As I prepared for today’s post, I realised that I probably should have included Proverbs 2:9 in with the article called – When Wisdom. It fits better with the earlier parts of chapter two, but one of the keys to Proverbs is to review, review and review again! Some parts are repetitive for good reason, helping us to remember what we have learned.
So let’s use verse 9-10 as a refresher from our earlier studies on chapter two.
Then you will understand righteousness and justice,
equity and every good path.
10 For wisdom will enter into your heart.
Knowledge will be pleasant to your soul.Proverbs 2:9-10 (WEB)
The “Then” kicking off verse 9 reminds us that this is part of a continuing thought. The first part of chapter two presents us with a series of “if” statements directing us to choose wisdom or not.
Verses 5-8, and now 9 also, tell us the “then” – i.e. if we choose wisdom, then what?
Verse 9 summarises that we if we choose wisdom, we will understand righteousness and justice. We understood from previous texts that righteousness is not merely doing right, but being in right standing with God. Proverbs 1:3 rings familiar, speaking also of justice and equity, as verse 9 above does.
to receive instruction in wise dealing,
in righteousness, justice, and equity;Proverbs 1:3 (WEB)
In some ways, Solomon is continuing to build his case for wisdom, making these points time and again, hoping they will, as verse 10 says, enter into our hearts. Our hearts can be hard at times, and it may take many thrusts of wisdom’s piercing to break through. When it does though, finally we may take pleasure in the knowledge of these things in our inner man or soul.
11 Discretion will watch over you.
Understanding will keep you,
12 to deliver you from the way of evil,
from the men who speak perverse things,Proverbs 2:11-12 (WEB)
Verses 11-15 can be summed up in two phrases: 1) Discretion and understanding will keep and protect you, from what? From… 2) Men of evil who speak perversity.
The author piles word upon word about the depths of such men’s depravity, speaking of:
- Their evil ways – v12
- Their perverse speech – v12
- Their ways of darkness – v13
- Their rejoicing in evil – v14
- And so on…
We might describe them simply as “bad men!”
Such descriptions might make you feel somewhat uneasy. In my mind, I picture a very dark alley in a not so nice part of town where such men might lurk in wait for me. The imagery is powerful, and is intended to send a shiver down our spine!
You may live in relative safety. A nice home, a friendly neighbourhood, and little if any crime to speak of. Yet we ought not to be fooled by the depths of sinfulness in the human heart. Very few of us would consider ourselves as “evil” but equally few would volunteer their inmost thoughts or secret sins. We have all fallen short, and ultimately anything that is not holy is evil to some extent.
Wisdom guards us though. Good judgement tells me not to walk down a dark alley at night, nor to drink heavily or take drugs before driving. Good sense, derived by wisdom, helps me to make sensible choices that do not risk my own life or that of others.
While wisdom cannot prevent all and every eventuality, it can drastically reduce the likelihood of falling prey to evil (be it others’ or our own).
While #wisdom cannot prevent all and every eventuality, it can drastically reduce the likelihood of falling prey to #evil (be it others’ or our own). #Bible #ChristianityTweet
The Strange Woman
16 to deliver you from the strange woman,
even from the foreigner who flatters with her words,Proverbs 2:16 (WEB)
Having warned us of the dangers of evil men, the chapter turns to warnings about a “strange woman.” This word “strange” is translated as “forbidden,” “immoral,” and “adulterous” in other versions of the Bible, and are perhaps more helpful adjectives.
We find ourselves, for the first time in Proverbs, dealing with a subject which will come up again and again in this book – adultery.
The strange woman here depicted in these verses is an image of temptation. She flatters and seduces, exploiting our fleshly desires. We may think adultery risks our marriage and family, and of course it does, but to start down this path leads to destruction (see verses 18 and 19).
To dabble in adultery, and even to indulge any form of sin, risks our very lives. That is how serious we should treat it. Proverbs 6:27 asks if a man can embrace fire and not have his clothes burned? The obvious answer is no!
I cannot emphasise enough the dangers of sin. We may think it’s just a little lie, or I’m only stealing a pen, or we’re just going out for coffee… and before you know it, you are trapped in sin’s clutches.
Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.James 1:15 (ESV)
It all starts with desire. As that desire grows, it leads to sin. And sin, once fully developed brings forth death! We think we can “play” with desires, but one thing leads to another and before long, we are drowning in iniquity.
Don’t let that be you dear reader! Don’t dabble with desire, don’t go near the strange woman nor the evil men. Let wisdom guard your ways, and employ common sense! In the heat of the moment you may want to give in to temptation, but wisdom asks if you will want to live with the consequences later.
Let wisdom enter your heart today, and steer well clear of any wrongdoing!