Know well the condition of your flocks, and pay attention to your herds; for riches are not forever, nor does a crown endure to all generations. Proverbs 27:23-24As we look at this passage in Proverbs 27, we are examining the Ministry of neglect. This proverb is encouraging us to know the condition of things in our lives well! The example used is for our flocks - and yet many of us do not have any livestock. The wisdom that is offered is that we know well the things that are important in our lives. Over the next week we'll be looking at six different areas of our lives in which it is wise for us to avoid the "Ministry of Neglect" that just seems to come to naturally to us all.The first area we will look at is our personal lives. In this area we need to know well the condition of our heart. This speaks to our spiritual condition before God. How are you doing spiritually? Are you being more Christlike in your actions and attitudes? Are you showing spiritual growth so that the fruit of the Spirit is evident in how you live? On a different level, are you reading the Word of God daily? What about prayer - are you praying? Are you sharing your faith with others - and being an instrument of God's grace and love in your local fellowship? A good thing to do, if you want to keep up with such things, is to occasionally have a brother or sister in Christ lovingly, yet honestly, answer these questions. Want a real challenge? Ask your wife and your children. Another area of our personal lives is our health. This is one that if often overlooked - and yet according to 1 Corinthians 6:19 - our bodies are a temple of the Holy Spirit. So the question is applicable - how is your health? Are you eating well - or is the sin of gluttony resulting in health issues for you? Are you exercising regularly? Are you getting enough sleep and resting on a regular basis (God suggests 1 out of every 7 days for this). If you do not take care of yourself - you should not be surprised if your body - and even your mental state begins to fall apart. I am not saying that we should turn into health and fitness fanatics - just that we should do a basic job of caring for ourselves physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. How are you doing mentally and emotionally? Are you practicing good mental health? Do you live in reality - or is most of your time spent in a fantasy land - either on television or in an online game. Are you living for online relationships more than those around you in your home? Too many find themselves locked into the online world rather than the real one. Then there are mental habits. How are you doing with your mind? Are you reading and learning anything? This is something people don't grasp in our society. We are becoming a society of morons - because we don't do anything to benefit our minds. There is so much out there besides television (and especially besides reality TV) that can help you become a smarter person. Are your reasoning skills advancing - or are you letting the TV, radio, and others think for you? Oh, how much we lose when we don't practice good mental habits. The potential here is massive - and few if any of us tap into it. One last area that I'll meddle in is our personal finances. How are they going? Are we exercising wisdom in how we are handling the money God gives to us? Do we look like a wise or a foolish steward of what God places into our hands? It is actually wise to occasionally take a step back and see if we are being wise - and are practicing self-control over our spending habits. If not - we can suddenly find that our bank account will not sustain us at a level we are currently living. I can only imagine how much many have been offended by this particular post. We are not exactly an honest people when it comes to stepping back and taking a real look at ourselves. If it helps any - I was pretty convicted in several areas of my own life just writing this. Doing this can help us so much though. Remember - this post is about the Ministry of Neglect. It is too easy for us to forget areas of our lives - until they come back to bite us in the rear. That is why I would encourage you to schedule a quarterly check-up . . . for yourself. You might be shocked at how it helps keep you on track. I know that writing this has made me consider a few ways that the ministry of neglect has been active - and - I can see how if I continue to neglect things - I'll end up paying a lot more than I want to in my future.
Know well the condition of your flocks, and pay attention to your herds; for riches are not forever, nor does a crown endure to all generations. Proverbs 27:23-24
This verse in Proverbs kicks off a section that deals with diligence, as well as the fact of change in life. The wisdom offered here is to pay attention to things in your life because the one thing that will never change is that there is going to be change in your life. Time will march on whether you are paying attention to the parade or not. The danger posed to us by this is that life will change, either financially, politically, or spiritually and we will be caught off-guard by it.
One of the most effective ministries anywhere in the world is the ministry of neglect. This is an unintended ministry where we get busy in our lives - and neglect to watch over our finances, our marriage, our children, our business - even our own spiritual growth. Over time the ministry of neglect grows. Most people do not grasp what this ministry is doing until they are jolted as to its presence by a "suddenly-serious" problem. These are things that have been building up (or breaking down in many circumstances) and then make their appearance suddenly to us.
