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Day 155 – Thru the Bible
Today we continue in Proverbs and finish Psalms (great job!).
Proverbs 7 – For the final time in the introductory chapters 1–9, the Father aims to safeguard our sexual purity. As in chapter 4, God is not mentioned; but still He is present in the voice of the wise father. Speaking to his beloved son, he is saying, “Here is how you will be tempted. Get ready.” We need realism about this world (1 John 2:15–17). The chapter begins and ends with a call to pay close attention, as a matter of life and death. In the body of the chapter, we are warned about the approach of sexual temptation, the words of sexual temptation, and the impact of giving in to sexual temptation.
The simple are uncommitted people who see themselves as smart and in control. The Father sees them as gullible, and so they prove to be. This young man’s self-assurance is no match for the prostitute, “wily of heart”, who approaches him. If these two are caught in their sin, she already has a plan for getting out of it. She can easily accuse him of rape. But he is not thinking beyond the impulses of the moment. In this way, a loving father warns his children of the consequences of waywardness while also acknowledging their susceptibility to it. Such is the nature of a wise and gracious heart.
She offers the young man an exotic sexual experience, with no fear of discovery. “I had to offer sacrifices” implies she has a good meal to share—with a veneer of religion, too. Religious observance sometimes accompanies blatant evil (e.g., John 18:28). “I have found you” flatters this youth as her ideal man. Her proposition in verse 18 parodies the satisfactions of true love in 5:18–19. Her empty assurances are as believable as saying, “God is not at home in His universe right now, and He won’t be back until next month.”
“It will cost him his life” is the gospel frankly warning us, “The wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23). But the free gift of God, even to those who have been sexual fools, is eternal life in Jesus our Lord, if we believe in Him.
How do you avoid, or quickly get away from, tempting situations?
Proverbs 8 – The Father speaks directly to us in verses 1–3, appealing to us to pay attention to Wisdom’s call. In verses 4–36, as in 1:22–33, we hear the voice of Wisdom herself—wisdom personified as a lovely lady, the opposite of the brash adulteress in chapter 7. The four paragraphs in chapter 8 commend the wisdom God provides for us as attractive, rewarding, ancient, and a matter of life and death.
Wisdom is attractive. Like the temptress in chapter 7, Lady Wisdom also approaches us, but offering noble things. Unlike the “seductive speech” of the prostitute (7:21), there is nothing twisted or crooked in Wisdom’s words. For similar reasons, we can open our hearts to “the word of the truth, the gospel” (Colossians 1:5) with no fear of betrayal. Wisdom graciously appeals not to geniuses but to simple ones and fools. All she asks is that we would listen—“Hear, for I will speak” —and choose—“Take my instruction.”
Wisdom is rewarding. She prepares us for leadership: “By me kings reign; . . . by me princes rule.” She is generous to the unworthy: “Riches and honor are with me.” But we must value her above all else. That bold decisiveness is obvious in the words “hatred” and “hate” (v. 13) and “love” (vv. 17, 21; cf. Philippians 3:7–14).
Wisdom is ancient. We cannot make reality up, according to our own likes and dislikes. Wisdom was here first and is deeply embedded in the way reality is designed: “The Lord possessed me at the beginning of his work.” But Wisdom is not haughty or stuffy; she is fun. She welcomed us into God’s creation with a glad heart, “delighting in the children of man” (Genesis 1:31).
The world foolishly suppresses the truth about who God really is and who we really are, replacing it with human versions of reality; but these human theories only make life worse (Romans 1:18–32). Humility means accepting our place in God’s creation as a joyous privilege. The gospel opposes pious negativity (1 Timothy 4:1–5) and promises us a glorious new creation, where we will forever be happily at home (Revelation 21:1–4; 22:1–5).
Wisdom is far more than an optional extra, to enhance our lifestyles somewhat; wisdom is a matter of life and death. “Whoever finds me finds life; . . . all who hate me love death” (1 John 5:12).
How do you seek to know the Father’s wisdom in everyday life?
Proverbs 9 – As the introductory chapters 1–9 conclude, the Father calls us to a decision. The alternatives are clear. On one side of our path is Wisdom, inviting us into the lavish banquet of blessings made available by God’s grace. On the other side is Folly, waving us over into the guilty pleasures of sin. If we choose Wisdom, we will be ready to study chapters 10–31 with eternal benefit.
With costly personal investment, Wisdom prepares her best and sends out an open invitation: “Whoever is simple, let him turn in here!” God is so good, He makes even repentance into a feast: “My bread” and “the wine I have mixed” find their ultimate fulfillment in Jesus Himself (John 6:51, 53–55).
These verses contrast what a person will become, depending on his choice of Wisdom or Folly. A scoffer is so proud he considers Wisdom’s appeal an insult and attacks the messenger, but a wise man humbly welcomes the opportunity to learn even more and keep growing (Matthew 13:12; Acts 28:23–29; 2 Corinthians 2:15–16). What makes the difference is the fear (reverent awe) of the Lord.
The wise do not debate the Lord over this or that question but bow down to Him in reverence. Then they get traction for deeper obedience (Philippians 2:12–13). But what we choose does forecast our future, and no one else can choose for us.
Unlike gracious Wisdom, who sends out her servants with invitations , pompous Folly sits there like the queen of the town and expects us to be impressed. She does have an undeniable appeal: “Stolen water is sweet.” Our foolish hearts relish sin as exciting and glamorous. But the truth is this: folly’s menu is water and bread, sweetened only by “the fleeting pleasures of sin” (Hebrews 11:25), while Wisdom’s feast is wine and meat, leading to eternal life.
There is nothing disappointing in God’s wisdom, ultimately revealed in Jesus; but outside Him, everything is death.
Will we meditate on Proverbs 10–31 with the reverence for the Lord opening our hearts?
Psalm 150 – The Psalter ends with a portrayal of the people of God involved in joyous worship of the One who alone deserves the fullest and most glorious expression of praise that can possibly be offered. This praise is corporate, for it finds expression in His sanctuary, but immediately we see that it cannot be contained there for it expands into the highest heavens as well. And the praise of God is not only for His “mighty deeds” but also for His “excellent greatness”—that is, for both the works and the worth, the outward actions and inward character, of God. Because of the greatness of God, every rightful manner of expression of His praise should be employed. Bring forth the trumpets, the lute, and the harp; the tambourine, the strings, and the pipes; the loud and sounding cymbals; and all with the joyous dancing of God’s people. Indeed, “let everything that has breath praise the Lord! Praise the Lord!”
What a fitting conclusion to the Psalter. God, who is great and glorious, who has acted over and again for the welfare and salvation of His people, is indeed infinitely worthy. He will be the object of His people’s deepest affections and their highest adoration. We praise the Lord today supremely for what He has done to deliver His people through Jesus. Rescued from ourselves through the grace won for us by Jesus, our hearts are moved to do what the psalmist says: praise the Lord!
How will you openly praise the Lord today and every day?
What other thoughts or questions does today’s reading bring up?
Some of these notes are from the ESV Gospel Transformation Bible study notes. We highly recommend this study Bible.
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