As a loving hind and a graceful doe, Let her breasts satisfy you at all times; Be exhilarated always with her love. Proverbs 5:19
In talking about moral sanity we come to a passage that almost makes you a little uncomfortable while reading it, yet it is the very essence of moral and sexual sanity itself! In commenting on this verse I want to take a moment to speak against the moral and sexual insanity that reigns in our society today.
It is a sad thing that we read verse 19 and get a little uncomfortable. The joys of married love and sexual union are one of the wonderful gifts that God gave us when He made our bodies as He did - and introduced us to marriage at the very foundation of this world. There is a purity in what is said here - not impurity. There is a very real joy that we should have in experiencing sexual union with the wife of our youth. Unfortunately sin has so skewed things in our minds that we squirm a little when God paints a somewhat vivid picture of the truth.
God desires for a man to enjoy his wife. He tells us here that her breasts should be the ones that satisfy us at all times. The world though has so twisted our minds and hearts that we struggle with reading this - even though all the world around us is doing all they can to capture our attention with the breasts of women other than our wives. There is the perversion - focusing on the beauty of a woman who is NOT your wife. Television, movies, magazines, and the internet are being used to draw our attention to other women. I see pretty much every day when I go to check my email that the most popular searches on the internet tend toward women whose beauty is being exploited to draw men into the trap of desiring a woman other than their wife. This is the deception of the world - and it is used daily to draw us away from the Lord. That is why I get so frustrated when believers don't want us to read or comment on passages of Scripture that promote healthy biblical sexuality. It is not that we want to start a sexual round-table by doing this - but it does put the real and the true before us. We want to be wise in discussing and commenting on such passages - not turning to gutter language and sexually explicit comments. But the Bible is very clear in what it is saying here.
The second part of this admonition from father to son is that the son be intoxicated by the love of his wife. Usually the New American Standard does a wonderful job of directly translating such things, but my how weak they are on this verse. Exhilarated is NOT what the dad is saying to his son. He is telling him to be utterly intoxicated with the sexual love of his wife. There are not many things God says we should be drunk on - but when it comes to the love of our wife - God says to drink up all the love we can.
That is the essence of sexual sanity dear friends. God wants us to enjoy our sexuality in marriage. He has written an entire book, The Song of Solomon, to exult in the sexual love enjoyed in marriage. He instructs us in that book - as well as in this passage - that it is a good thing to enjoy sexual union and lovemaking with our wife. It is one of the reasons why he gave us a wife and set up marriage the way He did. That is why it is so important that as fathers we have such a talk with our sons. We can guide them away from the raging rapids of sexual immorality - and toward the safe waters of sex within marriage. If we do not tell them - I can promise you the world will warp their minds with tales of sexual exploits that are nothing more than the deception of whoremongers and fools.
He who trusts in his own heart is a fool, but he who walks wisely will be delivered. Proverbs 28:26
One of the phrases I hear all the time is that I need to trust my heart in order to make a right decision. I know that this is popular - and that it makes for a good wall plaque (you know, Laugh, Love, Trust Your Heart), but it is unwise counsel for us to follow from a Biblical worldview. This is because one of the pillars of a Biblical worldview is the fall of man and the subsequent damage that has done to our ability to reason wisely. Our hearts are not trustworthy - and any decision based on what is in them is going to be an unwise one most likely.
Before we move on I want to review the state of the human heart for us. Since we live in a worldview that says that we are basically good, it is wise for us to do such a review. Jeremiah 17:9 reminds us, "The heart is deceitful above all esle, and is desperately wicked, who can understand it? After the fall of man in the garden the world was plunged into sin. By Genesis 6:5 we read the following summation of the human race. "Then the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great on the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually." David helps us understand our hearts when he writes in Psalm 51:5, "Behold I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin my mother conceived me." Our condition - and the state of our hearts - is that of being sinful and rebellious toward God. Just one last Scripture to bring this truth home. Romans 3:10-12 has a very damning endictment toward the human race. We read the following there. ". . . as it is written, There is none righteous, not even one; there is none who understand, there is none who seeks for God; all have turned aside, together they have become useless; there is none who does good, there is not even one." It doesn't get any worse than this for us - and this is simply a biblical conclusion to what Paul had been teaching for three chapters in Romans. So, to trust our hearts - without conversion - without the Holy Spirit to guide and teach us - without Scripture - is very foolish.
