Proverbs 7-9

Wednesday Evening Bible Study

July 7, 2004

Introduction

The first nine chapters are Solomon’s lectures to his son.

Proverbs 7

:1-5 Pay attention

:2 Keep my commandments, and live; and my law as the apple of thine eye.

apple of thine eye – the pupil of the eye, something most delicate, worth guarding.

:6-23 Anatomy of a fall

:6 For at the window of my house I looked through my casement,

casement – lattice

:8 Passing through the street near her corner; and he went the way to her house,

Lesson

The place of temptation

The fellow made the mistake of going to where he would be tempted.
The fall into sin has actually already started the moment he made the choice to go down her street.
He’s already been drawn away by his own inner lust.
(James 1:13-15 KJV) Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man: {14} But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. {15} Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.
The easiest place to find victory over temptation is to change that first step down her street. Once the fellow turns down her street, it will get more and more difficult to flee that temptation.
Solomon has already written:

(Prov 5:8 KJV) Remove thy way far from her, and come not nigh the door of her house:

Illustration

The Five Chapter Book: (Heard on Focus on the Family)

Chapter One: A man was walking down the street. He fell into a hole. He groped his way in the darkness. After a long time, he made his way out of the hole.

Chapter Two: A man was walking down the same street. He pretended not to see the hole. He fell in. After a long time, he made his way out of the hole.

Chapter Three: A man was walking down the same street. He sees the hole. He falls in. He says it’s not his fault. After a long time, he made his way out of the hole.

Chapter Four: A man walks down the same street. He sees the hole. He knows it’s there. He tries to walk around it. He falls in. He knows it’s his fault. He quickly gets out.

Chapter Five: A man takes another street.

Yet sometimes you can’t avoid that place of temptation.
Then the issue is why are you there?
(Gen 39:6-12 KJV) And he left all that he had in Joseph's hand; and he knew not ought he had, save the bread which he did eat. And Joseph was a goodly person, and well favoured. {7} And it came to pass after these things, that his master's wife cast her eyes upon Joseph; and she said, Lie with me. {8} But he refused, and said unto his master's wife, Behold, my master wotteth not what is with me in the house, and he hath committed all that he hath to my hand; {9} There is none greater in this house than I; neither hath he kept back any thing from me but thee, because thou art his wife: how then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God? {10} And it came to pass, as she spake to Joseph day by day, that he hearkened not unto her, to lie by her, or to be with her. {11} And it came to pass about this time, that Joseph went into the house to do his business; and there was none of the men of the house there within. {12} And she caught him by his garment, saying, Lie with me: and he left his garment in her hand, and fled, and got him out.

The fool went to the street where the woman lived to see what happened.

Joseph went into the place where he was tempted in order to do his work, not to be tempted.

 :9 In the twilight, in the evening, in the black and dark night:

Not in the middle of the day –

(John 3:19-21 KJV) And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. {20} For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. {21} But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.

:10 subtle of heart

subtle – cunning, crafty

:12 Now is she without, now in the streets, and lieth in wait at every corner.)

without – outside

:14 I have peace offerings with me; this day have I payed my vows.

Peace offerings – sacrifices of thanksgiving and fellowship with God.

The idea of the peace offering is that a family brings a sacrifice to God, the sacrifice is cut up into pieces, God gets a couple of pieces and the family gets the rest of the meat. It was to be something like having dinner with God, fellowship with God. It meant having meat for supper – which was a rarity.

It had to be eaten within three days or thrown out – so there would be a hurry to eat this.

Lesson

Factors in temptation

Sometimes temptation hits us in unexpected places – where we’re trying to serve God, places that seem innocent or pure.
This woman has offered “peace offerings” – there’s a sense of religion – maybe that makes it okay, huh?
Sometimes temptation comes with urgency, with a “hurry up and do it now” mentality.
When something has to be done right away, it is rarely a good thing.

:18 …let us solace ourselves with loves.

solacealac – to rejoice; (Hithpael) to delight oneself

All the translations use the word “love” twice in this verse. We use the word “love” this way in our language as well:

(Pr 7:18 The Message) {18} Come, let’s make love all night, spend the night in ecstatic lovemaking!

