The words of King Lemuel, the oracle which his mother taught him: What, O my son? And what, O son of my womb? And what, O son of my vows? Proverbs 31:1-2
Who is king Lemuel? According to some the name was a pet name for Solomon. Thus, this would make the woman speaking this his mother, Bathsheba. God called Solomon Jedidiah, which means "beloved of the Lord." Lemuel means "devoted to the Lord." Several commentators believe this may have been a pet name for Solomon used by Bathsheba. I love pet names. I have several for my children (which I won't mention because it might embarass them). Most pet names arise because of love - and most are spoken in love as well. How this was the case for Bathsheba.
This is described as being the "prophecy" that his mother taught him. Prophecy here is "massa" which means a burden or a load. It was a weight that his mother carried with her all her days - and it was truths as a result of that burden that she spoke strongly to her son. Considering what happened to Bathsheba and David it is easy to see why this would have been a burden to her. She may have heard whisperings in the palace all of her life - whisperings that were the result of her sin with David. Thus we can see that her burden would be to save her son from a similar fate by warning him of some things to avoid as a man - and especially as a king. Those words come later - for now let's take a closer look at that pet name - Lemuel.
Bathsheba speaks of Solomon as her son - as the son of her womb and the son of her vows. We can only imagine the difficulty and pain Bathsheba felt after her sin with David - and the loss of their child born of their sin. Would God ever give her another child? Had her sin cost her everything? These are the words of a woman who needed to know God's grace.
Ever wonder why Solomon was called Jedidiah by God? This means "beloved of the Lord," and was to be a sign to David and Bathsheba that this boy was dearly loved of the Lord. What a glorious picture of grace this is to us! And now that we see that his mother who carried him considered him the "son of her vows" it becomes even more precious to us. It is easy to see Bathsheba coming to her own repentance. These words may be her own Psalm 51 moment. She knew she should not have committed adultery with the king. She knew she should not have consented to the cover up with him - one in which she unwittingly was an accessory to the murder of her own husband. Oh the guilt and pain that must have racked her from day to day. Then came the death of her first child - the very child that resulted from her sin. It would be easy to see her sinking into utter despair and depression. Yet we see her doing this. Instead we see her turning to the Lord in repentance and in making new vows to God to be a woman of character and godliness! And how God accepted her brokenness as a gift and a prize. He gave her a son - and afterward God gave him a pet name - Jedidiah - the beloved of God - for the Lord loved this child that resulted from the grace on the other side of David's sin.
Here dear saints is the wisdom for today. Never give up on turning to God in repentance and in faith. Never turn away and think you've gone too far. If you do - think of Bathsheba and David. Think of the shame and disgrace of their sin - and the cost of the child afterwards. Then think of the name that Bathsheba called her son within the palace. Consider that this child of her vows was a constant reminder to her that the Lord loved him too! He heard her prayers and cries of confession. He too loved the child on the other side of repentance - as he does everything that is birthed after we break and turn to Him.
So, if you are tempted and tried - sorely grieving your own sins. If you struggle with whether God will receive you - welcome one so stained and damaged by rebellion and wickedness. Think of the lovely wafting sounds of "Lemuel!" sounding through the palace. She too had a pet name - one that reminded her of God's own name for her son. Think of a child that God gave a name to remind you that He loved him and that He forgave you. Think of a pet name - a name that was uttered with a smile upon Bathsheba's face. Think of that name that reminded her that though her sins were as scarlet - God washed them whiter than snow! That, dear saints, is wisdom - and it is also the glorious grace of God! May He ever be praised and glorified for shedding it upon us!
