August 6 2013: Proverbs 6
`Carrying on with Proverbs:
Proverbs 6 starts much of the “general wisdom” section of Proverbs. While there are portions here that warn against the forbidden woman that Proverbs 5 focuses on, these references fade a bit and are placed alongside other issues.
I do find it valuable to recognize just how important Proverbs shows sexual ethics to be. If “wisdom” in Proverbs is properly defined as skill for living in fear of YHWH (I think that’s how Philips does it in God’s Wisdom in Proverbs, but my copy’s loaned out), then there it is necessary to base our sexual ethics in reverence to God if we are to be wise.
Moving into our focal verses:
Proverbs 6:8 is one of those verses that requires grasping the section, not just the verse. The advice is in the section on seeing what the ant does, and following the example. Gather by increments, so that you have when you need it.
That applies in both material wealth and other areas. Think about skills and knowledge: ever crammed for a test? Then forgotten everything? Acquire slowly, incrementally, and see how much better it sticks. The same is a valid consideration for wisdom. You cannot become wise overnight, but you can make small gains. Then, when it is time to harvest, there is more than you expect.
Additionally, consider spiritual growth. Step by step—then, instead of being in terror, there is a wealth of development there.
Proverbs 6:18 addresses the need to avoid sinful activities. This falls under a list of seven things which are an abomination to God, things which He hates. Feet that rush to get involved in evil and hearts that devise wicked plans.
Remember that culturally, ancient Hebrew thought in the heart and felt in the guts, so this is about thought processes. We should avoid concocting plans and also not get wrapped up in other people’s schemes!
Further, the preceding verses tie together the way different parts of the body participate in evil. It is important, I think, to remember that we should control the parts of ourselves by the sum of who we are: not “I’m a pretty good person, except I have feet swift to evil…” but “I will control my feet, for I will be committed to Christ.”
Proverbs 6:28 brings up the consequences, initially applied to adultery, that eventually sin will get you. We have likely all seen people walk on hot coals for a time without burning…but eventually it will catch up to you. If you find yourself having escaped the consequences of sin, then get out now. You still need to address the consequences, but move on before you destroy yourself. Better to limp now than to burn your feet!