31 Day Challenge | Proverbs 6: A Life With God

I was in Denver for work this week, so this blog post is going up later than my usual Monday post. Despite its lateness, my goal is to share my thoughts about chapters in Proverbs that correspond to the Mondays of February 2023. I hope you find this one on Proverbs 6 insightful, encouraging, and challenging. If there are points you agree or disagree with, please share, I’d love to hear from you!

If you haven’t started the 31 Day Challenge to read through Proverbs, it’s not too late! You can start today by opening to the chapter that corresponds to today’s date.

What can we learn from Proverbs 6?

Bible version used: NKJV

A common theme throughout this chapter is how we can avoid the natural consequences of foolish behavior and choices. There are various areas of life mentioned, such as financial matters, work ethics, sexual immorality, and abominations to the Lord. But as an overarching point, Solomon teaches and counsels his son (or student; and us) principles that will help keep him (us) from danger. Within each of these areas, I believe lies a deeper truth that brings us back to Jesus and His word.

We all have and will face hardship and trials, and dangerous, difficult situations. Jesus talks about the various troubles we’ll face in John 16, but He doesn’t leave us there by saying “peace out.” No, He says, I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world, you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world. He invites us into a peace that makes little sense when the world seems to turn against us or flip upside down.

Proverbs contains many objective truths, if/then statements, and even steps listed out for us. Along with these, we can find truths that connect to Jesus and strengthen our relationship with Him. Let’s dive into the wisdom of Proverbs 6.

Wealth Beyond Finances

1My son, if you become surety for your friend,
If you have shaken hands in pledge for a stranger,
You are snared by the words of your mouth;
You are taken by the words of your mouth.
So do this, my son, and deliver yourself;
For you have come into the hand of your friend:
Go and humble yourself;
Plead with your friend.
Give no sleep to your eyes,
Nor slumber to your eyelids.
Deliver yourself like a gazelle from the hand of the hunter,
And like a bird from the hand of the fowler.

I’ve read Proverbs many times, yet every time I come back to it, I find fresh perspectives and new angles to its wisdom. The first thing that popped into my head when I read verses 1-5 was Matthew 5:23-24, where Jesus says, Therefore if you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you. Leave your gift there before the altar and go your way. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.

As I pondered this verse in Matthew and how it relates to this first portion of Proverbs 6, it helped me understand the wisdom of being careful in every aspect of life. Many commentaries will fixate the main point to be about finances, which I agree with as an obvious truth. But there is value in considering the meaning of wealth in every area of life, wealth beyond finances.

Not only does Solomon advise us to be careful about our financial earnings, forms of debt, and even lending, but he reveals an aspect of care for the relationships we have. He cuts into our character and challenges us to remain humble, diligent, and alert. He instructs us to not make empty promises and saying words we might regret later, but to let our yes’s be yes and our no’s be no (Matt 5:37); i.e. say what you mean and mean what you say.

This challenges us to have a pure heart before God and others, and to ponder the paths of our feet (Proverbs 4:26). When we come before God, we want to and should want to be reconciled and at peace with others to the best of our ability. These verses help guide us on how to do that. Though the financial aspect holds true, there is wealth beyond finances to cultivate within our hearts and characters to, ultimately, live according to God’s word and heed His wisdom.

Faithful With A Little

Go to the ant, you sluggard!
Consider her ways and be wise,
Which, having no captain,
Overseer or ruler,
Provides her supplies in the summer,
And gathers her food in the harvest.
How long will you slumber, O sluggard?
When will you rise from your sleep?
10 A little sleep, a little slumber,
A little folding of the hands to sleep—
11 So shall your poverty come on you like a prowler,
And your need like an armed man.

Reading the next few verses, I thought about being faithful with a little. As I mentioned earlier, fresh perspectives come every time we read through scripture. Sometimes it’s with a set of verses, other times, a single verse. In this chapter, “sets of verses” stood out consistently.

On the surface, we can catch on to Solomon’s drift for warnings about laziness, slumber, and poverty. In previous studies, I often fixated on these points almost too much, and stirred up fear and resentment towards rest and relaxation. But looking at verses 6-11 this time, something new caught my attention.

