RAF: What becomes increasingly plain in this book is that insight and wisdom have to do with understanding how things are, and how they work – from God’s point of view. It is insight into the divine economy. It is like having sight in a world of blind men. It isn’t that we see things that aren’t there, but see them as they really are. Values are assigned by eternal standards, not temporal. Eternal justice must always be held in tension. God’s sovereignty as well as man’s responsibility have to be kept together. Man’s relationship to God must define his relationship to all others, and to the the universe itself. Heavenly Father, how we need this wisdom. how we plead to you for this insight.
2 – “Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life. Put away from you crooked speech, and put devious talk far from you.” (Proverbs 4:23-24, ESV)
RAF: Man’s wisdom says: Find out what you love, and pursue it. God’s wisdom says: Find out if what you love is worthy of pursuit. If not – get a new love.
Guard and govern what you let yourself love. Moths are attracted to the flame, and often so are we. We can be intrigued with brazen sin, and with diversions in study & religion. With our mates, careers, hobbies, etc. Enjoy them, but do not love them the same.
3 – “Let your eyes look directly forward, and your gaze be straight before you. Ponder the path of your feet; then all your ways will be sure. Do not swerve to the right or to the left; turn your foot away from evil.” (Proverbs 4:25-27, ESV)
RAF: Always ask the question: Where will my present course take me? What is the end of what I am contemplating? In either word or deed?
4 – “For the lips of a forbidden woman drip honey, and her speech is smoother than oil, but in the end she is bitter as wormwood, sharp as a two-edged sword.” (Proverbs 5:3-4, ESV)
RAF: The unmasking of sin is one of our greatest weapons in overcoming it. Seeing it for what it really is. Where it really goes. Stripping away the illusion. It is a constant battle, and a tactic which cannot be overestimated. We desperately need to see things as they are from God’s perspective. Real reality.
5 – “Her feet go down to death; her steps follow the path to Sheol; she does not ponder the path of life; her ways wander, and she does not know it.” (Proverbs 5:5-6, ESV)
RAF: This is why the appeals of sin and temptation have such an apparent sincerity to their claims – they are deceived. The arguments they use are plausible and seemingly filled with good will. But the deception of blindness is there. And we must bring the Light to it to understand. We must bring Christ into the situation. We must ask: How does what we are contemplating accord with Who He is and what He is about in the world? This is the question which must ever be in our hearts and minds.
6 – Chapter 6 – entire.
RAF: This Chapter will deal with how we are tempted by PROFIT, PLEASURE & POWER.
Its divisions are: PROFIT: 1-5 Entering into foolish agreements or arrangements for profit. Get rich quick schemes. Get out of them. PLEASURE: 6-11 It produces laziness, entitlement, ill-preparedness & ruin. We must throw off the fear of acting and not waiting for others in doing what is right. POWER: 12-19 Manipulation, and six other things God hates. Notice the example of indirect communication. It is a great evil. Truth is to be open, clear and unambiguous to all. Hints, signals and other devices breed misunderstanding, division & discord. See: 1 John 2:15, 16.
7 – “ Does not wisdom call? Does not understanding raise her voice?” (Proverbs 8:1, ESV)
RAF: Wisdom – God’s voice is calling to us every bit as much as Temptation is – but we are not listening. O Father, give me ears to hear!
8 – “I love those who love me, and those who seek me diligently find me.” (Proverbs 8:17, ESV)
RAF: Wisdom is not elusive, but it must be consciously sought. It is not obtained by osmosis, nor is it limited to those gifted in it.
9 – “I walk in the way of righteousness, in the paths of justice,” (Proverbs 8:20, ESV)
RAF: Sin does not give wisdom, insight or knowledge. The Tree of the knowledge of good and evil – to be exposed to its fruit and take it in – destroys us. We are not like God who can be exposed to sin without it corrupting us. To know it as He does defiles and ruins us. It is a lie that we will gain anything by it. We will only lose.
10 – “ The woman Folly is loud; she is seductive and knows nothing. She sits at the door of her house; she takes a seat on the highest places of the town, calling to those who pass by, who are going straight on their way, “Whoever is simple, let him turn in here!” And to him who lacks sense she says, “Stolen water is sweet, and bread eaten in secret is pleasant.” But he does not know that the dead are there, that her guests are in the depths of Sheol.” (Proverbs 9:13-18, ESV)
RAF: Sin and temptation are not silent. They make their appeal. They are seductive – appealing to our tastes and desires. They are available. Everywhere you look, and even in what seem to be the highest places in society. And they call out incessantly to all: “You need nothing special to obtain me, come on in!” Her reasoning appeals to the excitement of it – stolen water is somehow more than just water, its special. And things done secretly are somehow more pleasant than things done in the open. But what we do not discern is that to go in after them, takes us to the grave. The wages of sin is death.