Lesson

Fake love

Our flesh likes to think of the act of sex as “making love”, but keep in mind, this is what’s coming from our flesh.
The Greek words for “love” – eros, sturge, phileo, agape
God’s kind of love:
(1 Cor 13:4-8 NLT) Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud {5} or rude. Love does not demand its own way. Love is not irritable, and it keeps no record of when it has been wronged. {6} It is never glad about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. {7} Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance. {8} Love will last forever…
Illustration
One day, a man walks into a dentist’s office and asks how much it will cost to extract wisdom teeth. “Eighty dollars,” the dentist says. “That’s a ridiculous amount,” the man says. “Isn’t there a cheaper way?” “Well,” the dentist says, “if you don’t use an anesthetic, I can knock it down to $60.” “That’s still too expensive,” the man says. “Okay,” says the dentist. “If I save on anesthesia and simply rip the teeth out with a pair of pliers, I could get away with charging $20.” “Nope,” moans the man, “it’s still too much.” “Hm,” says the dentist, scratching his head. “If I let one of my students do it for the experience, I suppose I could charge you just $10.” “Marvelous,” says the man, “book my wife for next Tuesday!”
God’s kind of love is “other” centered.
Sexual love tends to be “me” centered – I want what I can get out of it.

:19 For the goodman is not at home, he is gone a long journey:

goodmaniysh – man; probably here meaning her husband.

Lesson

Reassurance

Temptation tries to reassure you that it’s going to be okay – you won’t be found out.
But secret sins eventually are uncovered.
Illustration

One danger of secret sin is that a person cannot commit it without its being eventually betrayed into a public sin. If a person commits one sin, it is like the melting of the lower glacier on the Alps, the others must follow in time. As certainly as you heap one stone on the landmark today, the next day you will cast another, until the heap, stone by stone, becomes an actual pyramid. See the coral insect at work, you cannot guess where it will create its pile. It will not build its rock as high as you please; it will not stop until an island is created. Sin cannot be held in with bit and bridle; it must be mortified.

-- Charles Haddon Spurgeon

Adam and Eve thought they could hide in the garden and cover up their sin – but God found them.
(Num 32:23 KJV)  But if ye will not do so, behold, ye have sinned against the LORD: and be sure your sin will find you out.

:21 with the flattering of her lips she forced him.

Lesson

Temptation uses flattery

Flattery is like chewing gum—enjoy it briefly, but don’t swallow it!

:23 Till a dart strike through his liver

Lesson

Sin has consequences

Sin has a price tag attached.
(Rom 6:23 KJV) For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Don’t forget the price involved with sin.
Illustration
Ball Marker
A Golfer walks into the pro shop at the local course and asks the golf pro if they sell ball markers. The golf pro says, “Yes, they are just $1.00 each. “ The guy gives the golf pro a dollar and says he’ll take one... The golf pro opens the register, puts the dollar in the tray and with a big smile hands the guy a quarter.
That’s the way it is with sin – you get back far less than you put into it.

:24-27 Stay away from her

Proverbs 8

:1-21 Wisdom’s qualities

:1 Doth not wisdom cry? and understanding put forth her voice?

I’ve usually looked at the gal described in Proverbs 7 as simply sexual temptations – but it’s more than that. There is also this contrast with the woman of “wisdom”.

While temptation came through the adulterous woman, wisdom is like a “sister”.

(Prov 7:4 KJV) Say unto wisdom, Thou art my sister; and call understanding thy kinswoman:

:3 She crieth at the gates, at the entry of the city, at the coming in at the doors.

It kind of sounds as if wisdom is just about everywhere a person could go.

:6 Hear; for I will speak of excellent things; and the opening of my lips shall be right things.

excellent thingsnagiyd – leader, ruler, captain, prince

right thingsmeyshar – evenness, uprightness, straightness, equity

:7 For my mouth shall speak truth

truthemeth – firmness, faithfulness, truth; sureness, reliability

:12 I wisdom dwell with prudence, and find out knowledge of witty inventions.

prudenceormah – shrewdness, craftiness, prudence

witty inventions[email protected] – purpose, discretion, device, plot

(Prov 8:12 NLT) "I, Wisdom, live together with good judgment. I know where to discover knowledge and discernment.

:13 The fear of the LORD is to hate evil: pride, and arrogancy, and the evil way, and the froward mouth, do I hate.

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom (1:7)

You’ll know if you’ve got the fear of the Lord if you hate evil, pride, etc.

Do you hate evil, tolerate it, or even love it?

:16 By me princes rule

Those in leadership need wisdom.

:17 I love them that love me; and those that seek me early shall find me.

earlyshachar – to seek, seek early or earnestly, look early or diligently for

:18 Riches and honour are with me; yea, durable riches and righteousness.

durableatheq – handed forward, advanced, enduring, durable, valuable, eminent, surpassing

True riches can’t be counted with dollar signs.

(Mat 6:19-21 KJV) Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: {20} But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: {21} For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

:19 My fruit is better than gold

If you treasure wisdom more than gold, silver, and rubies (vs. 8:10-11), you will find that the result will be better than gold or silver.