Solomon uses an ant as an example because it doesn’t have someone looking over its shoulder. We often go about life as if someone is looking over our shoulders and judging, assessing, and watching our every move. We can appear to be diligent and full of integrity, but when no one’s looking, we might fold our hands to sleep. We pull back from work because no one is watching.

Luke 16:10 says, one who is faithful in a very little is also faithful in much, and one who is dishonest in a very little is also dishonest in much (ESV). Wherever we are, there is always an opportunity to be lazy, but even more so, to be faithful with a little. To do what’s right when no one is watching, especially when we know what needs to get done.

Yet, the temptation for slumber often entices us. To combat this, it’s wise to consider the ant, like we’re advised, and to recognize God’s watchfulness of our hearts and characters (Jeremiah 17:10). God doesn’t grade the way we do things, but He does look at our heart (1 Samuel 16:7). When we’re faithful with a little, especially when no one is watching, we heed wisdom and instruction for our hearts (Prov 4:23) and grow in character.

This isn’t to say we never rest. Getting rest and being lazy are two very different things. Laziness (slothfulness; idleness; slumber) is when you’re unwilling to work or use energy. Getting rest is having the wisdom to reenergize and rejuvenate yourself.

The Wisdom of “Opposites”

12 A worthless person, a wicked man,
Walks with a perverse mouth;
13 He winks with his eyes,
He shuffles his feet,
He points with his fingers;
14 Perversity is in his heart,
He devises evil continually,
He sows discord.
15 Therefore his calamity shall come suddenly;
Suddenly he shall be broken without remedy.

In verses 12-15, Solomon describes a sinful, evil person’s actions. But it’s not just about the physical actions displayed, but what’s inside the heart. A sinful person can wink with his/her eyes in the heart, shuffle feet, and point fingers, but the physical action happens only after it’s been birthed in the heart.

Whenever there are “lists” like this in Proverbs, I ask what the opposite looks like. Even if it’s a list of good characteristics and traits, there is value in knowing what the opposite is. In this case, a worthy person, a righteous man, walks with a pure mouth. He has honest eyes, firmly planted feet, and fingers that praise God. Blamelessness is in his heart. He considers good continually, and sows peace. Therefore, blessing shall come gently. Steadily, he shall be restored with God’s help (remedy). This serves as a great blueprint for growing our character that is pleasing to God (and us, too!).

The wisdom of opposites is that we can know what both sides look like. We can compare light and darkness, good and evil, and righteousness and unrighteousness. When Jesus reveals He is the only way, truth, and life, this also shows us that there are “detours,” “lies,” and, “death.” We must get familiar with His word to grow in our new nature (2 Cor. 5:17) to reflect Him more and more (2 Cor. 3:18), and to continue obeying His word and will.

Flipping the Script

16 These six things the Lord hates,
Yes, seven are an abomination to Him:
17 A proud look,
A lying tongue,
Hands that shed innocent blood,
18 A heart that devises wicked plans,
Feet that are swift in running to evil,
19 A false witness who speaks lies,
And one who sows discord among brethren.

By looking at opposites, we flip the script with these verses also, to understand what is not an abomination to the Lord, but what is pleasing. It’s not enough to just look at the opposite. We must commit to obedience when we flip the script to live according to God.

Many Christians get good at behaving like Jesus without becoming like Jesus (I got this from a recent sermon at my new church). They get it all right on the outside, but their inside isn’t right with God. “Becoming, not behaving, like Jesus” challenges me to read the word and obey it in such a way that penetrates my entire being and changes my character and heart for God’s kingdom. I want to be and become more like Jesus to my surrounding people. Flipping the script for these verses helps us see how to imitate Jesus, because He did everything the Father did (John 5:19). Our wisdom is to imitate Jesus so we can imitate the Father, too.

Let’s flip the script and consider working on the following by committing to obedience:

A humble look,
A truthful tongue,
Hands that help, heal, and care for,
A heart that submits to God’s plan,
Feet that are swift in running to bring good,
An honest witness who speaks truth,
And one who sows peace among brethren.

