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Friday, January 03, 2020

Proverbs 5:3-4

Proverbs 5:3-4 (KJV)  3 For the lips of a strange woman drop as an honeycomb, and her mouth is smoother than oil:
4 But her end is bitter as wormwood, sharp as a two edged sword.

Proverbs 5:3-4 (NLT)  3 For the lips of an immoral woman are as sweet as honey,
and her mouth is smoother than oil.
4 But in the end she is as bitter as poison,
as dangerous as a double-edged sword.

Proverbs 5:3-4 (ESV)  3 For the lips of a forbidden woman drip honey,
and her speech is smoother than oil,
4 but in the end she is bitter as wormwood,
sharp as a two-edged sword.

Proverbs 5:3-4 (BSB)  3 For the lips of the adulterous woman drip honey,
and her speech is smoother than oil;
4 but in the end she is bitter as gall,
sharp as a double-edged sword.

Psalm 55:21 The words of his mouth were smoother than butter, but war was in his heart: his words were softer than oil, yet were they drawn swords

Ecclesiastes 7:26 And I find more bitter than death the woman who is a snare, whose heart is a net, and whose hands are chains. The man who pleases God will escape her, but the sinner will be ensnared.

Strong's Exhaustive Concordance
the lips - שִׂפְתֵ֣י (saphah, śip̄·ṯê) - Noun - fdc
Strong's Hebrew 8193: The lip, language, a margin
Brown-Driver-Briggs English Hebrew Lexicon adds: lip: usually human organ of speech

of the forbidden woman - זָרָ֑ה (zuwr, zā·rāh) - Adjective - feminine singular
Strong's Hebrew 2114: To turn aside, to be a foreigner, strange, profane, to commit adultery
Brown-Driver-Briggs English Hebrew Lexicon adds: to be a stranger to the family/household and to the person

drip - תִּ֭טֹּפְנָה (nataph, tiṭ·ṭō·p̄ə·nāh) - Verb - Qal - Imperfect - third person feminine plural
Strong's Hebrew 5197: To ooze, distil gradually, to fall in drops, to speak by inspiration

honey - נֹ֣פֶת (nopheth, nō·p̄eṯ) - Noun - masculine singular
Strong's Hebrew 5317: Flowing honey, honey from the comb

and her speech - חִכָּֽהּ׃ (chek, ḥik·kāh) - Noun - masculine singular construct | third person feminine singular
Strong's Hebrew 2441: Palate, roof of the mouth, gums

[is] smoother - וְחָלָ֖ק (chalaq, wə·ḥā·lāq) - Conjunctive waw | Adjective - masculine singular
Strong's Hebrew 2509: Smooth

than oil - מִשֶּׁ֣מֶן (shemen, miš·še·men) - Preposition-m | Noun - masculine singular
Strong's Hebrew 8081: Grease, liquid, richness

I wanted to show you all the ways this woman is described in the different translations:

But it all comes back to its' definition: a woman who is not a part of the family or household. Another woman! Don't we often use that term about someone who is having an affair with "another woman"?

Before I go too much further, this is written from Father to son but applies to women as well. A "strange man," or adulterer, can flatter a woman and cause her to fall to the same temptation. So, if you are a woman, it applies to you as well as it does to a man.

Why does a person fall to flattery and smooth words? Don't we all have an image in our heads or who we are? We may still feel like a teenager, but our bodies have aged a bit! We may think we look like the young, gorgeous, goodlooker we did in college, but we actually have put on a few pounds and have a few wrinkles. Our mind's image of ourselves is jarred when we look at reality in the mirror. I barely recognize myself when I see a picture of myself or see a reflection of myself.

When someone comes on to us, flirting and using flattery, it makes us feel young again. We can forget that we are middle aged and feel 20 again. It works every time.

We know we are 50 yrs old and not 20, but if someone can make us feel young and desirable again, we can suspend reality for awhile and we like that.

It depends on how mature you are as to whether you give in to the flattery and flirting, or whether you use commonsense and realize there is nothing there when you come back to reality. Maturity says, "Hey, that's just a line. You and I both know that I'm not 20 years old any more. So go away and leave me alone."

Our spouses know all our stories, our baggage, our emotional problems, our triggers, our jokes, our weaknesses. Someone new doesn't know all these things. That can also suspend reality for awhile, but it comes crashing back. The new lover will soon enough learn the same things your spouse knew all along and you are just back to square one. There are no do-overs and fresh starts. You bring the same baggage no matter who you are with (and vice-versa) and will face the same problems eventually.

Mature, wise, clear, logical thinking will tell you, BEFORE you get into trouble, that suspension of reality is only temporary. Reality will come back and you only thought you had troubles before! You have just multiplied your troubles a hundredfold. Your "escape" from reality won't last and will make your new reality much harder.

Many people will use alcohol, and/or drugs, to remove clear, logical thinking so they can "live in the moment" and suspend reality so they can enjoy a very fleeting moment. But they wake up the next morning with a hangover, an addiction, and/or relationship problems that are the stuff of nightmares.