Do not slander a slave to his master, Or he will curse you and you will be found guilty. Proverbs 30:10
Here is an interesting proverb that speaks to a couple of issues. First it speaks to the issue of gossip. We are being told not to slander a slave to his master. The slander here is speaking false, damaging statements against a third party to someone. We are not to speak with our mouths that which is false and slanderous. What I love here is that God seeks to protect the weakest with this admonition. God's statement here is protecting a slave - who is slandered to his master. Too many think that just because a man is not a person of power and influence - they do not have the same rights as others. Our system of justice seeks to right this wrong - and it was based in many ways on the teaching of Scripture. God wanted to protect the weakest from even the strongest. Justice is blind - and should be the same whether when dealing with a poor man or a rich one. In the same way - we should refrain from gossiping about anyone - no matter what their status in life. What I find interesting is that God says in Psalm 101:5 that He Himself will avenge this kind of action with destruction.
The second thing to note here is that God does care about employer/employee relationships. He wants a basic fairness to be used when dealing with these situations. Thus the Lord speaks to the idea of a slave being slandered to his master. We do not want these relationships to turn bitter and divided. In the early years of this century employers took such bad advantage of their employees that they began to unionize. This was profitable in the short run - but has become a disaster in the long term. Now we have groups whose whole purpose is to stimulate bad blood between employer and employee. This will not be good for business in the long run. That is why even the slave is given recourse here. He is allowed to bring charges against the false statements made about him. Therefore all in society are reminded that there is a basic justice that will prevail in the dealings of men with other men.
In the end, though, we are reminded that God wants us to shut our mouths when it comes to slander and gossip. How much better served we are to make such matters a chance to pray hard to know what to do and how to do it. That way we do not foment the kind of anger and hatred that has been the downfall of many businesses. Let us be reminded that God does not want mob rule. But let us also be reminded that those who do not want mob rule, must embrace those in authority over them, pray for them, and talk with them in a respectable manner.
When the righteous increase, the people rejoice, But when a wicked man rules, people groan. Proverbs 29:2 Ah, the Bible weighs in on politics - or at least on the kind of people who rule over a nation. One of the things that grieved me when we were facing revelations of presidential and congressional immorality was how many people stated that it did not matter what a person did in his private life - as long as he was a good President or a good Senator or Congressman. According to what we have written in Proverbs that kind of reasoning is very faulty. We knew it back then - but it is good to see that what we felt in our gut is confirmed by the Lord. The phrase, "when the righteous increase," is actually not saying that when the number of righteous people grows larger. It is speaking of when the righteous become great - or when they are in authority. The idea here is that a godly man rises to the point where he is given greater authority over the ruling matters of the nation. When this happens - the people will rejoice! Oh, that we would see this at some point in our nation. Thus who ruled our nation early were concerned that we would have godly rulers and godly people in positions of authority. The discussions early on when the republic was formed was whether we were "good enough people" to be ruled in this way. Rather than the lowest common denominator being sought - we were concerned whether we, as a people, could be godly and good enough to maintain our nation. That is no longer the case. In fact, it almost seems that we cheer for our godly men and women to fall and to be cast down. We don't want heros - but anti-heros in our land. The end of this is corruption and bad law. We want to sink lower and lower - and are shocked when our rulers act in ways that are ungodly. We act shocked when they are corrupt to the core. Our real problem is that we don't demand godly leaders! We don't tell both parties that we will not tolerate anything less. If we did this - then those who make our laws would be willing to live according to them. We would not have men and women making our laws who exempt themselves from having to obey them. We have come to grasp the second half of this proverb though. When the wicked rule - the people mourn and groan. The Hebrew word usually used for wicked, "ra" is not used here. Instead "rasha" is - which points to people who are criminals. This does describe many who rule us today. We have people writing our tax code who don't even pay their taxes. We have leaders who run an entire presidential campaign while hiding a child they've had in an adulterous affair. We have Governors who run off to other countries to have sexual liasons with their mistresses and leave their posts unattended. What we have . . . is a mess. What is the result? The people of the United States groan and mourn as their elected leaders take care of themselves - but who leave them uncared for and forsaken. We have leaders who do not think ahead to how their policies will affect our children and grandchildren. We have men and women committed to ungodly ideologies which will destroy our nation in time. All the while we groan - and are even told that committed godly Christians are unwanted in government affairs. We will continue to groan if we continue to elect wicked people to office. There is no cure for America if we continue to do this. We must no longer consider our wallets and short-term prosperity to be our goal when choosing leaders. What we need are godly men and women to lead us. Men and women who desire the best for our country and for its people. We need people of righteous character and actions to be our leaders - those who do not have this quality are wholly unsuited to lead us - now - or in the future.