The one who does this is called a fool. He is a fool because he walks and thinks with utter self-dependence. He lives apart from input, counsel or wisdom from others - and most importantly independent from God and His Word. As always, the fool here only wants to air what is in his own heart and in his own mind, thinking, and reasoning. He will consistently make decisions that are silly, stupid, and foolish. These kinds of decisions will actually cause great harm if they are followed fully.
Solomon warns us that it is the one who walks wisely that will be delivered from the harm that comes from foolish thinking. If you are wondering what we would need to be delivered from - here are a few examples.
- Samson trusted in his own heart - and rejected God's counsel on moral purity and sexual sin. In time his foolishness is truly astounding. Each night after a sexual romp with Delilah, she would probe him for information on where his strength was - and each night he would lie to her. He would not get that whatever he told her would happen to him - and he would be awakened by her to find men ready to harm him. Did that deter Samson and bring him to repentance? No - he continued to trust his heart and his romantic (more like lust-starved) feelings. In the end - he was NOT delivered - and it cost him his eyes and a radically different hairdo - which, by the way, cost him his strength.
- Saul trusted in his own heart - and therefore let his jealousy run rampant. He distrusted David, thinking that he wanted to overthrow him and take his kingdom. That jealousy so warped his mind that he killed 70 priests and put to death an entire village because he believed a lie. In the end, he was not delivered. He trusted his own heart - which eventually led him to inquire of a witch what to do in battle. That was the last straw for God - who allowed Saul to die in battle the next day.
- David trusted in his own heart - which was led astray by his loins when he saw Bathsheba naked as she bathed on a rooftop. His own heart decided to hatch several lame plans to cover his tracks when his adultery led to her pregnancy. The ultimate foolishness was having ordered Joab to act foolishly in battle so that Bathsheba's husband, Uriah, would be killed in battle. David was not delivered from the destruction his adultery would bring to his family. Two sons were killed, a daughter and 10 concubines were raped, and a two costly rebellions killed thousands as a result.
- Peter trusted his own heart - that he truly did love Jesus more than all the other disciples. That kind of foolish arrogance led him to follow Jesus - but only at a distance. Jesus warned him that denials - three to be exact - would come from him before others. But Peter knew better than the Christ - he trusted his own heart and strength to stand. He was not delivered as he heard a cock crow after his third denial. He was restored later by God's grace - but he never forgot what trusting his own heart cost him.
Hopefully these four examples will help seal the deal for us in believing this Proverb. I know that I have far more than four exmaples of what trusting in my own heart has cost me. It is a foolish thing to do and one that always ends with a disaster. Walking wisely means walking in dependence on The Lord. Walking wisely means first coming to salvation by God's grace. Then it means walking in continued daily fellowship with God as we read His Word and desire the work of His Spirit within us. May God bless you and help you to walk wisely - and never do something so foolish as trust your own heart.
Sheol and Abaddon are never satisfied, nor are the eyes of man ever satisfied. Proverbs 27:20
This is what I would call the iPhone 5 proverb. Now, before you think that I've become a sellout to the Apple Corportation, let me explain myself. This proverb has to do with the fact that since the fall of man there has been a condition called "sin" that radically affects man. One of the conditions from which we suffer is the "lust of the eyes." That is the specific thing this proverb addresses.
