The mother whose wisdom is included alongside the wisdom of Solomon

Pentru traducere automata, fa click aici – Romanian

Have you ever paid close attention to Proverbs 31? This is an oft cited chapter that refers to the „virtuous woman”  / or the „woman who fears the Lord...” and lists her qualifications. If you have not read the entire chapter, you might mistakenly attribute this chapter to Solomon. Yet verse 1 states:

„The words of King Lemuel. An oracle that his mother taught him:”

Now, there is no other mention of this king anywhere else in the Bible, and some older commentaries attribute King Lemuel to being Solomon. Regardless who this king is, the verses in Chapter 31 are quoted from this mother of King Lemuel.

Now read this chapter again, noting that it is written by a woman and if you are one of those women who usually cringes or avoids reading this chapter altogether, because you think it describes a „superwoman” or that it is an impossibility for one woman to display all of the qualities described here, I would encourage you to read the article attached in the link at the bottom of this article, beneath the notes.

The Words of King Lemuel

31 The words of King Lemuel. An oracle that his mother taught him:

What are you doing, my son? What are you doing, son of my womb?
What are you doing, son of my vows?
Do not give your strength to women,
your ways to those who destroy kings.
It is not for kings, O Lemuel,
it is not for kings to drink wine,
or for rulers to take strong drink,
lest they drink and forget what has been decreed
and pervert the rights of all the afflicted.
Give strong drink to the one who is perishing,
and wine to those in bitter distress;
let them drink and forget their poverty
and remember their misery no more.
Open your mouth for the mute,
for the rights of all who are destitute.
Open your mouth, judge righteously,
defend the rights of the poor and needy.

The Woman Who Fears the Lord

10  An excellent wife who can find?
She is far more precious than jewels.
11 The heart of her husband trusts in her,
and he will have no lack of gain.
12 She does him good, and not harm,
all the days of her life.
13 She seeks wool and flax,
and works with willing hands.
14 She is like the ships of the merchant;
she brings her food from afar.
15 She rises while it is yet night
and provides food for her household
and portions for her maidens.
16 She considers a field and buys it;
with the fruit of her hands she plants a vineyard.
17 She dresses herself with strength
and makes her arms strong.
18 She perceives that her merchandise is profitable.
Her lamp does not go out at night.
19 She puts her hands to the distaff,
and her hands hold the spindle.
20 She opens her hand to the poor
and reaches out her hands to the needy.
21 She is not afraid of snow for her household,
for all her household are clothed in scarlet.
22 She makes bed coverings for herself;
her clothing is fine linen and purple.
23 Her husband is known in the gates
when he sits among the elders of the land.
24 She makes linen garments and sells them;
she delivers sashes to the merchant.
25 Strength and dignity are her clothing,
and she laughs at the time to come.
26 She opens her mouth with wisdom,
and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.
27 She looks well to the ways of her household
and does not eat the bread of idleness.
28 Her children rise up and call her blessed;
her husband also, and he praises her:
29 “Many women have done excellently,
but you surpass them all.”
30 Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain,
but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.
31 Give her of the fruit of her hands,
and let her works praise her in the gates.

Photo credit www.dailymail.co.uk

Some short notes which makes some  great points from this Proverbs 31 commentary at www.graceinabundance.com:

Her textual identity –

  • The text of Proverbs does not name the noble woman it describes in such detail. The author is King Lemuel, who was known by Israel‟s sages even though he remains unknown to us. He received the instruction from his own mother. In addition to admonishing her son that a king must not give in to any unrestrained living that would jeopardize his ability to rule, she summarizes the kind of wife that would add honor to his name. He must look for a truly valiant6 wife who fears the Lord and not be tempted by mere beauty and charm. Lemuel applies the advice to more than the royal household, for the husband described within is an elder of the city, not a king. Thus, what was originally designed as advice for a prince has been included in Scripture for the benefit of all classes.
  • Some deny that this too-good-to-be-true wife could be just one woman. She must be an ideal, composite picture of what one could desire in a wife if it were possible to acquire it all in one package.  Nevertheless, we cannot escape the textual presentation of her as one, distinct person whose wisdom benefits not only her household but the community as well. Seeing her as a composite creates unwarranted opportunity for excusing ourselves from any obligation to be like her.

Before determining how this instruction should be applied to today‟s woman, several assumptions need to be recognized.

  1. Assumption 1: She is a mature woman.The woman described in the text is a mature woman, not a new bride. She shows the confidence of one who has gained experience over time, both in her spiritual development and in her skills as a homemaker. Young men hoping to discover a readymade Proverbs 31 wife are setting themselves up for a disappointment if they expect to say “I do” to a bride with this much skill or wisdom. In the same way that homemaking skills become perfected with practice, so also understanding and wisdom increase over time when one walks with the Author of wisdom. A new bride may not match the Proverbs 31 woman‟s skill, but she will be counted wise if she makes a conscious choice to follow the Way of Wisdom.
  2. Assumption 2: Her husband is a wise and mature man. Second, this woman is married to a man who is qualified to sit in the gates as an elder of his people. He has presumably been successful in his own endeavors and thereby has gained the respect of the community. He recognizes that he has a superb wife and appropriately leaves the management of the home to her.
  3. Assumption 3: Her household is economically well off. Third, the Proverbs 31 wife is part of a well-to-do household. Waltke mentions that the poem “assumes the husband has founded the home on a sound economic foundation (24:27) and within that context his wife can settle down and function to her maximum ideal.20 The text indicates that the woman‟s prudent management of the family‟s resources brought economic security to all of her household. Many women conclude that it would be impossible to live up to this woman‟s example without also having her servants. In their dreams, the servants would do the household work and leave them free to carry on her other pursuits. However, this betrays both a misunderstanding of the role of servants and of the author‟s point. In the North American context, servant brings to mind either  the historical slave of  the Southern plantation, or (2) a domestic worker whom only the rich can afford to pay. Neither description comes close to depicting the Proverbs 31 household servant. Even today where modern “electric servants” to which the West has become accustomed do not exist, household chores can be both physically demanding and time consuming. Without readymade clothes, canned foods, and prepared spices, clothing and feeding a household require a huge amount of one‟s day. With no electricity or indoor plumbing, every chore done by the machines the West takes so much for granted becomes a major job. The housewife needs help. Servants help, but they also bring responsibility. The Proverbs 31 woman shouldered this responsibility as normal routine in her household and did it well. The wise woman can live with or without servants. In either case, she organizes and carries out her work with wisdom, overseeing and advising everyone in her household.
  4. Assumption 4: The Proverbs 31 woman is a healthy woman. The fourth assumption from the text is that the Proverbs 31 woman is healthy, strong and fit for her job. Can a woman excuse herself from being a Proverbs 31 wife, then, if she has not been blessed with a healthy body and a vigorous immune system? If the amount of household tasks accomplished is the rule by which we measure a woman‟s worthiness, then we have established a superficial standard for wisdom. Certainly a healthy body is valuable, but wisdom is not dependant upon physical strength. Being a Proverbs 31 woman does not demand the perfect body. Instead, it needs a healthy spirit that is attuned to the Spirit of God.

