CC Image courtesy of clappstar on Flickr.
Author: Carter Shuman
What are your intentions with my daughter? That is the question that was asked to a young man who hoped to take a girl out on a date. He sat on the couch waiting for the girl to come down the hall so they could go out to dinner and a movie. While he sat in that awkward place, the young girl’s father issued a preemptive strike against any ideas that the young man might have had involving his daughter. The older gentleman is firm and direct. He wants to leave a lasting impression. The hope is that the young man will have more of him than he has desire to experience any form of physical touch with his daughter. And somewhere in the middle of the situation the question comes out. What are your intentions?
But I have to wonder if that is the right question to ask. Do our intentions determine the things that we do or the road we travel? This section of scripture gives us an insight into the heart of man on a road he has no business traveling. We have no way to determine what the intentions of this young man were. He may have had dreams of being the best husband there on the planet. He may have never dreamed of taking the offer of another man’s wife. We have no way to determine what the intentions were of this young man. But yet we find him on the road toward a place of dishonor. It is dark on the road and the woman is waiting for a man to walk by suitable for her taste. There is no denying her intention in the matter. She has readied her bed to be a place of infidelity. This young man was walking as an ox to be slaughtered and he didn’t even know it.
The truth of the matter is this. Our intentions do not determine where we go. Some of the most well-intentioned, goodhearted people I have ever met ended up in places that they never wanted to be. Our direction is what ultimately determines our destination. It is the choice of what path you take that will lead you to the destination before you. Andy Stanley calls this the principle of the path: Your direction, not your intentions, determines your destination.
So here is the question the father should actually be asking the boy that wants to take his daughter out, “Do you know what direction you are going?” Or better yet, the father should be giving the advice to always take the path that will lead you to the destination you desire.
So what direction are you headed? Does the path you are going down lead to the adulterous woman who will ensnare you, or does your direction match your intentions leading you down the path of righteousness?
CC Image courtesy of Jim Larrison on Flickr.
Author: Trent Roberson
It looks so enticing. It’s out there lurking and never far away. While the context of the Proverb is promiscuity and sexuality, the teaching transcends and provides wisdom on how we approach and avoid moral pitfalls.
Read the words of Proverbs 7.
This proverb has similarities to the foundational wisdom provided in the Shema (Deuteronomy 6), which includes the keeping and binding of commands along with the writing of them. While having an awareness of God’s commands should be enough, it helps to be prepared for the enemy’s game plans.
Imagine for a moment how much different a football game would look if the home team already new their opponent’s game plan.: what plays they would run on 1st down, which receiver they planned to throw to on certain plays, and which defensive sets they were using against the offense. The game would drastically change. Your preparation for the game and your approach during the game would be more focused.
The father’s wisdom is a description of the enemy’s game plan to the son. He carefully describes how the prowling woman works, how she attracts her prey, and how she devours it. What seems so enticing in the moment smells of a trap from a distance.
While the Proverb is in the context of a sexual encounter, we realize that it could just as easy be replaced with any sin that we might struggle with. The enemy is strategic. He has a plan. He uses enticing, attractive, and shiny bait to lure us into his trap. The enemy is always preying upon our weaknesses and searching for ways to devour us. The enemy’s craftiness challenges us to be people who practice self-discipline and self-control in order to thwart his attacks.
How can we prepare ourselves with wisdom to be able to spot the enemy’s traps from a distance?
How do we develop the strength to act upon this wisdom?
How can we coach those younger than us to act upon this wisdom?
CC Image courtesy of Max Nathan on Flickr.
The Tablet of Your Heart (Prov. 7:3)
Author: Jesse Long
In the tenth “instruction” in Proverbs (7:1-27), the introduction uses an infrequent, yet compellingly descriptive metaphor to describe how the wise son should internalize the father’s teachings. The father tells the son to “bind them on your fingers; write them on the tablet of your heart” (v. 3, ESV throughout). “Bind them on your fingers” probably refers to wrapping a box (containing the Shema, Deut. 6:4 ff.) and leather straps (phylacteries, in Hebrew tefillin) around the arm and fingers of the left hand to call to mind Moses’ declaration that Israel should love Yahweh “with all of your heart and with all of your soul and with all of your might” (Deut. 6:5). The wise son, however, should do more than bind them on the outside, but also on the inside, on “the tablet of your heart.”
This uncommon image (elsewhere only in 3:3 and Jer. 17:1) describes the heart as a stone tablet on which the wise son should write words of wisdom. As Yahweh inscribed the “Ten Words” (Exod. 34:28; Deut. 4:13) on stone for Moses and Israel (Exod. 24:12), so the son should engrave words of wisdom on his heart.
The apostle Paul conjures up a similar image when he describes the Corinthians as “a letter from Christ delivered by us, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts” (2 Cor. 3:3). Paul goes on to contrast the covenant written on stone with the new covenant in which Yahweh puts his law within (2 Cor. 3:1-18; see Jer. 31:31-34). Like the Moses coming down the mountain (Exod. 35:29-35), those adhering to the old covenant have veiled faces, hearts that are unable to see, but with unveiled faces Christians see the glory of the Lord and are transformed “into the same image from one degree of glory to another” (2 Cor. 3:13-15, 18).
For the Christian, wisdom from God comes not just with inscribing on our hearts wise words, but with transforming our hearts by keeping our eyes on Jesus.