Coffee w/t Solomon: Words of the Foolish and the Wise

Proverbs – God’s practical guide to a joyful life

Good day friends! I pray your week and weekend went well.

This week I gathered the proverbs of Solomon surrounding the words of the foolish and the wise. To join us is James. Let’s top up our coffees and see what they have to say.

Devotion 30

Words of the foolish and the wise

The words of the reckless pierce like swords, but the tongue of the wise brings healing (Proverbs 12:18)

A fool’s mouth lashes out with pride, but the lips of the wise protect them. (14:3)

The tongue of the wise adorns knowledge, but the mouth of the fool gushes folly. (15:2)

Proverbs 10:13, 18, 21, 31; 14: 7; 15:7; 16:23; 17:7, 28; 18:6, 7; 19:1; 23:9; 25:23; 29:20  

cover mouthHow many times have you stuck your foot in your mouth? How many times have you spoken without thinking and said a foolish thing? If you are like me, you have said such things many a time. Oh how that puts us among the foolish in the above verses. However, by the grace of God, we can seek to be among the wise and strive to discipline ourselves and our tongues. As James tells us, “With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be.” (James 3:9-10) Yes we can tame the tongue one moment at a time.

In the above verses, if nothing else, I cling to the words in Proverbs 17:28, “Even fools are thought wise if they keep silent, and discerning if they hold their tongues,” and I strive to keep silent when I want to speak out. This sounds easy but it is challenging and one that is a constant source of humility when I see how weak I am in restraining my tongue. If it is the same for you, may we, together, pray that our Heavenly Father, guide our hearts and minds so that in him our hearts seek wisdom and our tongues bring healing, mouths are prudent, and lips promote  instruction as he so promises in Proverbs 12:18 and 16:23. May it be so!

Prayer: Dear Lord, oh how my tongue can be an untamed evil, as Jame states. Give me the strength and discipline to keep silence when you would have me be silent. Help me to seek you always, so that my words proclaim your wisdom and instruction, love and healing. In Jesus’ name I pray. AMEN!

Coffee w/t Solomon – The Wise and Foolish Child

Proverbs – God’s practical guide to a joyful life

Good day friends! I pray your week and weekend went well.

The remaining Proverbs of Solomon, Proverbs 10-29, are simple wise sayings of how to seek wisdom, to recognize the wise versus how to recognize the fool and avoid being one, and the consequences of both. For the remainder of the chapters, I have gathered all like-verses to avoid duplicity.

Today, we will look at the affects on parents of the wise and the foolish child . Let’s top up our coffees and get started…

Devotion 29

The Wise and Foolish Child

A wise son brings joy to his father, but a foolish son brings grief to his mother. (10:1)

May your father and mother rejoice; may she who gave you birth be joyful! (23:25)

Proverbs 15:20, 17:25, 20:20, 23:22

family3No parent desires their children to bring grief and bitterness into their lives; parents’ ultimate hope and anticipation is only joy and rejoicing towards their children. Most parents raise their children to avoid foolish, harmful ways, and to learn healthy, positive habits. They desire to pass on resources that will help their precious babes become the best they can be, to know how to walk this earthly life on their own, and to know how to care for themselves- body, mind and spirit. Christian parents desire to teach their children to know who they are and whose they are, to know they are loved and forgiven, and that even in death,  nothing “will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:39b)

Children who heed their parents’ instructions do well to equip themselves for life’s journey, but those who don’t listen- and even worse, hate or despise such instruction- by their own actions, bring upon themselves pain, destruction and death, and upon their parents, grief and bitterness.

It is no different with God and his children. How he so desires to impart his words of love and wisdom upon them and to listen to his teachings and commands, to love and respect him. Why would he have so many people throughout history, like Solomon, write his story and his teachings down for all to know? He desires them to learn from and to know him. The Creator Father desires his creation children to know the one who created them and desires them to be able to be all that he desired them to be and do, to know his love now and his love that reunites them with him for eternity, despite their sin that would lead only to rebellion, destruction and eternal death. Therefore, this week, may you- his child- be encouraged to continue to seek and cherish God’s words and instructions, and rejoice in His work of redemption through our Saviour, Jesus. Together, may we not be fools, but wise people who make our father joyful and the heavens rejoice.
Prayer: Dear Lord, may I be a wise child of yours. Help me to turn from my foolish ways and to seek you and be obedient to your ways. In Jesus’ name I pray. AMEN!

