What I saw outside my window: Proverbs 7

Proverbs, Chapter 7 surprises because of its detailed description, as well as a few hidden extras. Let’s study!

Again, this Proverb begins with “My son”—a father instructing his son in wisdom. This is actually God teaching us, as well. He says, keep my words, and lay up my commandments with thee (verse 1). Not only keep my words but store them up as well. Remember them.

You’ve heard the saying, “apple of my eye,” which means something precious. Verse 2 says that the Father’s law is the vital apple of the eye. Keep my commandments, and live; and my law as the apple of thine eye. Many times we think about God’s love, mercy, kindness, etc. as precious, but here, it says His law is special. Value God’s law.

Verse 3 continues this theme, saying the son should bind them upon thy fingers, write them upon the table of thine heart.

Verse 4 is a little bit different. It personifies wisdom—as his sister or kinswoman. Verse 5 says this kinswoman will keep the son from the strange woman—whom we already know is an adulteress or prostitute. It’s an interesting metaphor: a sister. Sisters care. They want the best for us. They stick with us through thick and thin. Wisdom is like this.

The Father looks out his window, and lo and behold, he sees young men, among them one who isn’t wise at all. He’s on his way to her house (7-8). I think it’s worth pointing out that the young man in this passage has already made a bad decision and is on his way. What should we teach our sons? Avoid making bad decisions in the first place. When you’re already on the path towards wrong, it will be hard to resist.

It’s night and very dark (9). Should we be surprised? Remember, Proverbs often makes the comparison between light (God, righteousness) and darkness (evil).

How’s the woman dressed? In the attire of an harlot (10). Unfortunately, many Christian young women come very close to dressing this way. Think of what a harlot wears. Modesty never looks anything like that.

She’s also subtle—tricky (10). There’s more. She’s loud, stubborn, doesn’t stay at home, and goes out to lie in wait for some poor guy—to trap him (11-12). Contrast this woman with a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price (1 Peter 3:4b).

She catches him and kisses him (13)—physical first, talk later. This is always the wrong order. If your date comes on physically and refuses to truly communicate and doesn’t wait for marriage for all intimacy, you need to run. This is the wrong order of things.

With an impudent face, she pours on the seduction, “I’m free; I searched for you; I came to find you. My bed is ready, and it’s beautiful and comfortable and smells wonderful. Come, make love with me all night.” (14-18) It’s embarrassing even to read this. How can any woman be this forward? But, this same scene happens over and over in every city in the world. “I thought I might find you here” is the oldest come-on line in the book.

Years ago, we were part of a tour with a group of young people. A few of us parents went along. In a major European city, we were going out to get into our bus after breakfast. Would you believe that there were prostitutes on every single street corner—four at every crossroads? Strange women, trying to entrap men of little understanding.

Verses 19-20 give the detail that this harlot is actually married, but her husband’s away, and she knows he’ll be gone for a while. Do women do this today? Oh, yes. (And, so do men.)

With her much fair speech she caused him to yield, with the flattering of her lips she forced him (21). By the way, she didn’t have to do much forcing. He was already on his way to her house when we first saw this man. He wanted to be seduced. The fault for his sin was all his. The adulteress was personally responsible for her adultery, as well.

The next part of this Proverb shows the consequences of adultery and fornication: He goeth after her straightway, as an ox goeth to the slaughter, or as a fool to the correction of the stocks; Till a dart strike through his liver; as a bird hasteth to the snare, and knoweth not that it is for his life (22-23). Look at this carefully: slaughter, stocks, a dart through him, he doesn’t know he’ll die. The consequences of sexual sin are extremely serious.

The end of this Proverb broadens its warning to children, not only the son. The warning is clear: Let not thine heart decline to her ways, go not astray in her paths. For she hath cast down many wounded: yea, many strong men have been slain by her. Her house is the way to hell, going down to the chambers of death (25-27).

“Oh, but Mrs. Keiser, I would never go with a prostitute” Or, “I would never sleep with someone else’s husband.”

Did you know that many Christian women watch dirty movies, read risqué novels, and view porn on a regular basis? They have gone down the path towards that house.