We all know the physical consequences that can come from a night of debauchery (an old fashioned word for partying without restraint): STDs, unwanted pregnancies, addiction, damage to your body by overindulging, black eyes, busted noses, a jail sentence, etc. But there are many emotional consequences also that you might not think about: relationships lost, bad relationships started, loss of respect (self respect as well as the respect of family/friends), loss of self image, loss of reputation, fights between friends/family, loss of trust and many more. There are also the financial consequences: money spent on liquor, drugs and prostitutes puts a big dent in anyone's budget. You might lose your job, you might have an accident that totals your car and your insurance skyrockets, a DUI will do the same. You might have your pocket picked while you are inebriated. Just recently an elderly man had been having prostitutes and their "friends" over to his home. They saw what he had inside and in his yard and outbuildings. One day he was coming home in one vehicle only to pass his other vehicle that was being stolen from his home! Another time a couple of men stripped his outbuildings while he was gone. Not counting what they may have seen and stolen from inside his home. That's the kind of thing you might not think about but is a very real consequence. Prostitutes have friends and pimps and they aren't to be trusted. He's a lonely, old man who thought he had made some friends. He's not thinking clearly if he thinks his paid companion is really a friend! And it's not just prostitutes. Any man or woman, who is disreputable, can feed you a line to con you and steal from you. It takes someone smart enough, mature enough and clear thinking to realize it's just flattery, flirting and conning. What's sad is some people have aging-related health problems that remove their ability to think clearly, rationally and make them targets. For some biological reason, they can no longer discern and be logical so they fall prey to people who would take advantage of that.

Recently, we've seen a lot of programs about women who fall victim to online relationships (it happens to men too) that aren't real. Catfishing is a conman or conwoman attempting to establish a "love" relationship with someone vulnerable and then they begin asking for money and favors, increasing their demands until they've taken everything, sucking them dry. They make up histories, lives, use someone else's photo or a doctored photo, and they use the Internet to make contact with lonely people. Then they take everything they can get from the poor person. How do rational thinking people fall into such an obvious scams? Some never matured and are still stuck in some younger, teenage mind. Some have a biological reason that causes them to be unable to think clearly such as Parkinson's dementia, Alzheimer's, early-onset-dementia, stroke, vascular dementia, etc. Some are just so lonely and depressed that they are vulnerable to anyone who pays them attention and says all the right things. Depression can make you think illogically. When I'm depressed, I'm not in my right mind and things can get blown up or diminished illogically. I can think nobody loves me even though I'm actually surrounded by family and friends who love me. I can feel lonely even though I'm in the middle of a family party!

For people who aren't in their right mind, for whatever reason, they need a keeper. I'm not just being funny. They need someone who is mature, logical, rational, objective and a clear thinker, to watch over someone who cannot think rightly for themselves. It may be a spouse, an adult child, a sibling,  family attorney, etc. But many people are alone in the world with no one they can trust to watch out for their best interest. This is so sad! And those people are the ones that get taken advantage of. For someone to do that is disgusting. To take advantage of someone who cannot think for themselves, take care of themselves, defend themselves, protect themselves... it's the lowest of the low. But that is what evil is. It looks for someone to hurt, someone to destroy, someone to steal from and it looks for the easiest targets. Whether they are raping a woman just because they can and she is unable to defend herself, or kidnapping a defenseless child, or stealing from the elderly, or lying in wait to knock someone unconscious in order to steal from them... it's evil and it's low.

A man or woman who uses flattery and flirting to turn your head is evil and low. To target someone you want and start using flattery and flirting to get them into bed with you is low class. It's selfishness at its' worst. You are using someone just like you would use a public toilet. It's base. It's evil. It's nothing more than animals do. And if you target someone who is already married, you've reached a new low.

Let's say you go into your office today and they've hired a new person to man the switchboard. You introduce yourself, welcome them to the company and go to your office. But the new person (man or woman) begins to target you with flattery and a little flirting.  It makes you feel desirable and young so you keep it up. Before you know it, you've developed a closer relationship and you think of yourselves as friends and it continues to escalate. You have opened yourself up to someone who is not your spouse, someone outside your family and household, a strange man/woman. You have begun to enjoy the suspension of reality. You like the flattery and feeling young again. You might begin disclosing things that is not their business and should only be between husband and wife. Opening up like that and revealing stuff is not the right thing to do with a strange man or woman. The other person has targeted you and used flattery and flirtation to get you to do things you wouldn't normally do and that you know are wrong. Both you and the other person are in great danger and doing sinful things even if it hasn't come to physical contact yet. You are supplanting the spouse(s) with someone else in your affections and desires.

Jesus said that anyone who would look at another woman (or man) is already committing adultery.

Matthew 5:27-28 (Jesus speaking) 27 You have heard that it was said, ‘Do not commit adultery.’ 28 But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman to lust after her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.

That seems harsh until you see it in all it's evil. When we begin supplanting our spouse with someone else in our affections, desires and confidences, we are in trouble already. When we begin discussing our marital problems and revealing secrets, we are in trouble already. When we begin to look forward to seeing this stranger rather than seeing our spouse and family, we are in trouble already. When we begin to arrange our schedule around the other person rather than our spouse, we are in trouble already. When we become addicted to the feelings aroused by the other person, we are in trouble already. And that's before you get physical! I.e. Jesus is saying you are already straying and finding a stranger more appealing than your spouse and that means it's involved your heart and has become very difficult to untangle. It's become easier to go ahead with the relationship than it is to back up, turn around and disentangle. The results and consequences of going ahead with the affair are far harder than disentangling yourself before it gets too far. It would be better for you to chop off the relationship now than to let it keep flowing on. So, let's look at what Jesus said in context.