Coffee w/t Solomon Proverbs 9:13-18

Proverbs – God’s practical guide to a joyful life

Good day friends! I pray your week and weekend went well.

Well who’d of thought the members of The Eagle’s would join us for this week’s visit with Solomon. Let’s top up our coffees and see what this is all about…

Devotion 28

Proverbs 9:13-18

Folly is an unruly woman; she is simple and knows nothing. She sits at the door of her house, on a seat at the highest point of the city, calling out to those who pass by, who go straight on their way, “Let all who are simple come to my house!” To those who have no sense she says, “Stolen water is sweet; food eaten in secret is delicious!” But little do they know that the dead are there, that her guests are deep in the realm of the dead.

As Solomon shared today’s passage, I couldn’t help but think about the similarity of these words to the lyrics of Hotel California. It was as if Don Felder, Don Henley and Glen Frey- members of the Eagles and the writers of Hotel California- all sat down and joined us. Let’s break apart Solomon’s words with particular verses of Hotel California:

Folly is an unruly woman; she is simple and knows nothing. She sits at the door of her house, on a seat at the highest point of the city, calling out to those who pass by, who go straight on their way,

There she stood in the doorway. I heard the mission bell and I was thinking to myself, ‘This could be heaven or this could be Hell.’ Then she lit up a candle and she showed me the way.

“Let all who are simple come to my house!”

On a dark desert highway, cool wind in my hair. Warm smell of colitas, rising up through the air. Up ahead in the distance, I saw a shimmering light. My head grew heavy and my sight grew dim. I had to stop for the night.

To those who have no sense she says, “Stolen water is sweet; food eaten in secret is delicious!”

“Mirrors on the ceiling, The pink champagne on ice, And she said, ‘we are all just prisoners here, of our own device.’ And in the master’s chambers, they gathered for the feast. They stab it with their steely knives, but they just can’t kill the beast.

But little do they know that the dead are there, that her guests are deep in the realm of the dead.

Last thing I remember, I was running for the door. I had to find the passage back to the place I was before. ‘Relax,’ said the night man, ‘We are programmed to receive. You can check out any time you like, But you can never leave!’

Of course we can’t leave out the chorus that sums up Hotel California, aka folly: ‘Welcome to the Hotel California. Such a lovely place (such a lovely place) Such a lovely face. Plenty of room at the Hotel California. Any time of year (any time of year) you can find it here’. (Yes, folly is ready and waiting for us but that doesn’t mean we should ever enter her doors.)

May we heed the message from both Solomon and the Eagle’s.  Don’t give in to the temptations of folly, lust or desire because the consequences may be life altering and lead you down a path from which you can never escape. Instead, be watchful and alert at all times. Cling to Christ.  “Cast all your anxiety on [Jesus] because he cares for you. Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith.” (1 Peter 5:7-9a) Lay all your requests and desires before Christ and let him lead you down a safe path for your own good. It may not look so glamorous and enticing but it will provide the greatest joy and rejoicing in the end. Always take hold of the fact that Christ laid down his life for you, he has promised to never leave you nor forsake you, and he can be trusted. …If only the fellow from Hotel California had taken Christ with him from the start of his journey.

Prayer: Dear Lord, when my mind is unclear and riddled with exhaustion or anxiety, lust or desire, please help me cling to you to get me through and not give into the enticing temptations that would lead me down the road of destruction. Let my decisions be clear minded and good for me, according to your will for my life. Give me the strength and wisdom to resist folly and the courage to follow you. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen!

Coffee w/t Solomon Proverbs 9:7-12

Proverbs – God’s practical guide to a joyful life

Devotion 27

Good day friends! I pray your week and weekend went well.