Let me start from the back side of this proverb first. We read that the eyes of man are not satisfied - in fact we see that they are NEVER satisfied. Now let me return to the iPhone 5. This was released within weeks of this post - and I believe was greeted with over 2 million people who wanted it as soon as it was released. The vast majority of these people had bought the iPhone 4S, which was an upgrade from the iPhone 4, which was an improvement over the iPhone 3. I hope you can see what is happening here. We are never satisfied with what our cell phones can do. We want something else - and all it takes for us to stand in line for the next upgrade is for Apple to dangle a few "exciting" changes before our eyes. When they do this, we are soon hooked - and just "have to have" this newest phone. Want to know why? It is because the eyes of our lusts are never satisfied. There will always be another "new and improved" that will command our attention - command our lusts - which will command us to lay down another several hundred dollars so that we have the latest. This is the case until the latest becomes outdated by the new latest, which is bound to come within a year of the last "latest" we had to have. Thus I have explained, I hope to your satisfaction (or possibly conviction) the iPhone 5 proverb. Next year, I'll have t rewrite this post to be the iPhone 6 proverb. By the way, the post will be new and improved, and will contain words that you will just have to read in order to be truly satisfied and fulfilled.
How strong is this desire of our eyes? That is where the opening part of our proverb comes into play. We read that Sheol and Abbadon are never satisfied. To the extent that these two are now satisfied - that is the extent to which we won't be either - at least in what we want to see. What are Sheol and Abaddon? They are two Hebrew names for the place of the dead - and the place of ultimate punishment. If we were to truly translate these two words they would be translated, "Death and Hell." One would think that after thousands of years of consuming mankind and all of nature that Death would be satisfied. (Note that these two - Sheol and Abaddon - are personalized. They are not just a state of being - they are almost humanized so that we feel we are dealing with an actual entity.) Death is not satisfied with the billions that he has. He consumes daily those who join his ranks. Wars, disease, violence, and old age swell the ranks of those in his grasp. He consumes kings and paupers and everyone in between. Yesterday he consumed thousands - and yet today his appetite for more is not satiated.
Abaddon is also placed before us. Many Hebrew scholars consider this to be the "second death" which is equivilent to hell. Whereas death consumes mankind in general - hell consumes the wicked of mankind with the same voracious appetite. No matter how evil man is in this generation - there will be more in the next. And just as the previous generation was consumed by the judgment and by hell itself - it seems that the next does not heed the warning, rushing headlong into the same eternal destruction. Does hell ever reach a point of being satisfied with his latest meal of the wicked and the ungodly? Contrary to the thought, hell wants even more men and women - never being satisfied with the last batch of fools who ignore God's call to their eternal damnation.
It is truly fascinating that God chooses to compare our unsanctified and uncontrolled eyes to both death and hell. So many wind up with a liberal harvest of death and hell because they never learn to submit what their eyes see to the will and Word of God. Lives are consumed, marriages destroyed, fortunes lost, and families disintegrated all because the eyes of men run wild.
So what is our response to such a terrifying proverb? It should be to come to God and to cry out for grace to redeem our eyes from their natural course and uncontrolled desires. We need to call out to God for His work of salvation - that we would be saved from the sins of our eyes. We need to also continuously call out to Him for His work of sanctification - that He would purify our eyes and keep us from having them be a starting point for all kinds of wicked thoughts and actions. Here is a promise of God for all of us. Jesus says to come to Him - all of us who are weary and heavy laden and He will give us rest for our souls. We do not have to be lead by our eyes into every sin - and every new iPhone - that comes our way, or is dangled before our eyes. We can take His yoke upon us and learn of Him - of a life satisfied with the only thing that will bring fullness to our souls. We were made for God - and anything but Him will never satisfy us. When we do this - we will no longer be driven by the deathly and hell-bent desire of our eyes, which only want something new to see and to lust after. We will learn, in participating in our Lord's life, that there is rest for our souls. Who knows - if we learn to look at Jesus, realizing that true fullness of life is found in Him - we might even find ourselves manifesting enough self-control and satisfaction to resist the iPhone 6.
Have you found honey? Eat only what you need, That you not have it in excess and vomit it. Proverbs 25:16
Overindulgence is something to be avoided in life. Here we have an admonition to be careful when we find honey. This most likely refers to wild honey that is found in the forest areas around Israel. It would be much like the honey that Jonathan found after the battle with the Philistines in the forest. The counsel is to eat only what you need of this honey. The problem comes when our desire for something sweet and tasty goes beyond our stomach's ability to handle it. Then we will have a reaction from being too full - and we will vomit due to having an excess. But this proverb goes beyond a dietary warning and restriction. It refers to the problem we all have with excess in any area of life.
