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Now let us turn to Proverbs, chapter 6. The first part of the Proverbs is exhortation to my son. It's just good fatherly advice to sons. And chapter 6 continues in these exhortations that are opened by the phrase:
My son, if you be surety for thy friend, or if you have stricken hands with a stranger, you've become snared with the words of your mouth, you've been taken with the words of your mouth. Now do this, and deliver yourself, my son, when you've come to the hand of your friend; go, and humble yourself, and make sure thy friend. Give not sleep to thine eyes, nor slumber to thine eyelids. Deliver yourself as a roe from the hand of the hunter, or as a bird from the hand of the fowler ( Proverbs 6:1-5 ).
Someone said the best way to lose a friend is to loan him money. And unfortunately, many friendships have been lost over this very thing. If you have guaranteed for a friend, if you've been a surety for him. You say, "Well, that's all right, just put it on my account, or I'll guarantee it," my son, you're in trouble. Go to your friend quickly. You've snared yourself with your mouth. Deliver yourself from him if at all possible. Humble yourself and get out of the situation. Or worse yet, if you've made an agreement with a stranger. That is, you say, "Okay, we'll do it," and you shake hands with the stranger. You've stricken hands. And of course, it is interesting over there to watch them in their negotiations even to the present day.
One of our favorite little side trips when we are in Israel is to go down to the sheep gate on Friday morning and watch as the Bedouins and all bring in their sheep to market. And the buyers and the sellers gather together and it is a sight that you just will never forget as you stand there and watch these Mercedes cabs come up, filled with these men with their caffias and all, they open up the door and out pours these men and the sheep and everything else. They open up the trunk and out come the sheep, you know. And the pickup trucks and all, and they herd all of these sheep into this area near the corner of the wall across from the Rockefeller Museum every Friday morning. And then these guys will begin to haggle and bargain over the sheep.
Now when they bargain, they yell at each other. I mean, they just stand there. They shake their fists. You expect them to pull a knife out from under their robe at any time and go at it 'cause they're just yelling like they're really angry. And it's quite a scene with all of the yelling and shouting, and the guy will turn and walk away, and turn around and yell at the guy. And then walk a bit and turn and yell some more, you know. And after they've gone through this for a while, pretty soon you see them slap their hands. You know, they'll... and the guy will reach in, get his wallet, pull out his money, and take the sheep and go off. And it's really quite a quite a scene. The striking of the hands is an indication, "All right, that's a deal, you made a deal."
Now, my son, if you strike hands with a stranger, you're in trouble. Be careful about that. Deliver yourself as quickly as possible as a deer from the hand of the hunter or as a bird from the snare of the fowler.
So the first little exhortation is against guaranteeing for somebody else. The second little exhortation is against slovenness.
Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise: Which having no guide, overseer, or ruler, provideth her meat in the summer, and gathereth her food in the harvest. How long wilt thou sleep, O sluggard? when are you going to awake? Yet a little sleep, and a little slumber, and a little folding of your hands to sleep: and so shall thy poverty come as one that traveleth, and thy want as an armed man ( Proverbs 6:6-11 ).
So a little exhortation against laziness. Go to the ant. Now, we are told that Solomon was a very prolific writer. That he wrote 3,000 proverbs, several songs, and he wrote books on biology and botany. And so he was a man who was very familiar with nature. And we will pick this up as we get to some other proverbs as he talks about the characteristics of other animals and insects.
But here he is saying, "Now go to the ant, learn of her ways and be wise." And watching ants is a very interesting experience. They are perhaps one of the most industrious of all little insects. The worker ants and how they go out and how they gather. How you see them. And I love to watch ants. I sometimes used to sit out in the backyard with bread and I'd just break off pieces of bread and throw it down and watch them as the little ant would get hold of it and try and pull it and pull it, and pretty soon another would get on and they'd hold the thing and just to watch them in their labor as they are laying up their food. So industrious. "Go to the ant, thou sluggard; learn of her ways, and be wise. Which having no guide, or overseer, or ruler." And you wonder how they communicate. Yet, they evidently do communicate because you get a couple of them in your house and they discover something sweet, man, they communicate it to all their cousins and relatives and everybody else. And soon the whole tribe is in there.
I've often thought about miniaturization, you know. Everything is, the whole concept is that of miniaturizing everything. Have you ever wondered how big an ant's brain must be? Talk about something that's miniature. And yet, there is no doubt the capacity to communicate and surely the capacity of working together. And I think that this is the lesson to learn. Without a foreman out there yelling instructions and everything else, somehow they get this bread, chunk of bread together and pretty soon, they're carting the thing off. You can see this chunk of bread just moving across the ground. It may take them a little while, a little struggling and all. But ultimately, they get things coordinated without a guide, an overseer, or a ruler. Yet, learning to just work together. "Providing her meat in the summer, gathering her food in the harvest."
So be careful of laziness for a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of your hands to sleep and comes poverty. It's inevitable.
Now the next one that he talks about is the person who is:
A naughty person, a wicked man, who walks with a perverse mouth ( Proverbs 6:12 ).
The loud mouth braggart.
Who winks with his eyes, speaks with his feet, and teaches with his fingers; Perversity is in his heart, he devises mischief continually; he sows discord. Therefore shall his calamity come suddenly; suddenly shall he be broken without remedy ( Proverbs 6:13-15 ).
