Now I’m not talking just about folks in New Mexico, and as you’ll see this edition of “Becoming Today” is an exploration into universal wisdom that can serve the world well beyond any borders you may have had drawn around you.
We are continuing, on our weekly Wednesday odyssey having undertaken a search and rescue mission for wisdom. Understanding that enlightenment is within our reach we shall seek and find the knowledge and inspiration necessary to uplift, support and enhance our collective journeys as well as our own personal paths.
But first a point of order.
I want to thank you all for being here today. Whether you have followed this series or if this is the first time you are joining us. We are involved in a study of wisdom as taught in the Book of Proverbs.
For those that have been here for a while I hope some of the repetitive nature of these posts is not too distracting. Not only are some of these points to remind us of our focus this month, it is also designed to also be welcoming.
We never know when a fellow traveler may walk along with us, or need to take a diversion.
This is especially true since I have no idea what algorithm directed you, what search method may have pointed in our direction or how many of you find us on any given day. Therefore it’s necessary to recap some of the outline for our combined purposes.
I appreciate your patience and understanding, so I’ll now mention we’ve come to that point in this conversation and if you’ve already heard this, then you can skip the next few paragraphs and pick up with the next image.
Now for those of you listening to the podcast I know that makes no sense, since you can’t hear any of the beautiful graphics we create each day, so you’ll just have to listen along; again… (insert audible giggle here) understanding that I’m laughing with you not at you.
As I am apt to do, even if you have studied Proverbs before, our undertaking may be a bit different, as we’ll be adding some passion to it.
I am being called to focus this teaching around The Passion Translation® book of Isaiah and New Testament with Psalms, Proverbs, and Song of Songs translated from Hebrew, Greek, and Aramaic texts.
Done so by Dr. Brian Simmons who believes the” message of God’s story is timeless; the Word of God doesn’t change. But the methods by which that story is communicated should be timely; the vessels that steward God’s Word can and should change.
Also I’ll remind you that the footnotes referred to are available by scrolling to end of today’s post and include underlined study links.
Then with all that housekeeping taken care of, let’s begin moving forward as we’ll look at Proverbs 6.
Last week in our discussion on Searching Virtuously, I noted it would be ( and it was) a topic for some that is not easy to discuss. Also warning you to please be prepared to deal with what may be uncomfortable thoughts and situations.
So how did it feel?
We explored that Proverbs Chapter 5 is written as a father’s lecture to his son. The chapter divided into two sections,in this translation, first taught from the father’s perspective of warning his son not to be lured by promiscuous women and the second is an issue many of us have struggled with – calling for sexual relations to be only be reserved for the intimacy of marriage.
One of the things I asked you to consider is that there are some who have had promiscuous seasons in their life and are not necessarily condemned for it. I’m talking about the victims of abuse, sexual assualt, rape, human trafficking and others forced or coerced beyond their understanding at the time, to live in such a way as a means of survival.
We cannot blame victims, nor should we point fingers or condemn and judge.
God does not. He forgives us as soon as we have sinned or strayed. That is not to say ‘Oh I’ll do this and then I’ll be forgiven’ – not the way it works. Once we know something is wrong and we choose to act in that way, then the repercussions are on us. Just as they are if we opt to scorn, gossip and turn our backs on others.
The second section as I mentioned is one I have struggled with and have been guilty of. Yes I am freely admitting there was a season in my life when I literally laughed at the idea that Sex ( is to be) Reserved for Marriage.
Sure I had heard that, but I didn’t see it as the “normal” behavior in the culture and society I endured in my formative years and into young adulthood. I falsely believed it was an antiquated notion and as I struggled with overcoming and healing from the physical, emotional and sexual abuse I suffered in what should have been my childhood, I wrongly used sex as weapon in what I thought at the time was reclaiming my power.
I was wrong. At the time I did not know the truth. I felt the consequences and have lived with the pain on all levels as a result. However, now I know. I repented, sought and accepted forgiveness and it is only now that I can freely claim that power I thought I was chasing.
You see it was not power over another I needed.
It was the power of self discipline, self care, self respect and accepting the search for wisdom. Which is why I feel so strongly about this extended look into the quest for understanding we are currently sharing here on “Becoming Today”.
Chapter six is where The Passion Translation differs a bit from other modern language Bibles. The New International Version (N I V) and the English Standard Version ( E S V) break the chapter into two sections, while the T P T addresses us in four.
The N I V notes the two headings as “Warnings Against Folly”, while the E S V is titled “Practical Warnings”. Different approaches but the same message. Being “practical” or doing something likely to succeed or be effective in real circumstances is definitely acting in a manner to avoid “folly’. Which is defined as a lack of good sense or foolishness; as in “an act of sheer folly”.
These versions do agree on the second sub heading as “Warnings Against Adultery”.
Now our course of study in the T P T looks at the chapter in four categories and does not use the word warning in any of the bold prints.
