This is the way of an adulterous woman: She eats and wipes her mouth, And says, "I have done no wrong." Proverbs 30:20
One of the worst aspects of sexual sin is the way that is blinds us to the truth. Here we have a proverb dealing with the women who commits adultery. Her way is to indulge her sin as one would sit down to a big meal - then wipe her mouth afterwards and boldly state that she has done nothing wrong. She is completely blind and arrogantly unmoved by her actions and by the Word of God which proclaims them wicked.
We are living in the days of sin that looks just like this. We have those who live openly in their sin - and argue that such a lifestyle choice is not sin. God has proclaimed that adultery is sin - and that commandment from the time of Moses still stands this day without having been weakened in the slightest. Some might protest that Jesus forgave the woman caught in the very act of adultery. I would agree - but would add that after he gave her the most gracious forgiveness, He also stated to her that she should go her way and SIN NO MORE. When He gave her grace - it was the grace of God that teaches us NOT TO SIN. It was not grace that condoned sin. And just in case some have forgotten the rest of the gospel - He eventually bore her sin to calvary's cross and paid the full measure of God's wrath for it.
When a society begins to weaken its moral stances on adultery and sexual sin, it is preparing that society for horrible consequences. When that lax morality reaches the point where adulterous women and men are allowed to embrace their wickedness while openly proclaiming that they've done nothing wrong - such a society is at the breaking point. It cannot stand much longer because its very foundations are crumbling to the ground.
Please pray for the United States - praying for revival in the church and awakening among the lost. We've abandoned our moral underpinnings handed down to us from our forefathers. We need for God to first revive His church so that we will once again hold fast to biblical morals - regardless of what is currently morally in style in our nation. Unless this work of revival happens among us first, there will be no awakening among the lost. We must put our moral house in order - dealing with our sexual sins. Then we will have the moral authority to speak to our nation - to pray for our nation - and to witness the people of our nation return to the Lord and to the sanity of sexual morality. May God have mercy on us - and revive and restore us in this most desperate of days.
If a ruler pays attention to falsehood, All his ministers become
wicked. Proverbs 29:12
This proverb reminds us that when we are in a position of authority - often what we want to hear is what we are going to hear. That is why it is so important for rulers, both religious and secular, learn to shun falsehood, lies, and deception in the counsel that they receive. For, as this proverb says if they listen to this kind of thing - all that they will hear in the future is this type of counsel. The end of such a swing in the opinion brought to this leader will be that all his subordinates will become wicked.
To "pay attention" to falsehood here means to listen with an intent to obey or heed the advice given. It has the idea that as the falsehood is offered, rather than reject it, the ruler listens closely and does so with a desire to obey. This means that the ruler's heart has a predisposition to what is false rather than what is true. The Word of God says that a godly ruler winnows the wicked from his presence - and makes sure that falsehood will not be spoken to him as advice.
The worst aspect of this ruler's choice to pay attention to falsehood is the affect it has on his ministers. They will become wicked. Such a ruler tends to not appreciate men who will tell him the truth. To be such a man means that you will speak the truth - even if the ruler to whom you speak it becomes angry and doesn't want to hear it. Such was Daniel - before he was thrown into the lion's den. Such were Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego before they were cast into the firey furnace. The king only retracted his actions and his words after he had witnessed God's miraculous deliverance of these men. Only in the case of David do we see a man who is willing to hear the truth - even if it meant a humbling of himself in repentance for his sin.
We need to pray daily that our leaders will be men who value truth rather than falsehood. Included in this prayer is that they will heed biblical truth when it is directly related to legislation that is pending. Such is the case when it comes specifically to both the abortion issue as well as laws concerning sexuality, decency, and morality. Too often over the last 30+ years our elected officials, including our president, have not even considered the Bible when making such decisions. Outside of President Reagan, most of the pro-abortion Republicans have been paper tigers who spoke boldly but carried no stick whatsoever. We've watch laws concerning public decency become nothing more than the latest retreat from biblical morality. It has been disheartening to see issues of heterosexual morality, marriage, and now homosexuality made while completely ignoring the counsel of Scripture. In fact I would have to say that currently one would find themselves shouted down and called the most horrible names to even assert strongly a biblical stance on these issues. It is almost as if these issues are non-issues any longer. They are definitely not the front-burner issues that they should be. We think the greatest issue is the economy - and yet God WILL NOT bless our economy as long as we continue to abort 4000 babies a day and condone as an acceptable sexual lifestyle what He calls an abomination. We need a president and a Congress who once again listen to and value the truth. Until we do - not only will they be making wrong decision after wrong decision, but they will also be surrounded by more and more aids who are wicked - because their bosses listen to falsehood.
a roaring lion and a rushing bear Is a wicked ruler over a poor people. Proverbs 28:15
Oppression of the poor by a wicked ruler - that sounds like a modern day headline in one of our newpapers - or in a report that we would read online. Unfortunately oppression has been going on every since the fall of man - and the beginning of politics. When the sinfulness of man combined with the treachery of politics - it was not going to be long before men learned how to oppress the poor and helpless for their own benefit.
