Sunday, July 25, 2010

Proverbs, Chapters Seven and Eight commentary

Chapter 7
1 ¶ My son, keep my words, and lay up my commandments with thee. 2 Keep my commandments, and live; and my law as the apple of thine eye. 3 Bind them upon thy fingers, write them upon the table of thine heart. 4 Say unto wisdom, Thou art my sister; and call understanding thy kinswoman: 5 That they may keep thee from the strange woman, from the stranger which flattereth with her words.
Again, these instructions are repeated and wisdom’s importance is emphasized as well as understanding’s. The purpose here is to keep the son from the foreign woman with her foreign gods who flatters with her words. The biggest threat to the practice of the Christian religion is from inside where pagan elements have polluted everything including modern Bible versions. Big churches and large enrollments that await the pastor who compromises the word, with huge grounds, bond issues, gymnasiums, libraries, massive bus ministries, and even fame and celebrity, are enticing. For the Christian layperson the many different “focus” groups these big churches offer, with Sunday Schools for every age and need, and wishy washy sermons that are about as deep as a mud puddle are a draw.
But, in every day life there are movies, even Christian movies, that alter the Bible’s message, change the word, emphasize the wrong things, and TV shows where people don’t swear and there’s no sexual content but doctrine is watered down, and truth is distorted. There’s Christian music with the wrong beat, the wrong attitude, and lyrics that twist the Bible and deceive the hearer.
All around us are falsehood and distortions, with celebrity pastors locked arm in arm with their favorite politicians smiling broadly and proclaiming family values and the faith of the “silent majority”. It’s all designed to lead you from the clear truths of God’s word and to entice you away from God’s path.
6 ¶ For at the window of my house I looked through my casement, 7 And beheld among the simple ones, I discerned among the youths, a young man void of understanding, 8 Passing through the street near her corner; and he went the way to her house, 9 In the twilight, in the evening, in the black and dark night: 10 And, behold, there met him a woman with the attire of an harlot, and subtil of heart. 11 (She is loud and stubborn; her feet abide not in her house: 12 Now is she without, now in the streets, and lieth in wait at every corner.) 13 So she caught him, and kissed him, and with an impudent face said unto him, 14 I have peace offerings with me; this day have I payed my vows. 15 Therefore came I forth to meet thee, diligently to seek thy face, and I have found thee. 16 I have decked my bed with coverings of tapestry, with carved works, with fine linen of Egypt. 17 I have perfumed my bed with myrrh, aloes, and cinnamon. 18 Come, let us take our fill of love until the morning: let us solace ourselves with loves. 19 For the goodman is not at home, he is gone a long journey: 20 He hath taken a bag of money with him, and will come home at the day appointed. 21 With her much fair speech she caused him to yield, with the flattering of her lips she forced him. 22 He goeth after her straightway, as an ox goeth to the slaughter, or as a fool to the correction of the stocks; 23 Till a dart strike through his liver; as a bird hasteth to the snare, and knoweth not that it is for his life.
I think the direct and practical application here is obvious and doesn’t need much elaboration. The whorish woman will try to entice the young man, that is clear. This is a young man devoid of understanding, as it says. But, the spiritual implications are incredible.
One thing of note would be that this woman is loud and stubborn. Her feet don’t stay in her house. In both testaments we have the phrase “keeper at home” which some people mistakenly think to mean that a woman’s only proper employment is to be a housewife. Actually keeping at home is applied to a man in Habbakuk 2:5 Yea also, because he transgresseth by wine, he is a proud man, neither keepeth at home, who enlargeth his desire as hell, and is as death, and cannot be satisfied, but gathereth unto him all nations, and heapeth unto him all people:
We had a saying down South “gadabout” which was a person of either sex who was always out looking to start trouble either at a bar or going house to house gossiping and destroying reputations. This person more fits the context of “keepeth at home” in Habbakuk 2:5 and “keepers at home” in Titus 2:5. To say that the only employment fit for a woman is a housewife is to accuse Lydia, the benefactor of Paul in Philippi, of sin. And yet, there is no condemnation of her in the word of God.
Now back to the spiritual implication of these verses in Proverbs. This woman, dressed as a harlot is found on every corner. She is false religion and pseudo-religion, being whatever your heart loves apart from God. She entices, flatters, and flirts. The lure of the worldly faith includes the argument that Christ is gone and He’ll return when He returns with the world adding, IF He returns. They say, “He isn’t here, so come on enjoy yourself in sin. What’s the hurt? No one will see.”
There was an anti-God movie called “The Cider House Rules” that was made as a pro-abortion movie but what it came down to was that the migrant workers who lived in the Cider House shouldn’t have to go by the owner’s rules because he or she wasn’t there. So since he or she wasn’t there he had no right to make the rules for them. It was an indirect attack on Christ’s authority and a denial of His earthly ministry.