Matthew 5:27-32 (Jesus speaking)  27 “You have heard the commandment that says, ‘You must not commit adultery.’ 28 But I say, anyone who even looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart. 29 So if your eye—even your good eye—causes you to lust, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. 30 And if your hand—even your stronger hand—causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell.
31 “You have heard the law that says, ‘A man can divorce his wife by merely giving her a written notice of divorce.’32 But I say that a man who divorces his wife, unless she has been unfaithful, causes her to commit adultery. And anyone who marries a divorced woman also commits adultery.

Notice, Jesus says if you look with lust, you've already got the heart involved: "has already committed adultery with her in his heart". Then He goes on to say, it's better to chop it off at the root rather than to go on and sin. Chop it off! You don't say, "I'm married, let's just be friends." Chop it off. You don't think, "I'll quit going to his/her office and talking." Chop it off! You don't justify, rationalize, make excuses. You chop it off. Even if it means leaving your job and finding another one, or moving to another town... chop it off. You think you can handle it without it getting physical... you can't, chop it off! If you have to be rude, chop it off! If you have to get mean, chop it off! Remove them from your cell phone, contact list, emails, chatrooms - chop it off! The relationship has to be chopped off! You cannot dabble and play with it, chop it off!

You see, God loves us. He is not a kill-joy trying to keep you from having a good time. There are very real reasons why he gave us sex and love but He also gave us boundaries and parameters in order for us to get the full enjoyment of it without sinful consequences. Sex and love are to be between a husband and wife. Otherwise, it falls into sin and becomes destructive. It may seem old-fashioned to you to keep your virginity until you are married (both men and women) and our peers may even mock and ridicule us and make us feel like some type of clown. But God has very specifically laid out the boundaries and parameters to sex and love. There is no other interpretation and no vagueness that allows us to misunderstand. God is specific. And God doesn't change with the times. If He did He might love us one day and hate us the next. No, I want God to be the immovable Rock. He's the only thing in my life that never changes and I like, and need, it that way. Otherwise I'd be lost to eternal hell by a capricious God. God is the Rock, He does not change and His Word is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. It's how I know that once I except Jesus, I'm saved and marked as His child for eternity. So what He says about sex is always going to be the same. No matter how you want it different or how society changes, God's Word stays the same and He warns us that sex outside of marriage is a very dangerous and destructive thing. It is in our best interests to listen to Him and obey Him. He's not being mean, He's being real. He's being loving to warn us and give us guidelines to protect us.

We've talked about the adulterous person who would entice you into a forbidden relationship. We've talked about how it happens and why it's appealing. We've talked about the results and consequences of infidelity. We've discussed how both you and the strange person are to fault if you let it go and the best thing is to chop it off. We've talked about how God gave us guidelines to sex and marital love relationships in order to protect us and give us the fullness of joy that obedience brings rather than the bitter rottenness that a forbidden relationship brings. He wants us to enjoy love and sex but if we take it outside a marriage, we are opening ourselves up to the consequences and destruction of sin and it ruins it for us.

But now let's go one step further. This passage is definitely talking about infidelity. But there is another type of infidelity we can bring out here. God wants a relationship with us and it must be a relationship of fidelity. He says we can have no other god before Him. Idolatry, of any type, is infidelity to the one, true, living God who has done everything in order to give us a relationship with Him. He gave His only Son, Jesus, to die for us so we could be reconciled to God and have a relationship with God.

Satan would flatter and flirt with us in order to get us to sin. He is the stranger who is not of God's family and household. He will use all kinds of ways to tempt you to sin and to take your eyes off your Beloved! Do not listen to him. Do not let him into your heart. Give him no place in your affections and if you see yourself beginning to slide, chop it off!

  • Had you ever thought about the temptress as a "stranger to the family and household"? Do you understand what that means now?
  • Have you seen, or experienced, someone using flattery and flirtation to entice? Did you see it for what it was, just a line to con you, or were you taken in by it?
  • Have you noticed all the different ways these people will appeal to you such as on your job, on the Internet, while playing video games, texting/sexting, chatrooms or facebook groups, at a party, at the grocery store in line, while you wait somewhere just sitting and passing the time? They intrude themselves on your attention and begin the fake come-ons. They call it flirting but it's just flattery and pretention. As long as it brings them attention, they will be encouraged to continue and get more aggressive and intrusive. If you pay attention, you will almost laugh at the silly things people will do or say to try and begin a flirtation with you. Chop it off.
  • Have you been guilty of pressing yourself in on someone and trying to get them focused on you for one reason, sex? You have no real desire for a relationship, you aren't thinking of them as marriageable, you don't even think of them as a real person, you just want sex. Do you see how destructive that is to yourself and the other person? Do you see how selfish it is to use someone else like that? Do you see the damage it's doing to you? What kind of person does it make you? It's easy to repent and ask forgiveness. God still loves you.
  • Have you ever encountered someone who doesn't seem to take NO for an answer and they keep on bothering you, bugging you, tempting you, pushing themselves on you? They are so desperate and needy. Did you ever stop to think of them as a person and why they may be so desperate and needy? Did you ever once think about praying for them? I'm not saying keep up a relationship with them. Like I said before, chop it off! Give no encouragement. Sometimes you have to be downright rude or mean to get through to them. But that shouldn't negate them as a person needing prayer. You can pray for them without being in a relationship with them. They are in a bad place and endangering themselves and they need God and God's help. So if someone has come to your mind, stop and pray for them right now. Pray that they know God and that God is able to get to those empty, desolate, damaged places in their heart and bring healing. Pray for their salvation.
  • What excuses have you used or heard to justify losing your virginity?
  • Do any of them negate God's Word?
  • Look these scriptures up and read them for yourself:  Genesis 2:24, Exodus 22:16, Leviticus 20:10, Hebrews 13:4, 1 Corinthians 6:18-20, 1 Corinthians 7:1-40, 1 Corinthians 10:8-12:3, 2 Corinthians 12:21; Galatians 5:19; Ephesians 5:3; Colossians 3:5; 1 Thessalonians 4:3; Hebrews 13:4, Jude 7. There are a lot more but these get you started.
  • After reading these scriptures, it might be a good time to do some journaling. Thinking it through, meditating on how these apply and how hard it is in today's world and, yet, how necessary to follow God's way.

