Proverbs 23:23-35

In Proverbs 23:23-35 Solomon tackles a number of issues around parenting and the heart. But he begins with the reality that wisdom is one of the most valuable things we can ever gain. We should have the focus of pursuing truth and wisdom to gain it at all cost rather than being willing to exchange it for profit. “Buy truth, and do not sell it; buy wisdom, instruction, and understanding.” Proverbs often uses the terms of truth, instruction, and understanding as ways of describing wisdom. Spurgeon said “Buy the truth; that is, be willing at all risks to hold to the truth. Buy it as the martyrs did when they gave their bodies to be burned for it. Buy it as many have done when they have gone to prison for it.”

Solomon again reminds us as parents how important it is to raise good kids. It is a great blessing for parents to have righteous and wise children. “The father of the righteous will greatly rejoice; he who fathers a wise son will be glad in him. Let your father and mother be glad; let her who bore you rejoice.” One reason for a son or daughter to pursue and gain wisdom is that it will make their parents glad. It will be an appropriate blessing and reward to those who gave the son or daughter life and an upbringing. Training up a child in God’s way will have benefit and blessing for their parents.

He warns his sons to avoid sin. He understood that wisdom must be received with the heart. It can’t only be a matter of facts or principles learned in the mind or even memorized. Wisdom must be received into a willing, given, heart. “My son, give me your heart, and let your eyes observe my ways. For a prostitute is a deep pit; an adulteress is a narrow well. She lies in wait like a robber and increases the traitors among mankind.” At least at the time of writing this, Solomon could point to his own life as an example of wisdom when it came to the dangers of an immoral woman. He knew teaching is most effective when it comes from a life that knows and lives wisdom. Our example is the most powerful teacher we can provide.  Solomon loses this later in life, but for now, he warns against sexual sin with his own example.

Solomon deals with a long list of issues that come with drinking too much. He reminds us of many of the ill effects of alcohol and intoxicating drugs. They bring woe and sorrow. They bring strife and complaints. They bring wounds and redness of eyes. Unrestrained, immoderate use of alcohol and abuse of drugs will bring these sorrows to one’s life, and countless tragedies prove it. “Who has woe? Who has sorrow? Who has strife? Who has complaining? Who has wounds without cause? Who has redness of eyes? Those who tarry long over wine; those who go to try mixed wine. Do not look at wine when it is red, when it sparkles in the cup and goes down smoothly. In the end it bites like a serpent and stings like an adder. Your eyes will see strange things, and your heart utter perverse things.”

Drinking too much doesn’t turn out well. “You will be like one who lies down in the midst of the sea, like one who lies on the top of a mast. “They struck me,” you will say, “but I was not hurt; they beat me, but I did not feel it. When shall I awake? I must have another drink.” The person who abuses alcohol or drugs will drown in their sin and misery. They will be like a person on a sinking ship who denies their danger. Living in denial, unable or unwilling to see their danger (they struck me, but I was not hurt), their only thought is when they “may seek another drink.”

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