We read in today's proverb that a wicked ruler over a poor people is like a roaring lion or a rushing bear. A roaring lion scares the other animals in the forest. The lion roars to establish his territory and his authority. Thus when a wicked ruler acts like a roaring lion - he is establishing that he has the power and authority over the poor ones he is oppressing. We've seen it again and again in history. The powerful oppress and dominate the poor - even resorting to attacking them with the army to establish their power. They will use the secret police to kidnap them and torture them to silence anyone's opposition and threat to their power. It is a sad thing to see - but unfortunately it will continue until the day that Jesus Christ comes to establish a kingdom based upon justice and righteousness.
Those who dare to stand against such a wicked ruler will find themselves quickly attacked and often silenced for good. They may be thrown into prison - or summarily executed for their boldness to oppose the ruler - or threaten their absolute stranglehold on power. However it is done, the poor quickly learn to hide any desire for freedom and justice, because these things can cost them their lives. This is why it is so vital for those who have the freedom to choose their leaders, to choose wise and godly ones. To do otherwise will cost us far more than just a wrongly cast vote - it could cost us our freedoms - and in some severe cases - even our lives.
A constant dripping on a day of steady rain And a contentious woman are alike; He who would restrain her restrains the wind, And grasps oil with his right hand. Proverbs 27:15-16
Here is a proverb concerning contentious women and the problems that come from them. First we read that the contetious woman is compared to a constant dripping on a day of steady rain. Thus we see that such a thing is a constant annoyance. This is someone who will bother us greatly. That drip, drip, drip that we hear will wear on us over time and drive us crazy. Such is the contentious woman. But understanding the word "contentious" is very important for us to grasp what Solomon is saying.
The "contentious" woman is the woman who is involved with strife and dissension. This is the Hebrew word, "madon" which refers to a quarrel or dispute that gets out of hand quickly. Once started, it cannot be stopped. These are the kind of disputes that create barriers between people. According to Psalm 80:6
an evil heart is the source of these contentions and bitter arguments. These things come from someone with a hot temper and are very difficult to contain. Thus we see that the "contentious woman" is not someone who disagrees with us, but rather someone who vehemently disagrees and who takes that disagreement to the level of fighting and quarreling. This fighting is not a normal disagreement, but becomes something that can separate people for long periods of time as bitterness and resentment seethe because of the fighting.
Too often I have heard of this proverb used to disrespect a woman who respectfully disagrees with her husband. The contentious woman is anything BUT respectful - she is fiesty and cantankerous. She is itching for a fight - and when given the slightest reason to enter one - does so with both feet firmly set in the middle of it. It is not sinful for a woman to disagree with someone - even her husband or a person in authority. That is not what this proverb is about. It is about a woman who is ready to fight, and quarrel, and do so disgustingly. The next verse says that trying to restrain such a woman and her venom is like trying to restrain wind or grasp oil and hold it. It is impossible to do so, because such things cannot be done. Thus, when we come upon such a woman, we should avoid her and keep ourselves clear from her path. She is a dangerous woman - whose actions will prove very destructive in the end. Rather than trying to restrain and hold her back, we need to withdraw from her and avoid her at all costs.
What we should remember as we read this is that God places great value on a woman who has a quiet and gentle spirit. This is what God desires - so when a woman goes the opposite direction, it is not only against what He wants, but it places an example before other women that is not only lacking, but it encourages them to behavior that is completely outside of what God desires in a Godly lady. May the Lord give us grace to see such godly women raised up in our fellowships - women whose testimony only makes the gospel of Jesus Christ more attractive and beautiful - like He has made them.
Do you see a man wise in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him. Proverbs 26:12
There is a great deal of difference between a positive self-image and an arrogant one. Today's world places too much emphasis on this - to the point where we have men and women who do not have an adequate amount of self-deprecation in their personalities. We've raised a generation that feels better about itself more than any other - but this has not led to good things. Instead it has led to one of the most arrogant and foolish generations in American history.
