Read: Proverbs 6
Background: Proverbs is a book of modern wisdom. Even though it was written thousands of years ago, it makes sense for us today-proof that it is God’s word. Writers of wisdom literature, like Proverbs, value both tradition and their own experience. They also have a broad range of people in mind. When Solomon wrote Proverbs his audience was the old, young, rich, poor, skilled and unskilled. This means that Proverbs 6 has something to say to each one of us.
1-5- If you are unable to keep a promise, be humble about it and make things right. Do not be trapped by that unmet promise and allow it to burden you. Work at making the situation right.
6-11- Don’t be lazy! Poverty is the reward for laziness.
12-15- Disaster is the reward for stirring up evil.
16- There are seven things that are detestable to the Lord and that he hates. Seven is the number of perfection so this signifies God’s perfect hate for these sins.
20-23- Obey your parents because they have wisdom for your life.
25-29- Sexual immorality is a huge temptation in this broken world. Solomon is urging us to not even come close to such a sin. Know the areas of your life where you are tempted most, and stay far away!
32-33 Disgrace is the reward for adultery.
Think: I feel like Proverbs 6 can be best described through the old cartoon of Wile E. Coyote and the Road-Runner. Coyote thinks he is wise in all of his scheming and plotting, but over and over again ends up in a worse place than where he started. He wants more than anything to catch his enemy, the Road-Runner, and he pursues that desire with everything he has. As he does this, Road-Runner always outsmarts him and the destruction ends up on Coyote. As we watch him we wonder why he doesn’t give up his pursuit. His plotting leads to destruction and he cannot seem to escape the cycle.
One of the cycles we see in this chapter is laziness. It is so easy to continue to be lazy and so hard to be productive, but Solomon warns us that if we don’t escape our laziness poverty will come. We may disregard this but I don’t think financial poverty is the only thing going on here. Think about this, if you are lazy about reading the word of God you are creating a heart that is spiritually poor. If we don’t pursue the schooling or work God has put before us we are robbing ourselves of intelligence.
Next, Solomon warns us against the cycle of stirring up dissension. It is so easy for us to fall into this cycle too! A little gossip here and a complaining attitude there will stir up dissension among us. We have to fight against our natural desire to complain and gossip because it has huge implications. Remember, our only reward for such talk and actions is disaster!
Sexual immorality is another path to destruction, Solomon says. A short look at a magazine and watching the commercials during your favorite show may seem innocent, but Proverbs warns us that it may be like scooping fire into your lap. Lust is a very real temptation for us and it is easy to go from one glance to an addiction quick. It is easy to get into a situation where boundaries no longer seem to matter. If we do not fight against sexual immorality, if we do not fight to protect our souls, we will be overcome by a cycle of lust. And lust leads to disgrace and shame.
Seems a little depressing huh? Sin is tugging at us constantly and we have to fight to not give in. Yes, this is true, but there is also hope. Solomon encourages us to look to our parents for wisdom and insight. He is assuming that our parents are being obedient to Christ and desire to see us doing that as well. Hating the discipline of our parents is the pathway to death, but obedience is the path to life! Wow, there is great promise in these words. God has given us parents to teach and correct us and Solomon encourages us to take advantage of that.
We must always remember that no amount of obedience is possible without the power of the Holy Spirit at work in our lives and that no amount of disobedience disqualifies us from God’s grace. Jesus came to heal our broken cycles and reverse the patterns of sin in the world. May we rejoice in that truth as we pursue obedience.
Ask: Do you feel like Wile E. Coyote, caught up in sin and reaping the disaster of that? Pray and ask God to speak into the areas of sin in your life right now. Ask him to discipline you so that you can be on the path of life. Ask God to reveal his grace to you in a new way.
Written by KVH, recent recipient of a B.A. in Religion from Central College 🙂