For all my studies on Proverbs click HERE.

Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Proverbs 5:1-2

Proverbs 5:1-2 1 My son, pay attention to my wisdom,
turn your ear to my words of insight,
2 that you may maintain discretion
and your lips may preserve knowledge.

In this chapter, the author tells the young man, presumably his son, about the dangers of sex. Of course, the same can be said for young women, daughters. This is the first of three poems in Proverbs that counsel about the “forbidden woman". Knowing King Solomon's history, it is from his own experience that he is warning his son. Some would take it to mean he has no moral ground for instructing and therefore his instructions should be ignored. How many young people have flung past indiscretions in the face of their parent and then gone off to ignore the parent's warning? But, if you were smart, you would take it to mean your parent experienced an unfortunate incident and is trying to keep you from making the same mistakes. Most parents love their children and would give them advice and warnings in order to keep them from making mistakes and having to deal with the consequences. Who better to warn than those who experienced the problems themselves? It would be better if we learned the easy way, but too often, we learned the hard way. We would spare our children from that if we could, so we give advice. It is our duty as parents to teach and train, to guide and give wisdom.

Of course, with immature teenagers, it doesn't matter if the parents had bad experiences or avoided making bad choices, the teen is going to justify their behavior.

"You don't know what it's like!"

"You did it, so why can't I?"

If they want to do something, they will look for a reason, any reason, no matter how illogical, to support their behavior. A teenager is biologically NOT an adult. They think they are, but you, as a parent, have to be the mature one and realize they are NOT an adult. Their brains still cannot function as an adult because they are not biologically there yet. Just like a toddler cannot understand the concept of time, a teenager cannot follow a thought through to logical conclusion. For instance, as mature adults, we know that smoking causes cancer and you can die a horrible death from smoking. A teenager will still choose to smoke because they cannot fathom themselves in the cancer wing of a hospital dying a horrible death from cancer caused by smoking. Their brains only go so far as to "look cool" with a cigarette hanging out of their mouths. And tobacco companies know this and it's why they target teenagers by promoting smoking in movies. They hope to get them hooked before they become adults with the ability to rationally make choices. As a parent, or guardian, it is our duty to impart wisdom.

Don't get me wrong, there are plenty of adults who don't show any maturity past their teenage years. I don't know why that is, but there are plenty of people who are adult age but have minds still stuck in their teenage years. They just don't seem to be able to reason and think logically. They don't have self control because they can't think a thought through to a conclusion. They basically live life on the surface with whatever initial thought comes to their mind. I call them flat thinkers. There is no depth and no ability to think deeply.

King Solomon had many wives and concubines (hundreds!). He could have been a sex addict based on those numbers. But then we don't know if he actually slept with that many wives or just kept them for political reasons. But, one thing is for sure, he did know what he was talking about. It was because of his many wives that he began compromising and then participating in idolatry, this despite being one of the wisest men. So his father/son talk about the dangers of sex came from personal experience.

Today, most don't listen to the godly wisdom given in the Bible about sex. Society has made up it's own rules to justify, and even "celebrate", sexual promiscuity and perversions. We are desperate to find ways to avoid the consequences of our sins. I.e., we want our sin but without the consequences. It's why condoms are big business, as are abortion, birth control, STD medical treatments. Why do you think it's so promoted in every TV show, advertisement, movie, book, magazine? Two reasons: it's what sinful people want and it makes big money. Alcohol sales alone are big money and alcohol lowers inhibitions which leads to more spending on drugs, condoms, and morning-after remedies like abortion, morning-after pills, trips to doctors, etc. We don't want any physical consequences to our choices to sin but we also spend a lot of money on sin. And that doesn't take into account the damage done to our souls and spirits. There is a lot of emotional baggage created by promiscuity and sexual perversions. And, as Christians, our born again spirit is affected by what we do with our bodies and emotions. The Bible says our bodies are temples for the Holy Spirit. We damage our relationship with God when we give in to sin and don't repent. (Thank God, we can always repent and ask for forgiveness!)

