One of the things I am really liking about the approach Solomon used to give us instruction (of course from the Holy Spirit),
is the communication style of using great word pictures. In looking into the definitions of some of these words in chapter’s 5-6 they help describe
what we should be tying our lives into when it comes to Godly instruction. Here’s an example right at the beginning of Proverbs 5.
“My son, give attention to my wisdom, incline your ear to my understanding.”Proverbs 5:1
We’ve heard these words before. “To Incline” means experiencing a feeling of being willing, favorably disposed to taking action.
It means you want to do something, desiring to follow a certain way. So to “Incline your ear” to the instruction of the Holy Spirit means this.
When God speaks to you in those certain moments such as when you are reading, or in prayer, or during worship…
Even when you are trying to make your worship all about Him, He will sometimes come back with a message placed into your heart,
He wants you, to actually want, what it is He is telling you. He wants you to stop ……….. and listen and obey what He is saying at that moment.
The verse goes on, “so you will observe discretion, and reserve knowledge where at the moment you speak, you answer wisely against temptation.
It’s kind of like walking up to a place that is actually offering you, “discretion,” As if to say –
God is offering the Discretion Market Place for you to freely have it.
Discretion is, the ability to rightly decide what should be done in a particular situation, and to make the right choice.
God says, you are able to receive discretion from Him if you would just take a moment and incline your ear toward Him.
It is like a special reserve of food or water for the soul in which this knowledge He gives you empowers you with Godly wisdom.
It then becomes part of you – it becomes part of who you are, a spiritual shield which protects you against wrong things and wrong thinking.
But here is how it protects you, really.
His discretion and knowledge are a teaching which will always come against temptation that we would otherwise accept.
It is to keep you from wrong thinking, and from searing your conscience which takes place if you begin to accept something false.
Rather than the truth which is from God’s Heart. So the importance of inclining our ears is a word picture saying we trust in God
to such a degree that influence to go other ways, will not carry any weight and value in our life and it won’t easily convert us
when we have even a strong temptation to sin. It is medicine to the soul and an arsenal of protection for our spirit when God arms us with
His teaching and instruction. Solomon gives some descriptions just how enticing disobedience can be. He uses an adulterous relationship
to help us know what the power of temptation looks like.
Proverbs 5:5-7. “5 Her feet go down to death, her steps take hold of Sheol. 6 She does not ponder the path of life; her ways are unstable, she does not know it. 7 Now then, my sons, listen to me and do not depart from the words of my mouth.
Besides the path of death unfaithfulness leads us to, what about the temptation to commit revenge, or gossip, anger, rage,
overeating, or the lure of bad financial decisions toward a quick emotional fix, a dishonest path by using our words, or dishonest gain and so on.
Why it is any one of these temptations being so simple, yet sometimes we just give in the moment they show up. Don’t talk about them on Sunday…
but what God is trying to do is offer us tools to keep us safe and keep us close to Him so we don’t run astray.
If we run part way through our life and we’ve had lots of chances to shed away bad decisions but chose to keep things in place that shouldn’t be,
This is where we end up which Proverbs 5:12-13 says, “12 How I have hated instruction! And my heart spurned reproof! 13 “I have not listened to the voice of my teachers, nor inclined my ear to my instructors!”
And we get into those places where we knew God was speaking to us and we chose to water down our own faith for the sake of selfish gain.
Verse 21 says, the ways of all people are before the eyes of the Lord. And not only that, but it says God watches all our paths too.
I really believe one of the reasons God made what some call “lesser lifeforms”, is when we watch the ant, the grasshopper, a cat, dog, or a bird.
And many times the animals didn’t even know we were watching them!
But what about one of our own? Even our own children as they were, and are growing and they have no idea what they are doing sometimes,
But we do! And we choose to pick them up keeping them from something dangerous, or tell them no its not safe to cook macaroni at 18 months…..
