A Godly Work Ethic - A Study of the Book of Proverbs (Chapter 6)
As we continue down the path of wisdom, we delve deeper into the things in life that everyone is faced with, and many of us have gotten tripped up on. It is not my intention to condemn any reader with my interpretation of these scriptures, as a matter of fact, Chapter 6 is a bitter pill I must swallow myself.
Do not let yourself be condemned by anything you read or hear from man, but let your heart be tender, and if the Holy Spirit convicts you, then I suggest you take heed and listen.
Run like a deer from the hunter
Dear friend, if you’ve gone into hock with your neighbor or locked yourself into a deal with a stranger, If you’ve impulsively promised the shirt off your back and now find yourself shivering out in the cold, friend, don’t waste a minute, get yourself out of that mess. (TMB)
Chapter 6 is telling us to avoid Surety, as it is called in the New King James Bible. Surety is nothing more than debt. I don’t know too many people who don’t have a mortgage, or are not making a car payment, and in today’s economy, that can hardly be avoided. But, it’s those credit cards that are so easy to get, and suddenly the bills that are choking us to financial death that I believe this scripture is talking about. It is this kind of surety, or debt, that we should run like a deer from.
The NKJV Bible tells us to humble ourselves and not to sleep until we get this issue taken care of. Getting out of this kind of debt should be at the forefront of our thinking because God knows that drowning in debt is a result of a lack of wisdom on our part. Many times we act before we think; we impulsively spend out of our desire to have things or do things instead of putting our faith in God to supply our needs and the “desires of our heart”. We replace God with a credit card.
A Lesson from the Ant
Verses 6 – 11 encourage us to study and learn from the ant.
Watch it closely; let it teach you a thing or two. Nobody tells it what to do. All summer it stores up food; at harvest it stockpiles provisions. (Vs 6-8 TMB)
The ant is a busy little creature, always storing food and provisions away. Stockpiling goods during the summer when there is plenty.
Growing up in the Midwestern states of America, it was an unspoken expectation that throughout the summer when fruits and vegetables ripened and were ready to pick, that the women of the families would come together to prepare these foods for the winter months. Some things were prepared, packed in plastic containers and bags, and frozen; some were prepared, packed and processed in glass jars.
There were long hot days in grandma’s, or mothers, kitchens working to prepare and process these foods to store away for the long, cold winter months. Until I moved away from home, I rarely ate any fruits or vegetables that had not been home canned or frozen. My mother made all our pickles and jellies; she canned or froze everything we ate, practically. As did everyone in our family, we kept a garden and grew almost all our vegetables. We were organic long before organic was all the rage.
After I had left home, I became more sophisticated and purchased everything at the grocery store but was never truly satisfied with the quality and taste of store bought foods. Recently, I returned to my roots and started canning and freezing again. I now have a pantry full of canned veggies and a freezer full of frozen items. There is a sense of self sufficiency in knowing that I have food enough to last my family through the long winter months.
The ant teaches us that we should be active about storing up provisions. There are those who may not have access to, or the abilities to store up home canned and frozen foods for the winter. Thank goodness for the grocery store. But we should all be storing up financial provisions for those times of financial crisis and our retirement years.
How long will you slumber, oh sluggard? When will you rise from your sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep – so shall your poverty come on your like a robber, and your need like an armed man. (Vs 9-11 NKJV)
So how long are you going to laze around doing nothing? How long before you get out of bed? A nap here, a nap there, a day off here, a day off there, sit back, take it easy – do you know what comes next? Just this: you can look forward to a dirt-poor life, poverty your permanent houseguest! (TMB)
If I learned anything from my grandfather, it was a strong work ethic. He was up before the sun and worked until it began to decline in the sky. My husband says his grandfather used to work from “can to can’t”, from when you can see the light, till you can’t. We could benefit from that same work ethic today, but sadly we have many who are, as Proverbs describes, sluggards. It is clear that the outcome of this lifestyle is a life of poverty.
Cooking Up Something Worthless
It is not uncommon to hear in the news that there is a new scam going around, and have you ever noticed, it’s usually when things are tough for everyone? Right after a destructive storm or when the economy is particularly bad.
