Friday, May 29, 2009

Proverbs 7:1 - 20

Today, we start our study in Chapter 7 of Proverbs. The Bible discussion continues on the subject of adultery. In THIS chapter, it is written almost like a “Theatrical Play.” and again, warns young people against listening to her. Today, we will look at the first 20 verses, which gives an example of HOW the adulteress seduces a young, foolish man that is ALREADY looking for trouble.

I feel, that since we have studied this area already, at least 3 separate times, that I should just post the verses, for the most part, so that we can read through them, with only a few comments.

As I have said before, if GOD puts something down over and over again, then that subject must be VERY important to HIM. Since the whole point of this study is to seek HIS wisdom, then I don’t want to skip any of His words, but I also don’t want to beat them into the ground either.

NOTE: For those of you who may have missed some of the past studies on this subject, you can click on the post tag of “adultery” and I believe that will take you to the past studies where this subject has been gone over in detail. (Prov. 2:16-19, Prov. 5 –all-, Prov. 6:20-35)

1 My son, keep my words,
And treasure my commands within you.
2 Keep my commands and live,
And my law as the apple of your eye.
3 Bind them on your fingers;
Write them on the tablet of your heart.
4 Say to wisdom, “You are my sister,”
And call understanding your nearest kin,
5 That they may keep you from the immoral woman,
From the seductress who flatters with her words.

The Crafty Harlot
6 For at the window of my house
I looked through my lattice,
7 And saw among the simple,
I perceived among the youths,
A young man devoid of understanding,
8 Passing along the street near her corner;
And he took the path to her house
9 In the twilight, in the evening,
In the black and dark night.
10 And there a woman met him,
With the attire of a harlot, and a crafty heart.
11 She was loud and rebellious,
Her feet would not stay at home.
12 At times she was outside,
at times in the open square,
Lurking at every corner.
13 So she caught him and kissed him;
With an impudent face she said to him:
14 “ I have peace offerings with me;
Today I have paid my vows.
15 So I came out to meet you,
Diligently to seek your face,
And I have found you.
16 I have spread my bed with tapestry,
Colored coverings of Egyptian linen.
17 I have perfumed my bed
With myrrh, aloes, and cinnamon.
18 Come, let us take our fill of love until morning;
Let us delight ourselves with love.
19 For my husband is not at home;
He has gone on a long journey;
20 He has taken a bag of money with him,
And will come home on the appointed day.”

Verses 1-5 admonish us, again, to listen to the wise teachings of our elders… parents… mentors. We should take them into our heart and soul. Verses 6-9 paint a picture of a foolish young man who is looking for trouble. We can see this because he is doing it in secret… “And he took the path to her house 9 In the twilight, in the evening, In the black and dark night.”

Verses 10-20 describe a wealthy wife, who is bored because her husband is gone and she is out to ensnare foolish young men by dressing and acting the part of the harlot, or prostitute. Verses 10 – 12 describe her attitude and cunningness, while verses 13-18 give details of the ways she seduces the foolish young man.

She draws him in with her seductive nature and kisses, then builds him up with flattery by saying that HE is exactly who she was looking for and wants (Vs. 15.) She further entices him by describing how nice (tempting) her bed is with it’s soft coverings and perfumes, and then she enflames his passions by describing what they can do together.
Notice she uses his eyes - with her dress and actions, his mouth – with her kisses, and his ears and senses of touch and smell – by telling him things he wants to hear and describing the bedding and perfume, etc. In other words, she is playing on all five senses and filling them with “lusts of the flesh.”

She goes on to tell him that he will be safe from discovery because her husband is gone on an extended business trip. Next time, we will cover the next part of this story or “play.”

