Memory Verse: Proverbs 6:32
6:12-15 Warning: Beware Of And Avoid Evildoers
- 6:12a The father continues teaching his son warnings from wisdom: A naughty person (troublemaker, worthless person), a wicked man (villain, evildoer)—or a person with morally unacceptable behavior and thus is good-for-nothing but trouble—this type of person has specific characteristics:
- 6:12b-13 (1) He walks with a froward mouth (crooked speech, perverse and corrupt mouth)—wherever this person goes, he speaks falsehoods, lies, and deceiving speech; (2) He winks with his eyes; (3) He speaks (signals, shuffles, scrapes) with his feet; (4) He teaches (points, motions) with his fingers——all of these (eyes, feet, fingers) are signs of being malicious, insincere and deceitful and describe a person who wants to cause and exploit any conflict or situation. He uses his speech and his eyes, feet, and fingers to deceive and communicate his evil intentions.
- 6:14a From where does all of this stem? His heart—(5) frowardness (perversity, deceit) is in his heart—the thoughts and images of his heart are evil.
- 6:14b Thus, with evil in his heart, he is intentionally and continually (6) devising (plotting) mischief (evil behavior) and (7) always sowing (stirring up, distributing, dispersing) discord (dissension, strife).
- 6:15 Therefore, the result of such a person is his calamity (disaster, loss of great fortune) will come upon him suddenly (abruptly without warning); and suddenly (unexpectedly) he will be broken (to be weakened in spirit) without remedy (healing)—it is irreversible. Not only may it happen on this earth, but it will happen when God judges such a person.
6:16-19 Warning: Beware Of And Avoid What God Hates
- 6:16-19 With this “wicked man” in mind, the author continues and tells us that there are six things the Lord hates, seven that are an abomination (detestable) to him—probably meaning that God hates all of these things, but each of these things leads towards the seventh thing—which is the abomination—which is what God hates the most and thus draws our attention to it. These seven things are basically a repetition of what he described the evildoer as in the previous verses: (1) a proud look (haughty eyes)—pride or arrogance; (2) a lying tongue—lying or deception; (3) hands that shed innocent blood—to kill or murder those who haven’t done anything wrong; (4) a heart that devises (plots) wicked imaginations (plans, schemes)—thinks about and secretly plans evil things—even if they aren’t carried out, the thoughts and images of his heart are evil; (5) feet that are swift (hurry) in running to mischief (evil)—because of the thoughts of their heart, they are ready and eager to do evil and will run rapidly to evil; (6) a false witness who speaks (breathes out, utters, pours out) lies—someone who quickly and always lies as well as someone who lies in court or under oath; (7) the thing that our attention is drawn to and what could be considered as a summary or result of the above six is a man who sows (stirs up, spreads) discord (strife, dissension) among brothers (or in the family, among friends, in the community)—meaning one who causes division or a lack of harmony and unity because of their sinful actions.
6:20-35 Warning: Beware Of And Avoid Sexual Sin
- 6:20-23 Again, the father reminds and reinforces to the son to do what he tells him to do—”keep thy father’s commandment (command)”; and to never forget what his mother taught him—”forsake not the law (teaching) of thy mother.” To do this, he should: (1) Bind them continually upon his heart—meaning they should be bound inwardly in our hearts (character) and we should always be thinking and meditating on them; (2) Tie them around his neck——meaning they should be noticeable outwardly in our behavior (actions and attitudes). Therefore, when he goes (walks, roams, travels), they will lead (guide) him; When he sleeps, they will keep (guard, watch over, protect) him; And when he awakes, they will talk (speak) with him—all of this taken together means the wisdom given from the father and mother will guide, protect and counsel him. This commandment (command) is a lamp, and this law (teaching) is a light—meaning that the parent’s instructions will show him the way like the light of a burning lamp in a dark place. And reproofs (correction) of instruction (discipline)—meaning that as we apply these truths through discipline and training, we will be rebuked and corrected by them—are the way of life—meaning they will teach us how to live.
- 6:24 On of the areas they teach us to live is to keep (preserve) you from the evil woman, and from the seductive words, false praise, or the smooth talk (“flattery of the tongue”) of a strange woman (adulteress, wayward woman, adventuress, seductress, other men’s wives).
- 6:25 How can we prevent ourselves from committing adultery? (1) Do not lust after or desire her beauty or charm (whatever attracts you to her) in your heart—do not think or entertain thoughts about other women. Sexual sin first starts in the mind. Control your thought life. (This includes entertaining pornography—which is committing sexual immorality in the heart.) (2) Nor let her take or allure you with her eyelids—meaning don’t allow seductive glances or flirting to lead you astray. Don’t play around with romantic or sexual advances, even just for amusement—it’s a trap, and it likely will have an effect on you, and you will fall into sin.
- 6:26 Why avoid adultery? The father tells the son, for by means of a whorish woman (prostitute, harlot), a man is reduced to a piece of bread—meaning that his life will be reduced to nearly nothing—insignificance. (Note: the price of a prostitute might only be a loaf of bread, but you are also being brought to such an insignificant price.) But the adulteress (married woman, another man’s wife) will hunt or stalk his precious life—it will cost him all he has, even his life. Committing sexual sin has significant consequences!
- 6:27-29 The infliction of adultery: The father asks two rhetorical questions to emphasize his point: Can a man take fire to his chest without burning his clothes? Can one walk on hot coals without scorching his feet?—Of course, the answer to both of these is, “No.” He then applies it: Neither can you go in to (have sexual intercourse with) with his neighbor’s wife (someone else’s wife)—whoever touches her will not “be innocent” (“go unpunished”)—meaning it is dangerous to commit adultery and you will suffer because of it.