But this is not just a parent giving wisdom to a child. It's godly wisdom. God's wisdom given to His children about sex, sin and idolatry. The forbidden woman is not just a prostitute, a loose woman, but is a satanic lure to sin, any sin. Satan makes sin look awfully good but it leads to destruction. The advertisement to sin makes it look perfect and does not show the devastation and destruction it really causes.

Expectation versus reality

King Solomon is saying we should learn the easy way, by godly wisdom. How do we learn godly wisdom? As a Christian, read the word, meditate on it, think on it, apply it and follow it. We have the option of choosing who we listen to. Use discretion as to who you listen to and whose advice you take.

Hosea 14:9 Whoever is wise, let him understand these things; Whoever is discerning, let him know them For the ways of the LORD are right, And the righteous will walk in them, But transgressors will stumble in them.

Ecclesiastes 7:12 (Amp) For wisdom is a defense even as money is a defense, but the excellency of knowledge is that wisdom shields and preserves the life of him who has it.

  • To be continually learning from others, without being resentful, is a sign of maturity. Are you willing to learn? Are you benefitting from godly wisdom or resenting godly wisdom?
  • Have you experienced things, good or bad, and thus would teach them to your children? Would you warn them against things you know are bad? Would you encourage them to do things that are good? Why?
  • As God's children, God has given us a manual of life called the Bible. He gives plenty of examples of good and bad, with lot's of wisdom and He uses many teaching tools. Why? Why did God give us His Word?
  • Can you think of a time where you used godly wisdom and were glad you did? Can you think of a time when you ignored godly wisdom and wished you hadn't?
  • Did you think God was just a kill-joy who doesn't want us to have a good time?
  • Can you see Him now as a Father who wants the best for His children?

For all my studies on Proverbs click HERE.

Sunday, December 29, 2019

Proverbs 4:23-27

Proverbs 4:23-27 23 Guard your heart with all diligence,
for from it flow springs of life.
24 Put away deception from your mouth;
keep your lips from perverse speech.
25 Let your eyes look forward;
fix your gaze straight ahead.
26 Make a level path for your feet,
and all your ways will be sure.
27 Do not swerve to the right or to the left;
turn your feet away from evil.

Strong's Exhaustive Concordance
Guard - נְצֹ֣ר (natsar, nə·ṣōr) - Verb - Qal - Imperative - masculine singular
Strong's Hebrew 5341: To watch, guard, keep
Brown-Driver-Briggs Hebrew and English Lexicon adds: Watch, guard, keep the way

your heart - לִבֶּ֑ךָ (leb, lib·be·ḵā) - Noun - masculine singular construct | second person masculine singular
Strong's Hebrew 3820: The heart, the feelings, the will, the intellect, centre, the inner man

"The fact here stated is that the moral conduct of life, its actions and proceedings, are determined by the condition of the heart. If the heart is pure, the life will be pure; if the heart is corrupt, the life will be corrupt." - Pulpit Commentary

Matthew 12:33-35 (Jesus speaking) 33 "Make a tree good and its fruit will be good, or make a tree bad and its fruit will be bad; for a tree is known by its fruit. 34 You brood of vipers, how can you who are evil say anything good? For out of the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks. 35 The good man brings good things out of his good store of treasure, and the evil man brings evil things out of his evil store of treasure."

Matthew 15:17-18 (Jesus speaking) 17 “Do you not yet realize that whatever enters the mouth goes into the stomach and then is eliminated? 18 But the things that come out of the mouth come from the heart, and these things defile a man."

Luke 6:45 (Jesus speaking) "The good man brings good things out of the good treasure of his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil treasure of his heart. For out of the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks."

Mark 7:20-20-23 (Jesus speaking) He continued: “What comes out of a man, that is what defiles him. 21 For from within the hearts of men come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, 22 greed, wickedness, deceit, debauchery, envy, slander, arrogance, and foolishness. 23 All these evils come from within, and these are what defile a man.”

Strong's Exhaustive Concordance
Put - הָסֵ֣ר (sur, hā·sêr) - Verb - Hifil - Imperative - masculine singular
Strong's Hebrew 5493: To turn aside

away - מִ֭מְּךָ (min, mim·mə·ḵā) - Preposition | second person masculine singular
Strong's Hebrew 4480: A part of, from, out of

deception - עִקְּשׁ֣וּת (iqqeshuth, ‘iq·qə·šūṯ) - Noun - feminine singular construct
Strong's Hebrew 6143: Crookedness (of mouth)
Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers adds: A froward mouth.-Hebrew 'iqqesh-th, literally means distortion, or twisting of the truth

from perverse speech - וּלְז֥וּת (ū·lə·zūṯ) - Conjunctive waw | Noun - feminine singular construct
Strong's Hebrew 3891: Deviation, crookedness

"A froward mouth, and perverse lips; literally, perverseness of mouth and waywardness of lips (ikk'shuth peh vulzuth s'phathayim). 'Perversity of mouth' is fraudulent, deceitful speech; that which twists, distorts, perverts, or misrepresents what is true, and hence falsehood" - Pulpit Commentary

Leviticus 19:11 Ye shall not steal, neither deal falsely, neither lie one to another.

Ephesians 4:25 Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to his neighbor, for we are members of one another.