Now, you might say, I’m not in any danger of turning my back on Christ. No one can accomplish that. But, I say, a preacher who you believe to be a “man of God” whom you see at a meeting and hear a great sermon by, can change doctrines just slightly, convincing you that he is close to God and therefore if you want to be close to God you’ll draw close to him. His false religion draws you away from the Bible by changing the clear meaning of the Bible and adding more rules or taking rules away, in order to “please God”.
In the more “fundamentalist” congregations he’ll be pharisaical and very strict, usually heaping burden upon burden on the congregation, particularly the women. In the more liberal congregations he’ll focus on love and acceptance of everyone including perverts and Bible corrupters as being “all God’s chilluns”.
The world’s enticements are found on every corner. False religion is found on every corner. You don’t have to be afraid and paranoid. You just need to know your Bible and be “all prayed up” as we say. You need to know what is right in order to know that what they are saying is wrong. You don’t crouch in your house in fear. You walk out on the street knowing that she (or he) will be there, selling her wickedness like a carnival barker tries to sell an amusement at the fireman’s fair. To follow her is death. Don’t even listen to her.
24 ¶ Hearken unto me now therefore, O ye children, and attend to the words of my mouth. 25 Let not thine heart decline to her ways, go not astray in her paths. 26 For she hath cast down many wounded: yea, many strong men have been slain by her. 27 Her house is the way to hell, going down to the chambers of death.
While this is a clear warning to the Hebrew about the dangers of an adulterous woman, it’s clear that more is implied here than that. It is also a warning that many millions have been destroyed by false doctrines and phony religion. Many of the major wars in history, at least on the surface, had a religious origin. Conquest and murder, extortion and outright theft, have been the main doctrines of the counterfeit religion of Satan throughout history. Whether it be Nebuchadnezzar worshipping the “queen of heaven” or the “mother of god”, Ishtar, down to a recent President declaring that God had told him to invade a country and occupy it.
On a more personal note the false religious beliefs of this age, such as those coming from Darwin, Freud, and Marx have killed more people than we can even imagine in the Twentieth Century alone. I am taking the tack that the strange woman represents false and counterfeit religious belief that misleads and lies to people seeking to be spiritual, save mankind, building a better world, and some even desiring to do God’s will. Darwin’s belief that we are nothing more than animals and random accidents of nature, Freud’s focus on our sexual impulses, and Marx’s collectivism have led to graveyards, ruined lives, and mental illness. Many wounded and many slain are the results. Modern Christians have been deceived by false doctrines such as baptism actually saving you, the belief that you must follow the Law given to Moses to be saved, or that you can lose and gain your salvation repeatedly, or that it is government’s job to bring in the kingdom of heaven on earth (one president in 1993 even told a church congregation in Baltimore County while he was trying to win support for a law enforce-ment initiative that “my ministry is to bring in the kingdom of God on earth”). Little has really changed in 4,000 years. All that separates civilization from barbarity is still some spiffy buildings and pious talk.
Paul laments to the Galatians;
Galatians 1:6 ¶ I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: 7 Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ.
And warns Timothy about doctrines of devils;
1 Timothy 4:1 ¶ Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; 2 Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron; 3 Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth.

Chapter 8
Now, again, breaking down Chapter 8 into separate sections to focus my comments as my large print Cambridge Bible has Chapter 8 as one paragraph.
1 ¶ Doth not wisdom cry? and understanding put forth her voice? 2 She standeth in the top of high places, by the way in the places of the paths. 3 She crieth at the gates, at the entry of the city, at the coming in at the doors. 4 Unto you, O men, I call; and my voice is to the sons of man. 5 O ye simple, understand wisdom: and, ye fools, be ye of an understanding heart. 6 Hear; for I will speak of excellent things; and the opening of my lips shall be right things. 7 For my mouth shall speak truth; and wickedness is an abomination to my lips. 8 All the words of my mouth are in righteousness; there is nothing froward or perverse in them. 9 They are all plain to him that understandeth, and right to them that find knowledge. 10 Receive my instruction, and not silver; and knowledge rather than choice gold. 11 For wisdom is better than rubies; and all the things that may be desired are not to be compared to it.
Again, this is a thought that is repeated throughout. Wisdom speaks nothing perverse. To the person that has understanding what wisdom says is clear. Wisdom is more important than treasure. Nothing can compare to it for long life. Remember, Christ is our wisdom. But, Christ is God and is not a created being or merely an attribute of God so be careful how far you take typology as this confused dingbats like the famous Origen, who modernists love to quote even though he was nutty as a fruitcake. Christ is our wisdom but He is not wisdom as personified here in the feminine. I should think that would be clear to a sane man but scholars like Origen often are in love with their minds and not with God so things may not be so clear to them.
