Get rich quick? Really? Proverbs- Week 1- Day 4

If they say, Come with us, let us lay wait for blood, let us lurk privily for the innocent without cause:  (12)  Let us swallow them up alive as the grave; and whole, as those that go down into the pit:  (13)  We shall find all precious substance, we shall fill our houses with spoil:  (14)  Cast in thy lot among us; let us all have one purse:   

Proverbs 1:11-14

Explanation:

In these verses Solomon speaks to his son about the kind of enticing that the sinners may articulate.  You see a plan that includes needless violence, victimization of the innocent, murder for financial gain, and conspiring to do all of this as a group.

You find in these 4 verses two sections.  The first two verses articulate what they want to do.  They want to wait for the innocent to shed blood.  Notice they speak of the innocent in the singular in verse 11, but then as “them” or plural in verse 12.  The idea here is that it is not just a solitary event.  The invitation to do this means that the person who gives in adopts the lifestyle of the people enticing them.  They are now a part of their group.  Once you commit this kind of atrocity with someone else, you are connected to them.  When you begin to get involved in this way it can become a lifestyle that is difficult to leave.

The second section includes the reasons why they want to do this activity.  They want the financial gain.  They think that this is a way to “get rich quick”.  It’s “easy money”. 

Application:

In tomorrow’s verses we are going to see what Solomon says is the consequences of the person that gives in to the invitation of these kinds of people.  Just a few points of application here:

  • Even though these verses were written long ago, these kinds of propositions are being made, especially to the young, every day. 
  • People still seek to work together with others to victimize and steal from the innocent all the time.
  • We have all been invited to cut corners to get gain at the expense of the innocent at some point.
  • Believers not only avoid this kind of involvement, but seek to promote justice in the world wherever possible.
  • There is always some sort of promise of reward for doing the wrong thing.  We must recognize the folly of believing that this will end in our good. 

Response:

2 Questions:

  • Where am I enticed by the promise of “easy money” or reward for doing the wrong thing?
  • Where can I promote justice and righteousness in my world today?

Don’t Give in! Proverbs- Week 1- Day 3

My son, if sinners entice thee, consent thou not. 

Proverbs 1:10 

Explanation:

The speaker here continues to be Solomon.  In the two previous verses, Proverbs 1:8-9, He began speaking to his son about hearing and not forgetting the instruction and law of his parents.  Here in verse 10 he gives very practical instruction to his son.  “if sinners entice thee, consent thou not.”  Sinners do not always sin alone.  Often when we sin we want others involved.  It makes us feel less guilty when we are not the only one.  This can be a difficult temptation for any human being, but can be especially tempting for the young.  We want to be accepted.  We want to have friends.  The young often do not want to go against the flow. 

Solomon is warning his son of something that is to come.  He’s getting ahead of the temptation.  You are going to be invited to sin.  Do not give in.  This is wise. If the decision is made at the time of the temptation and not before, the right decision becomes more difficult to make.

Application:

In the New Testament, Paul makes the case that God the Father wants to help us in time of temptation.

There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it. 

1Corinthians 10:13 

Jesus, our Savior and God’s Son, was also tempted.  He defeated temptation with the Word of God.  He knows what we are going through, and wants to help us in the moment of temptation.

For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all p  points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.   

Hebrews 4:15

The Holy Spirit indwells the believer to help them at the moment of temptation.

(16) This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh…  (22) But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,  (23)  Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.  (24)  And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.  (25)  If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.

Galatians 5:16, 22-25

Response:

  • What can you do to walk in the Spirit today so that you are ready for temptation when it comes? 
  • If someone entices you today, don’t give in!  Decide now to do the right thing with God’s help.

Listen, kids! Proverbs- Week 1- Day 2

My son, hear the instruction of thy father, and forsake not the law of thy mother:  (9)  For they shall be an ornament of grace unto thy head, and chains about thy neck.

Proverbs 1:8-9

Explanation:

Solomon has begun the book by laying out the purpose of the literature. The purpose of these Proverbs is to give wisdom and instruction to the young, to the simple, and to those that will listen. This culminated to the most foundational beginning and primary truth. That truth is that “the fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge”.

It is in that context that Solomon begins to speak to his son. We as readers get to lean in and listen to this instruction. Certainly we can believe that any father would give their son the best advice they can give. There is little incentive to give your own children bad advice. They bear your name! God granted Solomon his request for wisdom, and so the ability to read the kingly advice of Solomon to his son is of utmost value.