Operate wood working machinery at age 3 ½. Why? Because we can see when they are going to get hurt. It is this way with God and about us.
Yet we also see wisdom in God’s power as we observe the ant gather food in the right season of life, or the trusting sparrow who doesn’t face,
A midlife crisis, but remembers it is God who supplies what they need. Or the amazing faith of a child who if they could talk,
They might question their own parents asking them, why so little faith???
We don’t always know why God tells us not to do something or maybe to do something, but we have to believe He sees things that we don’t.
A very good case and point begins chapter 6. Again Solomon uses wonderful words to describe a picture of real wisdom.
Verse 1 puts it this way from a financial point of view. Sometimes wisdom, is saying no to those who would not make good of a situation.
And if you were tied up into a bad financial responsibility with someone, the Bible says to do your best to deliver yourself out of the deal
Meaning legally of course but to get clear of it. First is do not give a pledge and become a financial supporter of those who want to borrow
Asking you to co-sign or support in some way their unwise ventures. Sometimes we help those we love, and it makes a difference in their life.
Other times we help them by saying no and it makes a good difference in their lives just the same. Here’s the advice the ant gives.
Proverbs 6:6-8. “6 Go to the ant, O sluggard, observe her ways and be wise, 7 which, having no chief, officer or ruler, 8 prepares her food in the summer and gathers her provision in the harvest.”
Would it be also, that we run clear of people who live toxic, dysfunctional lives? Not that we show love to people, but we don’t bend to their way.
Those who willfully sin and think you should be part of what they are?
This is not to say we don’t lend help when people need it but there is a difference between those who literally repent and you want to help them,
And others who aren’t repenting at all and expect you to endorse their lifestyle which is not Godly, not even close.
Proverbs 6:5-6. “Give no sleep to your eyes, nor slumber to your eyelids; deliver yourself like a gazelle from the hunter’s hand and like a bird from the hand of the fowler.”
At that point if they don’t go with you knowing you are following the Lord according to Scripture, the testimony of your faithfulness
will be what later saves them, if they would listen to how God is using you to show them a better way.
Look at the reasoning Solomon gives us in the example of the young man who needs to steer clear of the adulterous woman.
Remember Chapter 5 says… Stay clear of her – do not go near the door of her house.
You mean there is no deep spiritual depth of direction and grand theological reasoning here?
No, it just says, DON’T GO. You mean don’t commit my own revenge, or any gossip about what hurts us, or remain in constant anger,
Living down in a fiery pit of rage, or binge eat when I am stressed, or go get the nicer boat because John Smith has one just like it?
You mean we can’t use our words even a little bit for gain, or recognition, or a little more wealth?
What are the “white lies” in our life, do we class some as “white sins” as well? I think we do sometimes.
Again chapter six says “Do not go that direction either, asking deep theological questions which we must contemplate today. Such as –
Proverbs 6:27-28. “27 Can a man take fire in his bosom and his clothes not be burned? 28 Or can a man walk on hot coals and his feet not be scorched?” (firewalker slide)
It goes on to say, men do not despise a thief if he steals to satisfy himself when he is hungry, exercising his own moral right,
Rather than working for what he eats as God has set up. And lots of people will look the other way, because they also do the same thing.
But God says, the ways of all of you, are before Me. The path you took to steal bread when you could have worked for it,
Has not escaped My notice. I saw you steal it. The Scripture says God will not be mocked,
Yet if you turn to Me and repent, asking for help – I will give it, says the Lord your God. If you ask My forgiveness for your sin,
I will provide it, says the Lord.
2 Corinthians 5:17 “17 Therefore if anyone is in Christ, they are a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.”
With all of our potential dysfunction, The Lord still loves us so much. And by His mercy through Jesus Christ, He calls us back to Himself.
To renew our minds and heal our hearts. To place us on a flat plane in our life and to give us a fresh start.
But we have a part in it – to incline our ears, our hearts to His instruction and guidance and for us to trust in Him.
May it be so!