When a man is "wise in his own eyes," he is conceited and arrogant. A man wise in his own eyes thinks he is a genius when he is not. He considers himself far too brilliant in his own estimation, which leads him to think far too highly of his own thoughts, ideas, and opinions. A wise man is one who learns to see things from God's perspective - not from his own fallen one. Since the fall of man into sin - and the ongoing choice in every generation to seemingly plumb new depths of that fall - wisdom is something that comes only as we learn to question our own fallen assumptions and turn to God and His Word for true wisdom. The more we do this, the wiser we become. But the opposite it true as well. The less we turn to God and choose instead to trust our own natural, fallen assumptions, the more foolish we become.
The man wise in his own eyes is fixed on himself and his own views and opinions. To turn him from them is not an easy task - some consider it almost impossible. He sees himself as the end-all, be-all of wisdom and understanding - and will argue with others about it until he is blue in the face. Considering all that God has to say about the fool - it is pretty amazing that God holds out more hope for the fool than for this man.
The admonition of Scripture on this is clear. Do not be wise in your own eyes. Fear the Lord and turn from evil. That is the counsel that God offers to us when it comes to the how we view ourselves and our own wisdom in life. To do otherwise is to mire ourselves in a pit of self-centered, foolish, and self-indulgent thought. The end of which is to so bury us under the weight of our own stupidity and selfishness that we cannot dig ourselves out.
Prepare your work outside And make it ready for yourself in the field; afterwards, then, build your house. Proverbs 24:27
This proverb addresses the need to make provision for oneself and one's family - before we begin to seek for personal comfort. This is spoken of from the view of an agricultural society - but the principles will work everywhere. This principle is often lost on our society which is tempted daily by commercials which tell us what we just absolutely have to get . . . immediately. Therefore this particular proverb may be a good one to not only read and consider - but also to apply to the problems that seem to be multiplying in our nation.
We are told here to begin life by working hard - by seeking a proper support for ourselves and those for whom we are responsible. Please read and focus on "proper support" here - rather than the worldly standards that are set before us. Proper support means that we can provide food and clothing for ourselves and our family - as we look to the Lord to bless our efforts and our obedience. In the day in which this was written, this meant getting outside and preparing your fields or your flocks. It meant plowing the ground, obtaining seed, and then planting the seed and working the fields. This involved a lot of hard work - but we should realize that work was not part of the curse - weeds were. But regardless of whether there are weeds or not - God wants us to work - and work hard at what we do.
The instruction here is to FIRST prepare in the field - then you can build your house. For some this means building a business. For others it may mean working hard at a job and doing what is necessary to develop either their education or other marketable skills. But for all of us it means delaying gratification until we know that we can provide for ourselves and a family (if we have one - or - want one). Here is wisdom - delaying gratification - delaying all the perks you want in life - and even delaying marriage until you can provide for a wife.
Our society says, "You deserve it NOW!" But the facts are that we don't "deserve" anything for which we do not work. Never in Scripture is a "living" promised to us if we do not work hard. There is no instruction to governments to provide housing, provide transportation, provide health care, or provide food for those who are not working for it. There is no "poverty index" in Scripture that it is sinful for us to let others fall below. In fact - the facts of the Bible say that we should NOT feed those who can work - but will not do so. There should be little or nothing provided for the able-bodied who do not want to work hard. What has happened in the United States is that we've so "over-promised" a certain level of prosperity to everyone (politically - and unfortunately even religiously at times with the health, wealth, prosperity movement) that they have come to expect it. The think they are entitled to it - whether they work for it or not. The result has been a very poor work ethic - and a total lack of understanding of how business and how life works.
The proverb here says, 'AFTERWARD' you can build your house. The idea here is that a house is a luxury. One of the things that speaks volumes to me is watching a movie or show that reminds me how hard it was for the early settlers in the United States. They worked very hard to prepare the land - cutting down trees and pulling stumps. They worked very hard tilling the land and removing stones from it. They plowed, planted, and worked the land with tremendous effort and diligence. Then they would work even harder to build a house - after the land was planted. Until this was done, they lived in tents and in the wagon in which they came to the area. The reminder to me is that hard work is a fact of life.
We do ourselves and our children a great disservice to teach them a life of luxury. We are hurting them by not giving them work to do - and at times "hard" work to accomplish. We are undercutting the foundation of our society by not inclucating a work ethic into them. We are not preparing them for reality - and we are making them easy pickings for the political hacks who get their power by promising freebies. What this had led to is a society that is rotting from within because of a lack of work ethic - and an abundance of expectations that are demanded from the rest of society. God's way is to work hard at your outside work. God's way is to learn a work ethic that labors at what is good and what will provide for yourself and your family. Then when you have established such important, foundational things - then build your house - enjoy a little luxury . . . or maybe it would be better stated that you are then able to enjoy the fruits of your labor.