Today’s words from Solomon about ‘correcting sinful behaviour’ are not the easiest to follow, but they certain would benefit us, if we could follow them. Even Jesus shares his wisdom on the matter. Let’s top up our coffees and see what they have to say…

Proverbs 9:7-12

Whoever corrects a mocker invites insults; whoever rebukes the wicked incurs abuse. Do not rebuke mockers or they will hate you; rebuke the wise and they will love you. Instruct the wise and they will be wiser still; teach the righteous and they will add to their learning.

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding. For through wisdom your days will be many, and years will be added to your life. If you are wise, your wisdom will reward you; if you are a mocker, you alone will suffer.

‘Sticks and stones may break my bones but names will never hurt me.’ How many times did we say that phrase as a child? How many times did we as children, or do we as adults, face bullies or gossipers or any number of verbally abusive individuals? They certainly do cross our paths, and if you are like me, your first instinct is to retaliate and to correct their ways. But Solomon is saying that we need to be careful. We need to consider to whom we are correcting or responding.

pig

Trying to correct someone who is seeking to be hurtful and looking for a reaction in their victim will simply continue to be insulting. Don’t waste your time or words. Instead just be silent and, if possible, walk away. Do not give them any ammunition to continue in their abusive behaviour toward you, and you will prevent any further abuse. Even Jesus encourages us: “Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces.” (Matthew 7:6)

On the other hand, as someone who knows the Lord, let loving correction be received with open arms. It never feels good and it is our sinful nature to want to lash back, but don’t. Stop and listen; heed the words of correction you have received, and thank the person for caring about you so much that they would care to help you be the best, godly person you can be.

Finally, in all situations- whether being mocked or corrected- let your actions, above all, reflect the humility and love of Christ, just as he quietly endured the pain and suffering of the cross for you and me.

Prayer: Dear Heavenly Father, it is so tempting to lash back when someone is verbally attacking me. Help me to walk away, to focus my thoughts on you, and not to enable the other person to continue in their hurtful way. Also, in those times when I sin and need to be corrected, help me to heed the correction of another and be thankful for their love towards me. Finally, in all situations help me to be the light of Christ with integrity, humility, and love. In Jesus’ name I pray. AMEN!

Coffee w/t Solomon Proverbs 9:1-6

Proverbs – God’s practical guide to a joyful life

Devotion 26

Good day friends! I pray your week and weekend went well.

Do you enjoy hosting dinners or being invited to a friend’s home for a time of chatting, relaxing and, most likely, good food and beverage? I certainly do! Well today we are given an invitation to do just that. Let’s top up our coffees and learn of this invitation that Solomon is sharing with us…

Proverbs 9:1-6

Invitations of Wisdom…

Wisdom has built her house; she has set up its seven pillars. She has prepared her meat and mixed her wine; she has also set her table. She has sent out her servants, and she calls from the highest point of the city, “Let all who are simple come to my house!” To those who have no sense she says, “Come, eat my food and drink the wine I have mixed. Leave your simple ways and you will live; walk in the way of insight.”

invitation

I enjoy entertaining and having guests. It’s a time when extra care is taken to clean and tidy the house, special foods are prepared, and the good dishes are set out. It’s my hope that all my guests will feel welcomed and comfortable. If guests come hungry, their tummies will leave full. If they come feeling lonely, they will leave feeling loved. If they come with worries and burdens, they will leave with joy and a lighter load. Yes, I love having guests.

In the same way, God’s wisdom calls us. God invites us to come and learn of his ways and his wisdom; the wisdom that loved mankind- you and me-  so much that it required himself to pay the penalty and be the sinless sacrifice on our behalf. He calls us to know this type of wisdom through this love revealed in his most precious word. Just as you are welcomed into one’s home when you take that first step through the front door, so God welcomes us into his wisdom and care as we open the pages of his most precious word, the Bible.

As we dig into his words, we are comforted, we are spiritually fed, we are loved, and we are able to entrust our burdens and worries with him. He is the ultimate host and his words of wisdom radiate within our being. Not that we change outwardly, but we do change within our inmost being. Not that circumstances around us change, but our view of them is changed. And if that were not enough, he gives us an actual home to which we can go and meet him.

