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September 4

Pastor’s Note

Today the Proverbs address the perennial temptations that confront every generation. May this reading be helpful in safeguarding our minds and marriages as we seek to live by God’s holy commandments in a world that forcefully rebels against them. In the New Testament we read of Paul’s corrective regarding the degeneration of the worship services in Corinth. The abuse of the gift of “languages” (i.e., tongues) in the Corinthian setting should be obvious as we compare it to what we saw in the three occurrences in the book of Acts. For more on understanding this historical (and modern) abuse see my five-part series on this passage entitled “Untwisting the Tongues,” which can be found on the Focal Point Radio website (www.FPR.info).

— Pastor Mike

Proverbs 5-6

Warning Against Adultery

5:1 My son, be attentive to my wisdom;
 incline your ear to my understanding,
that you may keep discretion,
 and your lips may guard knowledge.
For the lips of a forbidden [1] woman drip honey,
 and her speech [2] is smoother than oil,
but in the end she is bitter as wormwood,
 sharp as a two-edged sword.
Her feet go down to death;
 her steps follow the path to [3] Sheol;
she does not ponder the path of life;
 her ways wander, and she does not know it.

And now, O sons, listen to me,
 and do not depart from the words of my mouth.
Keep your way far from her,
 and do not go near the door of her house,
lest you give your honor to others
 and your years to the merciless,
10 lest strangers take their fill of your strength,
 and your labors go to the house of a foreigner,
11 and at the end of your life you groan,
 when your flesh and body are consumed,
12 and you say, “How I hated discipline,
 and my heart despised reproof!
13 I did not listen to the voice of my teachers
 or incline my ear to my instructors.
14 I am at the brink of utter ruin
 in the assembled congregation.”

15 Drink water from your own cistern,
 flowing water from your own well.
16 Should your springs be scattered abroad,
 streams of water in the streets?
17 Let them be for yourself alone,
 and not for strangers with you.
18 Let your fountain be blessed,
 and rejoice in the wife of your youth,
 19 a lovely deer, a graceful doe.
Let her breasts fill you at all times with delight;
 be intoxicated [4] always in her love.
20 Why should you be intoxicated, my son, with a forbidden woman
 and embrace the bosom of an adulteress? [5]
21 For a man’s ways are before the eyes of the Lord,
 and he ponders [6] all his paths.
22 The iniquities of the wicked ensnare him,
 and he is held fast in the cords of his sin.
23 He dies for lack of discipline,
 and because of his great folly he is led astray.

Practical Warnings

6:1 My son, if you have put up security for your neighbor,
 have given your pledge for a stranger,
if you are snared in the words of your mouth,
 caught in the words of your mouth,
then do this, my son, and save yourself,
 for you have come into the hand of your neighbor:
 go, hasten, [7] and plead urgently with your neighbor.
Give your eyes no sleep
 and your eyelids no slumber;
save yourself like a gazelle from the hand of the hunter, [8]
 like a bird from the hand of the fowler.

Go to the ant, O sluggard;
 consider her ways, and be wise.
Without having any chief,
 officer, or ruler,
she prepares her bread in summer
 and gathers her food in harvest.
How long will you lie there, O sluggard?
 When will you arise from your sleep?
10 A little sleep, a little slumber,
 a little folding of the hands to rest,
11 and poverty will come upon you like a robber,
 and want like an armed man.

12 A worthless person, a wicked man,
 goes about with crooked speech,
13 winks with his eyes, signals [9] with his feet,
 points with his finger,
14 with perverted heart devises evil,
 continually sowing discord;
15 therefore calamity will come upon him suddenly;
 in a moment he will be broken beyond healing.

16 There are six things that the Lord hates,
 seven that are an abomination to him:
17 haughty eyes, a lying tongue,
 and hands that shed innocent blood,
18 a heart that devises wicked plans,
 feet that make haste to run to evil,
19 a false witness who breathes out lies,
 and one who sows discord among brothers.