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Proverbs 6: 30 - 35

Today we will finish up chapter 6 of Proverbs. The last verses of this chapter continue the discussion on adultery. First, lets go over the verses…

Proverbs 6: 30 - 35 (NIV)
30 Men do not despise a thief
if he steals to satisfy his hunger
when he is starving.
31 Yet if he is caught,
he must pay sevenfold,
though it costs him all the wealth of his house.
32 But a man who commits adultery lacks judgment;
whoever does so destroys himself.
33 Blows and disgrace are his lot,
and his shame will never be wiped away;
34 for jealousy arouses a husband's fury,
and he will show no mercy when he takes revenge.
35 He will not accept any compensation;
he will refuse the bribe, however great it is.

Verses 30 and 31 tell us that even if we can understand why a person commits a sin, he still must pay the penalty for that sin. In this case the example is given of a person stealing because he is starving, not just hungry. Even though that can be understood, if the thief is caught, he would have to pay the penalty, which in this case, is seven times the amount stolen. Verse 31 goes on to say that the thief must pay the penalty, even if “it costs him ALL the wealth of his house.” This would be a problem for his family as well as himself.

Verse 32 states that a “lack of [good] judgment is shown by someone who commits adultery BECAUSE he destroys “himself.” As we studied back in Proverbs 5:22, and in 1 Corinthians 6:18-20 the adulterer causes problems for themselves.

Verses 33 through 35 goes further in this discussion on adultery than our other studies, because they add the reaction of the husband that finds out about the affair. They describe the anger and fury that jealousy arouses in the husband, and the consequences to the man that has been caught… how he is liable to be beaten up and will be shown “no mercy.” In this example, not even a great amount of money will be accepted as “compensation.”

I think that the verses from Corinthians do the best job of explaining God’s feelings on the subject, so I will, again, close with them: 18Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a man commits are outside his body, but he who sins sexually sins against his own body. 19Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; 20you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Proverbs 6: 20 – 29

Today’s verses are another warning to young men about committing adultery. From the repetition that the Bible uses in this area, God must really think it is one of the most important things a young person can learn about, as we have discussed in prior studies. Here are today’s verses:

Proverbs 6: 20 - 29 (NIV)
Warning Against Adultery

20 My son, keep your father's commands
and do not forsake your mother's teaching.
21 Bind them upon your heart forever;
fasten them around your neck.
22 When you walk, they will guide you;
when you sleep, they will watch over you;
when you awake, they will speak to you.
23 For these commands are a lamp,
this teaching is a light,
and the corrections of discipline are the way to life,
24 keeping you from the immoral woman,
from the smooth tongue of the wayward wife.
25 Do not lust in your heart after her beauty
or let her captivate you with her eyes,
26 for the prostitute reduces you to a loaf of bread,
and the adulteress preys upon your very life.
27 Can a man scoop fire into his lap
without his clothes being burned?
28 Can a man walk on hot coals
without his feet being scorched?
29 So is he who sleeps with another man's wife;
no one who touches her will go unpunished.

The first four of today’s verses remind us that our “father’s commands” and “mother’s teaching”… the lessons a good parent would continually impart to a young person throughout their youth (spiritual or physical) IF REMEMBERED and ACTED upon, will shine for others to see, guide them throughout their lives, give them comfort so they can sleep peacefully, etc. They also remind us, in verse 23, that “the corrections of discipline are the way to life…” As we have seen in other studies in this area, proper “discipline,” done in a wise way, is to be expected to keep us on the right path. If we listen the first time, we don’t have to have a harsher discipline later on.

Verses 24 thru 29 cover this chapter’s warnings on adultery. The first verses we looked at tie together with these, as we see in verse 24. Both types of adultery are mentioned in this verse… a man turning to a prostitute or immoral woman, and a man having an affair with a “wayward wife.”

NOTE: During Bible times, “prostitutes” and prostitution was often a form of Temple worship employed by many of the religions of that time, so this sin also often had spiritual implications involved that would, of course, be another problem as far as God was concerned.

Verse 25 talks about a “lust of the flesh” that is activated by the eyes in this case. Remember, our senses are wonderful gifts of God, but as with all of His gifts to us, we need to keep them under HIS control, and not ours.