That's perverse person, the wicked man who has a perverse mouth, winketh with his eyes. Of all the crazy things, this evening when I knew I was going to be talking on this verse, before service I got an eye twitch underneath my left eye, and it's twitching. I looked in the mirror and crazy twitching. I thought, "Man, I hope nobody thinks I'm winking at them tonight when I have to teach on this verse." So I popped a bunch of vitamin B pills. I figured maybe I've got a shortage of B-stress or something and didn't have any yeast to put down, but hopefully get this twitching eye stopped. But it's not winking; don't put me in the category of this man. The thing that interests me is as God always says concerning the wicked, "Their calamity is coming." And in this case, it's coming suddenly and that without remedy. How tragic when God says of a man there's no cure. He's beyond, no hope, no remedy.
Now in the next little section we have:
Six things the LORD hates; in fact, there are seven that are an abomination unto him ( Proverbs 6:16 ):
Now I should seek to hate the things that God hates. And I should surely seek to avoid the things that God hates. So it is important that we look at these seven things, and it is more important that we not be guilty of any of these seven things.
First of all, God hates:
A proud look ( Proverbs 6:17 ),
The Bible says, "Pride cometh before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall" ( Proverbs 16:18 ). That proud look. How many times we are told in the scriptures to humble ourselves and we shall be exalted. The second thing God hates is:
a lying tongue, then hands that shed innocent blood, [next] a heart that devises wicked imaginations, [next] feet that are swift in running to mischief, A false witness that speaks lies ( Proverbs 6:17-19 ),
One who bears false witness against someone else with a lie. And finally,
he who sows discord among brethren ( Proverbs 6:19 ).
God hates the dividing and the divisions that oftentimes come within the body of the church. Paul said, "Mark those which cause division among you. Avoid them" ( Romans 16:17 ). God hates those who sow discord among brethren. "How beautiful and pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity" ( Psalms 133:1 ). How that is honoring to God. And how God hates anyone who is guilty of just sowing discord among the brethren.
In the next section here, and all of these fall in little groups actually. It is dealing with listening to your parents' counsel and advice.
My son, keep your father's commandment, and forsake not the law of your mother: Bind them continually upon your heart, and tie them about your neck. When you go, it shall lead you; when you sleep, it will keep you; when you awake, it will talk with you. For the commandment is a lamp; and the law is a light; and the reproof of instruction are the way to life ( Proverbs 6:20-23 ):
Important: the advice, the counsel of the parents. That is, that of course, assumes the godly parents. Their counsel is like a lamp. It is like a light to show you the way.
Now the next one, he picks on the evil woman again. The warning against women who are evil.
To keep thee from the evil woman, and from the flattery of the tongue of strange women. Lust not after her beauty in your heart; neither let her take you with her eyelids ( Proverbs 6:24-25 ).
They may be false.
For by means of a whorish woman a man is brought to a crust of bread: and the adulteress will hunt for the precious life. Can a man take fire in his bosom, and his clothes not be burned? Can one go upon a hot bed of coals, and his feet not be burned? So is he that goes in to his neighbor's wife; whosoever touches her shall not be innocent. Now men do not despise a thief, if he steals to satisfy his soul when he is hungry; But if he is found, he shall restore sevenfold; and he shall give all the substance of his house. But whoso commits adultery with a woman lacks understanding: and he does it to the destruction of his own soul. A wound and dishonor shall he get; and his reproach shall not be wiped away. For jealousy is the rage of a man: therefore he will not spare in the day of vengeance. He will not regard any ransom; neither will he rest content, though you give him many gifts ( Proverbs 6:26-35 ).
So keep yourself from the flattery of the strange woman. Do not lust after her beauty in your heart. In the New Testament, Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount, as He is talking concerning the law as it was being taught to them in that day and the law as it was intended when given by God was showing by many examples that when God gave the law, God was interested in the attitude of a man's heart more than the actions of a man's life. Because it is possible to have the right actions with the wrong attitude. And it is also possible to have the wrong actions with the right attitude. But God is looking at the heart.
Now the law said, and the Pharisees were teaching them that the law said, "Thou shalt not commit adultery" ( Exodus 20:14 ). And yes, the law did declare, "Thou shalt not commit adultery." But Jesus said, "I say unto you, if any man looks upon a woman and lusts after her in his heart, he's already committed adultery" ( Matthew 5:28 ). In other words, it's the inner attitude of a man that is so important. That is why last week he said, "Keep your heart with all diligence, because out of the heart come the issues of life" ( Proverbs 4:23 ). So James tells us, "Let no man say when he is tempted that God tempted me the other day. For God doesn't tempt man to do evil. But a man is tempted when he is drawn away by his own lust and enticed. And lust when it is finished brings sin" ( James 1:13-15 ). If you follow it through it will lead you right into sin. It begins in the heart. "Oh wow, you know. Look at that." Lookout! Don't. Cut it off at that point. As Paul said to Timothy, "Flee youthful lusts" ( 2 Timothy 2:22 ). For it will drown a man's soul in hell. Run if you must. Do as Joseph. Get out of there as quickly as possible if you feel that you know it's getting too hard to handle. Man, just turn and run as fast as you can go. "
Copyright © 2014, Calvary Chapel of Costa Mesa, Ca.
Smith, Charles Ward. "Commentary on Proverbs 6". "Smith's Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/
the Third Week after Epiphany