One of the best ways to describe this is to make reference to my very patient, very gracious wife. As a guy, I have a tendency to get over-focused in my life. As a result, I have had a pretty amazing track record of having the ministry of neglect in a number of areas of my life. What usually happens is that my precious bride wakes me out of my responbility slumber and alerts me to a way in which my life is in the process of falling apart. Whether it is in regard to my relationship with her - the rearing of our children - our finances - or any number of other things, I am usually shocked to see that there are problems. This rude awakening is a reminder that I truly do need to pay attention to things - many things - far better. The rude awakening is followed by - regret - conviction - repentance - and a flurry of action to put things right. Oh, and occasionally by being mad. The anger is experienced two ways - first I'm mad that someone is interrupting my stupidity (because at the time I don't see how stupid I'm being). Second, I am mad at myself for being so stupid - and letting things fall into disrepair through my ministry of neglect.
For the next couple of days, I want to look deeper into what is means to avoid having the ministry of neglect in your life. Before we are done, we'll look at several areas where this is important. We will examine the ministry of neglect and its affect on our personal lives, on our family, on our jobs or businesses, on our churches, and finally even on our nation and those who rule over us in the political structures under which we live. The ministry of neglect can be a very dangerous thing - if we continue in it. It is my hope that over the next several days we can strengthen the ministry of diligence - or said in a more eye-opening way - the ministry of true love.
I passed by the field of the sluggard And by the vineyard of the man lacking sense, And behold, it was completely overgrown with thistles; Its surface was covered with nettles, And its stone wall was broken down. When I saw, I reflected upon it; I looked, and received instruction. "A little sleep, a little slumber, A little folding of the hands to rest," Then your poverty will come as a robber And your want like an armed man. Proverbs 24:30-34
There are certain things you can learn by making observations of physical things. These are not always universally true - but they are true more often than not. This particular observation was made by someone who knew that a field belonged to someone who was already known as a "sluggard." Therefore it was known that this man was lazy and undisciplined. The danger here is not knowing someone's character - and assuming things because of what you see physically.
What we have here is someone who is making an observation about a sluggard's field or vineyard. This person is known for two things. First is that he is a sluggard. The term refers to someone who is lazy and who shuns any kind of work. The second observation is that he is also a man who seriously lacks sense. As usual in the book of Proverbs the word here is actually the Hebrew word, "leb" which means heart. What is referred to here is not this man's physical heart, but more his spiritual condition. God is concerned about the state of our hearts - because our actions and our words come out of the overflow of our hearts. Therefore the fact that this man lacks "heart" speaks more to the truth that he is lacking spiritual wisdom and a heart that turns to God for it.
We continue to look at the sluggard and his field and we have this report given to us. It wa a field and vineyard completely overgrown with weeds and nettles, which refers to thorny plants that make for a very unfruitful, unproductive field. These things are there because of the laziness of the owner. Not only was this field ignored agriculturally - but it was ignored physically too. It is noted that the stone wall around it was broken down as well. This most likely was not due to vandalism, but rather simple neglect over a long period of time. Therefore there were serious weed problems - and also serious problems with animals getting in and destroying the crops as well. This was a field ignored completely - and therefore would be a field that was grossly underproducing for its owner.
Seeing such a field in an agrarian society made the onlooker reflect on things - actually he reflected on the owner of the field. The word for "reflect" is the Hebrew word "siyt" and it means to focus one's heart and thinking on something. One might say that this writer was taking this matter to heart. He had God lay something on his heart as he looked. The author of these verses was spiritually astute enough to have the Lord speak to him as he looked on this sad scene. He received instruction as a result of what was before his eyes. The words here speak not merely of knowledge - but rather of a kind of instructing that disciplines us and uses things to turn us from a destructive path. That was what was happening here. Oh that we would open ourselves to such "at-the-moment" instruction like this - that God could take anything and use it to help us walk in His ways. Jesus spoke like this - using everyday pictures of life to help instruct His disciples (and us) how to walk with Him and honor His Father.
This was the comment he received. It is said in a way that is placed in quotations. There are those moments when God is about to speak to our hearts. We need to be open and receptive to such "wisdom statements" from Him. As the writer mused on this scene - the Lord spoke to his heart.
The statement made to his heart had to do with sleeping too much, slumbering too much - and wanting to fold our hands and "take it easy." God is not against rest - but He is against those who do not work hard. The sluggard did not want to work - he wanted to rest, slumber, and fold his hands and refuse to work. The state of his field was proof of these things. He didn't want to work and do the things that would make for a productive and protected field. He wanted a life of rest and relaxation.