- 6:30-33 The results of adultery: Men don’t despise a thief if he steals food to satisfy his soul (craving, appetite) when he is hungry. But if he is found (caught), he must make restitution (restore, payback) seven times more than what he stole—though it costs him everything he has—all the wealth (substance, goods) of his house. How much worse is it for a man who satisfies his sexual lust by sleeping with another man’s wife—taking what isn’t his—this man has no understanding and significantly lacks good sense—just like a stupid person would be the only one to burn his clothes with fire or burn his feet by walking on hot coals. He who does so—commits adultery—is just destroying himself. How so? (1) He will get wounds (blows with a fist or a weapon)—he might get beaten up; (2) He will bring dishonor (shame) upon himself—unlike the hungry thief, he will be looked down upon with contempt, despised, and shamed; (3) his reproach (shame, disgrace) will not be wiped away—meaning that this shame will permanently be there.
- 6:34-35 For jealousy (the right kind of jealousy means to rightly desire what is yours—to have this violated—meaning another takes what is rightly yours—gives you the feeling of resentment towards your rival) is the rage (fury, anger) of a man: therefore he will not spare in the day of vengeance—meaning he will show no mercy when he takes revenge. He will not accept any ransom (compensation, payment, recompense). Neither will he be satisfied or content, even though you give many gifts—no amount of money or gifts will satisfy his anger. Unlike the hungry thief who has a path of restitution—there is no such path for the adulterer.
- What is an evildoer like?
- What is the final result of an evildoer?
- What seven things does God hate?
- How can we prevent ourselves from committing adultery?
- Why avoid adultery?
Memory Verse: Proverbs 6:6-8
6:1-5 Financial Wisdom: Don’t Be Responsible For Another’s Debt
- 6:1-2 The context of a father teaching his son the way of wisdom continues in this chapter. The father addresses his son and starts to teach him about finances. First, he says that if he becomes “surety” (security; pledges something or oneself as collateral) for his friend (neighbor, countryman); if he has shaken hands in pledge (“stricken thy hand”) for a stranger, then (or “if”) he is snared (trapped) by the words of his mouth (by what you said; the utterance of your lips); he is taken (captured, caught) by the words of his mouth—all of this together means we made a promise that we need to keep and the promise was a trap—but we are to be people of our word (honesty, trustworthiness, integrity).
Ecclesiastes 5:5; Romans 13:7-8
- Practical Understanding: Surety is just a type of debt. We shouldn’t promise or accept the responsibility to pay back money to a moneylender that other people have borrowed from if the borrower of the money fails to repay it (for whatever reason) because if we do, we might be sorry. The promise to repay someone else’s debt is a trap because you are going into debt. It is practically the same thing as going into debt, but you count on someone else to pay it back (which is a higher risk for you). Think about it, if the lender of the money requires a “surety” for the person they are lending the money to, then that is because they believe there is a chance that person won’t pay it back. So if the lender won’t take the chance, why would you? If caught in this trap, it could lead to the loss of any wealth you have obtained, lead to poverty, financial hardship, or worse for you or your family.
- Other Practical Options: Instead of making yourself responsible for someone else’s debt, you can give to them if they are really in need, or you can loan them the money (interest-free) from your wealth—but only if it won’t hurt you financially if they don’t repay you. Do not go into debt yourself to give to them as that would practically be the same thing or worse than becoming a “surety” for them. Why go into debt if you can financially help them? If you can’t financially help them, then you can’t afford the danger of debt either. A debt of any kind and in most situations is dangerous and risky.
Leviticus 25:35-38; Proverbs 19:17; Psalm 37:21; 1 Timothy 5:8
- 6:3a If the son finds himself in this situation, then the father tells him to “do this now” to “deliver” (escape, save, free) himself. What does he need to be delivered from? Because of his pledge, he has come into (fallen into) the hand (power) of his friend (neighbor, countryman)—meaning because of the pledge, this person has some control over you now. This echoes the truth, “And the borrower is servant to the lender.” You are under obligation to your friend because if he chooses to default on his debt, you will become responsible. Thus we could say it this way, “The son is servant to the borrower because the borrower is servant to the lender; and if the borrower defaults on the debts, the son, in turn, becomes the servant to the lender.” This is not a good position to be in. What is he to do to free himself from the control of another? The wise father gives his advice:
- 6:3b The Plan: (1) “Go”—be proactive and take immediate action, don’t ignore the situation or wait for everything to go bad before you fix this dangerous or difficult situation—otherwise it might be too late; (2) “humble thyself”—expresses your lowliness and dependence; acknowledge this mistake, don’t be prideful and ignore it; (3) “make sure (beg, plead with) thy friend”—plead urgently and persistently with or importune your neighbor. Plead for what? In context, it seems to mean: to be released from the “surety and pledge” that was made. Free yourself from this kind of debt.
- 6:4-5 The Intensity: (4) “Give not sleep to thine eyes, Nor slumber to thine eyelids”—we are to go immediately, don’t sleep or delay, and go to the point of exhaustion to make what is wrong right; (5) “Deliver thyself” as if your life depended on it—we have to decide to save and free ourselves from this financial bondage just like a gazelle (“roe”) from the hand of the hunter (some things that hunt gazelles: African wild dogs, leopards, cheetahs, lions, and humans), and like a bird from the hand of the fowler (someone who hunts and traps wild birds for food). The “hunted” in these illustrations have an instinct to the danger that is upon them, and they do all they can do to save their lives from it, in the same way, we are to have this “save-my-life” type of intensity to free ourselves from the power, obligation, and control of another.