Many strong men (and women) have been slain by her. Her house is the way to hell, going down to the chambers of death (26-27).

If you view anything that distracts you from having a pure mind, quit and get help. If you have a porn addiction (viewing or script), get biblical counseling. If you enjoy reading descriptions of immorality, quit and get help—and substitute squeaky clean Christian reading for it. These activities are addictive, just like gambling and drugs, and you may need counseling. Find your nearest Reformers Unanimous meeting place.* Get the help you need.

Wisdom is your sister. She wants the best for you.

God wants you to enjoy a clean, happy life.

Jesus said, I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly (John 10:10b).

*Reformers Unanimous, also called RU Recovery Ministries, is a faith-based organization for people battling any kind of addictive behavior. Its program includes group Bible studies, accountability, and support. For more information and finding a group near you, access their website here.

** For a post about Christian girls and modesty, you might enjoy “Why do some girls who truly love the Lord dress immodestly?”

Proverbs 6, Part 2: Don’t get burned!

What advice would parents give to a grown son? Some of the best advice in the world is found in this second part of Proverbs 6. (If you missed the first part, you can access it here.)

First, the son is reminded to keep his father and mother’s commandments. Every child should know to obey his mother and father. They are a protection for him. Although this son is obviously an adult, he’s admonished to heed his mother and father’s wise advice.

Proverbs 6:20-23 says, My son, keep thy father’s commandment, and forsake not the law of thy mother: Bind them continually upon thine heart, and tie them about thy neck. When thou goest, it shall lead thee; when thou sleepest, it shall keep thee; and when thou awakest, it shall talk with thee. For the commandment is a lamp; and the law is light; and reproofs of instruction are the way of life:

The sentence hasn’t ended. Good parental advice continues: To keep thee from the evil woman, from the flattery of the tongue of a strange woman. Lust not after her beauty in thine heart; neither let her take thee with her eyelids (verses 24-25). I think this is such an accurate picture! She flatters. “Hey, Handsome. Love your muscles. You are such a wonderful man.” Or whatever. She appeals to him with her words. Plus, she’s pretty. This woman bats her eyes and knows how to use body language to her advantage. Her aim? To entrap. Notice she’s called evil and strange—which is biblical code language for promiscuous.

If anyone was in doubt about her character, it’s explicit in the next verse: For by means of a whorish woman a man is brought to a piece of bread: and the adulteress will hunt for the precious life (26).

The next section addresses the way fornication affects the man. There are some profound teachings here, and I believe it’s important to understand the consequences of “playing around.” First two rhetorical questions: Can a man take fire in his bosom, and his clothes not be burned? (27) Can one go upon hot coals, and his feet not be burned? (28) The answer to both, of course, is no.

Application time: So he that goeth in to his neighbour’s wife; whosoever toucheth her shall not be innocent (29). This goes for women, too, by the way. I read on social media a sign that says, “Ladies, God will never send you another woman’s husband.” The sin of adultery isn’t innocent.

The next statement needs to be taken in its context. It is not teaching that it’s quite okay to steal if you’re hungry. We know from the Ten Commandments; Thou shalt not steal couldn’t be clearer. This is in the context of “stolen bread” as in adultery. Notice that for the thief, there are serious—sevenfold—consequences. Men do not despise a thief, if he steal to satisfy his soul when he is hungry; But if he be found, he shall restore sevenfold; he shall give all the substance of his house (30-31).

Now, the consequences of adultery are spelled out. The person who does it:

  • lacks understanding (32)
  • destroys his own soul (32)
  • will be wounded and dishonored (33)
  • His reproach shall not be wiped away (33)
  • He might become the brunt of the wronged husband’s anger, vengeance, etc. (34)
  • There’s no way the adulterer could pay the wronged husband (35).

Maybe you wouldn’t be tempted by an adulterous person. I have no idea, but the Bible advises all of us to be wary. It doesn’t matter how old you are or if you’re a man or a woman, you can be tempted in this way given the right circumstances. Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall (1 Corinthians 10:12).

