May 23, 2020
The book of Proverbs is a collection of short sayings in the Old Testament meant to instill wisdom in God’s people. As we read, it is important to remember that a proverb is a statement which is generally true in principle, not a universally true promise. Let’s dig into the Word together and allow the Lord to shape our hearts, our minds, and our lives in his wisdom over the next month!
In Proverbs 6 Solomon gives more counsel for wise living to his children. He instructs his son to make things right quickly with those who would have reason to accuse them, to be diligent and hard-working rather than lazy, and to avoid walking in wicked and perverse ways which the Lord detests.
Finally, Solomon takes time to once again warn his son against adultery. Solomon warns his son to keep the advice of his parents close to his heart, because it will lead him in the right way and not in the path of the adulteress. He warns his son about those who commit adultery, that they are like a man carrying fire next to his chest and expecting not to get burned; their expectation that they will not have to face the consequences is equally absurd!
6 My son, if you have put up security for your neighbor,
have given your pledge for a stranger,
2 if you are snared in the words of your mouth,
caught in the words of your mouth,
3 then do this, my son, and save yourself,
for you have come into the hand of your neighbor:
go, hasten, and plead urgently with your neighbor.
4 Give your eyes no sleep
and your eyelids no slumber;
5 save yourself like a gazelle from the hand of the hunter,
like a bird from the hand of the fowler.
6 Go to the ant, O sluggard;
consider her ways, and be wise.
7 Without having any chief,
officer, or ruler,
8 she prepares her bread in summer
and gathers her food in harvest.
9 How long will you lie there, O sluggard?
When will you arise 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 man.
12 A worthless person, a wicked man,
goes about with crooked speech,
13 winks with his eyes, signals with his feet,
points with his finger,
14 with perverted heart devises evil,
continually sowing discord;
15 therefore calamity will come upon him suddenly;
in a moment he will be broken beyond healing.
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 make haste to run to evil,
19 a false witness who breathes out lies,
and one who sows discord among brothers.
Warnings Against Adultery
20 My son, keep your father’s commandment,
and forsake not your mother’s teaching.
21 Bind them on 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 evil woman,
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 the price of a prostitute is only a loaf of bread,
but a married woman hunts down a precious life.
27 Can a man carry fire next to his chest
and his clothes not be burned?
28 Or can one walk on hot coals
and his feet not be scorched?
29 So is he who goes in to his neighbor’s wife;
none who touches her will go unpunished.
30 People do not despise a thief if he steals
to satisfy his appetite when he is hungry,
31 but if he is caught, he will pay sevenfold;
he will give all the goods of his house.
32 He who commits adultery lacks 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 makes a man furious,
and he will not spare when he takes revenge.
35 He will accept no compensation;
he will refuse though you multiply gifts.
The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.
We see two things in this repeated warning against adultery in the book of Proverbs; first, that God takes the marriage covenant deathly seriously, and there are consequences for those who dishonor it. Second, that we sometimes believe, to our own harm, that we can toy around with sin and that somehow everything will be okay.
We cannot afford not to take sin seriously. If we do, we are playing with fire and we are going to get burned, one way or another. Sin might be dead, but it is still deadly, and we must combat it in the power of the Holy Spirit! Living in God’s wisdom means living within His boundaries!
- What are some ways we tend to minimize or belittle our sin? How do we sometimes think that we can get away with it? How can we turn from this attitude?
Family Discussion Question:
- Have you ever done something that seemed harmless to you at the time, but later on it ended up really bad for you? How does that relate to the way this passage talks about sin?