Category Archives: Bible Study

Winning the Fight

One of the great words of wisdom from Solomon comes from Proverbs 2.  He begins by instructing his son on a conditional statement. “If” is a very powerful word.  It is the cause of an effect.  If you do this, then that will happen.  If you eat right, then you won’t feel sluggish.  There are always exceptions to these types of thoughts.  These aren’t hard and fast rules for everybody, but most people will find them to be right and true.  Proverbs are precepts; pithy sayings of general truth and observations.

In this case, Solomon makes a huge claim with his conditional sentences:

My son, if you receive my words and treasure my commandments with you, making your ear attentive to wisdom and inclining your heart to understanding; yes, if you call out for insight and raise your voice for understanding, if you seek it like silver and search for it as for hidden treasure, then you will understand that the fear of the LORD and find the knowledge of God, (Proverb 2:1-5, ESV).

First note the parallelism within these verses.  Parallelism is saying the same thing in two different ways in order to drive home the point. Receive words & treasure commandments, ear attentive to wisdom & heart to understanding, call out & raise your voice (for insight & understanding), seek like silver & search for hidden treasure, understand fear of LORD & find knowledge of God.

But notice the second thing: Solomon is doing what we’d call beating a dead horse.  He keeps saying over and over and over again the point that he wants driven into the heart of his son (and God wants to be driven deep into our hearts as well): be desperately seeking wisdom with all that you are and everything that you have.

Most of us do not do that type of wisdom-searching.  If we stumble across some wisdom here and there, great.  If not, no big deal.  Maybe we’ll catch it next time.  But Solomon says to pour our lives into seeking it.  And look at one of the results: “So you will be delivered from the forbidden woman, from the adulteress with her smooth words, who forsakes the companion of her youth and forgets the covenant of her God; for her house sinks down to death, and her paths to the departed; none who go to her come back, nor do they regain the paths of life,” (Proverbs 2:16-19, ESV).

I tend to take a look at these proverbs about adulteresses a bit more loosely in light of Jesus’ statement that to lust after a woman is committing adultery in the heart.  I apply this to pornography and not just to physical adultery.  What is good for the physical restraint is also good for the spiritual restraint.  What is good for the man is good for the woman (while men are the predominant ones looking at pornography, female addiction is on the rise and escalating quickly).

If we are wanting to win the battle, then we must seek wisdom, understanding, knowledge (whichever way you want to say it) and seek it with all that we are.  We must be desperate to flood our thoughts, hearts, minds, lips, pleasures, and such with God’s truth and God’s Word.  One cannot spend too much time in the Word and prayer.  Many people state that they want freedom from addiction, but most are not willing to put in the time to attain freedom.  They simply want God to “take it away.”  That’s not how He works.  As we read the other night in our small group: Jesus, in His High Priestly Prayer, asked the Father, “Sanctify them in the truth: your word is truth,” (John 17:17, ESV).

There is no sanctification (no becoming holy) apart from God’s Word.  The Spirit works in and through that Word.  God does not take away the desire of the flesh; instead he gives a greater desire of the spirit.  He does this through His Word.  Seek it.  Seek it like you’ve never sought anything else.  It is your highest and most-hidden of treasures.  Yet it’s within your grasp: on your shelf and/or on your phone.  It is waiting to be found.  Seek it.

Balanced Judgment

A particular verse has been weighing (pun intended) upon my heart lately, and I can see its application everywhere.  It comes from Proverbs 11:1, “A false balance is an abomination to the LORD, but a just weight is his delight,” (ESV).  Imagine going into the grocery store for some delicious Berres Bros. Highlander Grogg Coffee (not a sponsor; they just have the best Highlander Grogg I’ve ever drunk).  You wait, as the line for this rich, delicious drink is long.  The person ahead of you is finally taking the scoop and puts the beans into his bag, weighs the bag and it comes to a certain amount per pound.  You notice the weight and the price.  That seems fair enough, but you don’t as much money to spend.  After doing the math, you come to the amount of coffee you can afford, and grab the scoop, weigh yours until you have the weight you want, and print the price tag.  You look and realize that the price you were expecting is not the price you received.  In fact, you’re paying the same amount as the guy before you, but you got less coffee.  (This is fictitious–hypothetical; Berres Bros. would not do this to you).  Yours is more per pound than the guy in front of you.  How do you feel?  Angry?  Outraged?  Confused?  Cheated?  Like an injustice had been done?

That’s what this verse is getting at.  Back in the day when goods and coinage was weighed, merchants would easily use false balances and false weights to make more money.  They may use one set of weights that were lighter to give a person their goods.  When the silver or gold pieces were then put on the balance, they’d use a heavier set of weights to weigh the money so that more was paid than was given.  That’s an unjust balance, and that is an abomination to the Lord.

Stop and think about the balances in our lives.  We have an internal balance by which we judge situations and people.  How good are we at keeping a just balance?  Are we judging each person or situation fairly or do we allow bad prejudices (race, ethnicity, weight, clothes, etc.) to weigh the balance down or “good”* prejudices (beauty/handsomeness, strength, intelligence, financial status) to lighten the balance?  Let us be careful with our hearts, our words, and our actions.  May we use a just balance as best we can.  We won’t be perfect, but we can be progressing.

*or course, by “good” I am not saying these are right, but often considered good or favorable traits in our culture.  By allowing these traits to outweigh justice is still an abomination.