When I was a teen, I was working in a summer camp. One of the co-directors was a drop dead handsome young man a few years older than I. He said he was a Christian, and he smoked. I didn’t. I never had any desire to smoke and never even gave it a thought.

One evening, the counselors were sitting around after the campers were in bed, and some of the counselors were smoking. This good-looking man offered me a cigarette. Now remember, I had never even entertained a thought towards smoking. None. But, for a split second, when this gorgeous guy was offering me the cigarette, I was tempted to take it … to fit in … to impress. Thankfully, the temptation was momentary, and I said no, thank you.

That experience taught me a valuable lesson. Though I thought I would never have any inclination to smoke, I did entertain the idea for a moment.

Though you might think you will never be tempted to commit fornication or adultery, take heed. You might.

When the time comes—and it probably will—remember that the Scripture guarantees that one’s reproach shall not be wiped away. Once a sexual sin is committed, it has already happened. Its reproach and destruction are present. Can a man (or woman) take fire in his bosom, and his clothes not be burned? No.

Listen to wise advice. For the commandment is a lamp; and the law is light; and reproofs of instruction are the way of life.

Proverbs 6, Part 1

In our study of Proverbs, we get a lot of practical advice. Remember, this is both a message from father to son and the inspired Word of God. When we read any book of the Bible, we need to see what’s there for us—which is, frankly, all of it. What is God saying to us? How can we learn from this passage? How can I put what I’ve learned into practice? All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works (2 Timothy 3:16-17).

In Proverbs 6, there are two distinct sections. One (verses 1-19) is a collection of various items of good, practical advice. The other is a warning about fornication and adultery (verses 20-35). So, let’s see what we learn.

The first five verses are about promising to pay exhorbitant interest rates on a loan. Some say that it permits cosigning for relatives but not others, and there are all kinds of interpretations. Some even believe that this first verse means that one cannot biblically take out a loan of any kind. Most commentators disagree. The consensus seems to be that signing a note demanding high interest rates is not wise. The Bible says to get out of it as soon as you can: Do this now, my son, and deliver thyself, when thou art come into the hand of thy friend; go, humble thyself, and make sure thy friend. Give not sleep to thine eyes, nor slumber to thine eyelids. Deliver thyself as a roe from the hand of the hunter, and as a bird from the hand of the fowler (verses 3-5). For us, it probably would apply to credit card debt and taking on other kinds of foolish debts where the interest could ruin us financially. The Bible is so practical!

Verses 6-11 express a powerful teaching against laziness. Part of this section goes like this: How long wilt thou sleep, O sluggard? when wilt thou arise out of thy sleep? Yet a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep: So shall thy poverty come as one that travelleth, and thy want as an armed man (9-11). In the New Testament the Apostle Paul instructs, For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat. Now them that are such we command and exhort by our Lord Jesus Christ, that with quietness they work, and eat their own bread (2 Thessalonians 3:10, 12). This isn’t about someone who cannot work for some reason; it’s about people who choose not to work out of laziness. In the Thessalonians passage, it goes on to say that those with too much time on their hands stuck their noses into other people’s business and made trouble in the churches. It also admonished against working too hard. I love how the Bible urges balance in every part of our lives. Basically this Proverb along with 2 Thessalonians 3 teach not to be lazy, but also not a workaholic.

Verses 12-15 describe a wicked person. He has a perverse mouth (verse 12). Isn’t it interesting that the first thing we learn about this person is the way he speaks? Jesus said, O generation of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good things? for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh (Matthew 12:34). As Christian women, our speech should be like the Virtuous Woman, who openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness (Proverbs 31:26).

The wicked person winks with his eyes, speaks with his feet, and teaches with his fingers. I read two commentaries that said that these actions of body language might be signals to his evil cohorts. I’m not sure. My experience is that wicked people seem to be friendly on the outside. They might wink and do the right things outwardly, yet they are rotten inside, because of a wicked heart. Whether signals or false appearances, Frowardness (Perversity) is in his heart, he deviseth mischief continually; he soweth discord. His reward isn’t pretty: Therefore shall his calamity come suddenly; suddenly shall he be broken without remedy (Proverbs 6:14-15). Do you know anyone like this? It’s sad, indeed. This is someone who doesn’t respect others. He’s all about his own agenda—which is to disturb and sow discord, maybe even commit crimes. When a woman is wicked, she may have some of the characteristics of the next section.