He who conceals his transgressions will not prosper, But he who confesses and forsakes them will find compassion. Proverbs 28:13
Here is a proverb that agrees perfectly with what is said in the New Testament. We read in 1 John 1:9 that if we confess our sins God is faithful and just to forgive our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. This is that truth stated in another way. Whereas the 1 John passage states this truth in the positive only, this proverb also warns us about not dealing with our sins.
The Concealer . . . First we are told about the fate of the one who conceals his transgressions. The word "conceal" means to cover - and has the idea of a cover up. This man is hiding his transgressions (word meaning a sin or rebellion - here against God and His Law and way). He is not willing to bring his sin to light before God. Therefore he hides his rebellion thinking that God does not see him. This word was used to describe how Joseph's brothers tried to hide their sin when they dipped his coat in goat's blood and brought to Jacob.
Psalm 32:5 also speaks of his particular sin of hiding and trying to cover up our sin. The Psalmist says, "I acknowledged my sin to You, And my iniquity I did not hide; I said, "I will confess my transgressions to the Lord"; And You forgave the guilt of my sin. Selah." When he was trying to hide his sin from God, the Psalmist had nothing but grief and pain - but when he faced his sin before God that is when he received forgiveness. Hiding our sins is not only counterproductive - it is also kind of silly. We serve a God Who is omniscient. He knows all things. When Adam and Eve tried to hide in the garden - it was out of shame and rebellion. The problem for them was that God could still see them - and did even as they committed the first sin. Cain answered God rebelliously when God asked where his brother Abel was. Cain must have thought God did not see - but he did - and Abel's blood was crying out to God from the ground. Moses thought he could kill the Egyptian and hide him in the piles of grain - but God saw - as well as some other Hebrews. The simple fact of all this is that we can never hide our sin from a holy, omniscient God. He truly sees all!
Proverbs tells us that this man who is trying to conceal his sin will not prosper. "Prosper" is tsalach and means to succeed or to be victorious. It has the idea of breaking out or breaking through - and has a military aspect to it. It spoke of how an army would break through their enemies - which was a sure sign that they were about to defeat their enemies. But what Proverbs says to us is that concealing our sins is a sure way to know we will NOT PROSPER! We will not break through to God - we will not break through to victory - we will not break through to see strongholds and sins overcome. And beyond that - we won't prosper spiritually period! If this was all this proverb said - it would be great counsel - but would leave us with just a warning. Yet God does not want us only to receive correction - He wants us to receive counsel.
The Lord wants us to confess and forsake our sin. When we choose rebellion and sin against God, we are in serious trouble. We are facing judgment if we do not know Christ - or discipline if we do. What we need is grace - we need God's compassion. That is exactly what Proverbs is wanting to teach us. How do we obtain the compassion of God when we sin?
First, we confess our sins and rebellion. What is fascinating here is the word that God uses to describe confession. The Hebrew word is "yadah." This word means to throw towards - to cast something towards. Here it means to throw off our sin and cast it towards God. It means that we are throwing all our sin and rebellion to God - with a desire for Him to show us forgiveness and compassion. What is wild is that this same word is used for praising God - meaning that we are casting our hands up into the air and casting our praises toward God. God does not want us to try to hold our sins close to us - He wants us to cast those sins away from us and toward Him for His compassion and grace!