Verse 26 tells us that to a prostitute, a person is simply a way to make money for food, etc. There is no love involved to feed that person’s soul. It goes on to say that getting involved in adultery can get you killed, as the penalty in this time period was death by stoning. Adultery also sucks the life out of people for it causes them to live a life of lies, and we have seen who the father of lies is in past verses.

The last three verses go on to give word pictures of what adultery is like, ending with another warning. It equates it with “scooping fire into his [a person’s] lap,” and “walking on hot coals.” Playing with fire WILL end up getting a person burned, and God says it will NOT go unpunished! ALL parties will be burned sooner or later...

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Proverbs 6: 18 - 19

In the last study, we started this section that speaks of the 7 things that God hates or finds detestable, and covered the first three. These are often spoken of as the “Seven Deadly Sins.” Today, we will continue with the last four of the “deadly sins.” First, let’s re-read the whole section as a refresher:

Proverbs 6: 18 - 19 (NIV)

16 There are six things the LORD hates,
seven, even, that are detestable to him:
17 haughty eyes, a lying tongue,
hands that shed innocent blood,
18 a heart that devises wicked schemes,
feet that are quick to rush into evil,
19 a false witness who pours out lies
and a man who stirs up dissension among brothers.

The fourth thing in this list is “a heart that devises wicked schemes." Again, this is the opposite of the love that we are to show others. The “heart,” in God’s Word, usually indicates the deep, inner “being” or “soul” of a person. This is talking about people that continually “bubble up” evil from deep within themselves, instead of overflowing the love of God toward others.

Verse 18 tells us the fifth thing that God hates… it is, “feet that are quick to rush into evil.” All of these things that are mentioned, are examples of the opposite of the way that God wants His people to be. Here, he wants us to STOP… and THINK… and NOT “be quick” to jump into some evil scheme. Often if we do take the time to stop and think, we won’t make the mistakes that will get us into trouble.

Number six on this list is “a false witness who pours out lies.” This is different from the second thing on the list in that it has to do with being a “false witness” and not just a plain liar. A “false witness” harms another person, and often this would lead to punishment or death for that person.

The last thing on this inventory is, “a man who stirs up dissension among brothers.” The word “brother” has many definitions, but the one this most closely calls for is, “One who shares a common ancestry, allegiance, character, or purpose with another or others.” This could be our neighbors, our kinsmen or family members, members of our church group… any group of people that we belong to that have ties of some kind. We must be very careful when we speak to others, that we don’t gossip or otherwise say things that will stir up problems between people, for this is something that God actually says HE hates!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Proverbs 6: 16 - 19

Note: In the NIV Version (and most other English translations), when the word "LORD" is completely capitalized, it is being translated from the Hebrew name "YHWH" and when it is written as "Lord" it is translated from the Hebrew name "Adonai." It is also held that the only "name of God" in the Tanakh (Old Testament) is YHWH. Where as words such as Elohim (God), El (mighty one), El Shaddai (almighty God), Adonai (master), El Elyon (most high God), Avinu (our Father), etc. are not names, but titles, highlighting different aspects of YHWH, and the various roles which He has. This is similar to how a man may be called by his name, or by 'Dad', 'Husband', 'Boss', 'Sir', 'Son', etc, however his personal name is the only one that can be correctly identified as his name. In the Tanakh, YHWH is the personal name of the God of Israel, where as the other words are titles which are ascribed to Him.

These next four verses of Proverbs 6 are about 7 things that the Lord hates or finds “detestable.”

Here are the verses that cover the whole subject, but today, we will look closely at the first two:

Proverbs 6: 16 - 19 (NIV)

16 There are six things the LORD hates,
seven that are detestable to him:
17 haughty eyes,
a lying tongue,
hands that shed innocent blood,
18 a heart that devises wicked schemes,
feet that are quick to rush into evil,
19 a false witness who pours out lies
and a man who stirs up dissension among brothers.

The first thing listed is “haughty eyes.” The online dictionary defines “haughty” as “having or showing arrogant superiority to, and disdain of those one views as unworthy. This is exactly the opposite of the attitude that God would have us show to others.