Instead The Passion Translation breaks the chapter down into “Words of Wisdom”, “Life Lessons”, “Seven Things God Hates” and our headline for today, “Truth or Consequences”.
So let’s read together chapter six:
Words of Wisdom
My son, if you cosign a loan for an acquaintance
and guarantee his debt,
you’ll be sorry that you ever did it!
You’ll be trapped by your promise
and legally bound by the agreement.
So listen carefully to my advice:
Quickly get out of it if you possibly can!
Swallow your pride, get over your embarrassment,
and go tell your “friend” you want your name[a] off that contract.
Don’t put it off, and don’t rest until you get it done.
Rescue yourself from future pain[b]
and be free from it once and for all.
You’ll be so relieved that you did![c]
When you’re feeling lazy,
come and learn a lesson from this tale of the tiny ant.
Yes, all you lazybones, come learn
from the example of the ant and enter into wisdom.
The ants have no chief, no boss, no manager—
no one has to tell them what to do.
You’ll see them working and toiling all summer long,
stockpiling their food in preparation for winter.
So wake up, sleepyhead. How long will you lie there?
When will you wake up and get out of bed?
If you keep nodding off and thinking, “I’ll do it later,”
or say to yourself, “I’ll just sit back awhile and take it easy,”
just watch how the future unfolds!
By making excuses you’ll learn what it means to go without.
Poverty will pounce on you like a bandit[d]
and move in as your roommate for life.[e]
Here’s another life lesson to learn
from observing wayward and wicked men.[f]
You can tell they are lawless.
They’re constant liars, proud deceivers,
full of clever ploys and convincing plots.[g]
Their twisted thoughts are perverse,
and they are always scheming to stir up trouble,
and sowing strife with every step they take.
But when calamity comes knocking on their door,
suddenly and without warning they’re undone—
broken to bits, shattered, with no hope of healing.[h]
Seven Things God Hates
There are six evils God truly hates
and a seventh[i] that is an abomination to him:
Putting others down while considering yourself superior,
spreading lies and rumors,
spilling the blood of the innocent,
plotting evil in your heart toward another,
gloating over doing what’s plainly wrong,
spouting lies in false testimony,
and stirring up strife between friends.[j]
These are entirely despicable to God!
My son, obey your father’s godly instruction
and follow your mother’s life-giving teaching.[k]
Fill your heart with their advice
and let your life be shaped by what they’ve taught you.[l]
Their wisdom will guide you wherever you go
and keep you from bringing harm to yourself.
Their instruction will whisper to you at every sunrise
and direct you through a brand-new day.
For truth[m] is a bright beam of light
shining into every area of your life,
instructing and correcting you to discover the ways to godly living.
Truth or Consequences
Truth will protect you from immorality
and from the promiscuity of another man’s wife.
Your heart won’t be enticed by her flatteries[n]
or lust over her beauty—
nor will her suggestive ways conquer you.
Prostitutes reduce a man to poverty,[o]
and the adulteress steals your soul—
she may even cost you your life![p]
For how can a man light his pants on fire and not be burned?
Can he walk over hot coals of fire[q] and not blister his feet?
What makes you think that you can sleep with another man’s wife
and not get caught?
Do you really think you’ll get away with it?
Don’t you know it will ruin your life?
You can almost excuse a thief if he steals to feed his own family.
But if he’s caught, he still has to pay back what he stole sevenfold;
his punishment and fine will cost him greatly.
Don’t be so stupid as to think
you can get away with your adultery.
It will destroy your life,[r] and you’ll pay the price
for the rest of your days.
You’ll discover what humiliation, shame,
and disgrace are all about,
for no one will ever let you forget what you’ve done.
A husband’s jealousy makes a man furious;
he won’t spare you when he comes to take revenge.
Try all you want to talk your way out of it—
offer him a bribe and see if you can manipulate him
with your money.
Nothing will turn him aside
when he comes to you with vengeance in his eyes!
Take a moment to reflect. Formulate your thoughts and then we’ll review some key points and raise some questions together on this edition of “Becoming Today”.
Let’s now discuss some aspects of each of the four summaries noted. Beginning at the beginning with the section entitled, “Words of Wisdom”.
There is definitely some sound advice here. In fact I can almost hear the first five verses being emphasized in the voice of Dave Ramsey.
It definitely is common sense financial advice as well as the kind of strong logic Grandma taught (or should have taught) us, including, “if you cosign a loan for an acquaintance…you’ll be sorry that you ever did it!”. “Quickly get out of it”, “Swallow your pride, get over your embarrassment,… (and) Rescue yourself from future pain”.
Sage wisdom indeed.
The next section is entitled, “Life Lessons”. These are some things we should never stop seeking or attempting to learn from.
Summing up verses 6 through 11, “When you’re feeling lazy,…learn from the example of the ant and enter into wisdom”. “If you keep nodding off and thinking, ‘I’ll do it later,’ just watch how the future unfolds! By making excuses you’ll learn what it means to go without. Poverty will pounce on you like a bandit and move in as your roommate for life”.