In summary, then, although the author of Proverbs 31 delights in all this jewel of a woman does in the ruling of her household, her above-rubies value is not dependent upon her homemaking skills, her worthy husband, her comparative wealth, or her physical health. Her value is in using the wisdom God has given her, a wisdom that springs from her fear of the Lord. 

This is no assumption. The writer summarizes this remarkable wife with these words: “Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all. Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.”24 Herein is the key to understanding the entire poem: the noble wife is a woman who fears the Lord. Focusing only on this industrious woman‟s work will cloud this crucial point.

Many women, even non-Christians, out of innate common sense and providential goodness devote themselves to caring successfully for their husbands and children, making the needs of their household the primary focus of their lives. What, then, differentiates the wise wife of Proverbs 31 from her counterparts? It is her fear of the Lord, not her wise shopping or her control over her children.

How does the Proverbs 31 woman‟s fear of the Lord make her different from other accomplished homemakers?

1. Her focus is on God.
2. She hates evil.
3. She is compassionate and fair to all.
4. She delights in the Lord’s commands.
5. She is teachable.

You can read the entire commentary here – http://graceinabundance.com/userfiles//Superwoman%20translit.pdf

Do not forsake your mother’s teaching

Pentru traducere automata, fa click aici – Romanian

Proverbs 1:7-9

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction. Hear, my son, your father’s instruction, and do not forsake your mother’s teaching; indeed, they are a graceful wreath to your head, and ornaments about your neck.

The book of Proverbs begins, „The proverbs of Solomon, son of David, king of Israel.” He was a great king and the son of a great king. That means he was famous and powerful and supreme in all the realm. People bowed in his presence. They did what he said. He had immense authority and honor.

Even Great Kings Should Bow to Their Mothers

How did he treat his mother in this exalted role? You recall his mother was Bathsheba. She had married his father David under very ugly circumstances—very displeasing to God. But she was his mother, and this is what it says in 1 Kings 2:19,

Bathsheba went to King Solomon to speak to him for Adonijah. And the king arose to meet her, bowed before her, and sat on his throne; then he had a throne set for the king’s mother, and she sat on his right.

Then they had their conversation. He rose for her. He bowed to her. And he called for a throne to be put beside his for their conversation. She was his mother. Even kings should stoop when their mothers enter the room.

Solomon was not a perfect king. He was not a perfect man. None of the writers of the Bible was. But God guided his insights and preserved for us true ones here in the book of Proverbs. And I want us to listen to God’s word through Solomon today.

Six Lessons: The Ultimate Issue Is God

There are at least six things he tells us in Proverbs 1:7–9. They all relate to God. They are not merely the kind of wisdom you might pick up in reading „mindworks” or Parents magazine or Ann Landers. They overlap with the wisdom of the world. But the absence of God in the world’s family-advice is ultimately a fatal flaw. Solomon means for us to hear his counsel as all related to God.

We often think of the book of Proverbs as a book of what you can learn from ordinary earthly life. And much of it is. But the point of the book is to bring all that into relation to God so that he becomes the center of it all.

Just one example. In Proverbs 30:8 it says,

Give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with the food that is my portion, 9 Lest I be full and deny Thee and say, „Who is the Lord?” Or lest I be in want and steal, and profane the name of my God.

Do you see what this says about God? The wise man prays, „Guard me from riches and guard me from poverty.” Why? Because if I’m rich I might say, „Who needs God!” And if I’m poor I might steal. And why is that so bad? Because you might get caught and go to jail? Or because you might lose your reputation? No. He says, Because if I steal, I will profane the name of my God.

Riches are dangerous because the ultimate issue is God. And poverty is dangerous because the ultimate issue is God. The book of Proverbs—the most practical, down-to-earth book in the Bible—is written for God’s sake. That we might not deny God in our prosperity and that we might not profane God in the hour of need.

All six lessons in Proverbs 1:7–9 relate to God, and they are all intensely practical.

1. The Origin of Family

The family is God’s idea.

Solomon takes for granted that there are mothers and fathers and children related in relationship of unique accountability. Verse 8: „Hear, my son, your father’s instruction, and do not forsake your mother’s teaching.” This is just a given with Solomon. It used to be with us too. But perhaps it can’t be taken for granted any more. Families are God’s idea. God’s plan. God’s way. They are not arbitrary evolutionary developments based on instincts. The family is ordained by God in creation.

In the very first chapter of the Bible, Genesis 1:27, it says,

And God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. 28 And God blessed them; and God said to them, „Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth . . . „

How are they to do this fruitful earth-filling? By indiscriminate mating and pregnancies? The second chapter of the Bible (Genesis 2:24) gives the answer: A man shall leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave to his wife; and they shall become one flesh.

A profound covenant relationship between one man and one woman—a cleaving to each other alone, in a one-flesh union—is God’s idea of the heart of the family. When this is broken by a tragic death or a tragic divorce, there may have to be single parent families. And God has been faithful to millions of mothers and fathers who have had to raise children alone. But God’s original purpose for the heart of the family was one man and one woman cleaving to each other as husband and wife and becoming one flesh in fruitful sexual union. In that way he meant to fill the earth with humans who image-forth his glory, and with couples whose covenant-relationship shows the world the way that God relates to his covenant people in love and faithfulness.

The family is God’s idea and it is for God’s glory. Solomon assumes that here in Proverbs 1:7–9.

2. The Family as a School

The family is God’s basic school for instructing children how to live in the world.

Verse 8 again: „Hear, my son, your father’s instruction, and do not forsake your mother’s teaching.” The father is an instructor and the mother is a teacher. Therefore the family is a school.

God ordained the family not just to be fruitful and fill the earth with people, but to fill the earth with instructed people and taught people. The family is the place where the next generation is born and where the next generation learns how to live.

Life does not come naturally for human beings. The sucking reflex comes naturally. The falling reflex comes naturally. The iris of the eye closes naturally in bright light. We don’t have to learn to cry when hungry. But that’s about it. And those skills will not get us very far in this world. Humans have to learn just about everything from the most basic skills of walking and talking and eating, to the moral actions of courtesy and gratitude and respect and faith in Christ.

The family is God’s school for this huge undertaking—teaching the next generation how to live in this world and be ready for the next.

And if a mother and a father seek help from others through relatives or nannies or day-care or Sunday schools or day schools or primary schools or secondary schools, the responsibility is still the parents’ and we parents will give an account to God for how the minds and hearts of our children were shaped and molded by the educators and care-givers we entrusted them to.

That’s point number two: the family is God’s basic school for instructing children how to live in the world.

3. The Fear of the Lord as the Unifying Theme

The foundation of family instruction is the fear of the Lord.

Verse 7: „The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge.” In other words if we ask, what’s the basis and beginning and integrating theme of the father’s instruction and the mother’s teaching—what is it that runs through all their daily modeling and counseling and explaining and correcting and disciplining that give unity and meaning to it all—the answer is „the fear of the Lord.”

The family isn’t just a place where children learn to hold spoons and walk on two feet and say” please” and tie shoes and read and look both ways and cut grass and put on makeup and drive a car. The family is where all of this and more begins in God, is guided by God’s Word, and is shown to be for the glory of God. The fear of God—the reverencing of God, the standing in awe of God, the trusting of God—is what family’s are for.

The family is God’s idea. The family is a school. And the unifying theme in the curriculum of this school is God.