Having good things is profitable to us. It is when we allow these good things to go beyond where they should that good things become a problem - and possibly even an addiction. Moderation is wise in just about every area of life. To moderate ourselves makes us take time to consider what we really need. Yet, because of the fall of man into sin, we are no longer wired for moderation. We are wired for the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the boastful pride of life. That kind of wiring can get us in serious trouble. When we overindulge our desires - we can build that desire into something that we no longer control. Our desires control us. We see this in every kind of addiction. The addict can no longer control their desires. Their desires control them - and dominates them to the point of being able to command them what they WILL do. This leads to an "out of control" lifestyle - which becomes horribly destructive to the one caught in it.
The wisdom of God is to live life in moderation - especially when it comes to anything that flies in the "lust" zones of our lives. What is good can become what is overdone. When it reaches these levels it then can become that which makes us sick - sick in body, but also sick in our minds and our spirits as well. Knowing this the wise man approaches all things with a desire that they remain under the control of the Holy Spirit and the guidance of Scripture. This is how he avoids trouble that comes from fallen desires gone wild.
The desire of the sluggard puts him to death, For his hands refuse to work; All day long he is craving, While the righteous gives and does not hold back. Proverbs 21:25-26
The wrong kind of desire in our lives can kill us according to this proverb. It is the desire of the sluggard that puts him to death. That seems strange because my first take on this would be that it is the lack of desire that would be his demise.
The word for desire here is the Hebrew word "ta-awah" and it means to crave greedily. It indicates something that is attractive to the eyes - and therefore is desirable to the person who sees it. In the second verse of our proverb we are told that all day long the sluggard is craving. The literal here is that he is "desiring desire." So what is going on here that is so dangerous for the sluggard? The second word used for "craving" here means to be coveting - to strongly desire something that someone else has. Thus, we see from both verses that the sluggard is filled with a desire and a covetous craving for things.
What kills the sluggard is that he is content with desiring and craving. He has plenty of desires, he just does not do anything to actually fulfill them. Consumed with desire, lust, and greed - he "craves" himself to death. Let's look at this a little closer.
We read first in verse 25 that the sluggard refuses to work. This one is a dreamer - but not a worker. In fact he refuses to work or give hismelf to the kind of labor that would eventually cause him to prosper and succeed. When he "refuses to work" there is a rebellioin present in his refusal. This word was used of Pharaoh's rebelliousness toward God in refusing to let Israel go. Thus this is an outright rejection of work. And as he refuses to work - he begins coveting what others have who do work. His desires continue to grow - even while he does nothing to solve his situation. In the end his own desires are his demise. He is consumed with longing and with desire for things - but will never attain them. He sits in his chair longing - ever longing - but never doing. Thus he dies of intense desire and want - but will never lift a finger to get the things he desires.
We are told at the end of this proverb that the righteous has a fundamentally different way of living than the sluggard. The righteous gives and does not hold back his generosity. He is not one ever filled with longing - but with a desire to bless others. The wicked, slothful man holds back his desire to give - because he wants all he has for himself. The strange thing is he has nothing because he won't work for it. The righteous works hard for what he has - and yet does not allow desire to kill him. He is looking for ways to give to others - to bless others - and to invest in others. He will not only know physical life - but he will also know spiritual life too. He will be a life-giving rather than just a stuff-wanting force on earth. He will not hold back his desire to bless others - and will be overjoyed and fulfilled again and again as he does.
The sluggard buries his hand in the dish, But
will not even bring it back to his mouth. Proverbs 19:24
Here we have one incredibly lazy man. In fact this man's laziness is so bad it is almost comical to picture it. Here is a man who has buried his hand in the dish of food that is set before him. The picture is not of someone who is picking at the top of the food on his plate. This guy has buried his hand into the dish of food, probably covering his entire hand with it. It is as if his appetite has led him to grab all that he can. So we do see initially a selfish attitude - and one who has a huge appetite for what is set before him. But there is a disconnect with this man - because although he can bury his hand in it - there will be little or no real satisfaction from it.