Wisdom always speaks truth. Remember the Persians of the Book of Esther. One of the cultural traits they had, according to Herodotus, that was good, and believe me, they were not usually a group of people you’d want to emulate, but one of their positive traits was their insistence upon raising their children to always speak the truth no matter what it cost them. In fact, the only things they taught their sons were warfare and speaking the truth in all things, or so Herodotus insists.
Here, the writer implores the simple and the fools to understand wisdom and to have an understanding heart.
12 I wisdom dwell with prudence, and find out knowledge of witty inventions. 13 The fear of the LORD is to hate evil: pride, and arrogancy, and the evil way, and the froward mouth, do I hate. 14 Counsel is mine, and sound wisdom: I am understanding; I have strength. 15 By me kings reign, and princes decree justice. 16 By me princes rule, and nobles, even all the judges of the earth. 17 I love them that love me; and those that seek me early shall find me. 18 Riches and honour are with me; yea, durable riches and righteousness. 19 My fruit is better than gold, yea, than fine gold; and my revenue than choice silver. 20 I lead in the way of righteousness, in the midst of the paths of judgment: 21 That I may cause those that love me to inherit substance; and I will fill their treasures.
The prudent man is mentioned several times in Proverbs. He is one that regards correction, is circumspect in his dealings, and careful, not believing everything he hears. He also has knowledge and wisdom. God has been prudent with the Christian Paul says in Ephesians 1:8. In fact, God has abounded toward us in wisdom and prudence.
Here is a definition also of what the phrase, “the fear of the Lord”, means. Read verse 13 again.
Again, the importance of wisdom in a person’s life and in mankind’s life in general is emphasized and repeated. If the Jew wanted a successful life on earth he better get wisdom and understanding.
22 The LORD possessed me in the beginning of his way, before his works of old. 23 I was set up from everlasting, from the beginning, or ever the earth was. 24 When there were no depths, I was brought forth; when there were no fountains abounding with water. 25 Before the mountains were settled, before the hills was I brought forth: 26 While as yet he had not made the earth, nor the fields, nor the highest part of the dust of the world. 27 When he prepared the heavens, I was there: when he set a compass upon the face of the depth: 28 When he established the clouds above: when he strengthened the fountains of the deep: 29 When he gave to the sea his decree, that the waters should not pass his commandment: when he appointed the foundations of the earth: 30 Then I was by him, as one brought up with him: and I was daily his delight, rejoicing always before him; 31 Rejoicing in the habitable part of his earth; and my delights were with the sons of men.
Here it is made clear that wisdom is an attribute of God, one that often is missing in a list of God’s character. God is wise, ultimately wise. Here again, certain analogies can be made to Christ but the Son of God was not “set up” as the attribute wisdom was. He was not “brought forth”. But, taking the other statements made about wisdom, as this is the way the Bible is written we see some truths about God the Son. Remember how the Holy Spirit begins talking about earthly kings and moves into a description of Satan in Isaiah and Ezekiel? See how we can ascertain truths about Christ here while we are reading about wisdom?
This is a great way in the Bible to glean much information on the main subjects of the Bible. Just don’t go too far or you’ll have a cult. Remember, God makes it hard for you to mess up here as he has put wisdom in the feminine.
32 Now therefore hearken unto me, O ye children: for blessed are they that keep my ways. 33 Hear instruction, and be wise, and refuse it not. 34 Blessed is the man that heareth me, watching daily at my gates, waiting at the posts of my doors. 35 For whoso findeth me findeth life, and shall obtain favour of the LORD. 36 But he that sinneth against me wrongeth his own soul: all they that hate me love death.
Here, again, in figurative speech, as if wisdom was a wise woman whose pronouncements we love to hear. Blessed is the man that waits on wisdom. Whoever finds wisdom finds life and gets the Lords favor. But, when you sin against wisdom your wrong your own soul and if you hate wisdom you must have a strong desire to die. A comedian once said that, “you know you’re a redneck if you’ve had a male relative die after saying ‘hey guys, watch this’”. There are a lot of unwise people in the world, doing unwise things. The lack of internal discipline, of Biblical discipline in America means the government needs to be more and more oppressive just to hold back chaos. As I said earlier in my study on Proverbs, an early American leader said that if Americans won’t be ruled by the Bible, they will have to be ruled by the bayonet. A people who hate wisdom can’t be trusted to make the right choices for themselves. That is the failing of a democracy without the God of the Bible as its rudder, steering the ship of state. Again, another saying I have referred to, “if you won’t be ruled by the rudder, you will be ruled by the rocks”. Get wisdom. And remember, Jesus Christ is the beginning of wisdom and is our wisdom.
1Corinthians 1:24 But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God.
1Corinthians 1:30 But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption:
Colossians2:2 That their hearts might be comforted, being knit together in love, and unto all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the acknowledgement of the mystery of God, and of the Father, and of Christ; 3 In whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.

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