Read: Proverbs 7-9 and Psalm 87
Two chapters on adultery are not enough! Today we read about how easy it is to be seduced by adultery followed by a chapter that begs us to choose wisdom.
As I let the words wash over me, I’m drawn to the theme of selfish desire, of me, me, me. What gives me pleasure right now? Our classic comeback for our girls was, “I want doesn’t live here,” but does it? How often does “I want” creep into our lives? The lure of adultery is all about I want, some temporary fix where one is convinced it’s ok to be completely self-indulgent. It may be nurtured in loneliness, anger, bitterness, etc., but it is not God’s plan for our lives. My prayer is we learn to re-think church as the community of believers where we can lean on each other, to transparently express feelings not as a dumping ground, but as a means of asking for help to focus on God above all else when these feelings of loneliness invade our minds. I’m convinced that the more we are able to live in a community of believers, the more we will grow in our faith and stay far from the path of temptation.
Chapter 7 provides a narrative story of how adultery creeps in and destroys. This reads like a script from many movies and TV shows, except the adulterers are not honored here, they are not the heroes. When did the movies change in this country? It seems like they once attempted to portray family values that honored marriage, but I guess that became too commonplace, so they had to be edgy to get the attention of movie-goers; followed by television shows and now a plethora of cable/streaming channels.
The intro to the warning about adultery this time begins with a call for wisdom:
Say to wisdom, “You are my sister,”
and to insight, “You are my relative.”
They will keep you from the adulterous woman,
from the wayward woman with her seductive words.
It is clear that when we seek God first, when we lock arms with Jesus and ask for wisdom, we will not stray into the streets of temptation. Lord help us to keep your perspective as we look out our windows at the streets below. Hold us tight and remind us of your desire for marriages you arranged.
Chapters 8 & 9 eloquently lay out the case for choosing wisdom. I need to be reminded of this often, especially the thought that wisdom does not originate from with me!
Choose my instruction instead of silver,
knowledge rather than choice gold,
for wisdom is more precious than rubies,
and nothing you desire can compare with her.
There are several nice little videos floating around the internet these days, well at least on Facebook. They show people rising above all odds, overcoming obstacles and failure because they believed in themselves. Up until that last point, I’m moved by the imagery, but this is a false god, a lie meant to teach us to look inside for truth, wisdom and courage. I grew up listening to Simon & Garfunkel and playing I Am A Rock with enthusiasm. The ironic lyric was meant to discourage such individualism, but it came at a time when dust to stardom was the dream of our culture.
“Now then, my children, listen to me;
blessed are those who keep my ways.
Listen to my instruction and be wise;
do not disregard it.
Blessed are those who listen to me,
watching daily at my doors,
waiting at my doorway.
For those who find me find life
and receive favor from the Lord.
But those who fail to find me harm themselves;
all who hate me love death.”
Find wisdom indeed! Wisdom is interwoven in the pages of the Bible, sometimes as direct as Chapter 8, other times by showing us examples of foolishness. In the 21st century we have the privilege of reading the words that many did not. May we spur each other on to gain wisdom from God. We should not do this life alone. It’s messy and difficult, but I would rather stumble while surrounded by a group of true Christ followers than out on my own. The “do it myself” culture needs to give way to do it in community. A tall order and lofty dream for sure, but when we put Jesus in the center, the focus of all, this is not so difficult to imagine.
Thoughts about serving others
This link includes a list of posts about Serving the Least, the Lost, and the Lonely.
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Let the Word evoke words. May your life encourage lives.