The Word VS. The World

20 My son, keep your father’s command,
And do not forsake the law of your mother.
21 Bind them continually upon your heart;
Tie them around your neck.
22 When you roam, they will lead you;
When you sleep, they will keep you;
And when you awake, they will speak with you.
23 For the commandment is a lamp,
And the law a light;
Reproofs of instruction are the way of life,
24 To keep you from the evil woman,
From the flattering tongue of a seductress.
25 Do not lust after her beauty in your heart,
Nor let her allure you with her eyelids.
26 For by means of a harlot
A man is reduced to a crust of bread;
And an adulteress will prey upon his precious life.
27 Can a man take fire to his bosom,
And his clothes not be burned?
28 Can one walk on hot coals,
And his feet not be seared?
29 So is he who goes in to his neighbor’s wife;
Whoever touches her shall not be innocent.

The more I read Proverbs, the more I compare the “evil woman/adulteress/seductress” to the world and its ways, and wisdom to God and His ways. In verses 20-24, we see what happens when we obey God’s word. Not only does His word bring life, but it lights up the path for us when things get dark. God’s word also protects us from the world and its seductive and destructive ways.

This next chunk of verses (25-29) made me think of Romans 12:1-2, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

The world tempts with its beauty and allures with its eyes, but God’s wisdom and His word help us discern and see what its temptations really are and where they all lead.

The world looks, sounds, and feels promising, but it cannot and will not fulfill those promises. But God is true, faithful, and fulfills His promises. A relationship with Him, a life with Him, results in living in ultimate satisfaction because of what Jesus did for us. He made a way for us to have a real relationship with God the way He intended it from the beginning. It’s truly the ways of the word vs. the world, and we must choose one. We will either choose the “wise” or the “foolish.”

Jesus Always Makes a Way

30 People do not despise a thief
If he steals to satisfy himself when he is starving.
31 Yet when he is found, he must restore sevenfold;
He may have to give up all the substance of his house.
32 Whoever commits adultery with a woman lacks understanding;
He who does so destroys his own soul.
33 Wounds and dishonor he will get,
And his reproach will not be wiped away.
34 For jealousy is a husband’s fury;
Therefore he will not spare in the day of vengeance.
35 He will accept no recompense,
Nor will he be appeased though you give many gifts.

The world will continue doing what it knows best, and those who give in to its temptations and allurements to sin will face the consequences. However, a good outcome is not always guaranteed to those who make good choices, either. Bad things, evil things, even chance, and all kinds of situations can still happen. Yet, it’s still true that those who follow wise paths, God’s path, are less likely to run into troubled, and the issues mentioned in this chapter, than those who act foolishly.

As I read the last few verses, I can’t help but think about the woman caught in adultery in John 8. Some of us forget she wasn’t alone in the act. There were two in the tango, yet only she was brought forth. Despite the pharisees and their intent to trap Jesus and stone the woman, Jesus says something remarkable that makes everyone consider their own paths and walk away because they, too, have sin.

We all have sinned and fall short of God’s glory, but despite ALL of our sins, Jesus doesn’t pick up stones to throw at us. No, He takes up the cross and dies for us. He reconciles us to Him with His blood so that we can have a new life in Him. He invites to a better life, and those who take His hand reap the benefit of peace, freedom, and joy. We get a NEW life in Him. But those who refuse it, those who continuously commit adultery with the world, and those who only behave “to get in,” will get asked to depart from Him, because He never knew them.

There are many principles to pull from verses 30-35, but it’s important to remember that no soul is too far gone from Jesus, including the people described in proverbs 6. These principles are laid out for us to help us and those around us. We’re set apart for a reason, and the wisdom to recognize here is that there are two kinds of people always. Yet, Jesus makes a way NOW, because later, He will accept no recompense,
Nor will he be appeased though you give many gifts.

Like in John 8, Jesus bends over and writes in the sand until everyone leaves the courtyard and it’s just you and Him. He comes to restore your identity, dignity, and life, because He always makes a way. He is the Way!

“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’

Matthew 7:21-23

What stands out to you from Proverbs 6?

Comment below and share this with a friend or your Bible study group!

Save this for next month’s reading 😊

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