Pearls From Proverbs – Chapter Six
We now turn to chapter six of Proverbs.
LIKE A DEER FROM THE HUNTER
1 My son, if you become surety for your friend, If you have shaken hands in pledge for a stranger, 2 You are snared by the words of your mouth; You are taken by the words of your mouth. 3 So do this, my son, and deliver yourself; For you have come into the hand of your friend: Go and humble yourself; Plead with your friend. 4 Give no sleep to your eyes, Nor slumber to your eyelids. 5 Deliver yourself like a gazelle from the hand of the hunter, And like a bird from the hand of the fowler. Proverbs 6:1-5 (NKJV)
In verse one the word “surety” is used. Webster’s dictionary defines “surety” as: “One that is bound with and for another; one who enters into a bond or recognizance to answer for another’s appearance in court, or for his payment of a debt or for the performance of some act, and who, in case of the principal debtor’s failure, is compellable to pay the debt or damages; a bondsman; a bail.” In our times a co-signer on a loan would be one example of “surety”. If the borrower is not able or does not pay – the co-signer becomes accountable for the debt.
Co-signing for another person is not in itself evil – please do not interpret the scripture – but we are to be stewards of our resources and much enter such an agreement with careful thought and prayer. Remember when you co-sign on a loan – you become obligated for it. The key here are the words – “with a stranger”. Would you co-sign with someone you didn’t even know? Would you walk up to a stranger and tell them that if they stopped paying their bills that you would cover for them? If you do that – “you are snared by the words of your own mouth.” You have promised to take on a burden which you may not be able to afford. One the other hand:
These verses are not a plea against generosity, but against overextending one’s financial resources and acting in irresponsible ways that could lead to poverty. It is important to maintain a balance between generosity and good stewardship. God wants us to help our friends and the needy, but he does not promise to cover the costs of every unwise commitment we make. We should also act responsibly so that our families do not suffer.
A LESSON FROM THE ANT
6 Go to the ant, you sluggard! Consider her ways and be wise, 7 Which, having no captain, Overseer or ruler, 8 Provides her supplies in the summer, And gathers her food in the harvest. 9 How long will you slumber, O sluggard? When will you rise from your sleep? 10 A little sleep, a little slumber, A little folding of the hands to sleep-- 11 So shall your poverty come on you like a prowler, And your need like an armed man. Proverbs 6:6-11 (NKJV)
There are many things we can learn from the natural world – we now turn to one of them. Study the ant for there is wisdom in the way it behaves. It has not ruler yet it just does not sit back and do nothing. It gathers food for its own supply. It does not depend on others although I am sure stores what it gathers in a common grain bin. It pulls its own weight – contributing to its own welfare. No sleeping on the job – but working to see that its needs are met. We will see the example of the ant mentioned again later in the book of Proverbs:
The ants are a people not strong, Yet they prepare their food in the summer; Proverbs 30:25 (NKJV)
Matthew Henry says:
“Diligence in business is every man’s wisdom and duty; not so much that he may attain worldly wealth, as that he may not be a burden to others, or a scandal to the church. The ants are more diligent than slothful men. We may learn wisdom from the meanest insects, and be shamed by them. Habits of indolence and indulgence grow upon people. Thus life runs to waste; and poverty, though at first at a distance, gradually draws near, like a traveller; and when it arrives, is like an armed man, too strong to be resisted. All this may be applied to the concerns of our souls. How many love their sleep of sin, and their dreams of worldly happiness! Shall we not seek to awaken such? Shall we not give diligence to secure our own salvation?”
Proverbs warns against giving in to the temptation of laziness, of sleeping instead of working. This does not mean we should never rest: God gave the Jews the Sabbath, a weekly day of rest and restoration. But we should not rest when we should be working. The ant is used as an example because it utilizes its energy and resources economically. If laziness turns us from our responsibilities, poverty may soon bar us from the legitimate rest we should enjoy.
An often overlooked passage of scripture is found in Second Thessalonians:
“If anyone will not work, neither shall he eat.” 2 Thessalonians 3:10b (NKJV)
God does not expect us to be lazy – but requires us to be diligent about the work He has given us to do. We are to have an attitude about our work as if we are doing it for the Lord.