4. The Responsibility of Both Fathers and Mothers

Under God both fathers and mothers share in the responsibility of this family instruction.

Verse 8 again: „Hear, my son, your father’s instruction, and do not forsake your mother’s teaching.”

It does not say, „Fathers instruct, and mothers change diapers.” It does not say, „Fathers work at the office and so have no responsibility to teach their children.” Nor does it say, „Mothers work at the office and can turn the responsibility of teaching over to a care-giver.” It says fathers instruct, and mothers teach. They share this responsibility.

If it were Father’s Day I would probably trumpet a challenge to you fathers to take fresh initiatives at home. But it is Mother’s Day, and I want to encourage mothers that this responsibility to teach your children is an immeasurably significant privilege.

God has a way of nullifying the greatness of the great and exalting the lowliness of the lowly. In our culture motherhood is, I think, on the upswing. But only after decades of unusual lowliness and bad-press. The last five our six years have abounded with letters and articles like this one to Ann Landers:

I’m so tired of all those ignorant people who come up to my husband and ask him if his wife has a full-time job or if she’s „just a house-wife.” . . . Here’s my job description.

I’m a wife, mother, friend, confidant, personal advisor, lover, referee, peacemaker, housekeeper, laundress, chauffeur, interior decorator, gardener, painter, wall paperer, dog groomer, veterinarian, manicurist, barber, seamstress, appointment manager, financial planner, bookkeeper, money manager, personal secretary, teacher, disciplinarian, entertainer, psychoanalyst, nurse, diagnostician, public relations expert, dietitian and nutritionist, baker, chef, fashion coordinator and letter writer for both sides of the family.

I am also a travel agent, speech therapist, plumber and automobile maintenance and repair expert . . .

From the studies done, it would cost more than $75,000 a year to replace me. I took time out of my busy day to write this letter, Ann, because there are still ignorant people who believe a housewife is nothing more than a baby sitter who sits on her behind all day and looks at soap operas. (Ann Landers, May 1988, quoted in Mom, You’re Incredible, by Linda Weber, Focus on the Family, 1994, pp. 23–24)

That’s true. And it is good to have it said. But vastly more can be said. Let me give one great illustration from the New Testament: the effect of Timothy’s mother and grandmother.

Paul says in 2 Timothy 1:5,

I am mindful of the sincere faith within you, which first dwelt in your grandmother Lois, and your mother Eunice, and I am sure that it is in you as well.

Then in 3:14–15 Paul says,

You, however, continue in the things you have learned and become convinced of, knowing from whom you have learned them [that is, your mother Eunice and through her from your grandmother Lois]; and that from childhood you have known the holy scriptures [because your mother taught them to you] which are able to give you the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.

Now that’s a remarkable testimony. Timothy’s father was a Greek (Acts 16:3). He probably didn’t know the Scriptures. So Paul celebrates the great heritage that Timothy has through his mother and his grandmother. They did what his father could not or would not do. They filled him with the Scriptures, and the Scriptures brought him eventually to faith in Christ, and faith in Christ brought him salvation.

Timothy will live forever and ever because his mother and his grandmother were faithful to Proverbs 1:8.

5. The Submissiveness of Children

God calls sons and daughters to be submissive to their mothers and fathers.

Verse 8 again: „Hear, my son, your father’s instruction, and do not forsake your mother’s teaching.”

These two commands warn against the two common temptations of rebellion. One is when a child is home; and the other is when he is away from home. If he is home, the temptation of rebellion is not to listen when his parent speaks. So Solomon says, „Hear your father’s instruction.” If he is away from home, the temptation is to forsake what he was taught. So Solomon says, „Do not forsake your mother’s teaching.”

Young people, when you are at home, listen to your parents. Do not write off what they say. Do it for God’s sake. This is so important in God’s eyes that he made it part of the Ten Commandments that sum up the whole law. Exodus 20:12, „Honor your father and mother.” Honor your father by listening respectfully when he speaks. And honor your mother by remembering what she taught you about right and wrong—about the fear of God—when you are away from home and no one can see but you and God.

6. The Promise of Reward

Finally, God ordains a reward for sons and daughters who do not forsake the teaching of their mother and father.

Verse 9: „Indeed [literally, „because”], they [hearing your father’s instruction and not forsaking your mother’s teaching] are a graceful wreath to your head, and ornaments about your neck.”

What this verse makes plain is that the instruction of fathers and the teaching of mothers, rooted in the fear of the Lord, is good news. Kids don’t always feel that. Sometimes parents have never grown up into grace enough to feel it either. But that’s what the verse says: hearing a father’s instruction and not forsaking a mother’s teaching will be a wreath of grace and glory and joy; it will be like gifts and prizes around your neck. In other words it will mean triumph and celebration and joy.

The apostle Paul said in Ephesians 6:2 that „honor your father and mother” is „the first commandment with promise.” All the commandments are full of promise, but God goes out of his way to make this explicit for sons and daughters. There is great promise in honoring your mother and father and embracing the fear of the Lord which they taught.

  • „In the fear of the Lord there is strong confidence . . . The fear of the Lord is a fountain of life” (Proverbs 14:26–27).
  • „The fear of the Lord leads to life, so that one may sleep satisfied, untouched by evil” (Proverbs 19:23).

This is the wreath on your head and the ornament on your neck for embracing the fear of the Lord that your mother and father taught you—a fountain of life and strong confidence and deep satisfaction.

A Mother’s Crown of Joy

But since today is Mother’s Day, perhaps the way we should end is by reminding ourselves as sons and daughters—whether old or young—that the fountain of life, and the strong confidence and the deep satisfaction that come from honoring all the truth that our mothers taught us also comes back to them as a crown of joy and honor and blessing in their later years. „Do not despise your mother when she is old” (Proverbs 23:22). „Let your father and your mother be glad, and let her rejoice who gave birth to you” (Proverbs 23:25). Do not forsake the teaching of your mother. It will be a wreath of grace to your head and a crown of joy upon hers.

By John Piper. ©2013 Desiring God Foundation. Website: desiringGod.org

David Platt – Song of Solomon

photo via allposters.com

Watch the message-video farther down, at the middle of post.

Wisdom books, such as Proverbs, Song of Solomon and Ecclesiastes are given to us to show us how obedience to God, the glory of God are carried out and made known in the day to day routine of our lives. Think about the competitors to Christianity in our culture:

  • Egotism: The idolatry of self – is addressed in the Book of Proverbs.
  • Materialism: The idolatry of stuff – is addressed in the Book of Ecclesiastes
  • Today we will look at (what some say is) the fiercest competitor to Christianity, in our culture, and that’s- Eroticism: The idolatry of sex – This is addressed in the Song of Solomon.

There is no question, over the last century in our culture, we have undergone a sexual revolution. Mark Dever writes: The most important revolution over the last century has been the sexual revolution. Contraception replaced conception. Pleasure was separated from responsibility. It was as if a license was given out, legitimizing the bending of every part of our lives to serving ourselves. Since that time, divorce, remarriage, abortion, premarital sex, and extramarital sex, as well as homosexuality have been accepted by increasing percentages of the public. Pornography is huge business, and this is not just a problem with society, out there. Many churches have found their members plagued by failed marriages and illicit affairs. The so called private sins, that turn into public disgraces, some of which are known, some of which are not yet known.