God asks us to serve others. This is what Jesus had to say to his disciples in Matthew 20:26-28 : 26 Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you, let him be your servant. 27 And whoever desires to be first among you, let him be your slave— 28 just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” (NKJV)

The second thing listed is “a lying tongue.” In the Book of John, Jesus talks to the Pharisees about lying. He says, “You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it.” John 8:44 (NKJV) Lies are used to deceive others, and that again, is the opposite of the way that God would have us treat others.

The next thing that is listed is “hands that shed innocent blood.” These would be murderers, and not military people who are fighting a war. Throughout the Bible, there are examples where God was often with His people as they fought wars. As we have seen in past verses of Proverbs, God has often warned against the foolishness that leads people into evil paths that end in murder and death.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Proverbs 6: 12 - 15

The next four verses of Proverbs 6 are about people who “plot evil with deceit in [their] heart[s].” These people aren’t just lazy, as the type of people spoken of in the last study. Here are the verses:

Proverbs 6: 12 - 15 (NIV)
12 A scoundrel and villain,

who goes about with a corrupt mouth,
13 who winks with his eye,

signals with his feet
and motions with his fingers,
14 who plots evil with deceit in his heart—

he always stirs up dissension.
15 Therefore disaster will overtake him in an instant;

he will suddenly be destroyed—without remedy.

These verses describe a couple of ways of figuring out that a person is of bad moral character… a scoundrel or a villain. Verse 12 says that they go around using foul language and talking about off color things, and the next verse describes them as people who are always sending body language signs of deceitfulness. They signal with their eyes, feet and fingers.

How many people do you know that use these types of “signals” to get across dirty or off-color meanings added to whatever they are saying. Gang members have gotten notorious for this. These type of people, verse 14 says, usually end up stirring up dissension (disagreement, argument, discord).
As with so many of the verses we have studied over the past week, this area ends with the fate of destruction and disaster being predicted for people that have chosen this ungodly approach to life.

I think that God wants us to be able to recognize this “type,” because we need to be careful about associating with them so that we aren’t pulled down with them.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Proverbs 6: 6 - 11 (NIV)

Today we will cover the next 6 verses in this sixth chapter of Proverbs. They speak to people about being constructive and active in their lives. The writer uses the ant and a “sluggard” or “vagrant” as examples to get his point across to the readers. Here are today’s verses:

Proverbs 6: 6 - 11
6 Go to the ant, you sluggard;
consider its ways and be wise!
7 It has no commander,
no overseer or ruler,
8 yet it stores its provisions in summer
and gathers its food at harvest.
9 How long will you lie there, you sluggard?
When will you get up from your sleep?
10 A little sleep, a little slumber,
a little folding of the hands to rest-
11 and poverty will come on you like a bandit
and scarcity like an armed man.
[Footnote: Or like a vagrant / and scarcity like a beggar]

The online dictionary defines the word “sluggard” as: A slothful person; an idler, a very lazy person. The reader is urged to look at the way the ant lives. It doesn’t have any kind of leader or ruler over it to tell it what to do, yet it is constantly working during the seasons that it can, to store things for provisions for later. It shows wisdom in this way.

These verses warn people not to be slothful and lazy, but to work when the opportunity presents itself so that provisions are made for themselves and their families to live. It goes on to say, in verse 11, that if you are lazy and sleep your life away, so to speak, then suddenly (come on you like a bandit) you will find yourself living in poverty. The footnote says that in the original language, the words used here mean “scarcity like a beggar.”

This is speaking to people who are lazy, not those that are trying to do the best they can to take care of things and are having a hard time of it. If we are trying to follow Christ in all we do, then He will open the doors to us to do the jobs that we need in His perfect timing. We do need to keep our eyes and ears open, be trying, and not just laying back and expecting God to do everything for us. If we are working hard at what we have been given to do, then more and more opportunities will be given to us, in His time.