This brings me to comment on an oft-said phrase that I hear in our society. "Don't work too hard," is said to me often - and I understand that people are not urging me to slothfulness. But - in all honesty - I do need to work hard. God said that in a fallen world like ours - being a hard working person will have a tendency to protect me . . . from me! Too much time along - too much time without something productive to do - too much time to myself - and I will get into trouble. I know - because I've been there - and I know how hard it is to keep me from being stupid when there is too much time on my hands. Therefore I know that a life of hard work - of labor - and of productiveness (whether at work, or at home, or even in spiritual things) is good for me.
The end of this proverb is telling. What hapens when you get lazy and undisciplined. God says that the end of such things is poverty. There will be a poverty of finances because the sluggard won't have any crops. There will be a poverty of character because the sluggard won't do what is necessary to develop it in cooperation with God. There will be a poverty of spirit because we won't grow spiritually without some kind of discipline in our lives. Poverty is coming - and is coming like a robber. This word speaks of a vagabond who comes upon you and takes what you have. Poverty will come if a man is lazy - and it will come like someone who walks up unannounced and steals your things. Poverty is also coming like an armed man. This speaks of those who came with armies - and who plundered after they took a city or town. Poverty was coming to the sluggard - and was coming to plunder everything he had. Laziness is costly - and it is a lesson that we too need to learn - even as we see its ravages all around us.
Judgments are prepared for scoffers, and blows for the back of fools. Proverbs 19:29
The New Testament reminds us in Romans that if we obey the Law, we will have no fear of judgment or punishment. Thus, the man who is driving the speed limit does not have his heart jump when he sees the speed trap too late on the highway. He has no fear of being caught doing anything wrong - because he's not doing anything wrong. But the scoffer who has no regard for the Law - who actually mocks it and speaks out against it - he has no such peace. The fool who is ignorant of the law and who loves his folly and sin - he too will know no such peace.
We are reminded that judgments are prepared for the scoffers. This refers to the Word of God. The fact that many miss is that God has already pronounced His judgments on those who scoff at His Word. He has given His commandments and also offered His warnings to those who ignore them - and who indeed ignore Him. There is no lack of passages in Scripture to remind us that God will judge the wicked - and that those who reject Jesus Christ face a terrifying specter of God's unreserved wrath. Therefore, if you are a scoffer, you can know exactly what you will get from God for your scoffing.
We are also reminded that there are blows for the backs of fools. The fool is the one who enjoys his folly - and ignores God's Word. He loves his foolishness and will not turn away from it. He has no use for anything that restrains what he wants - what His flesh cries out for each moment of each day. Thus the only way to reach this one and turn him from his way is by blows to the back. This brings howls of protest from those who think any kind of punitive action that involves physical striking as punishment is evil. But the facts tend to speak for themselves. Countries that bring quick judgment to bear on those who disobey the law - are also countries that do not have an abundance of lawless behavior in their country.
A few years ago a young man was caned in Singapore for breaking their law. Our nation was horrified as they considered what was about to happen. But the facts in Singapore stand on their own. The type of lawlessness this young American man embraced was almost non-existent in their culture. Their culture is this way because people see the cost of their actions - in literal blows that will come to them. Therefore they stay away from such behaviors. The cries that such laws and actions increase violence are not founded in fact. The violent societies are those who refuse to bring blows upon the backs of the fools who violate their laws. There is actually LESS violence in societies who punish with physical blows. There is a very real deterrent when you are facing real consequences for your actions.
Our nation has become obsessed with the rights of criminals. We are so concerned about possibly infringing upon their rights that we have forgotten the victims of their actions. In our march toward perfect justice (which does not exist) we have committed the greatest injustice to those injured by scoffers and fools. What needs to happen is for our nation to return to the principles of true justice and righteousness. This will also require us to return to judgments that make a fool pay for his actions. He will no longer be coddled by the justice system, but rather held accountable for choices that have injured and affected others. Maybe then we can move away from our current insanity - and toward a more just and righteous society.
POSTSCRIPT: Recently, individuals have quoted articles from this secion and stated that we teach child abuse at Calvary Chapel Jonesboro. To this I feel the need to respond. First, biblically, we are told that if we have a problem with our brother to go to our brother - not the internet - and confront our brother. To date, these individuals have yet to contact me to discuss these things. That should say volumes in itself.