We see the effects of the sexual revolution every single time we turn on the TV, or every single time you go to a movie. Or, every single time you stand at a checkout line at the grocery store and you’re surrounded by magazines. Every time you hear someone make a joke about sexuality. We see the effects. In political discussions, it’s all across the board. Among, other good reasons, it is really a good thing that we have the Song of Solomon. Because, if you think about it, it would really make no sense if we didn’t have this book. God has created us as sexual beings. It is really an integral part of who we are, and how He has created us to relate to one another. It would make no sense, if we had no account of Scripture where God addresses it.

And so, what we have is the Song of Solomon, that says: Yes, you have physical longing and craving, and desires and urges, and you have them because God gave them to you. And He gave them to you for your good, and for His glory. And so, how can sexual love be experienced for our good and for God’s glory? Song of Solomon gives us the answer.

Now, there’s a lot of questions from the Song of Solomon, from the history of the church. One commentator said this is the most debated, most difficult, most mysterious book in the entire Bible. It’s a complicated book, difficult to understand. A lot of the language, lot of the words contained here are not found anywhere else. Scripture makes a lot of these words unique, difficult to interpret. And, you get images in this book that are unfamiliar to us, there are all kinds of animals, and spices, and perfumes, and unfamiliar places. And then, the metaphors don’t always translate so naturally into our context.

If you look at the history of the church, you will see all kinds of interpretation. People have asked:

  1. SongOfSongsIs it allegorical? So people throughout history have said it is a story that points us to God’s relationship with His people. And, as a result preachers have come up with all kinds of fanciful interpretations.
  2. Is it typological? A type is like a shadow that points to an object. It reflects something else, or it points to something even greater. And, usually, this book is used as a type of Christ and the church. All that we’re seeing here, for example, in the man points to Christ, and all that we’re seeing here in the woman points to the church.
  3. Is it literal? Is it, just naturally a story about a man and a woman that love one another, and are being loved by one another? But, even among those who say it’s literal, there’s debate. Is it a story, or is it just songs. Is it giving us a step by step narrative?
  4. Is this book written to Solomon, by Solomon, or about Solomon? In the beginning of the book it says „The Song of Songs, which is Solomon’s”. It literally can be translated into any one of those ways. (10:00)

MUSICAL – The finest of all songs! We’re going to look at an overview of this book and see what is pretty clear, and at the base, understanding this book- it is clearly musical. In other words, it is a song, it’s a poem. This is love poetry. When it says „The Song of Songs”, it literally means that it is the „finest of all songs”. That’s the title: The finest of all songs!  The claim is and it’s backed up, that this song is unmatched in its beauty, and its arrangement, its poetry. Just think about this: divinely inspired love poetry. Now, you can’t get any better than that. God breathed romance. God breathed poems about love, inspired by His Spirit. This is unmatched by anything else in all history.

Showing us a celebration of sexual love. One commentator said, „The Song of Songs is primarily an unabashed celebration of the pleasure of sexual intimacy.” And, pleasure is the right word there. Because, you will notice, in 8 chapters, you don’t see kids mentioned anywhere. Think about this with me, clearly, sex is not just for procreation. Sex is given by God for pleasure. Sex is not just given so we would multiply. Sex is given so that we would enjoy. That’s the picture we’ve got her. It’s a celebration of sexual love.

Cautions about sexual love. At the same time, this book is reminding us about cautions about sexual love. This is where I want to show you one phrase, mentioned 3 different times. This is huge. 3 times in this book, this author reminds us that sexual love is good only  at the timing, which God has set.  Chapter 2:7 „I adjure you, oh daughters of Jerusalem, by the gazelles, or the does of the field, that you not stir up or awaken love, until it pleases.” Look over at chapter 3:5 and chapter 8:4 the same phrase is repeated. This is so different form the world. The world says: Anytime, any place, any person. And what Song of Solomon is going to show us is that this only happens like this in God’s time, in the place that God has ordained, with the person God has given to you. This is very different from what our culture would say.

This is where I want to pause, because I know there are many brothers and sisters in our faith family who are not married. Maybe you’re students, maybe you’re adults who are single. Maybe divorced, widowed, a variety of different circumstances all across this room. And, what I want to say to you is, if you are not married, this book and this sermon are not just for married people. They are for single people as well. Here’s why. Clearly this book is for married people; it’s an encouragement and an exhortation to remember and enjoy the beauty of sexual love. And, it is an exhortation and an encouragement, for all who are single in this room, to make sure, not to try and steal away the beauty and enjoyment of sexual love of its context and end up missing the whole point. You’ll miss it, when what we’re seeing about sexual love in Songs is ripped away from the context of marriage.

Usually, when it comes to us preaching to students and singles, the message coming from us is: „Sex is bad. So, don’t do it. Okay, now, go and have a nice life.” Like that is what we say. What I want to say to you today, is in some sense the exact opposite. I want you to see that sex is really good. It is good, it is valuable, it is grand, it is majestic and wonderful, in the context God has put it in. Take it out of that (context) and we rip it all apart. And so, I want you to value it, so highly, I don’t want you to see it as bad. I want you to see it as wonderful enough, to make sure to keep it in its proper context. And to avoid every impulse in your sinful nature, and in the culture which surrounds you, to pull it out of that context. Cause, once it’s ripped form that context, it’s obliterated in its beauty. So, guard it.

Read the rest of the transcript below video.

A King and His Bride – The Song of Solomon

Five facets of this relationship between the King and his bride. Facets that are repeated through out Song of Solomon over and over again.

1. Exclusive devotion – They sought out only each other. Married couples in this room, do not let another woman distract you, for a second. Don’t even look, and do not let a magazine substitute for your wife. Do not let the internet substitute for your wife. Ladies, do not flirt for a second. Run from any thought of it. Why would you settle for garbage in another man, when you have gladness in the husband, that God has ordained for you? Men, why would you settle for trash? And, that’s what any other woman is to you in this way. Trash, when you have treasure in your wife. Or, your future wife, or your future husband. Don’t settle for less, don’t have weak desires. Have strong desires for that which is best. And, it is in this garden, that is walled off to everybody else, that things get really, really good. (27:00)

2. Heated anticipation – the anticipation that builds between the man and the woman in Song of Solomon. (A) First, they began with tender words. You see them just complimenting and affirming one another throughout this book. It’s love poetry. See chap. 5:10 and 6:4. She is affirming him, and he is affirming her. Don’t miss this: Pleasure with one another is grounded in praise for one another. It is good to build up one another. That’s where it starts. Notice chapter 1:1 doesn’t just start with: „Well, here’s the picture of sex in the Bible”. Instead, we see it built up to, surrounded on all sides, tender words that (B) Lead to tantalizing work. Now, this right here is the climax of the book. Chap. 4:1, it is in the middle of the book, and it is where the King looks at his bride and begins to basically mentally, if not physically undress her. Evidence that this is appropriate and good, in the context that God has put it, evidence of the goodness of God and the grace of God. (34:00)

Here David Platt quotes Daniel Akin (President of Southeastern Seminary) who wrote a commentary on Song of Solomon called „God and Sex”. He wrote this, „Note, that there is nothing even remotely pornographic about this imagery here. „Porneia” clearly refers to evil sexual desire. And, an entire industry is built on exploiting this simple passion. But, the point here is that the man’s desire for his wife is holy. His pleasure and erotic desire for her is holy.” To deny this is to deny one of God’s good gifts.