There is a second thing God desires here for us to receive compassion. Some teach that all we need to do is to confess our sins and everything is fine with God. That is true - if this second attitude is present. If it is not - I do not believe the Bible says that we will receive forgiveness. We also need to forsake our sins. This word means to abandon, desert, leave behind, completely neglect and STOP. When we come to God seeking His compassion and forgiveness - we need to come with a heart that says, "Please forgive me God . . . and I also want to forsake and abandon my sin." This is the kind of heart that finds compassion before God. Compassion means that God shows us mercy and a deep, kindly sympathy.
This verse is so key to us knowing fellowship and grace from God. It is so important for us to grasp the call of God to us to deal with our sins and rebellion. I honestly believe that just as 1 John 1:9 is such a blessed verse - this verse in Proverbs 28:13 is as well. Oh that we would hear this and heed it as well. Believe me, if we do, we will obtain the grace, mercy, and compassion that we need.
A stone is heavy and the sand weighty, But the provocation of a fool is heavier than both of them. Proverbs 27:3There are some heavy things that people have to carry. Among them are things like sand and stones. I remember having to carry a pile of decorative stone from the front yard of a home all the way to the back yard. At first I thought the job was going to be easy. The stones were fairly large, but easy to carry at first. About the time I got to the middle of the pile the ease of carrying these stones began to go down. It was as if they were getting heavier all the time. You probably know that by the time I reached the bottom of the pile - the stones seemed really heavy. It became difficult to carry them to the back of the yard where they were going. One might say that they became quite a load. That is what Proverbs is saying to us about dealing with the fool.
The actions this Proverb speaks of are the "provocation" of a fool. Provocation is not exactly a word we use often in our society - it means to provoke someone. The Hebrew word is "kaas" and it means to cause vexation and anger. It is like someone poking you again and again until it provokes you to the point of being very angry. This word is even used to speak of how idolatry angers God and provokes Him to that anger and wrath.
The fool is the man who doesn't quite get it. He does something but doesn't understand the problems that his actions are causing. He not only does it once - but repeats it again and again. Elsewhere in the proverbs we are told that like a dog returns to its vomit, so a fool returns to his folly. Thus the actions that cause a problem, or the ones that provoke people to anger are repeated again and again. This can be maddening on a personal level - and it can be devastating on a societal one.
This is why we are told that it would almost be better to have to carry the weight of sand and stones rather than have to deal with a fool who is constantly provoking us to anger and frustration. This is also why the Word counsels us to refrain from "hanging around" fools. To do so is to eventually invite amazing levels of provocation into your life, which is not exactly something we are all dying to have every day.
Like snow in summer and like rain in harvest, So honor is not fitting for a fool. Proverbs 26:1Proverbs spends a great deal of time on a few issues. Among these are wisdom, finances, our words, and discernment. Another of the issues it deals with is the fool. We can learn a great deal about what it means to be a fool - his conduct, his words, and his actions. This is given to us not so that we can be better fools, but rather so that we can avoid being a fool - and - so that we can avoid the company of fools.
Our society honors fools. If you don't think that is true - take a closer look at who often wins political elections. Take a look at those in the sporting world whose only ability is that of being skilled at a game - but who's character lacks greatly. Take a look at the honor given to Hugh Hefner, the founder of Playboy. These people are fools - yet our society gives them honor that they do not deserve. As a result of this - people are drawn to them. This in turn leads to people aping their lifestyles and their choices. Societal disaster results.
I love the way that the proverb makes it clear how inappropriate it is to give honor to a fool. It is like experiencing snow in the summer. That is something that we know is not normal - nor is it desired. Snow in summer would wreak havoc on the crops that we grow for our food. It would mean that the temperatures would drop to a point where the land and animals would be grossly affected - and that negatively. Snow is not fitting in summer. Neither is rain in the harvest. The natural run of things is that we have a drying spell in the fall prior to the harvest. In the fall of 2009 that was not the case. We had day after day of rain - heavy rains. That was not fitting - it was not good. There were numerous crops that were damaged, while others were destroyed completely. Rain in the harvest is not a good thing.
