Now then, my sons, listen to me And do not depart from the words of my mouth. Proverbs 5:7
Wisdom is something that should passionately be spoken to our sons. It is something they should hear from us with a sense of urgency and importance that should ring from what we say to them. If we do not speak with this kind of passion we may have our children go the way that the son in laws of Lot went.
We read in Genesis of this sad event in Genesis 19:14, " Lot went out and spoke to his sons-in-law, who were to marry his daughters, and said, "Up, get out of this place, for the LORD will destroy the city." But he appeared to his sons-in-law to be jesting." Unfortunately for Lot - a passionate plea to late seems like little more than a bad joke. The lack of passion concerning the immorality and ungodliness of the people was palpable. He rarely spoke out, though his righteous soul was tormented by their behavior. But Lot decided not to speak too stridently about sin in his day. The result of his lack of conviction about the sin that ran rampant in his town was that no one took him seriously when he came with a warning about God's judgment. He never seemed too disturbed about the sin before - so maybe he was overreacting to the situation at hand. In the end the men who would have been his daughter's husbands laughed him off - and were destroyed when the fire and brimstone fell from heaven.
This is why we need to speak with the passion of this father. When he says, "listen" he uses the word that speaks of listening to obey. He wants his words regarded, heard, and followed. When he says, "do not depart" he uses languate that is strong. The idea behind this admonition is like a military leader urging his troops to not desert him or quit fighting. Strong words are employed by this father to call his sons away from sexual immorality. Do we use words this strong when speaking with our sons on such issues? Do we use any words? Do we even speak with them about such things?
Our sons need us! We live in a day of loose morals and lying promises. The morals of our day are loose because our nation has abandoned the words of the Lord. Schools forbid us from speaking such things to students. In the places where an abstinence message is allowed - a Scriptural one is forbidden. It seems almost insane to keep such a message from our young ones considering that over 40 different incurable sexually transmitted diseases run rampant in our society. But the real danger, according to our lawmakers, is that someone might harm them by speaking a religious message to them. What is allowed more and more is the lying promises of our soceity. Safe sex is promoted - with the thought that they are going to be sexually immoral anyway. The problem is that the so-called safe sex message relies primarily on condoms - which have a 1 in 6 failure rate. Their message of safety is about as effective as playing russian roulette with a six shooter. Come on - there's only one chance in six someone is going to blow their brains out! Keep your morality off of our pistol! We'd consider such talk sheer insanity if it were uttered to our kids about playing russian roulette. But for those who offer the same message with an incurable sexually transmitted disease - well, that's open thinking and progressive education. Honestly . . . sounds like a gathering of idiots to me.
Dad's - this was NEVER to be a matter handed over to school and governmental officials. Sex education and far more importantly sexual morality was and still is to be taught by a father to his son. That way we can not only teach them about their sexuality as a gift from God. We can also let them know of the perversion of it by the Fall - and the dangers that come from ignoring the Word of God.
My son, give attention to my wisdom, Incline your ear to my understanding; Proverbs 5:1
"Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears." This was the way Shakespeare began the speech of Mark Antony in Julius Caesar. It was a cry for people to listen and to pay close attention because something very important was going to be said. Proverbs has its own soliloquies as well - but they come from the mouths of mothers and fathers to their sons and daughters. This is how the father begins his speech to his son - by calling him to listen and to pay close attention to what he is going to say.
Give attention, pay heed, pay attention, listen is what the father is saying to his son. But he is not calling him to attention to just anything - he is calling his attention to the wisdom that the father shares with him. Wisdom is the familiar word "chokmah" in the Hebrew meaning which means not just seeing or knowing things from God's perspective - but having a skill and experience in using this wisdom to make moral and practical decisions. We are not to turn the education and en-wisening of our children over to others. That is what western culture has done too often. We turn our kids over to the school - even to their Sunday school teachers and youth leaders. Let them teach our children wisdom - that's what they're for right? WRONG! They are there to only add to and embellish the core teachings that should have come from us. When we do not do our jobs as parents - believe me - no one else can make up for it.