Warnings Against Adultery

20 My son, keep your father’s commandment,
 and forsake not your mother’s teaching.
21 Bind them on your heart always;
 tie them around your neck.
22 When you walk, they [10] will lead you;
 when you lie down, they will watch over you;
 and when you awake, they will talk with you.
23 For the commandment is a lamp and the teaching a light,
 and the reproofs of discipline are the way of life,
24 to preserve you from the evil woman, [11]
 from the smooth tongue of the adulteress. [12]
25 Do not desire her beauty in your heart,
 and do not let her capture you with her eyelashes;
26 for the price of a prostitute is only a loaf of bread, [13]
 but a married woman [14] hunts down a precious life.
27 Can a man carry fire next to his chest
 and his clothes not be burned?
28 Or can one walk on hot coals
 and his feet not be scorched?
29 So is he who goes in to his neighbor’s wife;
 none who touches her will go unpunished.
30 People do not despise a thief if he steals
 to satisfy his appetite when he is hungry,
31 but if he is caught, he will pay sevenfold;
 he will give all the goods of his house.
32 He who commits adultery lacks sense;
 he who does it destroys himself.
33 He will get wounds and dishonor,
 and his disgrace will not be wiped away.
34 For jealousy makes a man furious,
 and he will not spare when he takes revenge.
35 He will accept no compensation;
 he will refuse though you multiply gifts.

1 Corinthians 14:1-20

Prophecy and Tongues

14:1 Pursue love, and earnestly desire the spiritual gifts, especially that you may prophesy. For one who speaks in a tongue speaks not to men but to God; for no one understands him, but he utters mysteries in the Spirit. On the other hand, the one who prophesies speaks to people for their upbuilding and encouragement and consolation. The one who speaks in a tongue builds up himself, but the one who prophesies builds up the church. Now I want you all to speak in tongues, but even more to prophesy. The one who prophesies is greater than the one who speaks in tongues, unless someone interprets, so that the church may be built up.

Now, brothers, [15] if I come to you speaking in tongues, how will I benefit you unless I bring you some revelation or knowledge or prophecy or teaching? If even lifeless instruments, such as the flute or the harp, do not give distinct notes, how will anyone know what is played? And if the bugle gives an indistinct sound, who will get ready for battle? So with yourselves, if with your tongue you utter speech that is not intelligible, how will anyone know what is said? For you will be speaking into the air. 10 There are doubtless many different languages in the world, and none is without meaning, 11 but if I do not know the meaning of the language, I will be a foreigner to the speaker and the speaker a foreigner to me. 12 So with yourselves, since you are eager for manifestations of the Spirit, strive to excel in building up the church.

13 Therefore, one who speaks in a tongue should pray for the power to interpret. 14 For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays but my mind is unfruitful. 15 What am I to do? I will pray with my spirit, but I will pray with my mind also; I will sing praise with my spirit, but I will sing with my mind also. 16 Otherwise, if you give thanks with your spirit, how can anyone in the position of an outsider [16] say “Amen” to your thanksgiving when he does not know what you are saying? 17 For you may be giving thanks well enough, but the other person is not being built up. 18 I thank God that I speak in tongues more than all of you. 19 Nevertheless, in church I would rather speak five words with my mind in order to instruct others, than ten thousand words in a tongue.

20 Brothers, do not be children in your thinking. Be infants in evil, but in your thinking be mature.

Footnotes

[1] 5:3 Hebrew strange; also verse 20
[2] 5:3 Hebrew palate
[3] 5:5 Hebrew lay hold of
[4] 5:19 Hebrew be led astray; also verse 20
[5] 5:20 Hebrew a foreign woman
[6] 5:21 Or makes level
[7] 6:3 Or humble yourself
[8] 6:5 Hebrew lacks of the hunter
[9] 6:13 Hebrew scrapes
[10] 6:22 Hebrew it; three times in this verse
[11] 6:24 Revocalization (compare Septuagint) yields from the wife of a neighbor
[12] 6:24 Hebrew the foreign woman
[13] 6:26 Or (compare Septuagint, Syriac, Vulgate) for a prostitute leaves a man with nothing but a loaf of bread
[14] 6:26 Hebrew a man’s wife
[15] 14:6 Or brothers and sisters; also verses 20, 26, 39
[16] 14:16 Or of him that is without gifts

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