Now, let us take this example and apply it. Giving honor to a fool is not good - it is not fitting. As I stated earlier, Hugh Hefner (founder of Playboy) is given honor in our society. This is not good. His actions and business has done irrepairable harm to millions of men - and has been the catalyst for adultery, sexual immorality, and lewdness in our society. He has made it far more acceptible to treat women as mere objects and has also put into men's minds that the life of the playboy is the way to live. His influence will result in untold numbers of people engaging in sexual misconduct. When you consider the number of people who will contract sexually transmitted diseases - who will pass them on to others - and even those innocent wives whose husbands infect them with syphillis, herpes, and even AIDS - you begin to see the damage. This is not a man deserving of honor. This is a fool. He is a man who mocks God and God's ways. He is a man who will deceive millions to adopt his lifestyle and ruin their lives. Thus you see what damage is done due to honoring a fool.
Saints of God - avoid the fool. But more than just avoiding him - avoid giving any additional honor to him. The fool will one day pay the price for his foolishness. But for now - his foolishness, if exalted in our society, will do great harm and damage. Do not bring the snow in summer or the rain in harvest. Speak and do that which is right and proper in God's sight. That is the way to bring honor and blessing to your posterity and to your nation. The way of the fool only brings harm.
Like apples of gold in settings of silver Is a word spoken in right circumstances. Proverbs 25:11
There are certain people who know just what to say at the perfect moment. Something needs desperately to be said and they are the ones who usually say it. Whether you know it or not, it is wisdom that gives them the ability to say these kinds of things.
Like apples of gold in settings of silver. Now there is something that is worth a little. You can imagine this artwork as not only being beautiful to the eye - but also of amazing wealth as well. It is the kind of thing one would hang on a wall as a decoration, but would also have listed as a very valuable asset too. This is equated to how very valuable a word spoken just at the right time is. This statement speaks of how appropriate words used just at the right moment in time can be invaluable to someone.
We see Jesus doing this again and again in His life. When attacked by the Pharisees and Saducees with a question they think is unanswerable without incrimination, Jesus speaks the perfect word at the perfect time. This kind of ability and skill is a wonderful thing to have when counselling or when offering comfort to those who are hurting or have just lost a loved one.
In order to be able to say these kinds of things we need to have an ear open in two directions. First, we need to have our ears open to God. He is the One who can give us the perfect thing to say - because He is the One who can see into every heart and know just what to say. Knowing and being able to communicate God's Word in one-on-one situations is such a blessing to those who receive it. But to know these kinds of statements, we must walk close to God. Second, we need to have our ears open to those around us. Far too many people are never able to speak these kinds of words, because they don't even know that others around them need to hear them. So preoccupied are they with their own trials and troubles - or honestly with their own desires - that they don't hear the hearts of those who are struggling and in desperate need of a word of encouragement and edification.
James encourages us to be quick to hear and slow to speak. That kind of wisdom will allow us to hear others - to hear their hurts and their problems - so that we can apply the Word of God in a way that brings healing and grace to them. It will be then that we can offer these apples of gold in settings of silver to those around us who desperately need to hear more than just words - they need to hear the right words - the perfect words for their circumstances.
If you are slack in the day of distress, Your strength is limited. Proverbs 24:10Why do distresses and troubles come to us? I know that I would like it much better if I had a life without these things. In fact most often I think that these kind of things are not just a problem - they are an annoyance. Some equate such things to the devil - as if troubles never come to us within the will of God or have a purpose in what He does in our lives. But they have tremendous purpose. Without them we would face grave problems in the end. Let's take a few moments today then and look closer at how God uses trials and distress for our good.