“And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ.” Colossians 3:23-24 (NKJV)
ALWAYS COOKING UP SOMETHING NASTY
12 A worthless person, a wicked man, Walks with a perverse mouth; 13 He winks with his eyes, He shuffles his feet, He points with his fingers; 14 Perversity is in his heart, He devises evil continually, He sows discord. 15 Therefore his calamity shall come suddenly; Suddenly he shall be broken without remedy. Proverbs 6:12-15 (NKJV)
This is the portrait of the man who is not to be trusted, whose look and gestures warn against him all who can observe. His speech is tortuous and crafty; his wink tells the accomplice that the victim is already snared; his gestures with foot and hand are half in deceit, and half in mockery.
A worthless person – A wicked man:
1. Speaks with a perverse mouth
2. Winks at you with his eyes
3. Shuffles his feet
4. Points his fingers
5. Perversity in is his heart
6. He is motivated by evil desires
7. Wherever he goes he sows discord
Here the Bible is showing that all of the wicked man’s gestures are controlled by the motives of his heart. A person can give you praise yet is plotting wickedness against you. They can wink at you with their eyes – yet have hatred for you in their heart. They can pat you on back yet keep an eye on your back for at some point the hand that pats you on the back may contain a knife. This is a man who cannot be trusted. The most wicked men are those who give all appearance of helping you – yet they are out for their own selfish desires and will hurt anyone who gets in the way.
The verdict is sure and swift. Suddenly he will be broken to pieces. Like Humpty Dumpty after the fall – no one will be able to put him back together again. God’s judgments are always just and sure. Let us make sure we are not the ones walking the path of the wicked man.
Seven Things God Hates
16 These six things the Lord hates, Yes, seven are an abomination to Him: 17 A proud look, A lying tongue, Hands that shed innocent blood, 18 A heart that devises wicked plans, Feet that are swift in running to evil, 19 A false witness who speaks lies, And one who sows discord among brethren. Proverbs 6:16-19 (NKJV)
This is not a picture of a lazy person being condemned – but a picture of a person who willfully expends their energy doing things that God hates. The person does everything with design. The person’s character is totally corrupt. Six things God hates yet here is a person who possesses seven things. Seven represents completeness. This person shows seven qualities that God hates – this is why God considers him/her an “abomination”.
Here is a list of the seven things that God hates:
1. A person who is full of pride
2. A person who lies
3. A person who sheds innocent blood
4. A person who makes great plans to do evil
5. A person who runs to evil every chance they get
6. A person who gives a false witness
7. A person who is out to create discord among others
Any or all of these actions would sow discord among people – whether it be in a family, or a village or a state, or a country. All who by lies and misrepresentation strive to “stir up” things need to be very careful by their actions. God hates it.
The scripture gives us a picture of seven things God hates – allow me to venture on to seven things God loves:
1. A person who is humble
2. A person who speaks the truth
3. A person who lifts up the innocent
4. A person who makes plans to do good
5. A person who takes advantage at every opportunity to be godly
6. A person who is always a truthful witness
7. A person who seeks to build unity without compromising truth
Such is a picture of our Lord – Jesus Christ
Warning On Adultery
20 My son, keep your father’s command, And do not forsake the law of your mother. 21 Bind them continually upon your heart; Tie them around your neck. 22 When you roam, they will lead you; When you sleep, they will keep you; And when you awake, they will speak with you. 23 For the commandment is a lamp, And the law a light; Reproofs of instruction are the way of life, 24 To keep you from the evil woman, From the flattering tongue of a seductress. Proverbs 6:20-24 (NKJV)
The parents continue to instruct their children. Note that both the father and the mother are involved. It is not only the duty but also the responsibility of the parents to instruct their children. We teach our children by our words and also by our actions. It is the children’s responsibility to listen and heed the teachings. Note that the children are to “bind and tie” the commandments and the law to them – near the heart and around the neck. It is natural and good for children, as they grow toward adulthood, to become increasingly independent of their parents. Young adults, however, should take care not to turn a deaf ear to their parents – to reject their advice just when it is needed most. If you are struggling with a decision or looking for insight, check with your parents or other older adults who know you well. Their years of experience may have given them the wisdom you seek. Listen to them. Take them to heart. Place them close to you – so that you may not stumble and fall. Here are the results of heed good instruction:
1. Where-ever you may go – they will lead you
2. When you sleep – they will protect you
3. When you awake – they will speak to you
4. They are a lamp and a light
5. They are instructions for life
6. They are to keep you from the evil woman
7. They are to keep you from being seduced by the words of the seductress
There are many false teachings out there not only in the world but also in the church. Take heed to the Father’s instruction. Know your Bible. Understand what it says. Test those who are teaching you – for there are many who may try to lead you astray. In First John we have this warning:
“Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world.” 1 John 4:1 (NKJV)
Warnings are given for a reason. There is false teaching out there that will try to lead you astray. Hold fast to God’s teaching. Place it in your heart and in your head – that you may not stumble and fall.