Not only did he give us the Bible to go to, but he gave us his church, his home where he dwells within the family of brothers and sister that are present there, where his words of love and wisdom are proclaimed to all.  A home where all people are welcomed to enter and be comforted, to be fed and nourished, and to leave their burdens at the foot of his cross.

Therefore, whether you accept God’s invitation to hear his word  by opening the pages of your Bible or the front door of your church, you will experience his ultimate love and hospitality. Through God’s wisdom and the Holy Spirit, you will begin to “walk in the way of insight.” (Proverbs 9:6b) This is not just a suggestion, but a promise! You will walk in the way of God’s insight and all the blessings that flow from him. So, God’s wisdom is calling you to be his guest. May I encourage you to accept the invitation.

Prayer: Dear Lord, you have invited me to come to you and seek your wisdom as revealed in your most holy word. Give me the desire and willingness to accept your invitation and the opening in my schedule to permit me to be your guest.  Whether by attending church or digging into the Bible, or both, help me to come to you, to rest in you, and to learn of you. In Jesus’ name I pray. AMEN!

Coffee w/t Solomon Proverbs 8:22-36

Proverbs – God’s practical guide to a joyful life

Devotion 25

Good day friends! I pray your week and weekend went well.

I wonder if Solomon knew what and about whom he was speaking when he penned this week’s passage. Let’s top up our coffees and I will explain…

Proverbs 8:22-36

universe.jpgThe Lord brought me forth as the first of his works, before his deeds of old; I was formed long ages ago, at the very beginning, when the world came to be. When there were no watery depths, I was given birth, when there were no springs overflowing with water; before the mountains were settled in place, before the hills, I was given birth, before he made the world or its fields or any of the dust of the earth. I was there when he set the heavens in place, when he marked out the horizon on the face of the deep, when he established the clouds above and fixed securely the fountains of the deep, when he gave the sea its boundary so the waters would not overstep his command, and when he marked out the foundations of the earth. Then I was constantly at his side. I was filled with delight day after day, rejoicing always in his presence, rejoicing in his whole world and delighting in mankind.

“Now then, my children, listen to me;  blessed are those who keep my ways. Listen to my instruction and be wise; do not disregard it. Blessed are those who listen to me, watching daily at my doors, waiting at my doorway. For those who find me find life and receive favor from the Lord. But those who fail to find me harm themselves; all who hate me love death.”

As I read today’s passage, my first thoughts were to consider it a prophecy of the Saviour of the world that was to come. But then I recalled that Solomon was speaking about God’s wisdom. But wait, could they be one in the same? Is Christ, our Lord and Saviour, the wisdom of God? As a matter of fact, he is! It is written that “Christ [is] the power of God and the wisdom of God.” (1 Corinthians 1:24b) Yes, everything that Solomon says about the presence of wisdom before time began is the proclamation of Christ’s presence with the Father from the beginning.

Therefore, to find wisdom, we need only to seek the one whom was born of the virgin, who healed the sick, and sacrificed himself to pay the penalty that our sins deserve and to reunite us with the Creator Father. True wisdom of the Father is found in the Son and his salvation for all mankind. In his teachings is mercy and grace, and in him is life eternal. In Jesus is the fullness of God’s wisdom for mankind.

Although it says -and holds true- in verse 36 above, that “…those who fail to find me harm themselves; all who hate me love death,” we can be confident that as we seek to find wisdom and love, peace and rest for our souls, he will guide us in his truth, and we will find Jesus. In this seeking, there will be no worry of death or darkness. “For… neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:38-39) Therefore, go in peace and confidence, and learn of Jesus in order to learn more of God’s wisdom for your life.
Prayer: Dear God, before time you were present: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Father Creator, your wisdom, through your Word, laid the foundations of the earth. Then at your command, your wisdom became flesh and dwelt among mankind. Help me to learn of your wisdom more clearly as made plain in Christ Jesus, my Saviour. In His name I pray. AMEN!

