Speaker: Rev. Scott Strickman
Sermon Series: An Invitation to Wisdom: Proverbs 1-9
Proverbs 6 (ESV)
1 My son, if you have put up security for your neighbor,
have given your pledge for a stranger,
2 if you are snared in the words of your mouth,
caught in the words of your mouth,
3 then do this, my son, and save yourself,
for you have come into the hand of your neighbor:
go, hasten, and plead urgently with your neighbor.
4 Give your eyes no sleep
and your eyelids no slumber;
5 save yourself like a gazelle from the hand of the hunter,
like a bird from the hand of the fowler.
6 Go to the ant, O sluggard;
consider her ways, and be wise.
7 Without having any chief,
officer, or ruler,
8 she prepares her bread in summer
and gathers her food in harvest.
9 How long will you lie there, O sluggard?
When will you arise from your sleep?
10 A little sleep, a little slumber,
a little folding of the hands to rest,
11 and poverty will come upon you like a robber,
and want like an armed man.
12 A worthless person, a wicked man,
goes about with crooked speech,
13 winks with his eyes, signals with his feet,
points with his finger,
14 with perverted heart devises evil,
continually sowing discord;
15 therefore calamity will come upon him suddenly;
in a moment he will be broken beyond healing.
16 There are six things that the Lord hates,
seven that are an abomination to him:
17 haughty eyes, a lying tongue,
and hands that shed innocent blood,
18 a heart that devises wicked plans,
feet that make haste to run to evil,
19 a false witness who breathes out lies,
and one who sows discord among brothers.
20 My son, keep your father's commandment,
and forsake not your mother's teaching.
21 Bind them on your heart always;
tie them around your neck.
22 When you walk, they will lead you;
when you lie down, they will watch over you;
and when you awake, they will talk with you.
23 For the commandment is a lamp and the teaching a light,
and the reproofs of discipline are the way of life,
24 to preserve you from the evil woman,
from the smooth tongue of the adulteress.
25 Do not desire her beauty in your heart,
and do not let her capture you with her eyelashes;
26 for the price of a prostitute is only a loaf of bread,
but a married woman hunts down a precious life.
27 Can a man carry fire next to his chest
and his clothes not be burned?
28 Or can one walk on hot coals
and his feet not be scorched?
29 So is he who goes in to his neighbor's wife;
none who touches her will go unpunished.
30 People do not despise a thief if he steals
to satisfy his appetite when he is hungry,
31 but if he is caught, he will pay sevenfold;
he will give all the goods of his house.
32 He who commits adultery lacks sense;
he who does it destroys himself.
33 He will get wounds and dishonor,
and his disgrace will not be wiped away.
34 For jealousy makes a man furious,
and he will not spare when he takes revenge.
35 He will accept no compensation;
he will refuse though you multiply gifts.
The teachings of the Bible mold us so we can discern the way of peace from the way of discord.
1. Discerning behaviors in others
v14 “with a perverted heart devises evil, continually sowing discord”
v16 “seven that are an abomination…”; v19 “one who sows discord among brothers”
v25 “do not let her capture you”
v32 “he who commits adultery lacks sense”
2. Discerning behaviors in ourselves
vv2-3 “if you are snared in the words of your mouth… go, hasten, and plead urgently with your neighbor”
v6 “go to the ant, O sluggard”; v9 “how long will you lie there?”
3. Discerning behaviors in Jesus
v22 “they will lead you… watch over you… talk with you”
v23 “the commandment is a lamp… a light… the way of life”
Questions for Reflection
How do you relate to commandments and instruction? What kinds of responses or reactions do you have to being told you need to do something? Being told the way you are doing something is wrong? What factors impact the various ways you may experience commands or correction?
What are sources of strife, discord, conflict? What dynamics in your heart lead to discord?
What are ways of discerning a destructive person? How can you know if a person’s intentions are not good, or despite their intentions if their ways are harmful?
How can you discern when your own actions are coming from intentions to wound? When you are in a conflict, how can you better resolve issues, and minimize escalating them?
What desires in you lead to discord in your own life? What do you want that you know giving in to the desire will only make your life worse? Why do those particular desires have so much influence over you?
What do you find to be the most compelling reasons to follow Jesus? What are your core convictions, and how much of them are tied to life with Jesus?
How can knowing that Jesus watches over us, guides us, and goes before us change the way we relate to his commandments and corrections? What are healthy attitudes towards obedience? How can faithfulness be a source and expression of joy and harmony with God?
Prayer of Confession
Almighty and merciful Father, you instruct us, teach us, make known your ways to us, and correct us. We, however, are stubborn. We unwisely do what we want. We trust our hearts more than we trust you. Our hearts are corrupt, while you are not. We have sown discord without knowing it. We have sown discord with full awareness. We confess we are more vulnerable to deception than we know. Lead us and watch over us. We appeal for continued patience. Forgive us, for the sake of Jesus who laid down his life for us. Amen.