We could call verses 16-19 “The Abomination List.” These six things doth the LORD hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him:

  1. a proud look
  2. a lying tongue
  3. hands that shed innocent blood,
  4. an heart that deviseth wicked imaginations
  5. feet that be swift in running to mischief
  6. a false witness that speaketh lies
  7. he that soweth discord among brethren

In the Bible, God calls other things abominations, as well, but this list is the longest and contains the majority of them.

Which one is mentioned twice? Lying. Isn’t that food for thought?

This Proverb is long, and I’m going to divide it into two posts for its two parts.

I am always in awe of the practicality of the Bible. In this section, it has taught us about loans, laziness, and the characteristics of a wicked person. We also have a list of abominations, which includes: pride, lying (twice!), murder, scheming, willingness to commit crimes, and sowing discord among believers. I’m afraid I’ve been guilty of two of them. How about you?

I think this list helps us with God’s perspective. Can we gloss over sins? I don’t think so—especially when the Lord puts them in the category of abominations. For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all (James 2:10).

Since we’re all guilty, we can be so very thankful for God’s provision of salvation through Christ: But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8).

Have you asked Jesus to save you? For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved (Romans 10:13).

“My son” Proverbs 3’s caring advice

Addressing someone as son, daughter, or child shows affection and caring. This passage reminds me of the Apostle John, who often used the words little children to express his love and concern for the people to whom he wrote.

In Proverbs 3, there are two parts.

The first is addressed, my son. It’s a wonderful list of instructions from the Father:

  • Don’t forget my law—a good place to start.
  • Keep my commandments.
  • Don’t let mercy and truth get away from you.
  • Trust in the Lord with all your heart.
  • Don’t depend on your own understanding.
  • Look to God in everything you do.
  • Don’t think you’re wise.
  • Respect the Lord.
  • Reject evil.
  • Tithe.
  • Don’t resist when God brings you back into line. His correction is a sign that He loves you like a Father.

Then, there’s a list of blessings for the son (or daughter) who listens:

  • For length of days, and long life, and peace, shall they add to thee (verse 2).
  • So shalt thou find favour and good understanding in the sight of God and man (verse 4).
  • He shall direct thy paths (6). 
  • It shall be health to thy navel, and marrow to thy bones (8).
  • So shall thy barns be filled with plenty, and thy presses shall burst out with new wine (10).

The second section of Proverbs 3 is about finding wisdom and the characteristics of wisdom. I love the way it begins: Happy is the man that findeth wisdom, and the man that getteth understanding (13).

Wisdom’s value is better than the merchandise of silver, and the gain thereof than fine gold. She is more precious than rubies: and all the things thou canst desire are not to be compared unto her (14-15).

What are the benefits of wisdom?

  • Length of days
  • Riches and honour
  • pleasantness
  • peace
  • a source of life

Verse 19 begins talking about the Lord:

  • The LORD by wisdom hath founded the earth;
  • by understanding hath he established the heavens.
  • By his knowledge the depths are broken up, and the clouds drop down the dew.

Then, the Proverb swings back to advice for the son:

  • My son, let not them depart from thine eyes:
  • keep sound wisdom and discretion.
  • Be not afraid of sudden fear,
  • Don’t be afraid of the desolation of the wicked.
  • Withhold not good from them to whom it is due, when it is in the power of thine hand to do it.
  • Devise not evil against thy neighbour.
  • Strive not with a man without cause, if he have done thee no harm.
  • Envy thou not the oppressor.

Again, there’s a list of blessings for obedience:

  • So shall they be life unto thy soul, and grace to thy neck.
  • Then shalt thou walk in thy way safely, and thy foot shall not stumble.
  • When thou liest down, thou shalt not be afraid: yea, thou shalt lie down, and thy sleep shall be sweet.
  • For the Lord shall be thy confidence.