Bread obtained by falsehood is sweet to a man, But afterward his mouth will be filled with gravel. Proverbs 20:17
Imagine chewing on bread and having it slowly turn from a warm, soft, wonderful taste to cold, hard gravel in your mouth. This is the picture that the Lord wants to give us concerning the con-man's game - or any way that we seek financial gain through deceiving others. This proverb centers around the word "falsehood." This is the Hebrew word "sheqer" and it means a lie, a deception, or a treacherous statement. The word has the idea of a liar and his lying statements. Yet here there is an end that is sought - and that is obtaining bread. There is a financial gain sought in the lie - which is the sweet taste of bread obtained through the false dealing and lying of the con-man.
Once again though, the Bible points us to a long-term view of things. The fleshly view is that of getting the bread and enjoying it. This is the short-term, ends-justify-the-means mindset that prevails in too many parts of the world around us. Who cares how you got the bread - you've got it and it tastes wonderful. The problem comes in that there will be a price to pay - even if you cheated someone out of the bread for free. The price is a mouth filled with gravel. There is a slight Hebraism in this idea of a mouth filled with gravel. The idea is that though bread tastes sweet at first - the bread obtained by ungodly means will weigh down the one who deceived in the end. Though sweet at first, the bread will break the teeth of the deceiver - and the bread will weigh like stone in his stomach.
This takes into account God's moral law. That law teaches us two things we should consider when deceiving others. First, God's moral law says, "You shall not steal." When we deceive others about what we are offering to them, we are thieves - taking their goods without a fair exchange of goods or money in return. Second, we are told by God's moral law that we are not to bear false witness - which basically means, "do not lie." No matter how sweet the bread may taste initially - it will be like teeth-breaking rocks on the day that we answer to God for our deceit and con-game. The wisdom offered to us here is to make decisions based not on our immediate pleasure in the flesh. We should make decisions based on God's moral law and upon principles of righteousness. Though we may not gain as much quickly and unrighteously at the beginning, the blessing in the end is worth it.
He who loves transgression loves strife; He who raises his door seeks destruction. Proverbs 17:19
There are those in this world who love rebellion - whether against God or against "the man." These people, because of this rebellious bent, also love strife. Theiy love a good fight where they can quarrel with others and contend with anyone who holds an opinion other than theirs. This kind of insolent, arrogant attitude brings such a one into multiple situations where they fight and where violence is almost certainly to break out eventually. I remember a friend of my youth - who just loved to fight, whether it was with words or fists. This happened weekend after weekend as he would drink and party. One weekend he went too far and was shot a couple of times at a bar where he had previously picked another fight. Fortunately for him he was not killed in the incident. But this is what the proverb is trying to get us to see.
The second part of the proverb here is a Hebraism. It speaks of the one who "raises his door." The habit of the Jews was to make the front door of their compound very low to the ground so that no one could get in without permission. They also would intentionally not make their doors ornate - so as to draw attention to themselves - and unintentionally draw the attention of thieves or those who would seek to plunder their homes and compounds. Over time this practice eventually came to speak of someone who was ostentatious and filled with pride. Those to "raise their door" came to mean those who act with excessive pride and arrogance. We are warned that doing this is dangerous and destructive. When we live with such excessive pride and arrogance - even one that fights with everyone - and that loves sin - we are setting ourselves up for destruction.
The wise man is a peace-maker, not a fighter. He is one who loves righteousness, peace, and humility. True, these things will not make him stick out - won't make him noticed by the standards of men. Yet, for the believer, this is not a good thing - to try to be noticed by men. We want God to be the One who promotes and gives us favor with others. The favor we crave and desire is not that of men (which often means we will have to love sinning as they do). We crave with an ever-increasing intensity the favor of God! And that kind of promotion does not draw the attention of men unduly - as does arrogant self-promotion does.
All the days of the afflicted are bad, But a cheerful heart has
a continual feast. Proverbs 15:15
Your attitude often will make all the difference in how you experience the events of your life. For some, their mindset is that if anything bad can happen, it will. For others, they take everything that comes to them - and somehow make even the worst of things beneficial. Their mindset is to take the proverbial lemons and life and turn them into lemonade.
We first read of the pessimist. "All the days of the afflicted are bad." This is the person who not only sees the glass as half empty - but who also figures that there are people who are working to make sure that it eventually empties further. They consider themselves afflicted - CONSTANTLY! They see themselves as "the afflicted" - which here is the word "aniy." This word means to be poor, oppressed, miserable, in constant want and need. It is a sad thing to watch someone like this because like the proverb states - they see every day as a bad day. These are the constant complainers. In church we would be tempted to ask them to lead in a word of complaint or criticism - rather than to ask for them to lead in prayer. They always seem to have a sad story to share - a problem that seems overwhelming - a way that they have been treated horribly - or something they see wrong. Don't misunderstand, there is a place for these things - and we do not need to squelch people's ability to share in difficult times. But the "afflicted" here never ceases to have something like this. To find them content and grateful for their lives - is next to impossible. They are always ready to be the grand marshall in the bummer parade!