Proverbs 12 – 15 warns us about these characters:
A worthless person, a wicked man, walks with a perverse mouth; He winks with his eyes, He shuffles his feet, He points with his fingers; Perversity is in his heart, He devises evil continually, He sows discord. Therefore his calamity shall come suddenly: Suddenly he shall be broken without remedy. (NKJV)
Riffraff and rascals who speak out of both sides of their mouths; they wink at each other, they drag their feet, they cross their fingers behind their backs. Their perverse minds are always cooking up something nasty, always stirring up trouble. Catastrophe is just around the corner for them, a total smash—up, their lives ruined beyond repair. (TMB)
Beware of the scammers, and don’t envy them. Their lives are a total mess, and they will get what they rightfully deserve.
Seven Things That God Hates
Proverbs 16 – 19 gives us a particularly strong message of 6-things God hates, and a seventh that He loathes with a passion. Hates and loathes are some pretty strong words, so I think we should pay close attention to these things and be committed to avoiding them.
1. A proud look
2. A lying tongue
3. Hands that shed innocent blood
4. A heart that devises wicked plans
5. Feet that are swift in running to evil
6. A false witness who speaks lies
1. Eyes that are arrogant
2. A tongue that lies
3. Hands that murder the innocent
4. A heart that hatches evil plots
5. Feet that race down a wicked track
6. A mouth that lies under oath
God didn’t make it difficult. This list is easy to understand and easy to see why God hates these things. But the last one He loathes with a passion.
7. And one who sows discord among brethren (NKJV)
7. A trouble maker in the family (TMB)
Whether we find them in our biological families or in our church families, there seems to be someone who is always stirring up some kind of conflict within the group. They may not do it intentionally; they are simply weak minded and undisciplined. These are the ones we want to invite with us on the road to wisdom. But there are those who know just what they are doing, and seem to exist to keep the flames of discord burning. These folks need to be confronted and disciplined. Unity within a family or church is something we should all strive for, it is our strongest defense against attacks from outside forces.
Once again verses 20 – 22 remind us of what we learned in Proverbs Chapters 2 and 3.
Good friend, follow your father’s good advice; don’t wander off from your mother’s teachings. Wrap yourself in them from head to foot; wear them like a scarf around your neck. Wherever you walk, they’ll guide you; whenever you rest, they’ll guard you; when you wake up, they’ll tell you what’s next. (TMB)
For the commandment is a lamp, and the law is light; reproofs of instruction are the way of life. (NKJV)
For sound advice is a beacon, good teaching is a light, moral discipline is a life path. (TMB)
The Word of God is the lantern on the road of life. The law of God is the light that shines from that lantern to light our way. We should expect God’s discipline in our lives to remain on the moral way of life.
Staying on the Moral Path
Proverbs 24 – 35 is another reminder to avoid sexual immorality and to keep the marriage bed protected. It is by listening to the teachings of this Word, and keeping the Word as our lamp and light, that we can avoid, and overcome, the temptations to stray from our mates.
Adultery is described in these verses as an evil, wanton woman who flatters with her words and entices with her beauty. What she has to offer is a cheap, momentary thrill with an extremely high price tag.
The question is asked; “Can you build a fire in your lap and not burn your pants?” And the answer is clearly, NO. When adultery is committed, for any reason, the price is higher than anyone can afford. Even when a starving man steals a loaf of bread, he is required to pay for it when he is caught; even if it means making his family do without.
Adultery is a selfish act based on the impulses of the flesh. A foolish lapse of judgement and an immediate withdrawal from wisdom; it is soul-destroying and self destructive. It causes permanent damage to the person’s reputation. In counseling with people who have committed adultery, the depth of guilt they carry is deeper than any other offense faced in life. They have compromised their own beliefs, destroyed the love and trust they had with their spouse, family, and even friends.
Verses 34 and 35 tell us:
Jealousy detonates rage in a cheated husband; wild for revenge, he won’t make allowances. Nothing you say or pay will make it all right; neither bribes nor reason will satisfy him. (TMB)
This is not only true of the jilted husband, but the woman who learns her husband has been cheating on her, as well. It is where we get the old saying, “Hell hath no fury as a woman scorned.”
Once the bond of marriage and trust has been broken, it is rare that it can be reestablished; rare, but not impossible. It may require counseling and years of work, but healing can take place. Unfortunately, the majority of couples that experience this kind of breakdown don’t make it. And the ugliness of a bitter divorce that follows leaves pain and scars that last a lifetime.
Make it or not, the most difficult task the adulterer will have to do to recover from this kind of sin, is the act of forgiving themselves. They may have received forgiveness from family and friends, and have the assurance that they are forgiven by God, but forgiving one’s self is the most difficult thing to receive.
And really, is there anyone worth paying that kind of price for?
© 2012 miss_jkim