Zechariah 8:16 These are the things you must do: Speak truth to one another, render true and sound decisions in your gates,

Colossians 3:9 Do not lie to one another, since you have taken off the old self with its practices,

1 Peter 2:1 Rid yourselves, therefore, of all malice, deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander.

"'To look right on' and 'to look straight before one' is to fix the eyes steadily and unswervingly upon an object before them, not to allow the gaze to deflect either to the right hand or to the left." - Pulpit Commentary

"Ponder the path of thy feet; properly, make straight or level the path of thy feet. . . Simplicity of aim in the moral life is to be accompanied by attention to the moral conduct. The sense is, remove every obstacle which may impede or render insecure the way of moral life, and thus avoid every false step." - Pulpit Commentary

Deuteronomy 5:32-33 32 So be careful to do as the LORD your God has commanded you; you are not to turn aside to the right or to the left. 33 You must walk in all the ways that the LORD your God has commanded you, so that you may live and prosper and prolong your days in the land that you will possess.

"Keep thy heart with all diligence. We must set a strict guard upon our souls; keep our hearts from doing hurt, and getting hurt. A good reason is given; because out of it are the issues of life. Above all, we should seek from the Lord Jesus that living water, the sanctifying Spirit, issuing forth unto everlasting life. Thus we shall be enabled to put away a froward mouth and perverse lips; our eyes will be turned from beholding vanity, looking straight forward, and walking by the rule of God's word, treading in the steps of our Lord and Master. Lord, forgive the past, and enable us to follow thee more closely for the time to come." - Matthew Henry Commentary

There are action words in these verses:
Guard (your heart)
Put (away deception)
Keep (your lips from perverse speech)
Look (forward)
Straight (fix your gaze straight ahead)
Make (level your path)
Will (your ways will be sure)
Swerve (not)
Turn (your feet away from evil)

You don't guard worthless trash. Our heart is so valuable that God commands you to "guard your heart". Why is our heart so valuable? It is the essence of who we are. Out of this inner source, or wellspring, of thought and intellect, come our attitudes, our words and our actions. It is our being. It is the seat of wisdom, knowledge, experience, understanding, discernment, memory, thought (rational and irrational) and where we make our choices. It is the inner person: our behavior, our attitudes, our words, our character. Your heart is the reservoir of your life, and from it flows your decisions, choices, actions, behaviors and, ultimately, your character. When we use the term "heart" it doesn't mean the physical organ that pumps our blood. To me it means the soul of a person. Some people use the term "soul" to mean their "spirit". To me there is three parts to our being: our physical bodies, our soul and our spirit. When we are born, we are born with physical bodies and our souls. But we are missing the spirit. The spirit is born when we accept Jesus as our Savior and become a converted, believing Christian. It's what we call being born-again. Our bodies don't become newborn infants again. Our soul is not a newborn infant (thus the need for renewing our minds). It is the spirit that is born. We are once more the 3 part being that God intended (in His image). To me, our soul is our heart, our innermost being, what makes us who we are. Although, as I said before, some people use soul, heart and spirit interchangeably and you need to read, or hear the content, to recognize which they are speaking of.

When we are born, our souls/heart have limited programming. In a computer, there is a base memory programmed to get the computer started and running. It is a set of read only memory (ROM) instructions called ROM BIOS. We cannot access this memory to make changes. We are born like that and some of the things that are in this firmware (unchangeable) is our God given purpose (to worship God) and our seed of faith. Beyond this may be characteristics that arise and make us uniquely us. I may be born with a tendency to depression and I probably got that gene from an ancestor. This doesn't give me an excuse not to fight it. If it isn't godly and leads to sin, then I must fight it even if it's a natural tendency in me. All of us have something we are weak in and with which we must struggle against. The struggle is what makes us stronger and more of a godly survivor and warrior. We also have inborn strengths that can be encouraged. For instance, someone may be a natural musician or have a confident personality. Now, beyond this ROM BIOS, we begin to add environment, experiences, knowledge and we grow our inner man. You may have had good experiences, bad experiences, traumatic experiences, wonderful experiences and along the way, they can shape our inner person. Somethings we cannot control, they have been done to us or we were too immature to know how to handle whatever it was. But God can turn even those things into strengths and treasures if we let Him (that takes time and is part of the process of sanctification and healing). But what God is talking about in Proverbs 4:23 is to guard our hearts/soul/inner person when we can. I.e. don't choose to go to the seedy side of town and proposition a prostitute or don't go to pornographic websites or don't go into that bar and order a drink. These are choices that can harm the inner person, causing problems we didn't have to have in our thought life and our actions and our character.

Genesis 6:5 And God saw that the wickedness of man was great on the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was evil continually before God

This is a scary verse. This is describing civilization and society BEFORE the Great Flood of Noah. I.e. God had to bring judgment against millions of people, because their hearts were so evil continually! So if God judged those people for their wickedness, their evil imaginations and thoughts which ended up in evil words and actions... do we think He doesn't care what's in OUR hearts?

Romans 12:2 Be not conformed to this world; but be transformed by the renewing of your mind

Psalm 119:9-11 9 How can a young person stay on the path of purity? By living according to your word. 10 I seek you with all my heart; do not let me stray from your commands. 11 I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.