6:6-11 Financial Wisdom: Self-Control, Hard Work, Plan And Save
- 6:6 The father then tells his son to whom he addresses as a “sluggard” (lazy person; one who lacks self-control; impulsivity) to “Go to the ant…consider (observe) her ways, and be wise”—meaning that if he was to go look at and observe an ant, what it does and how it lives and works, then he would learn something about wisdom. He would understand that:
- 6:7 (1) It has no guide (leader, chief, commander, captain), overseer (officer), or ruler—meaning that ants don’t have a complex system of control that micromanages their affairs. They don’t have a traditional leadership structure of “top-down instruction” from an elected or elite leader. This means that they don’t need an outside leadership stimulus for motivation or accountability, but they have self-control. This can be seen from the observation of a single ant—it exhibits good self-control and yet works well with other ants in the colony to created complex systems and accomplish hard work through this simple discipline.
- 6:8 (2) It provides (prepares, stores) its food (“meat”) in summer—it prepares food for times when food will be scarce; and gathers its food (sustenance) at harvest—it also gathers food when there is plenty to harvest instead of taking advantage of the surplus and not collecting it—together, these mean that even though it doesn’t have a leader in the traditional sense, an ant will prepare and gather its food because it is merely the right thing to do for its survival and the survival of others in its colony.
- 6:9-11 The father ends this illustration by again acknowledging the sluggard’s laziness. He asks: “How long wilt thou sleep?” “When wilt thou arise out of thy sleep?” The verse goes on to say—whether it is the response of the sluggard or the father rehearsing the thoughts of the sluggard—a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep (meaning the sluggard always wants just a bit more of rest)—there is a consequence for such laziness: so shall your poverty (unable to support yourself; lacking in money and possessions) come on you like “one that travelleth” (wanderer, vagabond, robber, thief, prowler; this is a person who travels around and steals)—meaning just as if you were robbed by a vagabond who had taken all your goods, so will your poverty come; and your (needy condition, scarcity) like an armed man—meaning just as if you were robbed by an armed bandit and left you with nothing, so will you quickly lack the things needed for living.
- What does becoming a “surety” for a friend mean?
- What is the danger of becoming a “surety” for a friend mean?
- What is the plan to free yourself from the trap of becoming a “surety” for a friend?
- What is the sluggard told to go and observe? What do we learn from the observation?
- What does laziness lead to?
Memory Verse: Proverbs 5:21
5:1-6 Don’t Be Enticed Into Sexual Activity (Outside Of Marriage)
- 5:1 The father continues his admonition to his children to pay attention (attend) to the wisdom he is sharing with them and to “bow (incline) thine ear to my understanding (insight)”—together meaning pay attention and listen up! Why? So that you may regard (keep, maintain, observe, preserve) discretion—the trait to judge wisely and objectively; and so that your lips may keep (guard, preserve, reserve) knowledge. Wisdom and knowledge should be part of who we are, what we say, and what we do. Our guarded speech should remind us of what is wise and true but also serves an indicator when we see deception coming out of the lips of others, which leads us to the fathers next warning.
- 5:3 An Adulteress’ Seduction: The father says, “For the lips of a strange (forbidden, adulterous, loose, immoral) woman drop (drip) as an honeycomb (honey), and her mouth (speech) is smoother than oil”—meaning the speech (and appearance) of one who seeks to sexually tempt others is very attractive, appealing, flattering, persuasive, and enticing. (Note: This type of complimentary and appeasing speech isn’t wrong, but it should only be reserved for true love between spouses, one man and one women, within the marriage covenant. Outside of your marriage relationship it is sinful seduction.)
Song of Solomon 4:11
- 5:4-6 An Adulteress’ Deception: The end of this strange women “is bitter as wormwood, sharp as a twoedged sword”—meaning if you give in to this woman and tastes her honey, then you will discover that it isn’t sweet but bitter as wormwood—meaning it will cause suffering; and not smooth but sharp as a double-edged sword—meaning it leads to death. Her feet go down to death and her steps lead to and take hold of hell. Lest you ponder (consider) her path of life—know that her ways are unstable (moveable, wander) and she gives no thought to the way of life. Her paths wander aimlessly that you cannot know them because she does not even know them.
5:7-14 Keep Your Distance—Lest You Sin And Regret It
- 5:7 The father again addresses his son (children) as to emphasize his point about wisdom and the danger of choosing the wrong path. He tells them to “Hear me now”—meaning pay attention right now to what is being said and do not depart or turn aside from what is being said. Don’t get distracted from the important lessons that are being taught!
- 5:8 Seduction Prevention—keep your distance: The father continues warning against the strange woman, saying, “Remove thy way far from her”—meaning to keep to a path far away from her and do whatever it takes to be disassociated from such a person; “And come not nigh the door of her house”—meaning don’t go anywhere near her house, don’t even think about approaching her doorway. Stay away and don’t put yourself in a tempting situation to be enticed by her.
- 5:9 Consequence—loss of dignity: Lest you give your honour (glory, vigor) to others, and your years to the cruel person (a person who wants to inflict pain on you)—meaning the “honour” and “years” were given for our enjoyment, but because of committing this sin both of these things will somehow be damaged, wether it is through loosing a good reputation/name, self-respect or retaliation from the spouse (or family and friends) of the person you committed the sexual sin with. The consequence of this sin often leads to being placed at the mercy of another—don’t do that!
