The Purpose Of Proverbs. 04/25/2014 (Morning thought)

Proverbs 1:1 The proverbs of Solomon the son of David, king of Israel; 2 To know wisdom and instruction; to perceive the words of understanding; 3 To receive the instruction of wisdom, justice, and judgment, and equity; 4 To give subtilty to the simple, to the young man knowledge and discretion. 5 A wise man will hear, and will increase learning; and a man of understanding shall attain unto wise counsels:

The book of Proverbs was written so that people everywhere could receive practical instruction in the ways of righteousness and godly living. It dwells on the issues of practical godliness, and like all the other books of the Bible, is timeless in its counsels and admonitions to both young and old alike.

One of the very first issues that Solomon addresses is the attitude we should harbor towards God-given instructions and knowledge, for this is what sets the tone for our entire Christian experience, and plays a major role in determining our eternal destiny. Our disposition to readily accept the teachings of God's word, or the tendency to be offended at anything we do not agree with in the Bible, determines to a large degree whether we will live victoriously or whether we will be vanquished in the battles of life. Let's read:

Proverbs 1:7 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction. 8 My son, hear the instruction of thy father, and forsake not the law of thy mother: 9 For they shall be an ornament of grace unto thy head, and chains about thy neck.

The wise man then goes on to show how the knowledge gained through a study of God's word is applied in a practical way on a day to day basis. Let's read:

Proverbs 1:10 My son, if sinners entice thee, consent thou not.

That word "Entice" refers to the various human agencies the devil employs to encourage us to sin, prominent amongst which are friends and close associations. To entice literally means to dangle in front of one's eyes, or in the hearing of one's ears, suggestions that are directly contrary to the teachings of scripture, and these proposals should be promptly repudiated as being Anti-Christ in nature, and detrimental to our spiritual well-being.

A prominent example of "Enticing" took place when Balaam, who was supposed to be a friend of the Jews, invited them to attend a worship service dedicated to the Moabitish gods. These services were not done with an organist and a choir, but were rather the scenes of festivity, nudity, and gross sexual immorality, to which the Israelites speedily fell victims. As a matter of fact, both male and female prostitutes were an integral part of the Moabite's system of worship, and because the carnal heart craves these indulgences, the "Enticement" of Balaam produced the natural results when the Jews chose his counsel over God's. Let's read:

 Numbers 25:1 And Israel abode in Shittim, and the people began to commit whoredom with the daughters of Moab. 2 And they called the people unto the sacrifices of their gods: and the people did eat, and bowed down to their gods. 6 And, behold, one of the children of Israel came and brought unto his brethren a Midianitish woman in the sight of Moses, and in the sight of all the congregation of the children of Israel, who were weeping before the door of the tabernacle of the congregation.

If the children of Israel had followed the counsel of God, this sad experience would never have occurred, for the Lord had previously given them instruction and warning pertaining to these and similar temptations. Let's read:

Exodus 23:13 And in all things that I have said unto you be circumspect: and make no mention of the name of other gods, neither let it be heard out of thy mouth. 24 Thou shalt not bow down to their gods, nor serve them, nor do after their works: but thou shalt utterly overthrow them, and quite break down their images. 32 Thou shalt make no covenant with them, nor with their gods. 33 They shall not dwell in thy land, lest they make thee sin against me: for if thou serve their gods, it will surely be a snare unto thee.

These counsels contain very pertinent instructions for us living in the twenty-first century. Many men and boys have become hooked on pornography all because they were "Enticed" by a friend, schoolmate or co-worker to go see an X-rated movie, or to look at some pornographic literature or video. Indeed many have become hooked on this soul-destroying vice, and they started by viewing those models in the pages of Sports illustrated magazines. The Bible tells us that we should avoid the very appearance of evil for by beholding we become changed, a fact that applies to both good and evil. Let's read:

1st Thessalonians 5:22 Abstain from all appearance of evil.

Note well that it does not say that the issue or the enticement has to be evil in order for us to abstain; it just has to look evil for the injunction to apply. In contrast is the exhortation to behold Christ and the high moral values that are promulgated in the word of God. Let's read:

Philippians 4:8 Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.

We therefore end with a passage of scripture that encourages us to behold Christ continually, both in precept and example, for in so doing we will be changed into His glorious image from day to day. Let's read:

2nd Corinthians 3:18 But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.

May we allow the Holy Spirit to habituate our minds to dwell on lofty and sacred themes so that the sensual enticements of this world will fade into oblivion where they belong. God bless!