The second half of this proverb contrasts another person. This is the one who has a "cheerful heart." Hebrews called this a "good" heart. It was someone who was happy, who was glad. They often chose to be happy, glad, delightful, and pleased. Their choice to be this way was a matter of their own heart. This is the person who simply chooses to be happy in their lives. They will look at difficulties and problems as opportunities to grow - or even better ways that God is working to conform them to His image. They see every situation as a potential wonderful thing God is working in their lives. They grasp that not eveything in life is going to be pleasant - but they take the same hard knocks that make the afflicted see every day as bad - and turn them into a reason to be thankful, grateful, and filled with joyeous expectation of what God is going to do to glorify Himself in every situation. They truly do understand that, "all things work together for good to those who love the Lord, and who live according to His purposes."
The Bible says that these folks - the cheerful ones - have a continual feast. They tend to be happy no matter what happens to them. They see God's providential hand in everything that happens to them. They are thrilled to watch Him do what only He can do - and are willing to wait for Him to act - even if it means a prolonged period of difficulty and trial. They take whatever God's sovereign hand gives them - and make it into a gourmet feast.
To be a cheerful, grateful person is far better than to be one of the continually afflicted. People want to be around the first person - and honestly - struggle with the second. It is not hard to be around someone who genuinely needs encouragement because they are having a tough time, but when someone is always seeming to have a tough time it becomes hard to know what to say. What often needs to be said is that the "afflicted" needs to see God as sovereign in all their affairs. They need to hear that God does work these things out for good - if they will allow Him to conform them to the image of His Son. They need to hear from the book of James that they are to consider it pure joy when they encounter various trials. God wants us to be joyful people - not miserable ones. Paul admonished the Philippians to rejoice in the Lord - and that to say that same thing to them was not a burden to him - but was indeed a protection to them. Joy is part of the inheritance given to every believer. This does not mean that we can never have hard times - but it does mean that if we see ourselves as the continually afflicted whose every day is bad - something is wrong with our perspective. The Lord does not want us living on the scraps of misery - but wants us to enjoy His presence, His perspective, and the continual feast that comes by being in His presence.
A quick-tempered man acts foolishly, And a man of evil devices is hated. Proverbs 14:17
One of the most often repeated mistakes in life is reacting in anger quickly and because we do, making very foolish choices. That is what today's proverb warns against. We are told that a quick-tempered man acts foolishly. This quick-temper means to have a temper that is hasty in what it says and does. It is a man filled with impatience and has what a Hebrew would refer to as a "short spirit." The idea behind this concept is a man who is not truly in control of his spirit. When something happens that irritates him - he reacts quickly. He is weak in his moral disposition - and therefore will be prone to outbursts of anger and temper.
The real problem this poses is that the man who is so "quick-tempered" is unable to make wise decisions. Wise decisions are made because we can step back from things and see them from God's perspective. The quick-tempered man cannot do this. He reacts quickly to problems and irritations in life. The quick knee-jerk reactions he makes gets him into a world of hurt. A fool does not think through what he is about to say or do. A wise man considers his words and steps and often resists saying or doing things that wisdom counsels against doing and saying.
The second half of this proverb says that a man of evil devices is hated. The words "evil devices" is the Hebrew word, "mezimmah" which means a plan or thought. This term is used to describes the evil plans, schemes, and plots of humanity that are contrary to the will and Word of God. How is this related to the first half of this proverb? The plans and schemes that arise out of anger and rage are more than you can ever imagine. So often a person who has committed a murder or some other heinous crime did so because he or she was acting in anger. Someone has deeply offended them - or hurt them deeply - and instead of acting with wisdom and tempering their reaction - they want to act. Some grab a gun and shoot someone, killing them in the heat of their passionate outrage. Others blow their stack and then simmer in their anger until it moves them to hatch a horrible plot that they will wind up regretting for the rest of their lives. Just as the proverb says, the one who acts on this evil plot or scheme is hated. It does not matter what originally motivated them to these actions, others hate the outcome of their hatred, anger, and evil devices.
We are reminded in this proverb that patience IS a virtue! We are to be slow to anger - and rich in mercy - just like our God and Father. These things will keep us from reacting in our anger and doing something truly foolish.