- 5:10 Consequence—loss of wealth: Lest strangers be filled with your wealth, and your hard-earned goods (labors, toil) go to the house of a stranger (foreigner)—meaning that you may loose everything that you have worked hard to get or all the money, possessions, and good things you have will go into the hands of other people. (This can come through many different avenues today: divorce, job loss, demotion, child support, sickness, etc.)
- 5:11-14 Consequence—the haunting of regret: At the end of your life you will mourn (groan), when your flesh and body are consumed (spent)—meaning when it is all said and done, you will regret the decision to commit any sexual sin, wether you are pondering your sinful life from old age, or when your body contracts a venereal disease, you will regret it. In your regret you will remember that you got here because of rejecting the wisdom your were taught. You will say: “How have I hated instruction (discipline), and my heart despised (spurned) reproof (correction); and have not obeyed the voice of my teachers (instructors), nor inclined mine ear to them that instructed me! I was almost in all evil (on the verge of utter ruin) in the midst of the congregation and assembly (in the sight of everyone).”
1 Corinthians 6:18
5:15-23 Find Satisfaction In Your Spouse—Ravished With Their Love
- 5:15-19 Marriage Fidelity: The father continues and uses figurative language to encourage his son to only find sexual satisfaction in the sexual relations with his wife. He tells him to drink waters out of his own “cistern” (place to store water), and to drink running (flowing) water out of his own “well”—signifying a private sexual relationship with his wife. He then asks him if he should let his “fountains” (springs) be dispersed (overflow) abroad, and his “rivers” (streams) of waters be dispersed in the streets (public square)?—Probably signifying that this sexual relationship is no longer private but public, meaning adultery. He answers by saying he should only let “them” (cistern, well, fountains, rivers) be his own, and not for strangers with you—thus taking it all together would mean that his sexual satisfaction it to only be found in his wife and not another. He then says to let your fountain (spring) be blessed, and rejoice with the wife of your youth—meaning to find joy and happiness in the sexual relationship with the wife you married. He goes into more descriptive details so the son understands the figurative language he is using and teaches him two important lessons:
- 5:19a Find attraction in your spouse—Let her be as the loving hind (doe—female adult deer) and pleasant (graceful) roe (female mountain goat)—meaning you see her as beautiful and she has your attention.
- 5:19b Find satisfaction in your spouse—Let her breasts satisfy you at all times, and may you always be ravished (intoxicated, exhilarated, enraptured) with her love.
- 5:20 Find sanctuary in your spouse—Thus if you are rejoicing with your wife, why would you be ravished with a strange (forbidden, adulterous, loose, immoral) woman and embrace the bosom of a stranger? You shouldn’t, so love your spouse.
5:21-23 The Lord’s Knows—Don’t Be Trapped By Your Own Sin
- 5:21-23 Do right, even if no one is watching, because God is. Ultimately, we need to remember that the ways of man are before the eyes of the Lord, and he ponders (considers, watches, examines) all his goings (paths, conduct). A man of wisdom, knowledge and character understands that God knows all and is watching all and thus wants to glorify and bring him pleasure in all areas of his life.
- 5:21-23 Your sin will find you out and there are consequences. The iniquities (evil deeds, sin) of the wicked ensnare (take, capture) them—when you sin you are setting a trap for yourself; and you will be held (caught, restrained) with the cords (rope) of your sin. The wicked shall die for lack of instruction (discipline, self-control)—instead of a prolonged life you are seeking a shortened one; and in the greatness of your folly you shall go astray—loose your way morally and your life is turned upside down without knowing what is the right.
- What is an adulteress’s seduction like?
- How can you prevent sexual sin?
- What are some consequences of sexual sin?
- What is marriage fidelity? You should be ravished with whose love?
- What is before the eyes of the Lord?
Memory Verse: Proverbs 4:23
4:1-9 Generational Teaching: Aquire Wisdom/Knowledge At Any Cost
- 4:1-2 The father’s continued admonition to his children to acquire wisdom should not be overlooked, but it should emphasize the importance of what he is trying to communicate. Children often need things repeated more than once to learn them. So then, the repetition is written for our benefit to emphasize the importance of what is being said and to help us learn the lessons—especially if we didn’t get it the first time. Like the children being addressed here, we need to hear (pay attention) to the instruction (message) of a father and attend (be attentive) to know (gain) understanding. The children weren’t only to listen out of respect for their father but because their father is giving good doctrine (precepts, teaching)—his teaching is worthy to be received. Thus, he continues to encourage them to not forsake (abandon) his law (teaching, instruction).
- 4:3-4a The father then connects with the children, explaining that he has walked the path that they are currently walking. He explains that he too was a son to his father, still tender (gentle), and the only beloved (the only one) in the sight of his mother. His father taught him also, and said unto him (Note: Fathers, are we teaching our children wisdom?):
- 4:4b Let your heart retain (hold fast) my words—he was to take hold of his father’s words with all his heart and in his heart—the core of who you are. He goes on to say, “Keep my commandments, and live”—meaning that his commandments were for their benefit and safety in life, not only in this life, but a heart turned to the Lord leads to everlasting life.
- 4:5-6 Get wisdom! Get understanding! Forget not and do not decline (turn away) from the words of my mouth. Do not forsake wisdom, and she will preserve (protect, guard, keep) you; love her, and she will keep (watch over, guard) you.
