Don’t be tricked into following the wrong paths. These proverbs warn us in many ways.
One of the warnings has to do with laziness. “A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest, and your poverty will come in like a vagabond, and your need like an armed man.” (6: 10-11).
Idleness is a danger to anyone. We all yearn for our vacation and play times, and indeed we do need those moments. But our happiest times are really our productive days. The days when we are challenged and meet the challenge. Or the days when we can go to sleep at night knowing we have accomplished a good amount. God created us to be productive, and we are happiest when we are doing just that.
Another warning is not to be a deceitful person. God calls the man a worthless man who secretly devises evil in his heart for others. He spreads strife, often even speaking lies in order to gain his upper hand. Such wickedness will not be rewarded by our Father.
Yet the greatest warning comes to those who are contemplating adultery. The Lord has some pretty ominous things to say about the adulteress, who tries to deceive someone into a relationship with her. She flatters with her words – and her eyelids. Her beauty may be tempting.
However, on account of her, you may be reduced to a loaf of bread. (6:26) If you follow her, you will be like an ox going to slaughter. (7:22)
These truths are relevant today in our permissive society, just as they were in the days of these proverbs. You can look around and see many homes destroyed and children wounded by those who run to adultery. And the sorrows of an adulterer are still numerous.
God’s way is still the best way! If we run to it and follow it, we will be following His path completely.
II Corinthians 3-4
Paul is constantly reminding his followers about the differences in the way of the law and the way of the Spirit. It’s hard to understand unless you have the Spirit of God within you.
The law was glorious in its time. When the law was presented to Moses, he had to wear a veil over his face because his face was too bright from God’s glory for the people to look at him.
Yet this is a new day – the day of the Spirit of God. No longer do we have the law, which is to be carried out by natural means. Now we have the Spirit of God living within us. He is changing us from within – not from without.
Now when people try to just “keep the law” for their righteousness, they put a veil over their faces again. They are trying to do with their natural abilities something which is impossible to do. (In fact, one of the things the Law was designed to do was to let people know that they can’t do it in their own strength).
When they turn to Christ, they have the veil removed and they are able to understand what God has for them.
Rather than nervous, self-righteous “keepers of the law,” we become letters of God’s grace for all to read. Many who embrace the call of God to the fullest are those who have had turbulent pasts. They know they need more than themselves, and they are willing to go with God’s best. In their humility, they find God’s glorious truth and the veil is removed.
What freedom comes with this new revelation! Their goodness is from Him and Him alone. Their love for Him and their confidence in Him cause them to live to higher standards – above anything the Law could ever do.
That’s the glorious gospel Paul is always talking about: the greatest life available.