“Go to the ant, you sluggard…” It almost sounds like pirate talk, doesn’t it! Of the 35 verses in Proverbs 6, this little passage is the one that stands out to me on January 6, 2013.
“Go to the ant, you sluggard. Consider its ways and be wise. It has no commander, no overseer or ruler, yet it stores its provisions in summer and gathers its food at harvest.” Proverbs 6:6-7 NIV.
My first thought is that we don’t need someone to rule over us in order to do well, like a perfect boss or government official. A little bug is wise enough to prepare for what’s ahead (winter) by storing food when it’s available (summer). No one is cracking the whip over him, yet he works hard with his comrades every day of his life. No leader, no commander; he just does what he’s designed to do. This proverb is telling me to learn from him.
Here’s what I’m seeing; though my resources may be few, I have enough to be diligently laying some aside for the future – if I’m wise, work hard and do it.
“Consider its ways and be wise.”
by Kathy Sheldon Davis
Proverbs 5 shares a concept that I took to heart as a young teen. I saw the devastation of broken relationships all around me and I just didn’t want to go there. The teacher in this chapter of Proverbs helps his student draw careful boundaries to help him steer clear of sexual temptations.
Boundaries are a good thing.
Pertaining to adultery he warns “Now then, my sons, listen to me; do not turn aside from what I say. Keep to a path far from her, do not go near the door of her house.” Proverbs 3:7 NIV. (emphases mine) Further on he lists the results of wandering off the path – not a good place. I’m getting the picture of road kill right now, and I don’t want to be that.
Don’t miss the verses with promise and blessing if you stay within the boundaries. “…may you rejoice in the wife of your youth.” and “…may you ever be captivated by her love.” I had to leave out the part about breasts, just because of my own sensibilities. But you get the picture.
I often refer back to the “In the beginning” scriptures for understanding mankind’s losses in God’s perfect creation. In Genesis 3 we see that Adam and Eve crossed the line and were tempted by the desire for wisdom outside of God’s boundaries.
“When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it.” Genesis 3:6 NIV. (emphasis mine) They crossed the boundary and ended up deceived. This wasn’t the kind of wisdom they wanted at all.
The last verse I’ve pondered tonight in Proverbs 5 is “For a man’s ways are in full view of the Lord, and he examines all his paths.” Proverbs 5:21 NIV.
I have to end with a prayer:
Lord, thank you for boundaries. Thank you for forgiveness. Thank you for speaking to us through your Word. I bow my unruly will to yours, and I ask you to help me stay in my boundaries. Thank you!
I’ve read one chapter a day through the book of Proverbs numerous times in the last few years, and it never fails that this is the verse that grabs my attention when I get to chapter four.
“Wisdom is supreme; therefore get wisdom. Though it cost all you have, get understanding.” Proverbs 4:7.
My first reaction is to argue with it. Surely there are at least a few things that are more important than selling out to the pursuit of wisdom. What about loving the Lord my God with all my heart, mind, soul and strength? Didn’t Jesus stress loving my neighbor as myself? Isn’t a good work ethic and taking care of my family most important?
Actually, yes to all of these being true, because it is wise to love God with all I am and all I’ve got. He made all I am and all I’ve got. And if I love him, I’ll look for ways to do all those other things. If I love him I’ll be all wrapped up in showing it by loving my neighbor and my family as myself and taking care of my business.
The last seven verses are feeding me tonight with practical instructions: Listen closely, guard my heart, keep my speech pure, fix my eyes straight ahead, keep my feet on the path of what’s good.
I can just feel myself getting wiser.
by Kathy Sheldon Davis