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
This might sound like an infomercial, but guess the answer to this anyway. What brings blessing, more profit than silver, better returns than gold, is more precious than rubies and comes with long life, riches, honor, pleasant ways and peaceful paths?
Wisdom. And understanding. Proverbs 3:13-18 NIV.
I love Proverbs 3. It’s one of my favorites. The chapter starts with “My son, never forget…” In verses 7 and 8 I am told one thing to “never forget” is if I trust him with all my heart, not leaning on my understanding but acknowledging him in all my ways, he will make my paths straight.
To help me “never forget,” I’ll zero in on the verse that captures my attention and read it through a few times. Then I get out my journal and copy it word for word, forcing my busy brain to slow down and savor what I’m learning. It’s like chewing a delicious meal slowly, trying to discern the different seasonings. Sure enough, I often find a thought or word-for-the-day that was just what I needed to hear. Other times it gets stored inside me to give me unseen benefits.
As you read through this chapter, what verses catch your eye–or your heart?
by Kathy Sheldon Davis