Ouch. Bam! There’s a thought that feels like getting hit upside the head with a board.
Actions have consequences, we reap what we sow and take personal responsibility for decisions including whether or not to take an action. It all matters. God is in the details, ready, willing and able to assist, nudge and even push you in the right direction.
I am especially drawn to this metaphor of the ant. The tiny insect with the mighty, sheer determination and an amazing work ethic. I know cultures all around the globe have parables and stories about the ant and I would love for you to share your understanding and retellings in the comments section below.
For me, when teachings on the ant come from the indigenous roots here on Turtle Island.
The ant symbolizes patience, determination and resilience. Despite its size it can and
Is willing to move mountains one speck at a time. Ants are also community minded. They are great planners and are a living example of how being content in the moment can build their dreams steadily over time. Ans are an example that the Source, God, will provide and ensures that whatever is yours will come to you in its time.
Next up in our conversation are the ideas related to the “Seven Things God Hates”.
As verse 16 notes, “There are six evils God truly hates and a seventh that is an abomination to him”. Wow number seven must really be a doozy!
I mean an abomination beyond hate in the eyes of true pure love, that’s really bad.
Briefly recapping the seven things referred to in verses 16 through 19 are:
1)Thinking you are better than everyone else
2)Gossiping, defaming and spreading false information
3)Causing physical harm to another
4)Embracing immorality in your heart and planning intentionally malicious acts
5)Taking pride in doing wrong actions
6)Bearing false witness; giving testimony to untruths
7)Intentionally creating division and discord between people
All seven of these are entirely too prevalent in our societies today. Unfortunately as I look at this list I can immediately call to mind a dozen so-called leaders, who reject their responsibilities to those they affirmed an oath to serve and openly flaunt these unGodly characteristics doing so with great pride, emotion and fervor.
I recognize this. I protect myself from them, but I do not condemn and try my best not to judge for I know He will.
God is the Vindicator and unless those living these lies can truly accept the truth and seek repentance for their harms and crimes then they will know judgment like none of us should ever want to experience.
That leaves us with just one more heading, to discuss. Which, hmm somehow was also our headline for today’s topic: “Truth or Consequences”.
While the majority of these final verses are centered around the repercussions for engaging in adultery, I believe they can be understood as addressing the effects of all sins.
In our discussion yesterday on being virtuous, you may recall I noted that the Bible is very good at restating the important stuff, so I’m not downplaying or trying to lessen the writer’s or the translator’s efforts on this message, rather I am expanding the lessons recognizing their universal strength.
In verse 24 we read, “Truth will protect you from immorality” and scrolling ahead to verse 27, “For how can a man light his pants on fire and not be burned?”. The truth is Truth, with a capital “T” will always keep you safe. The consequence for saying otherwise, ‘liar,liar pants on fire!’.
Pretty easy to understand and it should be equally easy to accept.
Then expanding upon the message in verses 32 and 33, we could rewrite it as
“Don’t be so stupid as to think you can get away with” ______ ( fill in your own sin, scam or scheme here). Because “It will destroy your life, and you’ll pay the price for the rest of your days.” Which will then take you to a fork in the road where “You’ll discover what humiliation, shame, and disgrace are all about, for no one will ever let you forget what you’ve done”.
While categorized as a consequence, these final words in verse 33 certainly reveal something that is prevalent as a truth in our world today. “ For no one will ever let you forget what you’ve done.” person you were intended to be.
While it shouldn’t be. And while it is wrong, the fact is in our society it is very true and embraced as “normal” behavior by far too many.
Judging, attacking, false witnessing, gossipping, murmuring, coveting. These actions are all around us and note the “ing” at the end of the words. All these wrong behaviors are present in the active tense. They are being given strength by too many.
Don’t allow yourself to get caught up in it. Choose not to accept their shame, blame or guilt. You know your truth. Only you and God know what is in your heart. Seek His counsel, accept his gentle correction and move on.
Don’t dwell, don’t plot revenge, do not try to get even or embrace an attitude of I’ll show them”. Otherwise you will be “Becoming” just like them and not the person you were and are intended to be.
I know it’s been another deep quest on this episode of “Becoming Today”. So maybe we can share a quick laugh together in this very short video, but please do not try this at home!
Truth, understanding, enlightenment and wisdom are all very “Becoming” traits. They empower us to grow and learn to be who we truly were intended to be. Which in turn enables us to continue moving on, with our momentum fully powered forward and upward.
As always I encourage you to actively participate. Please post your comments, questions, suggestions or concerns below. This is a safe space to share and there are protections in place to keep spammers out. I will respond to all who choose to participate.
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I pray each and every one of you enjoys a safe and blessed day. Then join us tomorrow as we continue our shared journey we call “Becoming Today”.