3. Leads into Intimate Consummation. They gave over their bodies to one another. She calls on the wind to let free what has been encapsulated and let it flow to her husband now. And she says, „Let my beloved come to his garden. Not, let my beloved come to my garden. I am my beloved and he is mine. That is the picture here. United together, and this is based on the climax of the book.

4. It is pure satisfaction. Don’t miss it, this is pure satisfaction on every level. Emotional satisfaction. There is joy and desire and intimacy, and honor here. This is so much more than the joining of two bodies here. It’s the joining of two personalities. All the more reason to guard this. When we toy with our sexuality, we’re toying with that which is deepest about who we are. That’s why, when we see a man and a woman coming together, we see the language- they knew one another. This is the deepest, most intimate knowledge of one another. This is more than what is happening between two bodies. There is this emotional connection and union that is brought together by God’s design.

Which leads to the second: Spiritual satisfaction. It is evident. When you take this book and compare it with Genesis 2, esp. vv. 24-25, the man and woman, talking about Adam and Eve, were together, they were naked together and they felt no shame. Then, it says they came together as one flesh. This is a virtual commentary on that, on what God has designed for man and woman to experience. And, do you remember when they sinned in Genesis 3? What is the first effect, that we see, of their sin? They noticed they were naked and they clothed themselves. And the intimacy that they had once shared in a sinless world was ripped apart. The Song of Solomon is obviously not saying this is a man and a woman who were sinless, But, here’s the picture. God redeems this. And what He does in sexual love is He takes His original design and He makes it available for His people. He says, „This is what you were created for, the kind of union that is happening: a one flesh, vulnerable, open, union with one another.

Intellectual satisfaction. Emotional satisfaction, spiritual satisfaction, intellectual satisfaction. We’ve seen the man and the woman targeting the most important sex organ we have – our minds. They’ve built up one another and encouraged one another. They’ve mentally and verbally acknowledged one another’s beauty. And, don’t miss it here, don’t get the wrong idea, nowhere in this model do we see that this couple is the modern Hollywood couple. We don’t get any details of what they look like. Instead, we see, the only glimpses we see of this man and this woman are through the eyes of each other. And they see the beauty that God has uniquely designed  for them, in a way that is not for anyone else to share. That God has designed us in our marriages to experience a satisfaction on these levels, that can only be experienced between wife and husband. That is the picture here.

Physical satisfaction. All of it, leading of course, to physical satisfaction. I love how chapter 4 ends and goes into chapter 5, because it doesn’t give us all the details. It doesn’t give us the whole picture of this whole scene. Instead it uses imagery. Akins said, „We cannot be certain of what all the imagery means by „coming to the garden, tasting the choice fruits”, but, it is not difficult to imagine all sorts of stuff. This is the picture God has designed: pure satisfaction on every level.

Song of Solomon 8:14, the very last verse, where the book ends. What you’ve got is this enraptured romance on every single verse, every single page. And then, you get to verse 14. She says to him, „Make haste, my beloved. and be like a gazelle, or a young stag on the mountain of spices.” This is the beauty of sexual love. It perseveres, it lasts again, and again.

Foster health in this area of your marriage. Promote, nourish, this area of your marriage. And, for every person that is not married, no matter what the situation is, I pray that you will see the beauty of sexual love in this context, and guard it, and not take that which God has created as beautiful here and rip it apart, outside of the context for which He has ordained it in any way, mentally, emotionally, physically. And God is gracious. He has created us in this way and He is gracious to sustain us in that. You see, everything in this canon of Scripture is pointing us in a sense to something greater, pointing us to redemptive history. This is where I want us to think about: Where does a book about sex – the Song of Solomon, fit into redemptive history?

We’re not going to go typological here and say: This means CHrist, this means church, but, turn over to Ephesians 5:22. We’ve already looked back at Genesis chapter 2, and seen God created man and woman for one another, to be joined together as one flesh. And, Song of Solomon is a reflection on that. A commentary on what that means. So, I want us to look at what the New Testament teaches about this one flesh union, that we’ve just read in the Song of Solomon. Ephesians 5:22- „Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. The husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church, His body, and is HImself the Savior. Now, as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything yo their husbands. Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her, so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the Word. So that He might present her in splendor, without spot, wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. In the same way, husbands should love their wives, as their own bodies. He who loves his wife, loves himself. For, no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes it and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church.  Therefore, a man shall leave his father and mother, and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh. This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church. However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respect her husband. In verse 31, Paul quoted form Genesis 2:24-25- A man shall leave his father and his mother and the 2 shall become one flesh. And Paul says, „Here’s what that means: This mystery is profound, and I’m saying that it refers to Christ ad the church.

Don’t miss this. What Paul is saying, is that when God designed marriage, and this union, the sexual union in Genesis 2, He did it with a bigger picture in mind. He designed marriage this way, to point one day, to the love of Christ for His people. And so, what we realize, what God has designed, what we see pictured here in the Song of Solomon, we realize that this picture between man and woman in love is a picture of Christ and his church. And, just as a man gives his body over to his wife, so Christ has done this for His church. And, just as man and woman delight in one another, find satisfaction in one another, so Christ and His church find deeper satisfaction in relationship to each other. Photo below from share faith.com

A King and his bride in Ephesians.So, Ephesians is pointing us here between the relationship of a king and his bride. In humble devotion, King Jesus has sought after you, like a husband seeking a bride, and in a much greater way.

Historic Anticipation. What the Old Testament longed for- Jesus is the fulfillment of all God’s word. All these pictures, and all of these promises we’re seeing in the Old Testament are pointing us to a redeemer. Christ is flawless in all His works. He gave over His body for us. This perfect Son of God, in perfect consummation gave ip His body for us. That’s what Ephesians 5:25 said, Total satisfaction – so that you and me, in him may be reconciled to God, and experience total satisfaction. That we might find  our greatest delight. So we may love Him with all of our heart. Loving Him with all our soul. Loving Him with all our mind (intellectual satisfaction). Delight is found in knowing God and loving Him with all our strength.

A merciful invitation. Coming together, and all made possible by a simple invitation to trust in Christ as Savior and King, and He will forgive your sin and present you as his bride, holy and without blemish. That is the Gospel right there. The Holy God of the universe has sought you out, sent His Son, to bear His wrath to our sin on the cross. To show His power over sin in the resurrection of Christ, so that everyone in this room who trusts in Christ as Savior and King may be reconciled to God in relationship with Him forever. That is glorious news. And, it is what marriage is intended to point us to. And, it raises the Song of Solomon to a whole new level.

Husbands, why do you need to have exclusive devotion for your wives? We need to do this because we are showing the world how Christ treats His church. And, if Christ gives up on His church, then maybe it would be okay for us to give up on our wives. But, Christ will never give up on His church, and we can never give up on our wives. And, just as we, as a church are intended to find our delight in our Savior, so wives, I implore you to encourage to love. Husbands, it’s the way Ephesians 5 says, so that we would show Christ is indeed delightful, to the world around us.

