Pathways Through Proverbs
January 6, 2008
Today's Reading - Proverbs 6
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Following Scripture Verses
- My son, if thou be surety for thy friend, if thou hast stricken thy hand with a stranger,
- Thou art snared with the words of thy mouth, thou art taken with the words of thy mouth.
- Do this now, my son, and deliver thyself, when thou art come into the hand of thy friend; go, humble thyself, and make sure thy friend.
- Give not sleep to thine eyes, nor slumber to thine eyelids.
- Deliver thyself as a roe from the hand of the hunter, and as a bird from the hand of the fowler.
- Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise:
- Which having no guide, overseer, or ruler,
- Provideth her meat in the summer, and gathereth her food in the harvest.
- How long wilt thou sleep, O sluggard? when wilt thou arise out of thy sleep?
- Yet a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep:
- So shall thy poverty come as one that travelleth, and thy want as an armed man.
- A naughty person, a wicked man, walketh with a froward mouth.
- He winketh with his eyes, he speaketh with his feet, he teacheth with his fingers;
- Frowardness is in his heart, he deviseth mischief continually; he soweth discord.
- Therefore shall his calamity come suddenly; suddenly shall he be broken without remedy.
- These six things doth the LORD hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him:
- A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood,
- An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief,
- A false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren.
- My son, keep thy father's commandment, and forsake not the law of thy mother:
- Bind them continually upon thine heart, and tie them about thy neck.
- When thou goest, it shall lead thee; when thou sleepest, it shall keep thee; and when thou awakest, it shall talk with thee.
- For the commandment is a lamp; and the law is light; and reproofs of instruction are the way of life:
- To keep thee from the evil woman, from the flattery of the tongue of a strange woman.
- Lust not after her beauty in thine heart; neither let her take thee with her eyelids.
- For by means of a whorish woman a man is brought to a piece of bread: and the adulteress will hunt for the precious life.
- Can a man take fire in his bosom, and his clothes not be burned?
- Can one go upon hot coals, and his feet not be burned?
- So he that goeth in to his neighbour's wife; whosoever toucheth her shall not be innocent.
- Men do not despise a thief, if he steal to satisfy his soul when he is hungry;
- But if he be found, he shall restore sevenfold; he shall give all the substance of his house.
- But whoso committeth adultery with a woman lacketh understanding: he that doeth it destroyeth his own soul.
- A wound and dishonour shall he get; and his reproach shall not be wiped away.
- For jealousy is the rage of a man: therefore he will not spare in the day of vengeance.
- He will not regard any ransom; neither will he rest content, though thou givest many gifts.
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There are several instances in the book of Proverbs where Solomon points to nature in order to impart wisdom to his readers. Here he advises them to look at the qualities of the lowly ant. He states that if we would think about what it is that the ant does, we would gain wisdom as to what we should be doing. The specific aspect of the ant that he wishes to discuss is its diligence. In verse 4 he tells his son to take care of the things that need to be done quickly, without procrastination. In verses 9-11 he warns against those who are slothful. Sandwiched between these two is the illustration of the ant, which is clearly given to counteract the danger of laziness.
Solomon gives two illustrations of the ant's diligence. In verse 8 we see that the ant provides meat in the summer and gathers food in the harvest. There are only so many months out of the year when an ant can get food, so the ant must be diligent about gathering so that it will have enough in store for the long winter. God has created the ant in such a way that it "knows" that there are things that it must do to survive, and it hurries to get them done. Then in verse 7 Solomon points out that the ant does what is needed without requiring someone to stand over it and tell it what to do. It takes the initiative on its own.
The lesson here is that when a wise man knows that something must be done he needs to get busy and do it. He shouldn't need someone else to drive or motivate him. He should have the character to see the need and solve the problem quickly and correctly without outside coercion.
So who is wiser: the lowly ant, or you?
Pastor Mark J Montgomery