The father calls his son to bend his ear close when he speaks and when he instructs. "Incline your ear" is like Shakespeares, "Lend me your ears," comment. It is saying to the son that he needs to stretch out his ears - bend them toward what the father is saying. He is to extend and lean his ears to what is being said - but even more to that - to understand his father's words and see how they apply to all of life! We talk about how the younger generation is leaving the church. They are leaving because they see very little relevance to their lives from what is being taught. They see the Bible as stories told to them when they were little - as an antiquated book that no longer applies to today's world. Why? Because they did not hear from dad - nor see in dad a daily pursuit of the truth - as well as a daily understanding of how that truth applies to making decisions in the everyday life that he leads. Of course they are going to think it is of little value. Oh, but when a father teaches his children these things - calls them to listen and bend their ear close as he instructs them. When dad reveals to them a life lived from the perspective of God and of Scripture - that - dear brothers and sisters is a life that will call a son to follow. That child will value what he has heard and SEEN in his father. He will listen because he has SEEN how important this book - the Bible - is to how his father lives. That, my brothers is how we recapture this generation. We do so by living according to God's wisdom - then calling our sons to listen as we recount time after time when that wisdom guided us through the minefields of life. What is the particular "minefield" that the father is so intent on teaching to his son? It is the minefield of sexual immorality. He is talking to his son about women - actually about a certain kind of woman - the immoral one. He is also sharing much wisdom with his son about the battle that will ensue when he deals with women like this. He does not hide such things from his son - he teaches them honestly and very straight forwardly. This is not something that is relegated to the sex ed teacher - it is something the father teaches his son. I'm about to say some things that will probably offend some - while at the same time making others shout for joy that someone is saying them out loud. Sex education was meant to be taught at home and in the church. Never was this meant to be a topic brought up without very clear moral underpinnings. If you look at the first 9 chapters of Proverbs you will see that this issue was raised BY THE FATHER to the son several times. God intended for a godly father to teach his son about sex - and about the pitfalls of being a fallen male in this world. The Bible is not squeamish on the matter of sexuality. It faces it head on - sharing general teaching, instruction, warnings, as well as cautionary historical examples of sexuality running wild and causing great destruction. I've long held that if the whole Bible was ever to be put on film - it would carry at least an R rating. The perils of heterosexual sin, homosexuality, and perversion are not hidden from us. They are displayed in such a way that we see their destructive power and desire to avoid them. Dad, are you teaching your son these things? Have you sat down and taught him about his sexuality - with a proper moral foundation underneath so that his sexuality does not run rampant and destroy relationships and possibly even his health and welfare? Because the church has not stepped out in front on such issues - and because fathers have not taught their sons and instructed them in how to wisely deal with their sexuality - the world has taken over. The result is sexuality taught without biblical morality. How's that working for us so far? Have we brought about a safer, wiser, more responsible sexuality among our children and youth? It has been a disaster because teaching sexuality without morality has led to a sex-crazed society that has cheapened sex and made it accessible and acceptable in every situation. Dads . . . YOU are responsible for how your son and daughter views sexuality. If you do not teach them the truth - they most likely will not know it. The television and movies will not tell them about such things within a biblical context. Magazines and books won't do it either. They will promote the perversions of sex passed on by our society and those who view sex as an anything goes activity - just so long as you use protection. Fathers! Nothing will protect your child from the dangers of unbiblical sex. There is not a condom or a safety device made that protects the heart and the spirit from the devastation and destructive power of sin. May God grant us a revival among fathers - that we will call our children to listen - and we will talk to them frankly and honestly about their sexuality. May we also give them a godly, biblical framework in which to enjoy their sexuality as God intended. If we do not talk to them and teach them - I can promise you others will who have no intention of offering them the greatest protection we can have in sex - the wisdom of God.
Correct your son and he will give you comfort; He will also delight your soul. Proverbs 29:17
It is a common error for parents to think that if they discipline their children, they will not like them later in life. This is especially the case when at the time of the discipline the child makes a comment to the effect that they hate you. Another winner at this juncture is when a child announces in overdramtic fashion that you are ruining their life. Let me assure you from having reared 6 children of all personality types - when you discipline them you are not ruining their lives. What you are doing is insuring that at a later date you will find comfort and delight in a child who knows how to control himself and make wise choices.