A King and His bride in Revelation. That’s the Gospel here. And it points to an even greater picture. Earthly marriage is a foretaste of something greater in heaven, of heavenly marriage. Where we, as God’s people are depicted as the bride of Christ. And, our glorification in heaven is actually pictured as a wedding day. Revelation 19:6- „Then I heard what seemed to be the voice of a great multitude, like the roar of many waters and like the sound of mighty peals of thunder, crying out,“Hallelujah! For the Lord our God the Almighty reigns. Let us rejoice and exult and give him the glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and his Bride has made herself ready; it was granted her to clothe herself with fine linen, bright and pure”—for the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints. And the angel said to me, “Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.” And he said to me, “These are the true words of God.” And Revelation 21- „ Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He willdwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”

Glorious consummation. This is the beauty of marriage in heaven, which marriage on earth is intended to point us. To point us to the reality of a relationship  marked by continual devotion. Brothers and sisters, the King who sought you on the cross will never stop seeking you. Your king will pursue you as His beloved.. until that day. It doesn’t mean it will always be easy. It wasn’t easy for these suffering borthers and sisters in Revelation facing persecution. But, what he says- in hopeful anticipation, cling to God’s word.

Eternal satisfaction. Trust in His word. The King is coming for you. Commit to God’s word. One day, our bodies will be made complete with Him. Together, we will experience in its fullness eternal satisfaction, eternal delight in our husband Christ. He will heal our hearts. For everyone that Song of Solomon has opened up difficult wounds, from broken marriages, or damaged relationships, or lost loved ones, I want to remind you that you have a husband in heaven, who will one day heal your heart completely. We will wear His righteousness. For every person in this room, Song of Solomon has convicted you of sexual sin =, maybe in your past, maybe in your present, and you feel stained. His forgiveness is complete, and His righteousness is yours to wear. The righteousness of Jesus Christ Himself. We will see His face. And we will feast at His table and enjoy His presence for all of eternity. 

The ultimate invitation: Will you surrender to the love of this King?

 

David Platt – Wisdom Books – What is God’s will for my life (A study in the Book of Proverbs)

Pentru traducere automata, fa click aici – Romanian
david plattProverbs is the most prominent wisdom book in Scripture and amidst all the wisdom that is contained in Proverbs there is also a good bit of confusion. Confusion as to how to understand individual proverbs and then confusion how this book, as a whole is to be understood. We live in a day when the most common question, not only constantly ask, but, almost anxiously ask:

What is God’s will for my life?

We are talking here about things that are not directly spelled out in Scripture. Scripture says specific things about specific circumstances. But, there are so many circumstances we face, some of them small, some of them big, on a daily basis, that the Word doesn’t speak directly to- whether it’s what we eat, or what we wear today, small decisions like that. Big decisions like who to marry, what career paths to choose, where to live. How do we know God’s will in these areas of our lives? Obviously, Scripture speaks to all of those things in some way. The Scripture talks about taking care of our body; that’s gonna inform the way that we eat, or honoring God in the way we dress. Or, Scripture is going to speak in to whom we marry. Scripture tells us not to marry an unbeliever, or what career path to choose, immoral career paths that you should not choose according to Scripture. But, when it comes down to the details of what this looks like, we want to know what God’s will is. Our hearts desire  God’s will, but we have a hard time transitioning from our hearts to our minds, and making decisions.

We are afraid, almost constantly afraid that we’re gonna do the wrong thing, and that we’re gonna make the wrong decisions with different situations we face. We just wish we would have it spelled out in front of us. It would make it a lot easier. But, if that were the case, it would miss the whole point. And so, what I want to show us today in Proverbs, in this book as a whole is a picture of incredible comfort, and incredible confidence that you can have when you’re walking through the decision making process, when you’re walking through decisions that you make on a daily basis- knowing that you are living out and following the will of God, based on the picture we see in Proverbs. (3:00)

I want us to read the first 7 verses here in Proverbs. They are kind of an introduction to the book, they tell us purpose of the book. Proverbs is divided into two major sections: The first 9 chapter are a kind of preface to the book- talking about wisdom, giving a reason why we need to read the rest of the book- because wisdom is valuable. We need to get wisdom, treasure wisdom, we see that over and over again in these first 9 chapters. Then you get to chapter 10, and from chapter 10 – 31, what you see is different proverbs, different wise sayings. A lot of them 2 liners, 3 liners, maybe 4 liners, that are written to be memorable, to lodge away in your mind and in your heart, that take the Word and apply it to the practical things that we face in our lives. Most of this is written by Solomon. Not all of it, other parts written by different folks, or at least compiled by different folks, but, most of it is written by Solomon.

proverbs

I want us to look at these first 7 verses that give us a purpose statement for the entire book. And then focus on one particular verse that’s gonna guide us through our times in proverbs today.

1 The proverbs of Solomon, son of David, king of Israel: To know wisdom and instruction, to understand words of insight, to receive instruction in wise dealing, in righteousness, justice, and equity; to give prudence to the simple, knowledge and discretion to the youth— Let the wise hear and increase in learning, and the one who understands obtain guidance, to understand a proverb and a saying, the words of the wise and their riddles. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge;  fools despise wisdom and instruction.

I want you to underline that last line. All throughout these first 7 verses we see these words used almost interchangeably- wisdom, and instruction, insight, prudence, knowledge, discretion. And then you get to verse 7 „The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge” some translations say „the beginning of wisdom,  fools despise wisdom and instruction„. In fact, you turn to chapter 9:10 „The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight.” This is the verse I want you to etch in your mind this morning, I want us to think about the relationship between fear of the Lord, between worship of the Lord and wisdom. 

Wisdom is the fruit of  a right relationship with God.

Wisdom spring from , results out of a right relationship with God. When we walk in the fear of the Lord, when we worship the Lord, we will walk in wisdom. Our wisdom in daily decisions is dependent on out relationship with God and having a right relationship with God. And, this makes total sense. Go back to creation, think about Genesis 1 & 2. We saw man in complete harmony with the Creator. Genesis 1 & 2, before sin entered into the world, Adam and Eve were in complete harmony with God, perfectly relating to God, and as a result of that we saw man in complete harmony with the creation, in complete harmony with each other- Adam & Eve. That was the picture. They were not wandering around wondering, „What is Your will for our life?” God had made it clear: Don’t eat from this tree, enjoy one another, enjoy me, be fruitful and multiply. So, they were living in harmony with God and with each other. So, there wasn’t a worry, „Am I gonna make the wrong decision?” It was clear.

You know what happened. They take the command of God and they disregard it and results in the fall. The result of the fall is twofold:

  1. man’s relationship with the creator is destroyed (were it not for the grace of God, they would have been dead on the spot) and man’s relationship with God, since that day has never been the same. Never. But, not just man’s relationship with the Creator destroyed, but
  2. man’s relationship with creation is distorted. Their relationship with each other was immediately affected. And their relationship with the world, the creation around them was immediately affected. And it makes sense, once they were disconnected in their relationship with God, it had a huge effect on everything around them.

I want you to notice that there’s a vertical component and a horizontal component here. There’s a vertical component- our relationship to God that has a direct effect to our horizontal component- our lives in this world, our relationships with other people in this world, our decisions that we make on a daily basis, living in this world. All of that flows from what is going on in our relationship with God. A vertical component that affects the horizontal component. We see that.