Coffee w/t Solomon Proverbs 8:1-21

Proverbs – God’s practical guide to a joyful life

Devotion 24

Good day friends! I pray your week and weekend went well.

Let’s top up our coffees and rest in Solomon’s words for us this week….

Proverbs 8:1-21

Wisdom’s Call

Does not wisdom call out? Does not understanding raise her voice? At the highest point along the way, where the paths meet, she takes her stand; beside the gate leading into the city, at the entrance, she cries aloud: “To you, O people, I call out; I raise my voice to all mankind. You who are simple, gain prudence; you who are foolish, set your hearts on it. Listen, for I have trustworthy things to say; I open my lips to speak what is right. My mouth speaks what is true, for my lips detest wickedness. All the words of my mouth are just; none of them is crooked or perverse. To the discerning all of them are right;  they are upright to those who have found knowledge. Choose my instruction instead of silver, knowledge rather than choice gold, for wisdom is more precious than rubies, and nothing you desire can compare with her. “I, wisdom, dwell together with prudence; I possess knowledge and discretion. To fear the Lord is to hate evil; I hate pride and arrogance, evil behavior and perverse speech. Counsel and sound judgment are mine; I have insight, I have power. By me kings reign and rulers issue decrees that are just; by me princes govern, and nobles—all who rule on earth. I love those who love me, and those who seek me find me. With me are riches and honor, enduring wealth and prosperity. My fruit is better than fine gold; what I yield surpasses choice silver. I walk in the way of righteousness, along the paths of justice, bestowing a rich inheritance on those who love me and making their treasuries full.

I remember as a little girl being completely wrapped up in my Mom’s arms in her big cozy, all enveloping arm chair. It was such a safe and peaceful place, especially in those moments where I was frightened or sad. I knew when I was there that all would be good; she was my protection and I was loved. Can you envision a person in your life that made you feel that way; that while in their arms you were safe and all the concerns of your life could just melt away? If not, close your eyes and envision being wrapped up in the most loving arms and being held close to one’s chest, where all your cares can be dispelled and you can fully rest in peace.

It’s this complete rest and peace that God gives us when we seek him. In him, we are completely surrounded by truth, righteousness, justice, love, good counsel and sound judgement with complete insight of what is happening in and around our lives. In him there is no wicked or hateful behaviour. In our most gracious God, who has given us complete access to knowing him through his Word and through our most precious Saviour, we can come to him and let go of all our cares, no matter how deep and troublesome, and he will carry us through them, if we let him. For he promises, “I love those who love me, and those who seek me find me.” (Proverbs 8:17) and Jesus himself calls, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30) These are not empty words of the world, but promises that we can cling to when we allow our Lord to wrap us in his most welcoming arms and let His words of wisdom, forgiveness, peace and  love wash over us and renew us. Let go and let Him hold you today.

Prayer: Dear Lord, my life is filled with so many demands and burdens, some very exciting and some fearful. Sometimes it is so overwhelming, and even the blessings I have trouble enjoying. Envelope me in your arms today and throughout this week. Keep my body, soul, and mind at peace in knowing you are watching over me and are leading me in what this week brings. By the help of your Holy Spirit, guide my thoughts to seek your will and ways. In Jesus’ name I pray. AMEN!

Coffee w/t Solomon Proverbs 7:1-27

Proverbs – God’s practical guide to a joyful life

Devotion 23

Good day friends! I pray your week and weekend went well.

Well, as mentioned last week, this week’s words of wisdom are once again focused on the adulterous woman. With the help of a second Old Testament guest, we will take a deeper look on this topic.

Let’s top up our coffees and dig in…

Proverbs 7:1-27

Warning Against the Adulterous Woman

My son, keep my words and store up my commands within you. Keep my commands and you will live; guard my teachings as the apple of your eye. Bind them on your fingers; write them on the tablet of your heart. Say to wisdom, “You are my sister,” and to insight, “You are my relative.” They will keep you from the adulterous woman, from the wayward woman with her seductive words.

person.jpg

At the window of my house I looked down through the lattice. I saw among the simple, I noticed among the young men, a youth who had no sense. He was going down the street near her corner, walking along in the direction of her house at twilight, as the day was fading, as the dark of night set in.