Second, we do not teach child abuse at our fellowship. This blog is an endeavor to teach what is in the Bible for the edification and upbuilding of God's people. Anyone who has been to our fellowship knows that in our classrooms we administer NO physical discipline. We correct with words and with "time outs" and eventually with a report to parents. From our nursery throughout every age group our people are instructed NEVER to administer physical discipline. We believe this right alone belongs to a parent. Even then we teach the following about any application of physical discipline.
Discipline is about the heart of a child. Physical or corporal punishment is ONLY to be administered in a spirit of love for the child. Teaching and loving verbal correction is key - as is prayer for the child's eventual salvation in Jesus Christ. Any physical punishment administered due to anger or rage is out of line and wrong. The parent is to discipline the child with appropriate discipline - not abuse. In the end the child should be taught - and in every circumstance hugged, loved, and prayed with after any physical punishment to assure them of our love. The idea of a "beating" is completely out of step with what the Scriptures are teaching. Instead the idea of loving discipline is intended.
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.
"I was almost in utter ruin In the midst of the assembly and congregation." Proverbs 5:14
This is the final statement made by the one who is lamenting their sexual sin of adultery. It is filled with a tremendous amount of regret - and yet even in this cry of horror over sin, there is hope for those who will be instructed by it.
First we have a warning to those who think that adultery and sexual sin only inhabit the world outside the church. This person - David - said that he was almost to the point of utter ruin in the midst of the assembly and congregation. To think that the devil, the flesh, and the world only are problems for those outside the church is to set yourself up for ruin.
David experienced these things "IN THE MIDST OF THE ASSEMBLY AND CONGREGATION." Oh, how we need to take heed from this statement that we are not beyond the reach of sin just because we go to church. The fact is that we are WELL WITHIN THE REACH OF SIN no matter where we are on earth. David unfortunately forgot this as he walked upon the roof of his house in Jerusalem. He forgot that it was the time when kings should be going out to war. He forgot that even if he was king - he needed to be doing God's bidding rather than his own. He forgot that being lazy and undisciplined will cost us in the end. He forgot that being in the wrong place at the wrong time - will lead to wrong actions.
God never promises to us a "place" where we can be safe from all temptation and sin. There is NO place on earth where this exists. No matter where you go on earth - there will be temptation and there will be a need to draw near to God and look to Him for protection. There is only a "person" of safety - and that is the Lord our God. When we draw near to Him we find deliverance and safety. When we walk with Him and turn to Him - we are with the Only One Who can deliver us from all our temptations and sins. If David had remembered this he would have realized that he was in far greater danger at home without the presence of God in his life - than if he were in the midst of a fierce battle with God there within.
The one thing that grants me hope in reading this verse is the word "almost." One would think that David would have been utterly ruined by his adultery. Please do not misunderstand that he was going to have to pay a very heavy price before this was over. He would lose no less than 4 children in this situation. He would have 10 concubines raped by his own son in broad daylight in front of all Israel. His kingdom would be divided and many would lose their lives in battles that would ensue. The losses would be huge - and yet it was "almost" utter ruin.
God offers grace and forgiveness even in the most horrible of situations. David took advantage of this grace and fell upon the mercies of God in the end. God would forgive him and restore him to the joy of his salvation. Truly this is one of the most amazing stories of mercy and grace in all the Scriptures. Yet, David, in offering this glimmer of hope in the midst of his cry of despair still is warning us - pleading with us to remember him. He is pleading with us to remember the high cost of adultery and unfaithfulness to God's call for purity in our lives. May we see both the warning and the wonder of this passage. A warning against adultery and sexual sin - and the wonder of God's grace and forgiveness that can save us even in the worst of sitautions and circumstances.
He will not accept any ransom, Nor will he be satisfied though you give many gifts. Proverbs 6:35
Adultery is always stupid. There is no amount of money or ransom that a man will accept for the love and purity of his wife. God gave us marriage and is the very essence of love - and bequeathed to us the gift of loving someone else. One of the most wonderful expressions of His love is seen when a man and woman commit to one another in marriage. That picture is used in Ephesians 5 to show the love of Christ for His church. The love that exists in marriage is supposed to be very strong - and thus breaking it is not something that can be paid back by any amount of money.
