the pursuit of wisdom (part 2)

If I didn't notice a proverb the first time around, I ought to notice it the third. Chapters 5-7 are divided into 4 sections, and 3 of those sections are warnings to a young man against adultery. Turns out this post only walks through some of my observations in chapter 5. PAY ATTENTION!

1. Hunger for wisdom.
"Incline your ear to my understanding..." 5:1
Refer to tpow (part 1) to be reminded of the necessity to pursue and hunger for wisdom. If we sit around hoping to pick up a nugget here and there, we will be grossly disappointed. We must offensively, proactively beg for wisdom and understanding.

2. Learn wisdom audibly, rather than experientially.
"[The forbidden woman's] feet go down to death; her steps follow the path to Sheol..." 5:5
This is a very elementary idea. I want NOT to experience death or wallow in Sheol in order to understand the severity of playing with the adultress. I want to be spared that! Not everything in life must be experienced. It's true. You can (apparently) learn other ways than experientially. Take special care, with regard to the "forbidden woman," to learn by listening and believing, rather than doubting and experiencing the real horrors of adultery. These horrors are only described in more detail in the following verses.

3. Do not play with fire.
"Keep your way far from her, and do not go near the door of her house..." 5:8
Do. Not. Go. Close. Instead of walking by the house of the adulteress, find a route that goes the opposite direction. Instead of hating discipline and reproof, willingly listen to the voice of wisdom. It will not go well with you to play with fire. If there is a line that should not be crossed, don't get near enough to see the other side. If there is a marshmallow that shouldn't be eaten, don't touch it or smell it! FLEE!

4. See the big picture.
"...lest you give your honor to others and your years to the merciless, lest strangers take their fill of your strength, and your labors go to the house of a foreigner, and at the end of your life you groan, when your flesh and your body are consumed..." 5:9-11
If I were to sit on my deathbed and think back on my life, I certainly would have done some things differently. Here, the idea is to picture yourself on your deathbed and think about the things you wish you would have changed, and then live your life making those changes day by day. In essence, have the bigger picture of your life always in the forefront of your mind. Don't get so caught up in present comfort and pleasures that you sit on your deathbed on your last day, and wish you'd lived differently. You will have regrets if you fail to see the big picture.

5. Drink from your own well.
"Drink water from your own cistern, flowing water from your own well. Should your springs be scattered abroad, streams of water in the streets? Let them be for yourself alone, and not for strangers with you." 5:15-17
I'm a selfish guy, honestly, and I don't like other people drinking from my cup. At all. Other people don't like me drinking from their cups, either. It is common sense to say, "If no one likes sharing backwash, don't drink from their cup!" In the same way, a woman is not yours, lest she be your wife. I'm not a married man, but I am very jealous that my wife be mine, and I don't like the idea other people taking pieces of her. At all. Nearly every woman I see will be someone's wife. There will be a lot of jealous husbands who don't want other random, stupid dudes drinking from their cisterns. Drink from your own. And she's only yours when she's your wife.

What good is a well when the water is spilled all over the street? You can no longer drink cool, clean water, but it is now dirty and lukewarm and disgusting. As I do not want to sleep around, I do not want my wife to have slept all over the place. It ruins the water! There is something about pure water that makes it more attractive. Sweeter. Clearer. Cleaner. I want that. O for faith to fight!

6. Hide nothing.
"For a man's ways are before the eyes of the Lord, and he ponders all his paths." 5:21
Dave Matthews once sang "What's the use in hiding?" Not in relation to this verse. But it still works. What's the point?! A private sin is not a secret sin. The thoughts and heart and mind and intentions of man are seen plainly by God. Be terrified. Hide nothing. Have nothing to hide.

7. Deny self.
"...he is held fast in the cords of his sin. He dies for lack of discipline, and because of his great folly he is led astray." 5:22-23
My friend Aeric and I were talking about this very thing early in the week: we want to be in the habit of saying "no" to things we want, just to practice saying "no."

For example, today was a nice day, and I was working outside. I really, really wanted a slurpee. I could easily have driven for a minute, dropped $1.09 and filled my 64oz. slurpee jug and been satisfied. But I said "no." Just because.

We want to be men of discipline. We want to practice self-denial, that we may not die for lack of discipline in the things that really do matter. Take up that challenge, and once a day, say "no" to some thing that would be pleasing and enjoyable, simply to practice saying "no" and denying yourself. Do not die for lack of discipline. Be very much alive!

O for faith to fight! O for grace to conquer!


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