The sluggard has a great appetite - and great desire for things - but he has no ability to bring those desires to pass. He buries his hand in the dish - but he won't work hard enough to even bring it up to his mouth. Again this picture is comical to us. Here is a man with his hand buried deep in the dish. He has grabbed all the food he can handle. The problem is that he is so lazy he won't lift his hand up to his mouth to eat it. This seems so comical that it is a farce to us. Who is so lazy that he won't even lift his food to his mouth to eat. Honestly - there is really no one who would do this at the supper table - but the farcial picture painted for us speaks beyond the supper table. It speaks to spiritual realities - and to the problem that exists with the sluggard.
The sluggard is lazy - that is his problem. The picture before us is one of a man who has great desire - but no discipline to bring it to pass. He has a voracious appetite - but he won't work to see it move from desire to decision to completion. The burying of his hand in the dish speaks of the lazy man's desires. He speaks of wanting things - and speaks of desiring to accomplish great things. He lacks no vision for what he wants - because for many a lazy man - they want the whole world. They do this because they have all the time in the world to develop such fanciful dreams of what could be. The problem is though they can bury their hand in the dish of desire and dreams - they never work to bring their hand up to their mouth and actually fulfill those desires. Here is the crux of this proverb. The lazy man won't work to fulfill his dreams and his desires. He won't apply himself to the tasks that have to be done to accomplish what he wants. Oh the dreams will be huge - but the actual accomplishment of them will be miniscule. His planning box will be full, but the completion box will be empty. We see this every day - in a myriad of men who just won't work - who won't be disciplined to do what is necessary to succeed in their plans.
Those who have just read this might be thinking, "Well why didn't God just say that the lazy man has plans, but he won't work to see them happen?" Because that would not catch our attention. If someone says that - people will ignore him - especially those who are lazy and undisciplined. The sluggard won't even pay attention to that statement. The genius therefore of the Scriptures is that they paint us a picture that catches our attention. To see a sluggard dreaming the hours away without working is . . . well, it's kind of boring. But to see a hungry man with his hand buried in a dish of food. To see that man leave it there, unwilling to even bring it up to his mouth so he can eat . . . well, that's wierd! That catches our attention - and makes us think. The sheer ridiculousness of it catches our eye - and makes us look longer - look deeper. It is in that moment that we work to unlock a proverb that will speak volumes to us. In that moment we will see deeply and learn like we have never learned before. We might even learn that our laziness and sluggardly behavior looks almost as ridiculous as that guy sitting there with his hand buried in a plate of food.
The fear of the LORD is a fountain of life, That one may avoid the snares of death. Proverbs 14:27
Ours is a society that craves safety. Some think that carrying a gun at all times or having a top notch security system will provide them safety. But for the man of God these things, although providing some measure of safety are nothing compared to the fear of the Lord. According to today's proverb that is the most effective security system known to mankind.
The fear of the Lord is described here as a fountain of life. The Hebrew words used for the phrase, "fountain of life" are "mekor chaiyim." This phrase literally means, "the vein of lives" and referred to the aorta which is the artery which carries the blood from the heart as it seeks to pump it throughout the entire body. Without our aorta we would be dead. I remember a very terrifying moment when my own father was found to have a seven inch long annuerism on his aorta. It was a life threatening condition of the worst kind. If my father's aorta burst - the very fountain of life in him would be cut off - and he would have died within seconds. The medical staff were able to do surgery and repair his aorta. But it was a reminder to me that without the "vein of lives" functioning, we will not live long. I am not saying that without the fear of the Lord we will die in mere seconds, but I am saying that the fear of the Lord is essential to us having the life that God provides. Here in today's proverb we read that the fear of the Lord is what helps us to avoid the snares of death. What are these "snares" that are mentioned here?
The Hebrew word for "snares" is very telling. The word is "moqesh" and it refers not so much to the snare itself, but to the bait which is placed in the snare. The word literally means the bait placed within a snare or trap - without which the animal would never come near it. It is the bait that makes the trap effective. The bait tempts the animal to come near even when his own instincts tell him the situation is dangerous. Unable to quell his own lusts for the free food, the animal draws near. The end is a trapped or dead animal. This parallels our problem with sin. Our desires draw us toward things that will eventually damage and destroy us. But we cannot seem to shake the lusts of our flesh, eyes, and prideful love of the world enough to turn away. We are bllind due to our sin. But this is where the fear of the Lord becomes a life-giving fountain to us.