Correcting your son involves discipline. The word here is "yasar" and it means to discipline, chasten, instruct, teach, and even punish. This process of correction therefore takes into account all the aspects of rearing a child. It means so much more than just spanking or punishing a child when they do wrong. It involves instructing and teaching them even as you chasten and punish them. It is not enough to tell a child something is bad - you have to eventually explain why something is bad or a wrong choice. When you do this, you take the time to encourage them toward godly, right behavior.
When you rear a child in this fashion you will find that your son gives you two wonderful things. First, we are told that he gives us "comfort." The word here means to give someone a sense of rest and repose. It can also mean a rest in the way you feel when you are satisfied with something. A well-disciplined child, although a chore during the process, will give a parent rest as they make godly, wise choices later in life. I know from a little experience and from helping others that when a child makes unwise choices - it can rob you of any sense of rest or relaxation. Some parents seem to spend a majority of their latter years rescueing a child from one disaster after another. That is not rest!
The second blessing that comes to parents who correct their children is delight. The Hebrew word here is "ma'aden" and it means something of beauty or when refering to food something that tastes wonderful. One of the blessings that I have is that of thoroughly enjoying my children. We have 6 of them - and they are a delight to the soul of their mother and father. When they visit we speak deeply of spiritual things - and we have a blast together - often laughing and enjoying each other's company. That is what is promised here.
Now just a word in closing on this proverb. The delight often comes later in life - because rearing a child is a full contact sport! There were many times when we struggled to know what to do - and how to deal with rebellion in our children. There were times when my wife and I were dropped to our knees in broken-hearted prayer on their behalf. We both know that the reason they are godly today is because of God's grace and mercy - not our wonderful, bookworthy parenting. So do not lose heart if at first you read this and wonder about such words as comfort and delight. That comes after you've spent 15-20 years of work together rearing them - praying for them - and often wondering what may become of them. That part is the "correcting" phase. It is not always delightful - but is very useful to God not only to bless your children - but to drop you to your knees for a few times of God's work in you as well.
A foolish son is a grief to his father And bitterness to her who bore him. Proverbs 17:25
This is a proverb that we've seen before in a slightly different fashion. The only difference is that the word for fool here is the Hebew word "kesiyl" which is a different word than what we've seen in the past. So, with a different word as our guide, lets look at the fool who is a heartbreak to both his mother and father.
The word "kesiyl refers to one of several different types of fools mentioned in Scripture. The word study we'll do here will reveal much to us. The first way this word is used is in Ecclesiastes 4:5
- where we see that it refers to someone who is unable to deal with the issues of life in successful or practically godly ways. We see that his laziness and unwillingness to be corrected or taught brings about serious problems for him. In Psalm 49:10-11
the psalmist uses the word "stupid" to describe someone who refuses to learn anything. Proverbs 1:32
speaks of a young man who is complacent about his ungodly ways and sees no need to change anything in his life. Psalm 92:6
reveals that he does not understand spiritual issues and Ecclesiastes 2:14
shows us that he chooses to walk in darkness and see the problems he has.
We get the idea that this son is a young man who refuses to learn or listen to anyone other than himself. He is lazy and undisciplined - and that is most clearly seen in that he refuses to do what is necessary to be guided by a person, a book, or any kind of mentor. In the end this young man's ignorance is embraced as he thinks that nothing is wrong - and his life needs no change. As a result he walks in darkness and doesn't even know it. His spiritual ignorance is astounding - yet the young man sees no connection between his problems and his unwillingness to listen and learn from anyone.
The parents of such a child are to be pitied. The father is filled with grief. The word for this is "kaas" which means to be angry and provoked. The same word is used for God's anger toward those who paractice idolatry. For the father of this young person - his anger and vexation is due to the fact that his child worships himself and his own mind rather than God. The only person he listens too and values is himself. His mother if filled with a sense of bitterness. It is very difficult for her to process the choices and actions of such a child. The word in the Hebrew speaks of a harsh reality that is the opposite of something pleasant. Her sorrow and pain is sharp as she tries to rear a child who values nothing of what is offered to him, unless he already has thought of it himself.