- 4:7-9 “Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom”—meaning the beginning of wisdom is this: to get wisdom—again emphasizing the importance of wisdom itself. And though it might cost all your possessions (“getting”), get understanding (insight). Exalt (treasure, prize highly, cherish) her and she shall promote (exalt) you; embrace (to lovingly and tightly hold in your arms) her and she will bring you honour. She will place on your head an ornament of grace and she will bestow on you a crown of glory (splendor, beauty)—these symbols of honor show that she will honor you—making you beautiful in wisdom and character.
4:10-19 Wisely Choosing The Right Path Will Lead To Blessings
- 4:10-13 The father continues teaching his son to hear and receive his sayings, because the years of his life will be many—wisdom can give you long life. This father has taught (instructed, directed) his son in the way of wisdom and he has led him in right (upright, straight) paths. Thus, when his son walks, his steps will not be hindered (straitened), and when he runs, he will not stumble—wisdom can give you protection. Therefore, the son should take firm hold (“take fast hold”) of instruction, and do not let it go. He needs to keep (guard) her, for she is his life.
- 4:14-19 The father reminds the son of the two paths in life: (1) Do not set foot on the path of the wicked (wickedness, godlessness) or walk in the way of evildoers (morally bad and wrong). Instead, avoid it, do not travel on it, turn away from it and go on your way. This wrong path is dangerous specifically because they do not sleep unless they have done mischief (evil, morally wrong act), and they are robbed of sleep unless they make someone fall (stumble). The eat, sleep and breathe wickedness: “For they eat the bread of wickedness, and drink the wine of violence.” The way of the wicked is like darkness—meaning they do not know what makes them stumble. (2) On the other hand, the path of the just (righteous) is as the shining light (the light of dawn, the morning sun), that shines ever brighter unto the perfect day (the full light of day)—from first light of the sun in the morning until noon when the full brightness is shining down, so is the one who follows God and thus increasingly shines forth His righteousness through wisdom.
Psalm 19:8; 119:105, 130
4:20-27 Wisdom: An Upright Heart Results in Upright Living
- 4:20-22 The father for a third time in this chapter continues teaching his son, telling him to “attend to my words” and to “incline thine ear unto my sayings”—meaning pay attention and listen up! He continues saying, “Let them not depart from thine eyes; Keep them in the midst of thine heart”—meaning to treat them with the utmost importance. He needs to do this because they are life to those who find them, and health to your whole body—repeating the claim that wisdom can give you long life, protection and health.
- 4:23 An Upright Heart: Do keep (guard) your heart with all diligence (vigilance), because out of it are the “issues of life”—the heart represents the “inner person” or the real orientation, belief, motivation, and attitude of a person. It is from the heart that we think, feel and make decisions. It is the source from which everything we do in life is issued from. We need to intentionally guard our hearts above all else because everything we do flows from it. What are you actively doing to guard your heart, thoughts, character?
Mark 7:21-23; Luke 6:45
- 4:24 Speak Straight—speak what is right, truthful, and good: Put away from you a froward (deceitful, crooked, perversity) mouth, and put perverse (devious, corrupt) lips far from you. What we say matters to God and we need to remove all wrong speech from our lives. What are you actively doing to cause sinful speech to go away from you?
- 4:25 Look Straight—focus on what is right, and be resolute to do right: Let your eyes look right on (directly forward, straight ahead), and let your “eyelids look straight before thee”—fix your gaze directly before you so that you know where you are headed. Stay focused. Be a truthful and honest person that can “look others in the eyes” without shame. What are you actively doing to stay focused on the right path—thus keeping from stumbling?
- 4:26-27 Walk Straight—think on what is right, and do what is right: Ponder (consider, give careful thought to) the path of your feet, and let all your ways be established—meaning we need to be steadfast in all our ways, to carry out our lives properly, and to live in a correct manner—so that all our ways will be sure. If we find out that you are swerving, then you should remove your foot from evil (immoral behavior), and do not turn to the right or the left—meaning any deviation from walking on the straight path is wrong. What are you actively doing to consider all your ways and thus living your life purposefully, intentionally, and righteously?
- What did the father’s father tell him?
- How are the two different paths described?
- What does it mean to speak straight?
- What does it mean to look straight?
- What does it mean to walk straight?
Memory Verse: Proverbs 3:21-22
3:21-24 Stay Focused, Blessings Will Follow
- 3:21a The writer of Proverbs, Solomon, continues in his exhortations to his son. This urging and persuasion comes in the form of many “do not” type of instructions.
- 3:21b Instruction #1: Do not let “them depart from thine eyes”. The “them” in this verse could be referring back to the “wisdom and understanding” mentioned in 3:19-20 or it could be referring to the following phrase in the same verse “sound wisdom (judgment) and discretion (discernment; the trait of judging wisely and objectively)” which he is told to also “keep” (preserve, conform to). Either way, he is urged to keep wisdom, understanding, judgement and discretion and let them not escape from his sight but they are to always have his attention. Are we staying focused on wisdom or do we get distracted by foolishness? Simply said, be focused.
- 3:22-24 Blessings from following this instruction of the father are mentioned as follows: (1) they will be life to your soul and an adornment (grace) for your neck—meaning that you will receive internal and external benefits from wisdom: long life and you will adorn a positive personal character which finds favour and kindness from others. (2) You will walk on your way safely and securely, and your foot will not stumble—meaning that as your live out your life each day, you can do so with the assurance and safety that you are making the right decisions and are on the right path; it protects you from making moral mistakes, sinning and doing wrong (stumbling). (3) When you lie down, you will not be afraid and your sleep will be sweet—meaning that you will have peaceful and pleasant sleep without the night terrors that haunts a person’s mind otherwise (often from bad, wrong or sinful choices).