The fear of the Lord is the respect and honor that we have of Him and of His Word. It is the willingness to respond to the Holy Spirit when He warns us about something we are about to do. We listen and obey when we fear the Lord - but we ignore Him when we have no repect or honor toward the God who made us. For those who do this, there is only death in the end. They may have an initial experience of pleasure in their sinful choice - but be warned that they will stand in the judgment for their actions. Any sinful action will be eternally regretted on that day. But know also that sinful choices, although their poison may not be felt immediately - also have consequences here and now as well.
Today's society, and unfortunately many in the church, think that the fear of the Lord is a thing of the past. They ignorantly say that we are a people of grace in the New Testament. The Old Testament idea of fearing God is out of step with who we are supposed to be. What I find interesting is that the book of Acts tells us that the church benefited greatly from the fear of the Lord. In Acts 9:31
we read the following, "So the church throughout all Judea and Galilee and Samaria enjoyed peace, being built up; and going on in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit, it continued to increase. " The fear of God is a New Testament truth that will bless God's church. In fact the fear of the Lord is linked here with the "comfort of the Holy Spirit." It was the combination of these two that worked together by God's grace to cause the church to increase. But there is one more thing that will bless us as we look at the proverb for today.
The fear of the Lord is said to be a "fountain of life." There is another parallel that is such a blessing to see here. In John chapter 7 Jesus spoke of the way that the Holy Spirit would come to those who believed in Him. He used the picture of fountains of living water that would flow from the innermost being of those who experienced the ministry of the Holy Spirit. This is what we have learned today in Proverbs. It is another way that the Holy Spirit is linked directly to the fear of the Lord. We need to realize that one of the ways that the Holy Spirit works in our lives is to bring us the fear of the Lord. We have a respect for God - a desire to honor Him and not to displease Him. This makes us very receptive to His Word which tells us what He wants us to know. Both are the same fountain. As we fear God the Holy Spirit works in us to teach us God's Word - and then to urge us to listen and respond to what God has said. All this comes together to turn us from the snare - from the bait of Satan which seeks to lure us into His traps and his snares of death. May God give us grace to fear Him - to experience the Holy Spirit's teaching and warning - and to avoid sin as a result.
What the wicked fears will come upon him, But the desire of the righteous will be granted. When the whirlwind passes, the wicked is no more, But the righteous has an everlasting foundation. Proverbs 10:24-25
There is a fear that the wicked have at the end of their lives - and it is a fear that will come upon them. Though they spend their days mocking God and living as they choose, they come to the end of their lives facing the same reality anyone does. That reality is that they are going to die - just like anyone else. They forget this during their youth and even in their adult years - but then sickness and the day of their death comes near. It is in these moments that we see that even the most strident atheist or agnostic have to face their fears concerning death. We read of the wicked, that what they fear WILL come upon them. They are going to die - and there is a fear of what is on the other side of death.
This begs the question, "What is on the other side of death?" For the wicked man, he is hoping either that God is as immoral as He is or that God does not exist at all. For the tolerance-god the hope is that whatever god there may be that he or she has no standards. This god usually only has one intolerance - and that is for anyone to have intolerance. Everyone makes it into the afterlife. The other option is that there is no god - and that when we die - we just die. There is nothing after death. We just cease to exist. If either of these scenarios are true - the wicked man has nothing to fear. But we read that what he fears comes upon him. What is he fearing? The wicked man fears that there is a God - a holy God like the one presented by the Scriptures. He fears that the urgings of his conscience were right - that there are standards he is breaking. His ultimate fear is that there is indeed a recompense for these wrongs.
These fears will be realized. That is what our proverb today tells us. Later in the next verse we read that when the whirlwind passes - the wicked is no more. The whirlwind is a testing. What it is testing is what foundation a person has. We would call a whirlwind a tornado in Arkansas. When this whirlwind comes - the foundation of the wicked man will reveal that he cannot stand that testing - that judgment if you will accept it.