11 – “A slack hand causes poverty, but the hand of the diligent makes rich.” (Proverbs 10:4, ESV)
RAF: This is as true in the spiritual as it is in the natural. One simply cannot make true spiritual progress apart from the discipline of working at it. The Bible must be read. Prayer must be engaged in. Fellowship must be sought out and cultivated. Worship must be participated in. We would never dream of telling our doctor that he was legalistic for telling us we must eat, we must drink, we must exercise and we must breathe. These are the things which make for the sustaining of life. So it is with our souls. They will grow weak and impoverished if we do not tend to them.
12 – “The mouth of the righteous is a fountain of life, but the mouth of the wicked conceals violence.” (Proverbs 10:11, ESV)
RAF: What a question to ask ourselves – How do our words impact others? Do we minister life to them? Or violence? Father, precious Father, let my words feed and refresh and nourish the hearts and lives of others, and let me not (as I have so often in the past) send out the stings of death and destruction through an acid and poisonous tongue. Deliver me from ungracious words, unseasoned with salt. With my spouse. With my children. With my siblings. With my parents. With my co-workers. With my brothers and sisters in Christ. With the lost. With those who sin against me. With you.
13 – “Whoever heeds instruction is on the path to life, but he who rejects reproof leads others astray.” (Proverbs 10:17, ESV)
RAF: One who cannot receive reproof or instruction, is one who is not fit to lead – for they will lead others only after themselves, and not after Christ. Father, forgive me for the hardness of heart and the pride that has so often made it difficult for others to reprove me, and for me to receive it.
14 – “When words are many, transgression is not lacking, but whoever restrains his lips is prudent.” (Proverbs 10:19, ESV)
RAF: The point here is not to play down sound discourse, but to increase LISTENING, and giving answers with discretion. We so much more want to be heard, than to hear.
15 – “When the tempest passes, the wicked is no more, but the righteous is established forever.” (Proverbs 10:25, ESV)
RAF: Trials and storms weed out impostors.
16 – “A false balance is an abomination to the Lord, but a just weight is his delight.” (Proverbs 11:1, ESV)
RAF: Over rating and under rating are both acts of deception. We can easily over emphasize and add spin when we want things to be seen a certain way. Fear of people and desire for being viewed a certain way can result in exaggerations and minimizations to suit the hour. It is an abomination to the Lord. May we learn to be bold with the truth. Father, make me a man of simple truth. Take away my tendency to embellish – for any reason.
17 – “Riches do not profit in the day of wrath, but righteousness delivers from death.” (Proverbs 11:4, ESV)
RAF: Whatever it is you think you are gaining from your sin this moment – it is worthless. And it will be seen so in all of its folly on the day of judgment.
18 – “The righteousness of the upright delivers them, but the treacherous are taken captive by their lust.” (Proverbs 11:6, ESV)
RAF: Seek righteousness wherever and whenever you can. You will see how it delivers you from even unrelated sins. It will keep you free.
19 – “Whoever goes about slandering reveals secrets, but he who is trustworthy in spirit keeps a thing covered.” (Proverbs 11:13, ESV)
RAF: Don’t repeat what cannot edify others in Christ.
20 – “An excellent wife is the crown of her husband, but she who brings shame is like rottenness in his bones.” (Proverbs 12:4, ESV)
RAF: Are we the crown of Christ? Or do we more often bring rottenness to His bones? Oh Father, rule us by your Spirit, that Christ might be “crowned” by us.
21 – “Truthful lips endure forever, but a lying tongue is but for a moment.” (Proverbs 12:19, ESV)
RAF: This is a right heart – one whose plan it is to bring peace – especially where it is threatened.
22 – “The ransom of a man’s life is his wealth, but a poor man hears no threat.” (Proverbs 13:8, ESV)
RAF: Temptation has no power over one who has nothing to lose. It is in the lie that if we do not yield, we will lose something precious, that we become slaves to sin.
23 – “The teaching of the wise is a fountain of life, that one may turn away from the snares of death.” (Proverbs 13:14, ESV)
RAF: If we as Bible teachers do not have as our aim, that our teaching helps those who hear us walk with God and delivers them from the snares of death – our teaching and preaching is in vain. What is only theoretical and not practical will fail them. What only increases their level of information, and does not enable them to walk more faithfully with God – is folly.
24 – “The righteous has enough to satisfy his appetite, but the belly of the wicked suffers want.” (Proverbs 13:25, ESV)
RAF: Lack of contentment with God’s provision is a sign that wicked desires are ruling one’s heart. How we need to learn to mortify these lusts by the Spirit. Holy Spirit – satisfy us with revelations of the glories of Christ.