This young person's attitude mirrors that of a lost person without Christ. They are filled with ideas and thoughts that only validate their own thinking. They love their sin and see no need to stop it. They are grossly ignorant and stupid - valuing only their own thinking and reasoning which is fatally flawed by the fall of man into sin. There is no hope for such a young man or woman were it not for the grace and mercy of God. Fortunately for such people God pursues us by His infinite mercy. He brings us to a knowledge of our true condition and the sheer massive gargantuan size of our stupidity. He then draws us and opens our eyes to our condition - offering grace to change us from the inside out. For the parent of such a rebellious, ignorant child - there is only one hope. That hope is to fall on one's knees and cry out to God. Pray that He will open their eyes to their stupidity and deadness of heart - and then change them by the wonderful operation of His grace! There is little else one can do outside this. Thanks be to God that He delights in changing stupid young people into wise saints by His saving grace.
He who sires a fool does so to his sorrow, And the father of a fool has no joy. Proverbs 17:21
Wisdom knows that children can be a source of great joy - and also a source of incredible sorrow. This particular proverb points us to the fact that a man who has a child - and that child becomes a fool - is a man who will have a great deal or sorrow, pain, and difficulty. There are a couple of things we should note, though, in this statement.
When a man sires a fool - it is not just the process of having a child that is meant here. God calls us to rear our children according to His Word - making sure that we first live it before them - and also that we spend time teaching them this Word as well. Listen to what God says in Deuteronomy on this issue.
“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. “These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart. “You shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up. “You shall bind them as a sign on your hand and they shall be as frontals on your forehead. “You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates. (Deuteronomy 6:5-9)
It is so important to see here a call to reality in our own spiritual walk first. We are to love God with all our heart, soul, and might. We are to put His Word on OUR hearts first. Then right after this is the command to teach these things DILIGENTLY to our children. The way this is said givbes the impression that this is to be part of our lifestyle. When we do not do this - we are paving the way to be one who has sired a fool. But the reality is that the foolishness was not inherent in the child - it often is a learned response. Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child, proverbs tells us, but the rod of discipline will drive it far from him. Often a fool is created by one who thinks that discipline and correction are too strident for a child. The fact is leave these things out of a child's life - and you will sire a fool before it is over.
The father here has no joy - because has to watch his son live like a fool. He watches his boy live a life that is very self-destructive. He also watches as the lack of his own parenting comes back to haunt him. Let me give a brief testimony concerning rearing children.
God has blessed me with 6 wonderful children - and a very, very godly wife. We are in the twilight of rearing our children. Child-rearing is not a spectator sport - and often is a full contact - heart-breaking activity. God has blessed us with very godly kids who have a heart for God. But this was NOT something that was like falling off of a log. There were times when we taught - times when we had to discipline - and times when we wondered if discipline even worked. But we trusted God's Word. There were also times when we had to confront our teenage children with their lifestyle choices. We faced times when we were the "uncool" parents - and even times when one would tell us that they hated us and that we were ruining their lives. Ah, good times . . . But there were also times when we would invest in our children - being at events - spending hours talking, listening, and even answering difficult questions. All this required time, effort, and at times very tough choices.
I am saying this to say that too many men are little more than sperm donors to their children. I know that is a rough statement - but rearing children requires a lifetime committment to them - and to God. By the way, it also requires learning how to walk with god yourself. There were times when God would call ME on the carpet - rebuke me - and correct me. Honestly - the best place to learn parenting is from how God dealt with His people. There were times when I would have to face the fact that I had been a hypocrite - and then would have to sit my children down and admit it to them! We were anything but "perfect parents." We were participants in the gospel and the grace of God. We were participants in growing up in the Lord. I know that at least I was a royal doofus many times. There are times when I wonder how any of my kids could turn out well when I look at the progression of my own heart. When I think of how often I fell - how often I failed - and how often I was on my face dealing with my own sin. I've had to face daily discipline from God - and from brothers who help me stay committed to the Lord. Without this - I would have utterly destroyed my testimony.