3:25-26 Confidence In The Lord, Not Fear Of Our Circumstances
- 3:25 Instruction #2: Do not be afraid (scared, frightened) of sudden fear (disaster, dread, terror, panic), of the desolation (ruin) of the wicked, when it comes. There will be things that happen in life that are a complete surprise in the negative sense, and it diverts our attention from God and the wisdom that he has to the circumstance and leads to fear and panic. Whether the disasters come from the wicked towards the righteous purposefully or as a natural consequences that arises and overtakes the wicked, when disasters come from or on the wicked, such as come like a sudden storm, we are to not be afraid.
- 3:26 How can we not be afraid? Trust! Because the Lord (the One who created the world by wisdom and understanding in 3:19-20) will be our confidence (trust, faith, reliability) and will keep our foot from being taken (caught). To obey the Lord and follow in the wisdom He gives means that He is also by our side and His protection is at hand. Fear often leads to foolishness and causes us to fall into traps (probably set by the wicked). But when the Lord’s protection is by our side, then we can walk confidently without being afraid of sudden devastating storms or specifically placed traps hidden from sight. Simply said, be confident.
3:27-31 Wisely Build Relationships With Others
- 3:27 Instruction #3: Do not withhold (to hold back) good (something beneficial) from those to whom it is due (deserving or need), when it is in the power of your hand (in your control) to do it. Thus, if someone is deserving of something good or in need of something good, and we are able to provide that good thing, then we should hold it back or hesitate from doing it. If you are able to, meaning you have the ability and resources to do good to others, then do it. Simply said, be kind.
- 3:28 Instruction #4: Do not say to your neighbor (countryman, friend, acquaintance), “Go, and come again, and tomorrow I will give” when you already have it with you. Thus, if someone is needing something from us and we are in possession of what they need, then we should promptly and willingly give it. We shouldn’t delay or put it off—hoping they don’t come back or they get the hint we don’t really want to help them. If you can give something to your neighbor today, don’t tell him to come back tomorrow to get it. If you can help today, then help them today. Simply said, be generous.
- 3:29 Instruction #5: Do not devise (plot, plan) evil (harm) against your neighbor who dwells (lives) securely (trustingly) beside you. Thus, our goodwill ought to cause our neighbors (countryman, friend, acquaintance) who live next to us or those whom we routinely interact with to feel safe and secure. Our character and wise living ought to give them some confidence that we aren’t trying to scheme against them and cause them harm, injury, destruction or misfortune. Don’t take advantage of others. Simply said, be trustworthy.
- 3:30 Instruction #6: Do not strive (dispute, contend, accuse, quarrel) with anyone without cause (reason), when they have done you no harm (evil, injury, destruction, misfortune). Thus, we shouldn’t argue with others just to argue. Why do we dispute with others when there is no reasonable basis to do so? Unless someone has done you harm, don’t be argumentative, belligerent, combative, contentious or antagonistic. Simply said, be friendly.
- 3:31 Instruction #7: Do not envy (desirous of the advantages of) the oppressor (a violent person), and choose none of his ways. Thus, when others (including politicians, celebrities, musicians, etc.) through violence or aggression gain wealth or other desirable things, don’t be envious and don’t follow their example. Do not act like they act. Simply said, be content.
3:32-35 Rewards For The Good And Punishments For The Bad
- 3:32-35 The froward (insincere, deceitful, devious or perverse person) is an abomination (disgust) to the Lord. But the Lord’s confidence (secret, intimacy, trust) is with the righteous (upright, character). The curse (divine opposition) of the Lord is on the house of the wicked (godless). But the Lord blesses (divine favor) the home (habitation, dwelling) of the just (righteous acts and morals). Toward the scorners (proud mockers, those who make fun of others) the Lord is scornful (mocks, scoffs, jeer). But the Lord gives grace (favor) unto the lowly (humble, oppressed, afflicted). The wise shall inherit glory (honor, praise, respect, recognition, good name). But shame (disgrace, dishonor) will be the promotion (display) of fools (one who lacks good judgment). Which category do you find yourself: froward, wicked, scorners, fool. Or righteous, just, lowly, wise. Will you be rewarded or punished? How will the Lord deal with you? Humble yourself. Be wise.
James 4:6; 1 Peter 5:5
- What do we need to stay focused on?
- How can we not be afraid?
- What are the seven “do not” types of instructions?
- What are the seven instructions “simply said”?
- What are the rewards and punishments?
Memory Verse: Proverbs 3:5-6
3:1-12 The Wise Exhortations Of A Caring Father
- 3:1A, 11A The writer of Proverbs, Solomon again exhorts his son. He wants his son to stay on the right path and obey the commands and principles that God gave him. He gives the following exhortations which are each followed with blessings that come from such obedience:
- 3:1B-2 Remember and retain the right teachings: (1) “forget not my law” or “don’t forget the things that I am teaching you.” (2) He also exhorts him to “let thine heart keep my commandments”—meaning that he needs to internalize and maintain these truths within his heart and obey them from the heart. (3) Blessings: prolonged life for many years and it brings peace and prosperity (completeness, wholeness, health, and harmony).
- 3:3-4 Embrace, exhibit, and engrave lovingkindness and faithfulness in your life: (1) Do not let lovingkindness (mercy, loyal love) and faithfulness (truth) forsake or leave you. You should put effort towards embracing them. You should (2) “bind them about thy neck”—meaning they should be noticeable outwardly in our behavior; and (3) “write them upon the table of thine heart”—meaning they should be engraved inwardly in our hearts (character). (4) Blessings: You will find or experience favour and good understanding (success, name, repute) in the sight of God and humankind.