Solomon tells his son to “hear” the instruction of thy father. The word translated “hear” does not just mean to physically comprehend what is being said. The word means to physically comprehend with an inclination towards obedience. Listen and obey the instruction of your Father. The idea is continued in the parallelism of the phrase. “Forsake not the law of thy mother”. Clearly this is not just speaking about physically listening, but also obeying.

In verse 9 he references “they”. What is “they” referring to? It is referring to the instruction of the father, and the law of the mother. This instruction and law will be an “ornament of grace”. The word for ornament is used twice in proverbs. It is used here, and also in Proverbs 4:9.

She shall give to thine head an ornament of grace: a crown of glory shall she deliver to thee.

Proverbs 4:9

The picture of this word is a wreath or a crown on the head. It is something that decorates the person wearing it. The idea is that this instruction and law will bring favor to your life by the obedience the son gives to it. Similarly they will be “chains about thy neck”. To wear jewelry and crowns at this time would be a sign of prosperity, favor, and riches.

Solomon is saying that heeding the instruction and law of your parents tends to lead to life, favor and blessing.

Application:

For children still living in their parents’ home, the application of this verse is pretty direct. There is blessing and favor for the child that listens and seeks to obey the guidance of their parents. The new testament repeats this directive and promise.

Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right.  (2)  Honour thy father and mother; (which is the first commandment with promise;)  (3)  That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth.

Ephesians 6:1-3

For the adult not in the home, the truth is no less direct. We should remember and not forsake the wise instruction and guidance handed down to us from our parents. If your parent wasn’t particularly wise, it doesn’t mean that there is not anything wise you could learn from them. There are others older and wiser. There are elders you may have access to in your local church from which to gain wisdom and instruction.

In the context of this passage, we all have access to the wisdom of the Lord contained in the scripture. We should heed the wisdom and instruction contained in the pages of scripture. When we obey the wisdom given to us it will bring us blessing.

Response:

  • What is something that you are doing that is unwise?
  • Is there anything that your parents taught you to do that you are forsaking?

The Fear of the Lord- Proverbs Week 1- Day 1

The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.  

Proverbs 1:7

Explanation:

This verse is the foundational principle of the entire book of Proverbs.  The word “fear” has the idea of moral reverence, but does include dread or being scared.  One who understands the potential of the Lord has a reverent awe, and even a dread of Him knowing their own sinfulness.  The word translated Lord is the transliterated yehovah.  It means “self-Existent or eternal”, and is one of the most used names of God, showing up 6,521 times in the Old Testament.. 

Notice that the fear of the Lord is the result of special revelation.  The fear of the Lord is confirmed by natural revelation in this way.  When someone looks at the world they could come to the conclusion that something or someone more powerful than ourselves must have caused all of what we see in creation.  Yet, there is no fear of Jehovah God without knowledge of Him specifically.  We could not properly understand who Jehovah God is without His self-disclosure.  He had to reveal Himself to us.  In His amazing grace He has revealed Himself to us.  This is what Solomon says is the beginning of knowledge.  It is a right, reverent, and fearful response to God’s revelation about Himself. 

The Word “beginning” doesn’t just speak to chronology but also to priority.  One does not rightly understand themselves or the world around them properly until they take on God’s view of the World.  “What the alphabet is to reading, notes to reading music, and numerals to mathematics, the fear of the Lord is to attaining the revealed knowledge of this book.” (Waltke)

There is a contrast to the beginning of the statement.  Those that properly grow in knowledge begin with the fear of the Lord, but the contrasting person is the fool.  The attitude of the fool towards wisdom and instruction (also special revelation from God) is that He despises these things.  There is no reverence for the Lord.  There is a lack of fear.  

Application:

The fundamental question of so much of the book of Proverbs is the question that could be surmised from this verse.  Which person am I going to be?  Am I going to be wise, fearing the Lord and therefore caring most for his view of me?  Am I going to adopt his revealed word both in understanding and in obedience?  Or am I going to be the fool who despises wisdom and instruction?

Response:

Where do you need God’s wisdom and instruction in your life today?

Bibliography

Waltke, Bruce K. New International Commentary on the Old Testament: Proverbs. Grand Rapids, Michigan: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2004. E Sword Software.