Here is what I am trying to say. Life is a full-contact sport. It is hard. It is difficult and often is exhausting. It also has a million blessings intersperced in it as well. To live it - we have to turn to God a billion times - often wondering when we will ever get it right. But this IS life. We sire fools when we do not both walk with them through this wonderful gauntlet - as well as teach them and cheer them on as they make their way through after us. It requires us to live our lives for God's purposes and plans - even in having children. It requires us to die daily to ourselves and live for God's glory in it all. Is this easy . . . NO! Is it possible . . . YES! Is it rewarding and awesome and amazing as we walk with God through it all . . . ABSOLUTELY! Therefore, I urge you men out there reading this to take the task of loving God, loving your wife, and siring and rearing children very seriously. It will take your whole life to do it - it will cost you everything to accomplish it - but it will mean everything to you when you look back on it with joy - seeing your kids follow Christ.
A wise son makes a father glad, But a foolish man despises his mother. Proverbs 15:20
At first look this proverb might look a little prejudiced, giving dad all the gladness and mom the pleasure of being despised by the foolish son. Yet the proverb actually reveals some interesting things to us about children and how they affect both parents as they grow older and make choices according to the way that we have taught them.
One would think this proverb is about parents and their reward for rearing godly children, but it is not. It is rather a proverb dealing with children - and is a warning to them. First, we see that a wise son makes his father glad. When you see a son who is wise, he is going to be the delight of both parents, but especially his dad. He will speak glowingly of his boy, not because of all his achievements, but rather because he acts with wisdom in all his ways. You can have a very successful son in the eyes of the world, and still have a child who is a fool. Many fortunes have been won then lost because a young man is filled with business savvy, but has no wisdom in the way he lives with the riches he amasses. A wise son, though not rich or wealthy, is such a delight to his father. He watches his boy make good decisions - to love his wife and his children. He watches as his boy makes decisions according to the wisdom his father has taught him - both his earthly and heavenly Father that is.
Our proverb turns to the mother though, and refers to how her foolish son treats her. The passage says that he despises her. The word for "despises" is the Hebrew word "bazah" which means to hold in contempt and disdain; to consider worthless or vile. It is quite a strong word and it indicates a child who is very foolish because he does not appreciate his mother. He holds her in contempt even though she has loved him and cared for him. Many a foolish boy is ashamed of his mother - and cringes when she shows him love openly. Such a young man will not be blessed in his life, because he disdains one of the choicest servants he will ever know. In despising his mother like this, he disains his father on earth - her husband, and he disains his Father in heaven - her maker and the One who gave her to him.
How a child views his mother has much to say about his heart. The child who is more concerned with looking cool to his friends will treat his mother with contempt and disdain. He breaks her heart often - even though she continues to serve and love him. This young man has no humility or gratefulness, which will come back to haunt him later in life. He spurns her wisdom for the opinions of his foolish friends. Solomon's son did this with his father's advisors and watched his kingdom split as a result.
Oh, young man - and honestly, even older men. Treasure the mother that God gave you as one of His choicest gifts. Openly acknowledge her to others and praise her before your friends. I often tell people that when a young man courts your daughter, pay close attention to how he treats his mother. You are watching in that how he will one day treat your daughter. When a man cannot love and honor and treasure his mom, you are looking at a fool. That fool will not prosper in ways that matter for eternity - you can bank on the Word of God that this will be true. Therefore fathers, teach your sons by your actions and attitudes to honor their mothers - to thank them for all that they have done for them. Teach them that this is practice for having a prosperous and delightful marriage. If they cannot treasure the woman who they can see - how will they be ready to treasure one they have not seen yet?
Should your springs be dispersed abroad, Streams of water in the streets? Let them be yours alone And not for strangers with you. Proverbs 5:16-17
Part of sexually sane living is realizing what is at risk when we begin having sex outside the bounds of our marriage. Here we have a reference to where our seed as men will go when we decide to begin committing adultery.