Many times in the book of Proverbs, God contrasts good and bad. At the end of Chapter 3, we have three comparisons of this type.

  1. The curse of the LORD is in the house of the wicked: but he blesseth the habitation of the just (33).
  2. Surely he scorneth the scorners: but he giveth grace unto the lowly (34).
  3. The wise shall inherit glory: but shame shall be the promotion of fools (35).

What do I get out of Proverbs 3? One thing I noticed this time through this chapter was the Father-son relationship and caring advice, obviously a parallel with God and His children.

How many times do we give good advice to our own children and tell them the blessings of obedience and consequences of disobeying? I’m not sure I was good at the first part—advising them of the blessings in store if they obeyed. I often only warned them of the consequences of disobedience. But, God is the perfect Parent, and He wisely lists the joys of obedience as motivation for His children.

Two of my favorite verses—and life guiding verses—are in this passage: Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths (5-6). These help me with priorities. They ground me. As a woman, I am too prone to try to figure things out, fix, and lean to mine own understanding. I love that that last phrase, direct thy paths, actually means to “make my way straight” or “straighten my way.” When things aren’t clear, when we don’t get it, He does—and He will straighten it all out if we trust in Him. It’s like releasing the reins and letting the horse take us home—only much, much better.

Have you enjoyed this affectionate chapter? Which lesson speaks to you? Please feel free to share.

How to be wise–and a few applications

Everyone old enough to read should study the biblical book of Proverbs. This is the second installment in our series. (You can read the first one, here.) As you know, the book of Proverbs is mostly written as if Wisdom is a person. She talks to Solomon and tells him how to be wise. This book of the Bible is just as valid today as it was in Solomon’s times.

Let’s open Chapter 2 and see what kind of advice we find.

I love the first part. It says that in order to have wisdom the son needs to listen, incline his ear, apply his heart, and even cry after wisdom, knowledge and understanding (verses 1-3).

It goes further. The son is to search for wisdom, knowledge, and understanding as if it were silver (money) or hidden treasure (verse 4).

The benefits of looking for wisdom: understanding and respecting the Lord, finding the knowledge of God (knowing Him), and wisdom (verse 5).

The source of wisdom is the Lord and His Word. Out of his mouth cometh knowledge and understanding (6).

Again, we see the benefits of wisdom:

  • God is a shield (Protector).
  • He preserves our way.
  • When you have wisdom and knowledge in your heart, you’ll have discretion, understanding, and be delivered from evil (7-11).

There are two parentheses in Proverbs 2. One describes an evil man. Wisdom will deliver us from this kind of a person. The evil man speaks perverse things, leaves the good path and walks in the ways of darkness (13). He rejoices in evil and enjoys the perversity of wicked people. His ways are crooked and perverse. It’s not a pretty picture.

The next parenthesis is a portrait of an evil woman, obviously immoral and possibly a harlot. She flatters. She has forsaken her parents’ guidelines and forgotten the covenant of her God (17). Her house inclineth unto death, and her paths unto the dead. None that go unto her return again, neither take they hold of the paths of life (18-19). This speaks of the moral consequences that await someone who has a relationship with a prostitute or adulteress.

Proverbs 6 describes the same scenario this way: To keep thee from the evil woman, from the flattery of the tongue of a strange woman. Lust not after her beauty in thine heart; neither let her take thee with her eyelids. For by means of a whorish woman a man is brought to a piece of bread: and the adulteress will hunt for the precious life. Can a man take fire in his bosom, and his clothes not be burned? Can one go upon hot coals, and his feet not be burned? So he that goeth in to his neighbour’s wife; whosoever toucheth her shall not be innocent (6:24-29).

Proverbs 2 now admonishes the son to walk in the way of good men, and keep the paths of the righteous (20). There’s a reward for good men.

The end of this chapter is a warning. The wicked shall be cut off from the earth, and the transgressors shall be rooted out of it (22).

How practical! We’ve learned the difference between evil men and women and the righteous. We’ve found out where to find wisdom—in the Bible—and its value and benefits.

May the Lord bless you, today!