We read in Song of Solomon 8:6-7 these words that will help us understand why there is no ransom for adultery. "Put me like a seal over your heart, Like a seal on your arm. For love is as strong as death, Jealousy is as severe as Sheol; Its flashes are flashes of fire, The very flame of the LORD. Many waters cannot quench love, Nor will rivers overflow it; If a man were to give all the riches of his house for love, It would be utterly despised." Love is as strong as death - that is why often a divorce is described as being as devastating as a death in a family. Love is as powerful as death, jealousy is like death, and again is described as like "flashes of fire" and "the very flame of Jehovah." These are not light, fluffy passing descriptions. They are powerful and honestly, frightening! When you choose to love someone and commit to them for life in marriage, this is the power that is released. That is why no ransom will be accepted for adultery - no gift will seem appropriate. We read in Song of Solomon that if a man were to give all the riches of his house for love - the one offered the money would utterly despise the offer. Love is more powerful than ANY amount of money ever offered.
Unfortunately, a movie I know of but have not seen, illustrates our point. The move was called, "Indecent Proposal." I would NOT encourage anyone to see it - so I will describe what I've read about it. In the movie a young couple are given an indecent proposal by a rich man to pay them $1,000,000 for the wife to commit adultery once with him. After weighing what they could do with that much money, they unwisely agree to this indecent proposal. The wife commits adultery and they are paid the money. But the film examines the carnage that follows as, you guessed it, jealousy begins enraging this man over what has happened. Just like it says in Song of Solomon - no amount of money is worth love. Any amount is utterly despised. The man comes to realize too late that the purity and sanctity of their relationship is not worth any sum of money - not even a million dollars. Even a ransom of that enormous amount is something despised and abhorred by a husband and wife. Thus when one partner sins for usually far less, it is a foolish choice indeed that they are making. They are selling out their vows for nothing more than a fleeting promise of forbidden pleasure. What they will pay in the end would make them recoil from such actions. The problem is that "in the moment" they do not think, nor do they reason with any kind of biblical or moral judgment. They destroy themselves and their marriage in a bid for the illusive promise of a night of passionate pleasure. What they most likely do not know is that the indulgence will cost them more than they could ever imagine. This is why, dear saints, Adultery is always stupid.
For jealousy enrages a man, And he will not spare in the day of vengeance. Proverbs 6:34
Adultery is always stupid. This is never more clearly seen than in the reality of the reaction of the husband who has learned that his wife has committed adultery with another man. His reaction toward that man is predictable. He reacts with jealousy - in fact what is written here is that he reacts with enraged jealousy.
Jealousy, which is referred to in this proverb, is the Hebrew word "qinah." This word means zeal or jealousy. It describes an intense passion and fervor. It describes an emotion that is greater than wrath or anger. Scripture calls this jealousy a rottenness in a man's bones (Prov. 14:30). It is used to speak of a spirit of jealousy that comes upon a man in Numbers 25:11. But the frightening description of this word is that it is used of God's zeal which He has toward his own people - and which He has for accomplishing His own will and purpose. The word is used six different times to speak of the way God's wrath is expressed in judgment. This is a strong word - and is made even stronger by the fact that it is used in connection with the word, "enrages." This word is the Hebrew word "hemah" and it means wrath or heat. It signifies great fury, anger, indignation, poison , or rage. When put together these two words create quite a terrifying description of the emotions that come over a man who learns of an adulterer seeking to destroy his relationship with his wife.
This enraged jealousy moves this man to seek the maximum penalty for adultery. I've watched this in court battles and divorces. The injured party, when given over to this enraged jealousy, wants to make the other person pay everything possible. There is a desire for them to truly pay the highest price possible for their indiscretion. They want a "day of vengeance." That is why adultery is always stupid. It always injures someone - and makes for emotions that rival any in life. The wise man sees this and realizes that no promise of sexual pleasure will ever match the release of rage, anger, and wrath that will come when their deeds become known.
Men do not despise a thief if he steals To satisfy himself when he is hungry; But when he is found, he must repay sevenfold; He must give all the substance of his house. Proverbs 6:30-31
Adultery is always stupid. In fact adultery here is being called dumber than stealing. We are offered a comparison between these two sins - and in the end, adultery is considered the worse of the two.
This passage is interesting, because although it does compare stealing and adultery, it does not condone either. The comparison is to how the theif is viewed vs. the view of the adulterer. The thief is actually shown compassion, especially if his stealing is due to being hungry. The passage tells us that a thief is not despised if he steals to satisfy his own hunger. We all understand hunger and the drive to satisfy our appetite when we have not eaten in a while. The thing about this proverb though is that after saying this - we are brought back to justice. If caught though, the thief will have to repay sevenfold for what he has stolen. This is the case even if the thief has to given everything in his house to pay that debt. There is mercy toward his situation - but not mercy toward the actions he took to remedy it.