The father tells his son not to have his springs dispersed abroad - like streams of water in the streets. The picture here is how a man's seed should be kept for his wife - and only his wife. When a man begins committing adultery and resorting to women who do the same, he is risking pregnancy with a woman who is not his wife. Unfortunately we have myriad examples of this in our current day. Men, who do not care with whom they have sex, wind up impregnating women who are not their wives. Thus their seed is like a spring dispersed abroad - like water in the streets. The result is a society where there are illegitimate children running around - without fathers. A man who does such things is a man who will have his name and his reputation damaged over time. Since he does not care for the children properly they tend to go astray and to cause problems. When people learn that they are the illegitimate children of a man - that man's name suffers greatly - as do the children whom he has sired - but does not rear for God.
God says to let our seed by ours alone - and not something that is shared with strangers. God intended for a man and a woman to be married, then to share in sexual intercourse. It was never His intention or will that men should have multiple children with multiple wives. This creates very serious problems over time. It causes problems for the family - for the husband and wife - for their children - and for the child who is uncared for by a father later in life. There is also the problem of what happens to the woman who is used in this way. Quite often this woman grows very bitter and angry at the man who has used her for sex - but is unwilling to commit to her . . . or to her child.
God knows the damage that comes from ignoring His Word and the principles upon which it is based. This is multiplied many times over when a man fathers illegitimately. Unfortunately most men do not even consider such things - they are looking only for the pleasure of the moment rather than thinking about the long-term affects of their immorality. That is why it is left to godly fathers to warn their sons of such things. May we be wise and do such things with our sons and daughters - to hopefully promote a little more sexual sanity in our world.
Drink water from your own cistern And fresh water from your own well. Proverbs 5:15
As David finishes teaching Solomon about the need for purity and faithfulness to marriage, he turns to several verses of instruction. He has given his son a command to steer clear of adultery, prostitutes, and sexual sin. He has given him very severe warnings about what will happen if he succombs to such things. Now he turns his attention to some principles by which his son should live. This is a call for sexual sanity in a world that knows little of it. These verses should be known and taught to men and boys everywhere. I fear that because we do not teach such things to our guys, we suffer greatly because of a lack of wisdom and direction in such areas.
Throughout this section David uses imagery to get his point across to his son. Most of this imagery is not difficult to follow, although there is some debate on it. Today's verse is pretty clearly speaking of being faithful to your wife. David tells Solomon to "Drink water from your own cistern." The cistern is a reference to a wife given by the Lord. Here Solomon is reminded to seek out his needs for sexual intimacy in his home, with his wife. David is saying to him, "Be satisfied with your own wife - and find fulfillment in your relationship and physical intimacy with her." As a man would drink water from his cistern and from the fresh water of his own well, so a man should enjoy the satisfaction of conjugal love with his wife.
Note that here we see this referred to as "fresh water" from one's own well. In the modern era we've seen the horrible effects of people drinking bad water. When a disaster takes place in the world one of the most oft seen diseases is cholera - which comes primarily from drinking bad water. Spiritual and relational cholera happens when we decide that we want to drink from the waters all over the streets - rather than drink from the fresh waters of our own well. We have also seen in the modern era the meteoric rise of sexually transmitted diseases which are running rampant in our world. Such diseases are completely unnecessary and can be avoided entirely. The problem lies in that mankind does not like the cure - sexual abstinence before marriage and faithfulness to monogamy within marriage. Because much of society has rejected such things, we endure over 35 incurable sexually transmitted diseases that roam almost unchecked in our society.
The simple counsel of a godly father to his son is the start of sexual sanity in our minds and in our lives. It is a guard against so many things that when loosed are a pandora's box of problems for us and for our nation. The onl way that we can begin to address all of pandora's evils is to have godly fathers once again arise and be first an example to their children - and then teach them by precept as well of God's ways and paths. In the day that this happens, we will begin to see a revival of sexual sanity once again in our homes, our community, and eventually our nation.
But he does not know that the dead are there, That
her guests are in the depths of Sheol. Proverbs 9:18
We now come to the closing verse of the this passage. We have been warned of the dangers of listening to Folly and her call to live foolishly. We've seen where she dwells and from where she is callling us. We've also seen that she is calling us with deception and lies. But the final warning that is given to us has to do with where those who listen to her wind up going.
