Archive for November 16th, 2018

Proverbs 6:1-11

In Proverbs 6:1-11 Solomon shifts gears from adultery to money and work. “My son, if you have put up security for your neighbor, have given your pledge for a stranger, if you are snared in the words of your mouth, caught in the words of your mouth, 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”. Solomon warned his son against guaranteeing the debts of others, whether they were a friend or a stranger. This was the promise to pay the debts of the friend or stranger if they failed to pay.

This wasn’t really like loaning someone money, nor exactly like cosigning a loan. In modern financial terms, it was more like guaranteeing someone’s open line of credit. It is a promise made with the words of your mouth but will affect and afflict your wallet or purse if things go bad. Solomons advice is pretty clear.  If you’ve committed to guarantee something for someone – go and get released.  Timing is everything.  Sooner than later. “Give your eyes no sleep and your eyelids no slumber; save yourself like a gazelle from the hand of the hunter, like a bird from the hand of the fowler”. A gazelle would do anything to escape the hunter, and a bird would do anything to escape the fowler. Solomon tried to communicate the urgency his son should have in escaping responsibility for the debt of others.

Solomon changes his focus to explaining the importance of hard work. “Go to the ant, O sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise. Without having any chief, officer, or ruler, she prepares her bread in summer and gathers her food in harvest”. Solomon spoke wisdom to the sluggard – essentially, the lazy man or woman. That lazy person should learn from the ant, an insect we know for doing hard work. The ant is wise and worthy of imitation because she works hard without having to be told to work hard. The book of Proverbs speaks a lot about the value of hard work, and for good reason. The difference between success and failure, between potential disappointment or being fulfilled, is often hard work.

Solomon directly addresses those who are not hard workers. “How long will you lie there, O sluggard? When will you arise from your sleep? A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest, and poverty will come upon you like a robber, and want like an armed man”. Solomon asked the lazy man to give account for his ways. The thought is, You want to sleep – how long? There is life to be lived and work to be done. Solomon is addressing the sluggard, but his teaching is targeted at his son and the rest of us who will be reading his words.  The sluggard loves to procrastinate and think things can always be done later. The hard worker can look forward to later because of accomplishments today!

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