Then out came a woman to meet him, dressed like a prostitute and with crafty intent. (She is unruly and defiant, her feet never stay at home; now in the street, now in the squares, at every corner she lurks.) She took hold of him and kissed him and with a brazen face she said: “Today I fulfilled my vows, and I have food from my fellowship offering at home. So I came out to meet you; I looked for you and have found you! I have covered my bed with colored linens from Egypt. I have perfumed my bed with myrrh, aloes and cinnamon. Come, let’s drink deeply of love till morning; let’s enjoy ourselves with love! My husband is not at home; he has gone on a long journey. He took his purse filled with money and will not be home till full moon.” With persuasive words she led him astray; she seduced him with her smooth talk. All at once he followed her like an ox going to the slaughter, like a deer stepping into a noose till an arrow pierces his liver, like a bird darting into a snare, little knowing it will cost him his life.

Now then, my sons, listen to me; pay attention to what I say. Do not let your heart turn to her ways or stray into her paths. Many are the victims she has brought down; her slain are a mighty throng. Her house is a highway to the grave,  leading down to the chambers of death.

Throughout the first few chapters of Proverbs, Solomon warns against adultery and the adulterous woman, and chapter 7 could be the movie version. As Solomon unfolds the scene before him, he describes the characters: the senseless young man, the dishevelled temptress, and the implied husband whom is currently away on a journey. To me, these characters remind me of another story where there is an adulterous woman, a husband, and the implied foolish men that fall prey to lust and her temptations. Can you guess who I’m thinking of?

 

About two hundred years after King Solomon’s reign, the prophet, Hosea, is called by God to physically be the husband of a prostitute. He willingly marries such a person – her name is Gomer. He loves and cares for her, protects and provides for her, and has children with her. Solomon’s movie scene is Hosea’s actual life. (You might like to read about Hosea.) Yet, the characters as stated by Solomon can be seen in light of the identities of the characters that God is proclaiming through Hosea.

 

To begin with, it is plain to see that without wisdom- God’s most precious guiding words- we are all in the place of the foolish, senseless young men who easily lead astray into destructive, sinful ways. Without God’s wisdom for our life, we are easily lead as sheep to the slaughter in sheer ignorance.

 

Then for Hosea, the adulterous wife was a reflection of the sinful, adulterous ways of the Israelites. God used his wife as an example of how the Israelites denied God’s goodness and pursued their lovers of self-indulgence, lust, and greed, but when left desolate and alone, how she returned to her husband, how they returned to their God. This analogy of his wife and Israel is also an analogy of us – you and me – and how we treat our relationship with the Lord, the bride towards the bridegroom. How easily we can turn away from beloved and turn our thoughts towards those self-indulgent pleasures and seek after our own desires and adulterous ways.

 

Yet there is still the husband that is the most essential character of this story. For it is the husband, who despite his fiery jealousy and his wife’s adulterous ways is faithful to his marriage vows and promises, and seeks after her. This husband is God who seeks after his people. It is Christ, our husband, who stands patiently with his arms and nail pierced hands wide open for our return. Despite our foolish sins and adulterous ways, he loves us. He enfolds us in his arms each and every time we return to him in guilt and disgrace, shame and repentance. He calls us his own and we are his. “In that day,” declares the Lord,  you will call me ‘my husband’…I will betroth you to me forever;  I will betroth you in righteousness and justice, in love and compassion. I will betroth you in faithfulness, and you will acknowledge the Lord.” (Hosea2:16a..19,20)

 

So, do not look away from your husband in order to fulfill lustful desires, whether as the foolish or the adulterous one, for there is no safer place for you than in the arms of Christ. He is with you now to guide you, to give you peace of heart and a clear conscience, and to bless you with joy and satisfaction in this life and the next. “He will never leave you nor forsake you.” (Deuteronomy 31:6b, italics added)
Prayer: Dear Jesus, my Bridegroom, help me to be a worthy bride, to keep myself from seeking after other lustful desires. To see your love for me more clearly and to trust you in all things, even those commands that I do not understand. Give me strength and courage to deny my selfish ways and to trust you fully, just as you fully fulfill your promises to me, though I am unworthy. In your I pray. AMEN!