One of the reasons we listen to the call of foolishness is because we do not realize where we will wind up spending eternity if we follow her counsel. We are told that we do not know, as we foolishly listen and follow her counsel that we will end up dead. We will go to the dead - because that is where all her guests find themselves in the end. What an interesting picture this paints for us. She invites guests to come and partake of what she offers to them. Yet what she feeds them, though appetizing at first - winds up killing them spiritually. What a hostess she is to us - lying to us and deceiving us into eating what will bring us death. This gives us another clue to where she is from. The other one who did this did it in the garden - with the offer of food to Adam and Eve. Satan offered them what seemed to be food that was delightful to the eye and that also looked good for food. But when they partook of it all they received was death. The same lie that was offered in the garden is the same lie that is still being offered to people by Folly today. And it has the same consequences - it yields death for us instead of life.
A wise man will learn how to discern when foolishness is calling. It is not an easy thing to do because we are fallen - and our tendencies are to walk in such things. It is only as we renew our minds with God's Word that we will be able to detect the lies of the evil one, the calls of foolishness to us, and the deception that is involved. But no matter what the cost for us - to discern foolishness' call is vitally important for us. It is also vital that we take the time to instruct and advise our sons and daughters to do the same. May God bring up a generation that learns to reject Folly's call - and instead - have our ears and spirits in tune with the voice of God's Spirit instead.
"Whoever is naive, let him turn in here," And to him who lacks understanding she says, "Stolen water is sweet; And bread eaten
in secret is pleasant." Proverbs 9:16-17
Up to this point we have only had limited information upon which to examine Folly's call to us. We have had to use our understanding and insight to see that such a call is detrimental to us. But when we come to verse 16 of this passage we no longer have the slightest doubt that the call to foolishness is a call to wicked, sinful choices and to a life embracing deception and lies.
"Stolen water is sweet." This is the statement that Folly offers to us. This is her advice to those seeking to make their paths straight in life. This phrase is actually saying to us that stolen water is sweeter than water that you have by normal legal means. We are being told that there is something about immoral, illegal behavior that makes the water taste just better than it normally does. The quest of stealing it adds something - maybe a sense of adventure and risk - that just drinking your own water does not provide.
There is a biblical allusion here that Keil and Delitzsch offer that is fascinating to me. A passage in Proverbs chapter 5 is mentioned where we are told to "Drink water from your own cistern and fresh water from your own well." (Proverbs 5:15
). What is counselled here is that drinking stolen water or water that is NOT from your own spring or well - is compared to adultery. If that is the case here in Proverbs chapter 9, then this passage explodes with meaning - and warning. Folly will encourge you to drink sexually from a fountain other than that of your own marriage. Adultery and fornication are being encouraged. Steal a drink from your neighbor's marriage - or from an unmarried woman's life - that kind of sex is far more sweet than being faithful to your own marriage. This is wicked counsel of the worst order! Whether or not this refers to stealing water - or adultery and fornication - either way, Folly is out to destroy us.
The second thing she says to us is that ". . . bread eaten in secret is pleasant." Here again Follly is saying to us that we need to be deceptive. Simply eating bread with family or friends is not enough. We need to be eating bread in secret - which intimates that we are doing something that necessitates hiding from others. Anyone with an eating or drinking problem will tell you that when you begin to hide your eating or drinking from others and do it secretly - you've got a serious problem. When I sneak a cookie - or buy some kind of food I know I shouldn't be eating - it is amazing how often I eat this food away from the sight of family - who lovingly would warn me that eating that way is not the healthiest choice for me.
The sad thing is that Folly is lying to us. She is saying to us that even the water and the food taste different when we sin in eating and drinking it. Normal living, holy living - is a drag - and only people who are boring live that way all the time. Live on the edge - do something out of the ordinary - live for yourself a little. These are the messages of the fool - and they are heard and heeded by other fools.
Amazingly - the truth is that God sees you even when you drink your stolen water - when you commit adultery in secret - or when you eat your bread hidden from the sight of others. God sees - and He will eventually expose you and show your folly. It is far better to live in open obedience - than to listen to lies that secret sin is better. This, though, is something about which we must absolutely warn our children. These lies WILL come to them and it would be much to their benefit to be able to recognize them as lies when they arrive. A wise father will take these things to heart and will take the time to faithfully teach his children to avoid them.