This passage has a counterpart in Scripture - and in all honesty it is one that is terrifying when you realize it. In the book of Job a conversation was going on between Job and three of his friends. They said that Job was wicked and that was why his troubles came upon him. Job held fast to his righteousness - but made the mistake of questioning God's wisdom in what was happening to him. In the end, God Himself came to address Job personally. When God did this guess how He chose to reveal Himself? If you guessed in a whirlwind, you guessed right. God came to a moment of truth with Job by coming in a whirlwind. He then questioned Job extensively about the whole idea of wisdom. When it was over Job withdrew all of his comments and repented in dust and ashes. God then blessed Job for his faithfulness - and called his friends to account for their rash and improper words about Job. Now, let us bring this event into focus on our proverb today. When the whirlwind comes - the wicked are no more. The judgment will reveal their faulty foundation - and they will be swept away in judgment. If a godly Job could not stand when the whirlwind came with God's presence and His withering questioning - what hope do the wicked have of being able to stand in that day.
The proverb for today leaves a wonderful hope for the righteous though. Their desire will be granted - and their foundation will stand. This begs another question. What is that desire? What is that foundation? Biblically the only man who will be righteous is the one who gets this way by faith. Righteousness is not given to a man by his works. The only way a man can be righteous before God is by faith in what God will provide, from an OT view, and what God has provided, from a NT one. God's promise in the Old Testament was that Messiah would come. He would come first as a suffering servant - as the lamb slain for sin. In the New Testament we meet Messiah. He is Jesus Christ, Who came to pay for our sins to make us righteous in God's sight. The hope of the righteous is that God will fulfill His promise. The desire of the righteous will be realized as his foundation stands firm. As the sand foundations of this world crumble – the foundation of Jesus Christ, crucified, buried, and resurrected from the dead will stand. So the final question for today is simply this, “Are you resting on that foundation?”
The mouth of an adulteress is a deep pit; He who is cursed of the LORD will fall into it. Proverbs 22:14
Here is a take in Proverbs that turns conventional wisdom on its ear. It has to do with the adulteress - and with the man who seems to be having all the so-called success with the ladies. Whereas the world wants us to think that this ladies man has it made - the Word of God here in Proverbs has a much different take on his status.
The adulteress, as we've learned in previous verses (5:3 and 7:5) catches men with her mouth. Her enticing words draws them in - and prevents them from seeing that they are not stepping into pure pleasure - but rather a trap. Here, in keeping with the previous warnings, is another statement that her mouth is a deep pit. Such pits where used for capturing animals and killing or making them slaves of the one who caught them. These pits were usually covered with camouflage to make their presence unknown until the animal stepped into them. By that time it was too late - they were either caught or dead. The same is true of the adulteress. She will hide her real intent with compliments and appeals to the ego of the fool she is trying to catch. He, being a fool, does not see the danger in another man's wife giving him praise. In the end, he falls for the deception and later falls into the trap. This is not new to us - but the fact that now for at least the third time a warning is given about this should make us very cautious when a woman other than our wife begins giving us compliments and starts stroking our ego.
What I find shocking about this passage is the second statement made here. "He who is cursed of Jehovah will fall there." The reason that this is shocking is because we are told that one of the ways we can know that God has cursed someone - is that they are involved in sexual immorality - and even more so - that they are so involved in an adulterous affair. The world shows us the quintisential ladies man - and then says to us that this man is blessed. He has the ladies lining up for him. We are told that he can have any woman he wants - and that this is a sign of being blessed. The truth is much different - as it always is when it comes to the lies of the world and of Satan. Contrary to this worldly view - the man who is involved in sexual immorality with someone else's wife - is cursed of God. This is one of the ways that God brings His curse upon men. He allows them to enter into such foolish sexual sin.