But the adulterer is by default NOT given the same grace. We all probably know lust as well - but to actually go out and take another man's wife to satisfy it is wickedness. The adultery is also guilty of stealing - stealing the sanctity of another man's marriage. He is stealing another man's wife - taking her affections - and taking from him the vows that were made to him in the sight of God. This is not viewed with a gracious attitude here. Whereas a thief is not despised for his actions to alleviate his hunger - the adultery IS despised for taking another man's wife. If justice falls on the hungry man for his stolen food, how much more will God's justice fall on the adultery for stealing the sacredness of marriage and a home? There is going to be a cost - and that cost is high.
Ask David and Bathsheba what that cost involves. They will tell you that the cost far outweighs the pleasure of the moment. Ask David's family who also paid a high price for the attitude toward marriage and sexuality that was unfortunately passed in that family? Ask Samson if it was worthy his two eyes to commit sexual sin and satisfy his lusts in ungodly ways? Ask the people of Sodom and Gomorrah whether it was worth it to despise God's plan for marriage and go their own way? These are all examples of those who had to pay - and some pay with the very substance of their house. Adultery costs - and to think that we can get around that cost is ignorant. That is why dear saints, "Adultery is always stupid."
The one who commits adultery with a woman is lacking sense; He who would destroy himself does it. Proverbs 6:32
This passage deals with the stupidity of committing adultery, plain and simple. Several years ago Randy Alcorn wrote a book called, "The Purity Principle." In it I felt that Alcorn made a statement that is one for the ages. "Purity is always smart, impurity is always stupid." That is what the Holy Spirit is trying to tell us today in Proverbs. "The one who commits adultery with a woman is lacking sense." This is a very genteel way of saying what Alcorn said. We could restate his principle by saying that faithfulness in marriage is always good, adultery is always stupid.
The actual words used here are the ones that are used often in Proverbs. The one who commits adultery with a woman lacks heart. We are being told that adultery shows that we have a heart problem more than anything else. We've allowed our hearts to be captured by lust and sexual immorality rather than by God. While reading a series of purity prayers I've run into the statement again and again where the puritans asked God to capture their heart so that they would not be satisfied by trifling affections. The heart can be captured in this way - and given to things that are so far less than what God wants to give us. The truth is what He wants to give us in Himself. We settle for so much less and so less fulfilling things than Him. And that is what the fool has done - he has settled for adultery rather than finding in God and in His provision of his wife true fulfillment.
We are also warned in this passage that, ". . . he who would destroy himself does it." The literal Hebrew says that the destruction is in this man's soul. He finds his mind strangely drawn and lied to by the enticements of the adulterous woman. He finds his emotions stimulated by a false love and false promises of intimacy and pleasure. As he foolishly begins to embrace these thoughts and these concepts he also begins to lose the war within his will to continue in God's ways and in God's path. Soon he gives in to the onslaught that is coming toward his soul. He no longer lives out of his spirit - where the Spirit of God would give him strength to resist and overcome temptation - but instead allows himself to be taken over by his body and its lusts. As he does this He submits himself to the adultery - and in so doing he "destroys" himself in the process and the sinful choice. Destroy here is the Hebrew word, "sahat" and it means to spoil, ruin, destroy, pervert, or corrupt. When you look at these ways of translating this word they all fit this passage - and all take place as this man acts foolishly by committing adultery.
For the next several days we will look at the terrible consequences and the wise warnings that God gives us in this area. Remember that this entire conversation is one that takes place between a man and his sons. How wise we would be to have this kind of conversation with our sons as they get older and begin to face the temptations of this present world. How wise we would be to also have these kinds of conversations with our adult sons who are married, as well as with our brothers in Christ with whom we share fellowship in God's church. Since these things are written about so many times in Proverbs - it is a reminder that the wise also warn one another with the very warnings given to us by God.
Proverb a Day
Each day, we'll take a look at a verse from the chapter of Proverbs for the day. Our hope is to gain wisdom each day - and from that wisdom - to have understanding to make godly decisions in the throes of everyday life.
Copyright Calvary Chapel Jonesboro | all rights reserved