- 3:5-6 Trust, depend, and acknowledge God in everything and not yourself: (1) Trust in the Lord with all your heart—meaning completely believe, rely , have faith in God; (2) and lean not on your own understanding—do not rely or depend on your own insight; (3) in all your ways acknowledge (submit to) him—meaning we need to have intimate knowledge of God, who He is and what He wants us to do in each circumstance—to know Him and to live accordingly. (4) Blessings: God Himself will direct your paths or make your paths straight—meaning he will guide and remove obstacles from our path—fewer problems.
- 3:7-8 Humble yourself, revere God, and avoid sin: (1) Do not be wise in your own eyes—meaning that we can’t be a “know-it-all” but instead we must humble ourselves and be learners. We learn true wisdom by (2) “fearing the Lord”—meaning we have a reverential respect for who God is, and this leads to (3) departing (changing direction) from evil—meaning that we learn out of respect for God to stop sinning, to not go down the paths of sin, and to no tempt ourselves with it. (4) Blessings: It will bring health to your body (navel) and nourishment (marrow, refreshment) to your bones—spiritual health and physical health are intertwined or related—our spiritual health can have an effect on our physical health—so being healthy spiritually can have a positive impact on our health physically.
- 3:9-10 Honor God by prioritizing giving and giving generously to Him: Honor the Lord with (1) your wealth (substance)—meaning we are to be generous in our giving to the Lord as it is a means to worship and honor Him; and (2) with the firstfruits (first fruit of a harvest or season) of all your crops (increase, produce)—meaning that giving to God was to be a priority—choosing to give first before other things take our wealth. (3) Blessings: If we do so, then God will cause our “barns be filled with plenty (excess)”, and “thy presses (wine vat) shall burst out (overflow) with new wine (recently pressed grape juice)”—meaning prosperity.
- 3:11B-12 Understand, receive, value, and appreciate God’s discipline: (1) Despise not (don’t reject with contempt) the chastening (discipline) of the Lord; and (2) do not resent (be weary, abhor) his rebuke (correction). We need to receive and appreciate the discipline from the Lord, because the Lord disciplines those he loves, as a father the son he delights in. (3) Blessings: The blessing here, although not specifically stated like the other verses, is to know that through discipline from God, although uncomfortable, we have the awareness that God loves and delights in us. He is our loving and caring Heavenly Father!
- Two areas of review to guard from misunderstanding these proverbs:
- The “heart” represents the “inner person” or the real orientation, belief, motivation and attitude of a person. It is from the heart that we think, feel and make decisions. It is the source from which everything we do in life is issued from.
- Wise living leads to positive results and blessings under normal circumstances, but it isn’t a magical spell nor does it mean bad things won’t happen, but it is advice that helps us live our lives in a wise way, a way that honors God, and keeps us from making mistakes that could shorten our life or lead to bad health, trouble, financial hardships or sin.
3:13-20 The Blessing And Value Of Wisdom
- 3:13, 18B Blessed (happy) are those who find wisdom, those who gain understanding. If you hold wisdom fast (retain), you will be called blessed, highly favored, fortunate, or happy. Why? Because wisdom is valuable, precious and profitable.
- 3:14-15 The value of wisdom: Wisdom is more profitable than silver (better than the merchandise of silver) and yields better returns (gain, income) than gold. Wisdom is much more valuable than silver, gold, money or any material wealth. Wisdom is more precious than rubies or jewels, and all the things you desire can’t be compare with wisdom. Do you understand how valuable and precious wisdom is?
- 3:16-18A The benefits of wisdom: Wisdom has “length of days” in her right hand; and she has “riches (things money can buy) and honour (things money can’t buy, a good name)” in her left hand. The ways of wisdom are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace. Wisdom is a tree of life to them that lay hold of her—this is a metaphor meaning just like this tree was the source of life in the garden, so is wisdom that source for us; it offers renewal and refreshment; it is the means by which we continue on and confirms what is right. Wisdom provides a long life, a quality life, a prosperous life, a pleasant life, a peaceful life, and a right life.
- 3:19-20 The Lord by wisdom founded the earth; by understanding he established the heavens; by his knowledge the deeps were broken up, and the clouds drop down the dew. If God used wisdom, understanding, and knowledge to create the world, we should use wisdom, understanding, and knowledge to live in the world he created. God who is all-knowing built these principles into the world itself. Wisdom is basically accumulated understanding and knowledge. Understanding is comprehending knowledge, and knowledge is reasons, facts, information, skills, and application. Thus, in relation to God from whom this comes, wisdom is the knowledge and skills to live a godly life and thrive.
- What are the six areas of exhortation the father told his son?
- What are two things we need to remember to not misunderstand the proverbs?
- What kind of person does the proverbs say is happy?
- What more valuable than silver and gold?
- By what three things did God create the word?
Memory Verse: Proverbs 2:6
2:1-9 The Intentional Pursuit Of Wisdom Leads To God
- 2:1a The admonition continues (from chapter 1) in the sense of a parent to a child or more specifically a father to a son—meaning that you can sense the care, concern, consideration, and calculated (intentional) involvement of a father in his son’s life so that he can teach him what is right and wrong (according to the wisdom gained from God’s law). He first starts with a strong statement about the importance of accepting, seeking after, and practically applying wisdom (which is found in God).
