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Warnings Against Folly
My son, if you have put up security for your neighbor, if you have shaken hands in pledge for a stranger, you have been trapped by what you said, ensnared by the words of your mouth. So do this, my son, to free yourself, since you have fallen into your neighbor’s hands: Go—to the point of exhaustion—and give your neighbor no rest! Allow no sleep to your eyes, no slumber to your eyelids. Free yourself, like a gazelle from the hand of the hunter, like a bird from the snare of the fowler. Go to the ant, you sluggard; consider its ways and be wise! It has no commander, no overseer or ruler, yet it stores its provisions in summer and gathers its food at harvest. How long will you lie there, you sluggard? When will you get up from your sleep? A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest—and poverty will come on you like a thief and scarcity like an armed man. A troublemaker and a villain, who goes about with a corrupt mouth, who winks maliciously with his eye, signals with his feet and motions with his fingers, who plots evil with deceit in his heart—he always stirs up conflict. Therefore disaster will overtake him in an instant; he will suddenly be destroyed—without remedy. There are six things the Lord hates, seven that are detestable to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked schemes, feet that are quick to rush into evil, a false witness who pours out lies and a person who stirs up conflict in the community. Vs 1-19
Warning Against Adultery
My son, keep your father’s command and do not forsake your mother’s teaching. Bind them always on your heart; fasten them around your neck. When you walk, they will guide you; when you sleep, they will watch over you; when you awake, they will speak to you. For this command is a lamp, this teaching is a light, and correction and instruction are the way to life, keeping you from your neighbor’s wife, from the smooth talk of a wayward woman. Do not lust in your heart after her beauty or let her captivate you with her eyes. For a prostitute can be had for a loaf of bread, but another man’s wife preys on your very life. Can a man scoop fire into his lap without his clothes being burned? Can a man walk on hot coals without his feet being scorched? So is he who sleeps with another man’s wife; no one who touches her will go unpunished. People do not despise a thief if he steals to satisfy his hunger when he is starving. Yet if he is caught, he must pay sevenfold, though it costs him all the wealth of his house. But a man who commits adultery has no sense; whoever does so destroys himself. Blows and disgrace are his lot, and his shame will never be wiped away. For jealousy arouses a husband’s fury, and he will show no mercy when he takes revenge. He will not accept any compensation; he will refuse a bribe, however great it is. Vs 20-35
The chapter opens telling us we are not to let ourselves become dependent upon another. We are only to be dependent upon the Lord, not that of man. Man cannot provide what is best, that is something only God has the ability to do. If we do find ourselves under the thumb of another, we are to humbly, quickly and smoothly free ourselves.
We are then told seven things that are detestable by God and the punishment they may bring.
- Being snobbish
- Killing the innocent
- Devising wicked schemes
- Rushing toward evil
- A false witness
- Stirring up dissension
Choosing to take part in any of the above things can cause us to become lazy, which can lead to poverty. Poverty, material and/or spiritual, will lead us down a path of desperation, which can bring about a corrupt mouth followed by disaster and ultimately destruction that is unfixable. Wow! That’s harsh. If you remember the previous chapters, wisdom to help us avoid this is always offered to us by God. We have the choice whether or not we accept and use this wisdom. We are also given a glimpse of what could happen if we ignore His wisdom. Have you ever been overcome by folly, or laziness? I certainly have. A few years ago, I gave my husband a kidney and was told I needed to take it easy so my body could properly heal. While my body healed my mind became lazy. I became all to aware of how things could be put off or not done at all. It took a severe kick in the pants from God to get myself up off the couch and back into life. You can read more about this on my post ‘Wrestling With God’.
We now receive another warning against adultery. This warning is a little different than the one in the last chapter. We’re told to focus on the teachings and commands of our parents. They will guide us on our path to life. However, if we choose to ignore their knowledge and become captivated by an adulteress/adulterer there will be consequences. We will be despised and judged. This path will bring disgrace and shame; not only to ourselves, but also to those we love. Is there someone in your life you can help who’s been captivated by an adulteress/adulterer?
My prayer for us today ~ Father God, thank you for the warning which comes from folly. I pray Lord we use the wisdom you offer to steer clear of folly. May we also offer help and encouragement to those we see struggling with folly and the temptations of an adulteress/adulterer, Amen