The proverb today says that we are slack if in the day of distress our strength is limited. The word "slack" here means to cease and desist, to become discouraged or disheartened. To be slack in the day of distress is to lack the strength to face the distress or trial and thus to quit - become discouraged or disheartened by it. How often have we faced distresses only to realize that we lose heart in the midst of them. We don't have the strength to go through them without becoming seriously discouraged? That is why they are given to us. To teach us when we lack strength - or lack the kind of mindset that makes us fight when things get rough. We need distresses because it is only when we are tried and tested that we can know if we are learning anything from the Lord. It is only in these times that we will know whether we are just being religious - or whether we are gaining the strength to stand when things get difficult for us.
Without distresses we would not know the joy of knowing that God's strength is sufficient for us to stand in any situation. As we go through these things, we learn that our hearts need to be stronger and our minds more filled with God's Word. We learn when our thinking is off and easily led astray in trouble. These things are vital to us as we seek to mature in the Lord. Yes, it is tough to go through a distress - and on top of it learn that our strength is limited. But when we learn this - we turn to the Lord - realizing that it is only in Him that we will be able to stand in every distress and every trial!
When you sit down to dine with a ruler, Consider carefully what is before you, 2 And put a knife to your throat If you are a man of great appetite. 3 Do not desire his delicacies, For it is deceptive food. Proverbs 23:1-3What should one do when invited to dinner by a person of influence and power? This is what the writer of Proverbs addresses in the first three verses of chapter 23. For many this would be the time to indulge themselves - live it up - you're eating with the ruler! But the counsel of Solomon is to consider what is before you. Let's look at reasons why we should be careful when we eat with a ruler or person of great authority.
First, we should never go into any situation without our wits intact. It is very unwise to go anywhere without the wisdom of God. In the moment that you think it is perfectly safe and you do not need to be wise and judicious, you will find that this is the place the devil has set up for a major attack. Always consider what is before you - where you are - what is proper - and what is wise.
Why is this the case when being invited by a ruler to dinner? First we need to consider just "who" is before us. That is the gist of what the writer of Proverbs is saying to us. A ruler is not in the habit of just inviting anyone to eat with him. There may be an ulterior motive in this meeting - a test that is set before you in addition to the food itself. Second, there is the realization that when you eat with a ruler you will probably have the finest of everything. There are those who after such a meal would immediately go out into the world and decide they are going to eat the same way. There are foods and drinks that are ridiculously priced simply because the rich and powerful want to be different from the rest of the world. I've seen restaurants that serve tiny little portions of food and yet charge outrageous prices - simply because poeple who are rich and who frequent that restaurant will pay the prices to do so. What a sad commentary on the pride of man this is - yet it happens. One thing you should consider is that you are NOT a ruler - and that though it will be cool to eat that way that evening - life will return to normal tomorrow. Though you eat with a ruler - and he thinks his food is best, truth does not rest with the ruler - but with God who created all things to enjoy. Finally, consider that often the fare of kings is usually indulgent. This is not the best food for you anyway. There are a multitude of stories where the king or ruler only ate delicacies -but in the end - his super-indulgent food unfortunately was his demise as diseases that come with such eating habits cut his life short.
This is why verse 2 says that we should "put a knife to your throat if you are a man of great appetite." In layman's terms - don't make a pig of yourself. Don't let your appetite take over at this moment. Keep your wits about you as you sit and dine with him. It is unwise to let our appetites run loose in any situation. Remember, we are fallen and sinful. Our entire nature has been affected by sin. Thus to trust your own intense desires is to get yourself into a world of hurt in the long run. Thus . . . put a knife to your throat. Wow, what a strong statement. He doesn't say, "eat in moderation." He says, "Put a knife at your own throat." Remember dear one, that the farmer puts quite the buffet out for his pigs and cattle. They can eat to their heart's content thinking all is innocent. Yet the truth is that they are being fattened for the slaughter. Oh, how we need to consider such things when wanting to give ourselves to our own appetites.