- 2:5 “If” is a key word in verses 1-4 meaning that “on condition that” he does the following things, “then” he will “understand” (discern; learn) the fear (reverential respect) of the Lord (to view God for whom He truly is and respond with reverential respect in our attitudes, actions and words that His nature and character demands), and he will find (discover; arrive at) the knowledge of God (to not only comprehend who God is but also to know Him). So what does he need to do? He needs to give his utmost pursuit. Such wisdom and understanding doesn’t come to the unwilling, uninterested, inattentive, indifferent, prideful or wicked, but it comes to the humble and diligent seeker through intentional pursuit. How intentional are you about your pursuit of God and His ways?
- 2:1b He needs to “receive” (to accept willingly) the words (statements) that his father is telling him and “hide” (store up; treasure—to regard as highly valued) them within himself. Are you earnest in your pursuit?
- 2:2 He needs to “incline” (listen; pay attention) or turn his ear to wisdom and “apply” (incline; to make receptive; to make willing) his heart (“inner person”) to understanding. Are you teachable in your pursuit?
- 2:3 He needs to “criest” (to call out) after knowledge (insight; discernment) and “liftest up thy voice” (cry aloud; to raise his voice) for understanding. Are you passionate in your pursuit?
- 2:4 He needs to “seekest” (look for; to get) it as for silver and “searchest” (look for; to locate or discover) for it as for hidden treasure. Are you intentional in your pursuit?
- 2:6 God is the source of all true wisdom, knowledge, and understanding. It is the LORD who gives wisdom. Out of His mouth comes knowledge and understanding. His Word is truth. And not only that, but He has positive principles of protection for those who truly pursue Him, His ways, and then lives accordingly for His honor and glory (true believers living in accordance to His will). Does your lifestyle pursue Him?
Hebrews 1:1-2; 2 Peter 1:20-21
- 2:7a The Righteous: He “layeth up” (to store up; to hold or keep aside for future use) sound wisdom for the “righteous” (an upright person according to God’s standard).
- 2:7b Walk Uprightly: He is a “buckler” (shield) to those whose whom “walk” (behavior) “uprightly” (integrity, blameless).
- 2:8 His Saints: He “keepeth” (guards; maintains) the paths of judgment (justice) and “preserveth” (guards; protects; watches over) the way of His “saints” (faithful ones; godly ones; devoted lover of God).
- 2:9 This verse picks back up on answering the “if” phrases in verses 1-4, meaning “on condition that” he does the things mentioned in those verses, “then” he will understand “righteousness” (what is right) and “judgment” (what is just), and “equity” (what is fair). Simply put, we will receive understanding about “every good path”.
2:10 Wise Living: Godly Life-change From The Inside Out
- 2:10 When our pursuit not only finds God as the source of all true wisdom, knowledge, and understanding but continues to daily pursue Him, then wisdom enters our hearts (“inner person”), and knowledge will be pleasant (enjoyable) to our souls. In verse 2 and 10 the “heart” is mentioned. The heart represents the “inner person” or the real orientation, belief, motivation and attitude of a person. It is from the heart that we think, feel and make decisions. It is the source from which everything we do in life is issued from. We need to intentionally incline our hearts to understanding and as a result wisdom will enter our hearts and cause godly life-change from the inside out. This is wise living.
2:11-19 Wise Living Rescues From Evil Men And Adulterous Women
- 2:11 Part of this godly life-change is having safety through God-given: (1) “discretion” (judging wisely and objectively)—which will “preserve” (guards; protects; watches over) you, and (2) understanding—which will “keep” (guard safely) you. Having godly discretion and understanding delivers (rescues) us from all kinds of evil (especially those whose attitudes, actions and words don’t fear God but are contrary to Him), including the following examples of evil people and adulterous women:
- 2:12-15 God-given discretion and understanding will rescue us from “the way of the evil man (person)”—one who speaks froward things (perverted; perverse); one who forsakes the paths of uprightness to walk in the ways of darkness; one who rejoices in doing evil, and delights in the frowardness of the wicked (perverseness of evil); one who whose ways are crooked (dishonest and immoral), and froward (devious; deceitful) in their paths.
- 2:16-19 God-given discretion and understanding will rescue us from “the strange woman” (adulterous woman)—one who flatters with her deceptive and seductive words; one who forsook the “guide” (husband) of her youth, and purposely forgets or ignores the covenant she made before her God (marriage covenant). The house of this type of woman “inclineth” (sinks) down to death, and her paths unto the dead—meaning it is destructive for those involved. Nobody who goes to her returns again, nor do they take hold (regain; attain; reach) the paths of life—meaning it has devastating consequences and leads to death.
Genesis 2:24; Exodus 20:14; Leviticus 20:10; Malachi 2:14
2:20-22 The End Result Of The Righteous And The Wicked
- 2:20-21 Another part of this godly life-change and God-given discretion and understanding is being on the right path. Not only is there safety from the wrong path in life, but is leads us to walk in the way of “good men (people),” and keep to the paths of the righteous. For the upright shall dwell in the land, and the “perfect” (blameless; those with integrity) will remain in it—results in blessing such as the possibility of a long life on earth and eternal life thereafter.
- 2:22 On the contrary, the wicked will be cut off from the land (earth), and the “transgressors” (treacherous; unfaithful) will be rooted out of it—results in cursing such as the possibility of shorten life on earth and eternal damnation thereafter.
- Who is the source of all true wisdom, knowledge, and understanding?
- How is the pursuit of God and His ways described?
- Wise living is what?
- Wise living rescues from what?
- What is the end of the righteous and the wicked?