25 Do not lust after her beauty in your heart, Nor let her allure you with her eyelids. 26 For by means of a harlot A man is reduced to a crust of bread; And an adulteress will prey upon his precious life. Proverbs 6:25-36 (NKJV)
The warnings against adultery continue. As the heart was mentioned in verse twenty one – it is also mentioned here in verse twenty five. Verse twenty one told us to bind the law in our heart – but now we find lust in our heart. Jesus warned against lust being in this location: “But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” Matthew 5:28 (NKJV) The motive of the heart is of great importance to God: “The Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart." 1 Samuel 16:7 (NKJV) Let us always remember that God can see right through us – to see our motives.
A man can be reduced to nothing more than a “crust of bread”. I have seen people take off the crust when they are eating a sandwich. They do not want it – they consider it useless. Many people consider the crust to not the best part of the bread – but the worst. When a person turns their backs on God’s laws their lives become a shambles.
27 Can a man take fire to his bosom, And his clothes not be burned? 28 Can one walk on hot coals, And his feet not be seared? 29 So is he who goes in to his neighbor’s wife; Whoever touches her shall not be innocent. 30 People do not despise a thief If he steals to satisfy himself when he is starving. 31 Yet when he is found, he must restore sevenfold; He may have to give up all the substance of his house. 32 Whoever commits adultery with a woman lacks understanding; He who does so destroys his own soul. 33 Wounds and dishonor he will get, And his reproach will not be wiped away. 34 For jealousy is a husband’s fury; Therefore he will not spare in the day of vengeance. 35 He will accept no recompense, Nor will he be appeased though you give many gifts. Proverbs 6:27-35 (NKJV)
Now we have two illustrations:
1. Can a man take fire to his breast and not be burned?
2. Can he walk on hot coals and his feet not be seared?
The answer to both questions is – No. If you play with fire you will get burned. So is he who goes into his neighbor’s wife. There is no innocence in the action. There is no excuse. It will affect your whole life. Don’t do it.
Verse thirty makes an interesting point. If a person steals when they are starving – people do not despise them even though they are guilty. But this is not the case when a person commits adultery. There is no excuse. There is no understanding. There is no wisdom in the action. Those who commit adultery destroy their own soul.
Some people argue that it is all right to break God’s law against sexual sin if nobody gets hurt. In truth, somebody always gets hurt. In the case of adultery, spouses are devastated and children are scarred. Even if the partners escape disease and unwanted pregnancy, they may lose their ability to fulfill commitments, to feel sexual desire, to trust, and to be entirely open with another person. God’s laws are not arbitrary. They do not forbid good, clean fun; rather, they warn us against destroying ourselves through unwise actions or running ahead of God’s timetable.
This chapter ends with warnings about adultery. God always demands purity in this area – He always has and He always will. Take a look at our society and you will see that we are far from God’s standard in this area. You can find where adultery is portrayed as something to sought after – but God’s word gives us warning over and over again that it is destructive. We are to seek a holy life.