When we have the control, we should make wise choices to guard our hearts. Another computer term is GIGO - Garbage In, Garbage Out. If I input faulty data, make data entry errors, then the computer will produce faulty, erroneous data. For example, if the meter reader inputs the wrong readings into the computer, then our power bill will be incorrect. If someone accidentally transposes a number or adds an extra zero, we get the wrong results. It can be costly results! So a computer's results are only as good as the data entered. So it is with our heart, our soul. We must take care not to involve ourselves in something evil, wicked, immoral, sinful. How do we input data into our heart/soul? One way is by our senses. We read, we hear, we taste, we feel, we smell. This is why sex is something to be very aware of and careful of. All our senses become involved and our bodies react and it becomes very hard to control after that. God knows how hard it is to control ourselves when our senses, our bodies and hormones get involved. It's why He warns us to guard our hearts. Don't open yourself to pornography; or to suggestive books, magazines and movies; don't participate in sexual innuendos, , dirty jokes, suggestive and flirty conversations; don't listen to vulgar and erotic music. Be careful with your thought life. Once we begin dwelling on something ungodly, it doesn't take long before the thoughts control us and action/behavior follows.

Guarding our heart also includes nourishing our heart/soul with godly things. Being careful to input good things that nourish our relationship with God. Reading the Word, prayer, worship, Christian music, godly conversation, Christian books, etc. It doesn't have to be all Christian music and only Christian books. Any good media can nourish our soul/heart such as good books, beautiful poetry, classical music, country songs about good family life (there are some out there, LOL), good TV shows, good movies, sitting on a beach and contemplating God, watching a sunrise and loving God for it, etc. But you choose whether or not to watch an uplifting movie or one filled with violence, sex and filthy language. Which one nourishes your soul and spirit and which one weakens our soul and spirit?

Set your eyes on God and keep Him as your focus and then make sure you make wise choices that keep your focus steady and true. When it's in your power and under your control, make wise decisions that help you rather than hurt you. Life is going to throw enough lemons at us (because we live in a sinful and fallen world surrounded by sinful, fallen and faulty human beings) without us making more trouble for ourselves by being stupid. Don't fill your life with garbage and then try to tiptoe through it without getting filthy yourself. It won't work.

Let me tell you a story about the Collyer brothers, Homer and Langley. Home and Langley Collyer were born into a wealthy family but once their parents died, they became recluses and retreated into their huge mansion in NY. In 1909, Dr. Herman Livingston Collyer (a gynecologist at Belleview who had married his first cousin, Susie Gage Frost) moved the family into a four-story brownstone in Harlem at 2078 Fifth Avenue. Both Homer and Langley attended Columbia University. Homer obtained a degree in admiralty law, while Langley studied engineering and chemistry. Langley was also an accomplished concert pianist; he played professionally for a time and performed at Carnegie Hall. The family had been parishioners since 1697 at Trinity Church. Around 1919, Herman Collyer and Susie Collyer separated. Dr. Collyer moved to a new home at 153 West 77th Street while Susie Collyer stayed in the Harlem brownstone. Homer and Langley, never married and never lived on their own and chose to stay with their mother in the brownstone. Dr. Collyer died in 1923 and Susie Collyer died in 1929, leaving the brothers all their possessions and the Harlem brownstone. After their mother's death, the Collyer brothers continued to live together. For the next four years, the brothers socialized with others and left their home on a regular basis. Homer continued to practice law while Langley worked as a piano dealer. Both also taught Sunday school at the Trinity Church. But they quit paying their bills and all utilities were eventually turned off. In 1933, Homer lost his eyesight due to hemorrhages in the back of his eyes. Langley quit his job to care for his brother and the two began to withdraw completely from society. As the area began to go downhill, rumors went around the neighborhood that the Collyers had valuables and cash stored in the house so they attempted to rob the brothers. Vandals broke the windows. Langley tinkered with inventions so he came up with booby traps to protect them. He wired the doors shut and boarded up windows. He got water from a park fountain, they heated a room with a kerosene heater. He scavenged food from trash cans.

On March 21, 1947, an anonymous tipster phoned the 122nd Police Precinct and insisted there was a dead body in the house from the smell. An emergency squad of seven men eventually had to begin pulling out all of the junk that was blocking their way and throwing it out onto the street below. Homer Collyer's body was found in an alcove surrounded by filled boxes and stacks of newspapers that were piled to the ceiling. He had only been dead 10 hours. He had died from starvation and heart disease. On April 8, 1947, a workman found the body of Langley Collyer ten feet from where Homer had died. It took that long for the crews to remove enough stuff to find it! The medical examiner determined that Langley had died around March 9. Police theorized that Langley was crawling through the tunnel to take food to his paralyzed brother when he inadvertently tripped a booby trap he had created and was crushed by debris. His cause of death was attributed to asphyxiation. 120 tons of debris, mostly garbage, was removed and the home was in such bad shape that it was destroyed. The brothers had cash and assets that would have been worth over a million dollars in today's money. If they had used their energies, talents and education to advantage they could have added to it and lived in comfort. At one point they were offered $125,000 for the brownstone but refused to sell it. That was a lot of money back then, especially considering the neighborhood decline. But instead they invested in trash and let it all rot and decay and finally kill them. All their time, energies and education went to collect newspapers and garbage. They lived in filth. They died of their own booby traps and their bodies decomposed and were gnawed on by rats.

