Proverbs 6 (The Message)
Like a Deer from the Hunter
1-5 Dear friend, if you’ve gone into hock with your neighbor or locked yourself into a deal with a stranger,
If you’ve impulsively promised the shirt off your back
and now find yourself shivering out in the cold,
Friend, don’t waste a minute, get yourself out of that mess.
You’re in that man’s clutches!
Go, put on a long face; act desperate.
there’s no time to lose.
Run like a deer from the hunter,
fly like a bird from the trapper!
A Lesson from the Ant
6-11 You lazy fool, look at an ant.
Watch it closely; let it teach you a thing or two.
Nobody has to tell it what to do.
All summer it stores up food;
at harvest it stockpiles provisions.
So how long are you going to laze around doing nothing?
How long before you get out of bed?
A nap here, a nap there, a day off here, a day off there,
sit back, take it easy—do you know what comes next?
Just this: You can look forward to a dirt-poor life,
poverty your permanent house guest!
Scripture tells us to consider the ways of the ant and be wise.
When my family and I lived in Nigeria, we were often attacked by driver ants, little black meat eaters. If you stood in one place after a heavy rain and they were nearby, they might move up your leg and start their dinner. You would pick them off and quickly go somewhere else. Sometimes they would move into your house en masse. You might just move out and let them clean out all the scraps of meat lying in corners and wait until they left. One night they moved into my biology lab at school and cleaned out (literally) the white rats awaiting dissection.
Ants work together. They cooperate. One ant is insignificant, but an army of them can accomplish a great task. They also plan. They prepare ahead of time for the dry season when no food is available, and look ahead to the harvest. They are self-starters. They initiate and need no one to tell them what to do.
What great lessons we can learn when we ponder God’s work in little creatures. By applying them we avoid unprofitable independence and sloth.
—Dr. James H. Kraakevik, in Stones of Remembrance
Always Cooking Up Something Nasty
12-15 Riffraff and rascals
talk out of both sides of their mouths.
They wink at each other, they shuffle their feet,
they cross their fingers behind their backs.
Their perverse minds are always cooking up something nasty,
always stirring up trouble.
Catastrophe is just around the corner for them,
a total smashup, their lives ruined beyond repair.
Seven Things God Hates
16-19 Here are six things God hates,
and one more that he loathes with a passion:
eyes that are arrogant,
a tongue that lies,
hands that murder the innocent,
a heart that hatches evil plots,
feet that race down a wicked track,
a mouth that lies under oath,
a troublemaker in the family.
Warning on Adultery
Alan Jackson, from Newnan, Georgia (my hometown for 10 years), is one of the big names in current country music. HERE he sings “She Just Started Liking Cheatin’ Songs.”
20-23 Good friend, follow your father’s good advice;
don’t wander off from your mother’s teachings.
Wrap yourself in them from head to foot;
wear them like a scarf around your neck.
Wherever you walk, they’ll guide you;
whenever you rest, they’ll guard you;
when you wake up, they’ll tell you what’s next.
For sound advice is a beacon,
good teaching is a light,
moral discipline is a life path.
Deuteronomy 5:18 (New International Version)
“You shall not commit adultery.”
24-35 They’ll protect you from wanton women,
from the seductive talk of some temptress.
Don’t lustfully fantasize on her beauty,
nor be taken in by her bedroom eyes.
You can buy an hour with a whore for a loaf of bread,
but a wanton woman may well eat you alive.
Can you build a fire in your lap
and not burn your pants?
Can you walk barefoot on hot coals
and not get blisters?
It’s the same when you have sex with your neighbor’s wife:
Touch her and you’ll pay for it. No excuses.
Hunger is no excuse
for a thief to steal;
When he’s caught he has to pay it back,
even if he has to put his whole house in hock.
Adultery is a brainless act,
Expect a bloody nose, a black eye,
and a reputation ruined for good.
For jealousy detonates rage in a cheated husband;
wild for revenge, he won’t make allowances.
Nothing you say or pay will make it all right;
neither bribes nor reason will satisfy him.