Think about this for a moment. Since this is true - then we should consider the sexual studs of the world - stupid. We should look at the playboys that are held up for honor and respect - men who are worthy only of shame and disgrace. We should see men like High Hefner not as models for us - but as morons. This are not men of honor - but examples of horror! The man who falls into sexual immorality is CURSED OF GOD! Wow! There is a turn of things for all of humanity. The wise man does not follow the world in its estimation of who is to be counted as worthy and who is worthless. These things are ultimately decided by God - Who has given us His estimation of things in His Word. If therefore the Word tells us those whom the world calls blessed are cursed - know that they are cursed indeed. Therefore the best thing we can do is reject the worldly ideas of manhood and a life worth living, and give ourselves to how our God views this world.
Hope deferred makes the heart sick, But desire fulfilled is a tree of life. Proverbs 13:12
Today's proverb is placing before us a truth - that when we hope for something and that hope is indefinitely put off - we can become heart-sick for that thing. When we want something very badly, we begin to set our sights upon it and long for it. If that thing does not come to us - the longing increases to the point where we cannot get it out of our minds. From that point there is an increasing burden upon our hearts for the thing we long for in life. But if what we long for is not within our grasp - and we cannot bring it within our grasp - our hearts will grow sick over it. Soon, we find ourselves in a morose and depressed state over this thing - where it dominates our lives. If there is not a relieiving of that situation - we will lose hope altogether - which is a sad state to be in as we walk through life. I'm sure we've all met someone who has utterly lost hope - embittered against someone, something, even against God - they live a life defined not by what they have - but by the one thing they did not get. They are a bitter, resentful, horrid lot - and very difficult to be around.
The opposite of this is also true - that a desire fulfilled is a tree of life. There is something about a desire that is met that thrills and envigorates the soul. We find ourselves overjoyed at the realization of that which we desired - and it only encourages us to desire and work toward other things. Please see and grasp that word, "work" here. Jacob had a desire to marry Rachel - and was willing to work 7 years for that desire to be realized. The Word tells us that the 7 years seemed but days because of his great love for her. Even after his father in law deceived him and gave him Leah first, Jacob still worked another seven years for Rachel. There is something about a desire that can be realized, that will make us work hard for it. There is something about the accomplishment of a task - one that helps us realize a goal - that will help us to work joyfully toward it. That is why it is so wise to live by understanding that comes from knowing and pursuing God's will rather than our own. Romans 12:1-2
urges us to present our very bodies to God as a living sacrifice. We are exhorted to be conformed to God, and not to this world. And in this divine pursuit we are promised that we will find the will of God to be good, acceptable, and perfect. There is wisdom indeed! The desire fulfilled here is a reference to God's will being the source and the center of our desires. We do not allow the world to lead us by the nose through its lusts. That, too often, will lead to heart sickness over a hope deferred again and again. What is astounding is the heart sickness is over that which is outside God's will for us. When we make the mistake of being conformed to this world, our desires are conformed to its lusts as well. Then we find ourselves in opposition to God's will and longing for things God does not desire to give to us. Just like with the Israelites, He may give them to us - but send a leanness to our souls in the process. This means that God will usually say, "No!" to those desires. If we continue to want them, we will find that our "ungodly hope" will be deferred again and again.
God's deferral is for our own good - but that is not the way that we will see it. We will continue to writhe in anguish in the grasp of God's controlling and sovereign hand - finding ourselves miserable in the will of God. Our heart sickness will eventually turn us against Him - making us think He is withholding from us that which is good or best. This, dear saints, is the same lie that was told to Eve in the garden. God knows that in the day you eat of this forbidden fruit your eyes will be opened. He is trying to keep you from being just like Him. Just like Eve, we will too often believe the lie - and allow our heart sickness to lead to a soul sickness - and death.
We do not want the false fruit of the tree of our own and this world's evil desires. What we should want is the fruit of the tree of life. Interesting isn't it how this passage points us to that fateful decision that was made in the garden. That decision deferred the hope of life for generations - and unleashed on the earth sin, suffering, and death that would reign over men until the second Adam, Jesus Christ, made His appearance and destroyed the lie. Oh, saints of God, do not give your life to worldly and fleshly hopes that will only take you toward heart sickness. Embrace God's ways and paths. Surrender to His will and His Spirit's guiding. In that you will find a tree of life that will yield not just an earthly satisfaction now - but an eternal one that will last forevermore.