Proverbs 4:25-27 25 Let your eyes look forward;
fix your gaze straight ahead.
26 Make a level path for your feet,
and all your ways will be sure.
27 Do not swerve to the right or to the left;
turn your feet away from evil.

How is your path? Have you crowded your life with garbage, filth, obstructions, booby traps? Will you be caught dead in a hell of your own making? Make a level path for your feet, keep your focus on God, walk in purity and guard your mind by keeping the trash out.

Had you ever heard of the story of the Collyer brothers? They died in 1947 so it was a long time ago but it was a famous media sensation at the time. Are you a hoarder? Do you hoard food? Do you hoard trash? Do you hoard clothes? Do you hoard purchases from shopping online or in stores? Do you hoard cars? Do you hoard in your home, outside buildings, offsite storage? Even if it's valuable, are you letting it lose value because you can't keep it in good condition? Is it decaying and rotting, falling to pieces, becoming trash? Have the rats begun to get in it, the bugs, mildew, mold, weather? What good is it if it has lost all value or rots into dust? I just recently came across a hoarder who had a very large home on acreage. It was very well built. But she had filled it with so much junk she couldn't live in the house any more. She lived in a camper in the backyard. She had spent so much money on "collectibles" and then thrown them in the house. They were still in the boxes and bags, never opened or used. All that money was wasted on that stuff and she couldn't pay her property taxes. The county was going to take her house for back taxes! She could sell the property, but it meant moving all that junk and then paying off the back taxes, leaving her with little to start again. With help she did, but she took a lot of that junk with her which meant she was buying another house based on storage of junk. For instance, we live inside a house and we don't do a lot outside. So I don't really need acreage to take care of when I can't take care of it, don't want to take care of it and don't want to have to pay someone else to take care of it. We lived on a farm before so I know all about maintaining 100 acres and a large yard. We felt land poor. Lots of land, but had to settle for less house or less money in the bank. So when we went looking for a house, we were looking more at square footage and the lay of the house, rather than how many acres went with it. I didn't want to pay for acres and have a small house. I'd rather have a nice sized house and less acres. The hoarder I mentioned went looking for a house with extra storage for junk. I'm sure she ended up with less house to live in and more outbuildings to store junk in. She sacrificed what she needed and wanted in order to store her junk. That's her business and I'm just glad she has somewhat of a new start. But more than likely she will continue in her ways.

There are hoarders because they are too lazy and slothful to take out the trash and wash their dishes. There are hoarders because they are disabled and can't take out the trash. There are hoarders because greed, it's all about them and their desires. There are hoarders who are so selfish they won't give up a single piece of trash in order to help someone else such as a spouse, a child, a parent. In fact, if someone else sees value in something they hold, they will really refuse to give it up! There are hoarders because they enjoy being crafty, manipulative and wily. They want to trick others into doing everything for them. Why should they clean their house, repair it, maintain it, take off the trash when eventually someone else will do it for them and at someone else's expense? There are hoarders who have control issues. They just can't let someone else have control over anything in their lives even if it means help in taking out the trash. There are hoarders who are truly mentally ill, they are vacant in life and unable to function. Except for those who physically cannot perform basic tasks or those who are so mentally ill they cannot function... all the other hoarders are hoarders due to sins - greed, lust, fear, selfishness, idolatry, control.

Now let's apply that to our inner life. Are we hoarding junk? Are we hoarding trash? Are we hoarding worldly stuff that, in the end, is worthless? What are we putting into our minds? What are we accommodating and compromising on? Is it worth it? What are we spending our time, energy, money, talents and abilities on? Does it have any spiritual value? Are we investing in heavenly treasure? Or are we wasting ourselves on garbage? Are we making our path easier or harder? Are we able to keep our focus on God or are we so distracted by our collection of trash that we can't focus? Maybe it's time to do a spiritual inventory and take out the trash and set some priorities.

  • Did you understand what verse 24 meant when it said, "guard your heart"? Journal your thoughts on it.
  • How can you guard your heart, make your paths straight, keep your eyes fixed on God?
  • Why should we guard our heart?
  • Why is our heart valuable enough that God warns us to guard it?
  • Why do you think God cares about the state of our inner man?
  • Are you a hoarder of any type? Did you recognize yourself when we discussed hoarding? It's not a laughing matter. It's a very serious question. Do you need to let go of things, clean up, shovel out, haul away?
  • What about your inner life? Are you hoarding things in your heart that you don't want God to mess with? Are you resistant to His offer to help you clean up? Do you cling to things of this world even though they are worthless? Are there dark recesses you don't want God to go in? Why? What holds you back from letting Him in and letting Him cart away the junk and cleaning up?
  • Is your path level and easy or so filled with trash that you can hardly crawl through it? Have you booby trapped your life? If so, why?
  • Homer and Langley were only 10 feet from each other when the booby trap fell down on Langley. Homer was paralyzed and Langley was buried just 10 feet from each other. Just 10 feet to salvation. But a life spent filling the house with garbage is what killed them and they died horrible deaths. Don't use your life to fill your inner man with so much garbage that the Holy Spirit can't get through to you to save you! You don't want to die just inches away from salvation! Let God in and let Him begin to clean out the clutter and trash so you can live a better life.

For all my studies on Proverbs click HERE.

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