:22-31 The origin of wisdom

:27 when he set a compass upon the face of the depth:

set a compass – the circle of the horizon

:29 When he gave to the sea his decree

Setting a boundary for the oceans

:30 …and I was daily his delight, rejoicing always before him;

(Prov 8:30 NKJV) Then I was beside Him as a master craftsman; And I was daily His delight, Rejoicing always before Him,

It almost sounds as if Jesus were speaking.

Jesus is wisdom in the flesh.

(1 Cor 1:30 KJV) But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption:

The Greeks taught that before anything existed in form, it existed in thought.

Before this building existed in brick and wood, it existed in thought – in the mind of the architect.

The Greeks called that “thought” the “logos”.

(John 1:1-3 KJV) In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. {2} The same was in the beginning with God. {3} All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.

:32-36 Obeying wisdom

:32 for blessed are they that keep my ways.

Happiness comes from obeying the Word of God.

Proverbs 9

:1-12 Wisdom’s invitation

:1 she hath hewn out her seven pillars:

seven pillars – the perfectly built house

:2 She hath killed her beasts…

She’s got a feast set.

:4 as for him that wanteth understanding

wanteth – is lacking

:5 Come, eat of my bread, and drink of the wine which I have mingled.

The invitation goes out to those who lack understanding, not those that have achieved it.

:7 He that reproveth a scorner getteth to himself shame

When you rebuke a wicked person, he won’t listen and he’ll turn on you.

:9 Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be yet wiser

Lesson

Are you teachable?

Illustration
Howard Hendricks shares this insight about the value of learning: When I was a college student—I worked in the college dining hall, and on my way to work at 5:30 every morning I walked past the home of one of my professors. Through a window I could see the light on at his desk, morning after morning. At night I stayed late at the library to take advantage of evening study hours, and returning home at 10:30 or 11 o’clock I would again see his desk light on. He was always pouring over his books. One day he invited me home for lunch, and after the meal I said to him, “Would you mind if I asked you a question?” “Of course not.” “What keeps you studying? You never seem to stop.” His answer, “Son, I would rather have my students drink from a running stream than a stagnant pool.”
What has God taught you lately?

:10 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding.

(Prov 1:7 KJV) The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.

:13-18 Foolish woman’s contrast

:13 A foolish woman is clamorous

clamorous – Loud, boisterous

:16 Whoso is simple, let him turn in hither

Sounds just like the woman of wisdom

:17 Stolen waters are sweet, and bread eaten in secret is pleasant.

Forbidden things have an attraction.

Two Women

Solomon is going to be having this contrast go back and forth between two different women. I think they are meant to be pictures, symbolic of the choices that a person must make.

We’ve already seen him mention these women:

(Prov 1:20-22 KJV) Wisdom crieth without; she uttereth her voice in the streets: {21} She crieth in the chief place of concourse, in the openings of the gates: in the city she uttereth her words, saying, {22} How long, ye simple ones, will ye love simplicity? and the scorners delight in their scorning, and fools hate knowledge?

Wisdom – she’s the “sister” that beckons you to do the right thing.

She represents:
Doing things right
Doing things wisely
Doing things God’s way

The strange woman – she’s the adulteress that entices you to evil.

She represents:
Doing foolish things
Doing sinful things
Doing things that are rebellious against God.

At the end of the Bible we see another contrast between two women.

(Rev 17:3-6 KJV) So he carried me away in the spirit into the wilderness: and I saw a woman sit upon a scarlet coloured beast, full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns. {4} And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet colour, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication: {5} And upon her forehead was a name written, MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH. {6} And I saw the woman drunken with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus: and when I saw her, I wondered with great admiration.

We believe that Mystery Babylon is a picture of false religion – enticing the people of the world away from the Lord while at the same time killing the people of God.

(Rev 19:6-9 KJV) And I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings, saying, Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth. {7} Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready. {8} And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints. {9} And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he saith unto me, These are the true sayings of God.

The other woman is not a prostitute, but a bride, the Bride of Christ. That’s us.

The flesh or the Spirit

We face the same kinds of decisions, but it’s not between two women, it’s between two natures – what are we going to choose to follow in life?

(Gal 5:17 NLT) The old sinful nature loves to do evil, which is just opposite from what the Holy Spirit wants. And the Spirit gives us desires that are opposite from what the sinful nature desires. These two forces are constantly fighting each other, and your choices are never free from this conflict.
(Gal 5:16 KJV) This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.
(Gal 6:7-9 KJV) Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. {8} For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting. {9} And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.
(Rom 8:1-6 KJV) There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. {2} For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. {3} For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: {4} That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. {5} For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. {6} For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.