your own person.  Friends, co-workers, and, even, family are not responsible for the choices you make for your life.  The benefits and the consequences of your choices belong to you.  They may affect others (and usually do), but the responsiblity remains with you.  If you’ll practice with smaller things, it will be easier when it comes time to stand your ground on something of the utmost importance.  

Skillful and Godly wisdom is always calling out to us.  From reading Proverbs, it becomes obvious that God wants us travel highways of pleasantness and paths of peace. He desperately wants to get the wisdom to us, but it’s up to us if we’ll do what it takes to tune into it.  If you’re one who’s easily swayed by the opinions of others, you’re going to have a difficult time grasping onto God’s wisdom.  What’s the point of hearing wisdom, if you ignore it- if you choose to go the way all your friends are going …when you know deep down inside God is telling you to go another way…  Wisdom is wasted on the foolish.  Maybe, it’s time to get off the roller coaster?

Here’s a ride to consider. Have you ever sat back and thought about the roller coaster of love?  I’m not talking about the kind of Love I often write about on this blog.  I’m not speaking of the Agape or God kind of Love.  I’m speaking of the fast, easy, convenient, loose kind of stuff many people ( mistakenly)  call love.  The kind where there’s no real committment and no real concern for the others well-being.  That selfish help me out right now kind of stuff that never really works out.  No matter how prettily it was dressed up. You know the stuff… if you haven’t had the opportunity to take a ride on that roller coaster then count yourself blessed.  You don’t have to.  Godly Wisdom has another way.  The perfect plan.  It’s the best plan.  Yet for some reason, even in a lot of churches, it is looked upon as not being relevant or realistic for today’s youth…today’s adults… today’s church… oh, I certainly don’t mean to imply that sentiment is coming from the pulpit.  What I mean is amongst the masses that sit in the congregations Sunday after Sunday, I’ve seen too many who don’t think God is concerned about their sex life.  They’re sitting in the pews, they’re lifting up holy hands, they’re praising and worshipping God, and are some of the first ones to speak about God whenever they are going through a storm.  Yet, they think nothing of shacking up with that boyfriend or girlfriend or just having a little activity with a good friend and sometimes even having sex with people to whom they are not even committed.  Come on now, that’s a roller coaster that will take you somewhere you don’t want to go- very quickly!  It’s time to get some Godly Wisdom here!  How can you expect anything better for your children, when you’re setting an example that is so much less than wise.  Godly Wisdom tells us that the act of making love is part of the marriage covenant.  Something to be beautifully expressed between a husband and his wife….a wife and her husband- period!  Anything else is simply riding a carnival ride- no joke.  Except, this ride has consequences that can mess you up for quite a while. Given time, there’s always a harvest on a seed that’s sown.  Foolish acts may be causing you to reap a lot of misery and drama you just can’t seem to get rid of.  Perhaps you just don’t see the link…   Wisdom is wasted on the foolish…but It’s your choice whether or not to be a fool. 

Be Blessed!

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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