The third verse of this proverb tells us not to desire the delicacies of the king - because it is deceptive food. Here is the line where the rubber hits the road. This food is deceptive. It is not reality! The ruler and the one in authority eats much different than we do. If you don't think this is the case - look at the daily table that Solomon had put before him. That portion was tremendous. That is the reminder to keep before us at feasts. Enjoy them with wisdom guiding your mind and behavior, but do not think this is the norm - nor should you give yourself over to a pursuit of such a lifestyle. It is interesting to note that the following verses after these warn against the pursuit of wealth.
A time of feasting is wonderful when it happens, and if you get the opportunity to dine with a ruler that is even more a blessing. But be careful and allow wisdom to guide your mind and heart as you do. There are dangers here as there are in anything you do. You may be sitting at a table where your actions are being judged. You also may be tempted to give yourself to an appetite that will mislead you. Finally, you may be led by your selfish desires to want a lifesytle exactly like the ruler with whom you dine. To do so would be foolish and would plunge you into a pursuit that is outside the will of God for your life. I know it sounds severe - but put that knife to your own throat as you do so. It will help you enjoy what is before you - and when you leave - you will still have your heart and your wits about you as you return to much more standard fare of those who are everyday people.
The prudent sees the evil and hides himself, But the naive go on, and are punished for it. Proverbs 22:3 What should a person do when they see evil - or know that evil is in something that they are considering doing or seeing? Some say that in order for us to minister and to live in this world, we have to participate in some way in the activities of this world. Yet, when you read this Proverb, it counsels us to be careful what we watch and participate in as we live our lives. We may just do something that can cause great harm. The Proverb speaks of the prudent. He is the one who is shrewd and sensible. It describes someone who sees deeper than just surface level. He sees into things and realizes there is an affect on him when he participates or looks at something. This prudent one sees "the evil" and hides himself. Evil here means soemthing bad or evil. It refers to a wicked heart - and actions that are in no way neutral. First of all a wise man knows that there is evil - and it can be detected and considered from an objective point of view. The one who states that he can decide whether something is evil or good for him - is deceived. God has determined what is good or evil - and He is the One who lets us know these things in His Word. Our job then is to know His Word and through it to have a grid in our hearts as to what is good and what is evil. The pudent and wise one is the one who does this - then when he sees something evil - he reacts to it immediately. How does he respond? The prudent man responds to evil by hiding himself from it. There are two interesting aspects to this. First, he just simply hides himself from the evil itself. He does not participate in it - and keeps himself from it. But there is another aspect of this that is important to recognize. He also hides himself from even seeing and knowing it. In effect, he hides his "mind" from certain things. There are those who say that in order to minister to those in evil, we need to know it in some measure. Yet Proverbs tells us to hide ourselves and our minds from evil. We can confidently say that Jesus did not have to experience evil in order to minister affectively to those caught up in it. The naive though, have a problem. The problem starts with their naviette in which they don't even know the evil. They are ignorant of the Scriptures and thus are not even sure what to avoid. This is something important for us to grasp. Knowing evil through experiencing it is not wise - but knowing what is evil from that which is written in Scripture is very wise. It lets us know what to avoid and in what we should participate. The naive go on when they see evil - and they pay for it. Here is an interesting thing to consider. The Proverb here says that when the naive proceed into evil they are punished for it. The word used here is "anash" and it means to fine or to penalize someone with a fine. It can mean an actual financial fine someone pays out - or it can mean a condemnation that rests on the wicked for their punishment. I don't think it is too far off to say that in some cases both of these are true. There is a fine we pay when we do not avoid evil. Some evil lifestyles are very socially and financially destructive. When we participate in them, we pay the price - literally and physically. There is also a spiritual cost when we ignore the Lord and walk into evil. There is a break in our fellowship - a polluting of our minds - and even at times a bondage that can begin that will punish us for days, weeks, months, and even years to come. The prudent man avoids all this - because he watches and considers all his actions - and weighs what they will cost him - now - and far into the future!