Coffee w/t Solomon Proverbs 6:20-35

Proverbs – God’s practical guide to a joyful life

Devotion 22

Good day friends! I pray your week and weekend went well.

Although today’s words of wisdom from Solomon, as stated in the NIV Bible, begin with a heading of A WARNING AGAINST ADULTERY, we will be focusing on the first few verses of this passage of scripture, that would keep a person from falling into adultery, and then have a chance to listen to Solomon next time, speak more on warning us against adultery. So, let’s top up our coffees and get started…

Proverbs 6:20-35

My son, keep your father’s command and do not forsake your mother’s teaching. Bind them always on your heart; fasten them around your neck. When you walk, they will guide you; when you sleep, they will watch over you; when you awake, they will speak to you. For this command is a lamp, this teaching is a light, and correction and instruction are the way to life, keeping you from your neighbor’s wife, from the smooth talk of a wayward woman. Do not lust in your heart after her beauty or let her captivate you with her eyes. For a prostitute can be had for a loaf of bread, but another man’s wife preys on your very life. Can a man scoop fire into his lap without his clothes being burned? Can a man walk on hot coals without his feet being scorched? So is he who sleeps with another man’s wife; no one who touches her will go unpunished. People do not despise a thief if he steals to satisfy his hunger when he is starving. Yet if he is caught, he must pay sevenfold, though it costs him all the wealth of his house. But a man who commits adultery has no sense; whoever does so destroys himself. Blows and disgrace are his lot, and his shame will never be wiped away. For jealousy arouses a husband’s fury, and he will show no mercy when he takes revenge. He will not accept any compensation; he will refuse a bribe, however great it is.

family 2In the previous devotion, Solomon shared his wisdom regarding attributes that commandments 5-10 spoke against. This week he begins with the importance of Commandment Four, obeying our parents, which is able to keep us from falling into sinful deeds, such as the deed stated in the remainder of the passage. Oh how beautiful it would be if all children followed the words of Solomon towards listening to their parents. Personally, our household would have been filled with continual joy and bliss. But life isn’t like that, is it?

The sinfulness of our children is clear, and despite parents’ best intentions, children battle with temptation and weakness, just like we all do. Sometimes we put such unrealistic expectations upon our children. Don’t get me wrong. We should absolutely raise them with the Ten Commandments and set boundaries and teach them to our children through our words and, even more importantly, our actions. However, perhaps it is even just as beautiful, the opportunities parents have to extend God’s mercy and grace, forgiveness and unconditional love.  

I have found that in those moments, when God’s grace and forgiveness are extended, our children got a closer glimpse of God and the depth of his sacrifice and love on their behalf. They knew well the end results that could have so easily been theirs- and the certain consequences of their actions that would still occur, as stated above in Solomon’s example above- but they saw a love that was not based on what they did or did not do, but a love that was theirs no matter what came their way and a trust that enabled them to confide their sins and receive a forgiveness and peace, comfort and strength, that was greater than the guilt they felt from any sin they could commit.

So yes, parents raise up your children in the ways of the Lord. Be diligent in teaching his commandments, but also in extending his grace and mercy. And children, follow in the commands that God has placed before you, especially as your parents raise you to know and live by them, but when you fall, and you will fall, may you have the assurance that they too will be there to extend God’s grace to you. Then, finally, seek Him, the one who created and redeemed you, knows you and desires to walk with you every moment of every day, even when your parents can’t.

Prayer: Dear Lord, be with all parents to know you and your commands for the good of their earthly life, and to teach them to their children. Be with all children, as they struggle with temptation and their own sinfulness, to seek your forgiveness and grace directly and through the unconditional love of their parents. Be with all parent and child relationships that together they understand each other’s sinfulness, but also the reality of your love for each of them that took you to the cross, and paid the price for all those sins. In Your Name we pray. AMEN!

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