So, in order to have a right relationship with the world around us, and to walk with wisdom in the world around us, making wise decisions, we need a right relationship with God. Wisdom is the fruit of a right relationship with God. So, now we come to Solomon. This is what I love on how we are reading the Bible this year. Because we have a tendency to take a book like proverbs and kind of picture it that it’s just kind of flowing out there as it’s own book, with all these random sayings. But, what we’re doing is we’re seeing where Proverbs fits in to the story of redemption, fits into this story of redemptive history that we’re walking through.

The background & history of the Book of Proverbs

A couple of weeks ago, we got to 1 Kings chapter 4, and we stopped. Over the last two weeks we’ve been reading Song of Songs and Proverbs. So, I want to take us back to where we stopped in redemptive history. Turn back with me to 1 Kings chapter 3 & 4, to remind ourselves what is going on when we come to the book of Proverbs. What is the background, what is the history on this, this book didn’t just appear out of nowhere. Look at 1 Kings 3:5,7-12

book of proverbs At Gibeon the Lord appeared to Solomon in a dream by night, and God said, “Ask what I shall give you.” 7  And now, O Lord my God, you have made your servant king in place of David my father, although I am but a little child. I do not knowhow to go out or come in. And your servant is in the midst of your people whom you have chosen, a great people, too many to be numbered or counted for multitude. Give your servant therefore an understanding mind to govern your people, that I may discern between good and evil, for who is able to govern this your great people?” 10 It pleased the Lord that Solomon had asked this. 11 And God said to him, “Because you have asked this, and have not asked for yourself long life or riches or the life of your enemies, but have asked for yourself understanding to discern what is right, 12 behold, I now do according to your word. Behold, I give you a wise and discerning mind, so that none like you has been before you and none like you shall arise after you.   (the parallel version of this is 2 Chronicles 1) (12:30)

In other words He says, „I am going to make you wiser than any before you and anyone to come in the picture in the Old Testament. You are going to be the wisest.” And that’s exactly what we see. Go to 1 Kings 4:29-33:

And God gave Solomon wisdom and understanding beyond measure, and breadth of mindlike the sand on the seashore, 30 so that Solomon’s wisdom surpassed the wisdom of all the people of the east and all the wisdom of Egypt. 31 For he was wiser than all other men, wiser than Ethan the Ezrahite, and Heman, Calcol, and Darda, the sons of Mahol, and his fame was in all the surrounding nations. 32 He also spoke 3,000 proverbs, and his songs were 1,005.33 He spoke of trees, from the cedar that is in Lebanon to the hyssop that grows out of the wall. He spoke also of beasts, and of birds, and of reptiles, and of fish. 34 And people of all nations came to hear the wisdom of Solomon, and from all the kings of the earth, who had heard of his wisdom.

Now it makes sense why we stopped to read Proverbs at this point. Verse 32 says he spoke 3,000 proverbs. That begs the question, „What do they say?” And so, that’s why we’re stopping to read Proverbs now. I want us to take the Book of Proverbs right here and put it in this context of redemptive history. Because what’s happened is Solomon has become king, he has asked for wisdom, God has given him wisdom beyond that of anyone else. And right after this, what we’re gonna read in the week to come, starting in verse 5, what Solomon does is he starts to build the temple. He makes preparations to build the temple, in chapter 6 he builds the temple, in chapter 8 he dedicates the temple.

Redemption anticipated in Solomon

What I want you to see is the relationship , here in the context of redemptive history between wisdom and worship. Because, at this point of redemptive history, we are at the height, at the apex of wisdom and worship in Israel’s history. The wisest man, the wisest king ever. The temple being completed, that’s what David longed to do, but, God reserved for Solomon to do, to get it completed so the glory of God can dwell upon His people. This is at a point in redemptive history in the Old Testament where wisdom and worship are coming together like they’ve never come together before and like they will never come together again in the Old Testament. This is the apex of the mountain.

In the reign of Solomon we’re seeing two things. The wisdom of Solomon is tied to the worship of Solomon. His relationship with God affecting his relationship with other people and creation around them. So when you look in Proverbs you realize this is not just a book about wisdom, this is most definitely a book about worship as well.

The wisdom of Solomon is tied to the worship of Solomon.

  • We revere His person. You see exhortations all over Proverbs to revere the person of God. At least 18 different times we see the fear of the Lord mentioned. This is where wisdom starts.
  1. The Lord is the almighty Creator of all things– Revere Him as almighty Creator of all things. Proverbs 3:19-20; 14:31; This is where wisdom starts, with an acknowledgment of God as our Creator. This is why you can take the most brilliant atheist in the world today, with all kinds of intellectual knowledge and Proverbs, and Psalms, and the rest of Scripture would label Him a fool. And it’s not because he doesn’t know anything. He has tons of knowledge. There are a lot of smart atheists. But, the reason he is a fool is because all of his knowledge is viewed through a perspective that is Godless, that denies the existence and the truth and the reality of God. And as a result, the lens through which he views everything in the world is ultimately empty. That’s foolishness. It may look like wisdom to the world, but that’s foolishness compared to the wisdom of God. Wisdom springs from an acknowledgment of reverence: For the Lord is the almighty Creator of all things. Wisdom starts with the worship of God.
  • The Lord is the sovereign sustainer of all things– God is not only Creator, but, He’s the sovereign sustainer of all things. This is all over chapter 16. vv. 1,3,9,33 The lot is cast into the lap, but its every decision is from the Lord. Chance does not rule, God rules everything. He is guiding, leading all things, all times are in His hands.
  • The Lord is the eternal judge of all peoples– Proverbs 16:11 „A just balance and scales are the Lord’s; all the weights in the bag are his work. Proverbs 11:21 Be assured, an evil person will not go unpunished, but the offspring of the righteous will be delivered. All throughout this book we see different things that the Lord hates, that are an abomination to the world and the reality that God will judge all peoples ultimately. This is cause for fear. You, right where you are sitting, were fashioned and created by the infinitely wise, all powerful Lord and King of all of creation. And He holds your days in His hands. You may make plans, but He guides. And one day He is going to judge you. That brings us pause, that brings about a holy fear for the Lord. And this is the spring form which wisdom flows. (21:00)
  • We rejoice in His grace. Proverbs 3:3-6 talks about the steadfast love and faithfulness that God gives, in the verses that are most common to us: Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Proverbs 28:13 Whoever conceals his transgressions will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them will obtain mercy. Proverbs 3:11-12  My son, do not despise the Lord’s discipline or be weary of his reproof, 12 for the Lord reproves him whom he loves, as a father the son in whom he delights. Even His discipline is evidence of His love for us
  • We receive His Word  Whoever despises the word brings destruction on himself, but he who reveres the commandment will be rewarded. We receive His Word. It’s part of wisdom. Wisdom springs from His Word.
  • We remember His purpose. And we remember His purpose. The picture throughout Proverbs is we see how God acts and the way God displays His character. God reveals His glory. And that’s what the temple was all about. The whole worship life of the people of Israel is about revering Him, rejoicing in the grace, receiving His word, remembering His purpose to make His glory known throughout the world. All of that is known throughout Proverbs. (22:30)

So what we see, at the time this is being written is God centered worship, which leads to the second:

God given wisdom for the king

The height of wisdom is displayed here in all of these proverbs we have written down. Now, how do we understand these proverbs? What we have to understand first and foremost is that proverbs are guidelines for living, not guarantees in life. These sayings, particularly chapters 10-31, they’re guidelines for living, not guarantees in life. Here’s what I mean by that. You look at chap. 3:2 where it says, „If you obey the commandments of the Lord, then you will have long days in this life. That’s a good guideline for living, but the reality is that when you look at David Brainers, Robert Murray McCheyenne, all of these brothers who were giving their lives in radical abandonment to the commands of Christ died in their early 30’s. So, it’s not like, „If you’re gonna obey the Lord, you’re gonna live past your 30’s.” In the same way that you see in Proverbs 11:8, is says, „The righteous man will be delivered out of trouble.” That’s a general guideline. But, we know, we have persecuted brothers and sisters around the world, who are pursuing righteousness right now, who are not being delivered out of trouble.
It doesn’t mean that Proverbs aren’t true, that they’re false. What it means is that’s not how they’re supposed to be interpreted. It is not promises to claim. That is not how Proverbs is intended to be interpreted. Instead, what we’ve got is general guidelines for living, for our lives, which are very helpful. We need to remember these kinds of things. They are patterns, but they are not promises that we claim in every single circumstance that we face in life.
I want to give you an overview of some of the recurrent themes. This is by no means exhaustive.
  • In the Family – Proverbs puts focus on the family.

  1. Love your spouse loyally. The husband and wife are encouraged to share one another sexually and emotionally, in love with one another. Proverbs 5:15-19 Drink water from your own cistern, flowing water from your own well. Should your springs be scattered abroad, streams of water in the streets? Let them be for yourself alone, and not for strangers with you. Let your fountain be blessed, and rejoice in the wife of your youth, a lovely deer, a graceful doe. Let her breasts fill you at all times with delight; You see in Proverbs 6, at one point, a husband’s jealousy for the affections of his wife looked at as natural and good. Obviously, we have in Proverbs 31, a picture of a Godly wife, a Godly woman. Some of the most intense passages in Proverbs come in this area with warnings against adultery. Chapters 2, 5, 6, 7, and 9, all have stern warnings, the kind of warnings that, I think, we would be wise to meditate on regularly, more important than even reading marriage books in our culture. Proverbs 7:6-27 „For at the window of my house I have looked out through my lattice,and I have seen among the simple, I have perceived among the youths, a young man lacking sense, passing along the street near her corner, taking the road to her house in the twilight, in the evening, at the time of night and darkness. 10 And behold, the woman meets him, dressed as a prostitute, wily of heart. 11 She is loud and wayward; her feet do not stay at home; 12 now in the street, now in the market, and at every corner she lies in wait. 13 She seizes him and kisses him, and with bold face she says to him, 14 “I had to offer sacrifices, and today I have paid my vows; 15 so now I have come out to meet you, to seek you eagerly, and I have found you. 16 I have spread my couch with coverings, colored linens from Egyptian linen; 17 I have perfumed my bed with myrrh, aloes, and cinnamon. 18 Come, let us take our fill of love till morning; let us delight ourselves with love. 19 For my husband is not at home; he has gone on a long journey; 20 he took a bag of money with him; at full moon he will come home.” 21 With much seductive speech she persuades him; with her smooth talk she compels him. 22 All at once he follows her, as an ox goes to the slaughter, or as a stag is caught fast 23 till an arrow pierces its liver; as a bird rushes into a snare; he does not know that it will cost him his life 24 And now, O sons, listen to me    and be attentive to the words of my mouth. 25 Let not your heart turn aside to her ways; do not stray into her paths, 26 for many a victim has she laid low, and all her slain are a mighty throng. 27 Her house is the way to Sheol, going down to the chambers of death.Men, if there is any inkling in you, wandering toward, in thought or deed toward another woman, meditate on Proverbs 7. And see yourself as an ox, walking willingly to a slaughter. And let it soak in that you do not know what you are doing and it will cost you your life. Obviously, this is written from Solomon’s perspective, the whole picture throughout Proverbs is through a man’s perspective. But, the picture, obviously, even to look at from a woman’s perspective, to encourage sisters across this room to stay close to your husband. To not be found wandering far away from your husband. Stay close to your husband. Do not let your life or your house be a way of death. These are wise words. (29:00)
  2. Instruct your children intentionally.Proverbs 23:13-14- Do not withhold discipline from a child; if you strike him with a rod, he will not die. 14 If you strike him with the rod, you will save his soul from Sheol.

Among friends

  1. Avoid evil company. We imitate our friends. Proverbs 24:1 Be not envious of evil men, nor desire to be with them, for their hearts devise violence, and their lips talk of trouble. I would just say to every high school and college student, I mean this is across the board, but, some of the greatest counsel I received in high school and college is to be wise with the friends that I surrounded myself with, cause that has every effect of how our life ends up looking. 
  2. Promote good companionship. We see positive pictures of selfless, sensible friends, honest friends all throughout Proverbs. „A friends loves at all times.” Proverbs 17:17.

With words

Proverbs talks about words: Guard what you say. Don’t speak in haste. How many words do you regret because they were spoken in haste? Proverbs says, „Be quiet. Think first.” It says, the tongue has the power of life and death; it has the power to heal and destroy. The tongue has the power of reward and damage.
  1. Guard what you say and
  2. Guard what you hear. Proverbs talks about how to receive words. Words of criticism and words of flattery that are not always good.

With wealth

  1. Hard work is valuable. Proverbs, over and over again tells us that hard work is valuable. There is profit in work and it says over and over again, „Don’t be lazy.” Get up and do something. That’s wise. There is a high value on work here, but, it’s not work to gain more and more barns for ourselves.
  2. Helping the needy. Proverbs also talks about helping the needy. It’s vital. Proverbs makes very harsh statements about those who neglect the poor. Proverbs 29:7 „A righteous man knows the rights of the poor, while a wicked man does not understand such knowledge.” It seems to be an overarching truth that extreme wealth and extreme poverty  are both undesirable. It’s interesting, when you look into it, in the book of Proverbs we see people who are righteous and are wealthy, and who are righteous and are poor. And we see people who are evil and are wealthy, and evil that are poor. So, there’s no ground to say, „Well. if you’re righteous, then you’re rich, or, if you’re evil you’ll be poor, and vice versa. Instead, what we see if Proverbs 30:8-9- give me neither poverty nor riches, but give me only my daily bread. Otherwise, I may have too much and disown you and say, ‘Who is the Lord?’ Or I may become poor and steal, and so dishonor the name of my God.” So, there’s an emphasis of wisdom that is found and contentment in the Lord.

So, we see all of these kind of different truths coming together. We could talk for days about all of these different things. There’s so much to saturate there, but, instead of thinking about all these specific proverbs, I want us to come back to this overarching picture of worship and wisdom, and how the two go together.

Worship & Wisdom and how they go together

Fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. Worship is the beginning of wisdom. A right relationship with God brings about a right relationship with the world around us. That’s the picture we see at this point in Solomon’s life. If we read anymore in the Old Testament, we know what’s coming. It’s not gonna be long until Solomon turns his heart away from the worship of God, and he actually turns his heart towards the very things he has warned us not to turn our hearts toward: To wealth and women. And, as a result of his worship life being misdirected completely, then his wisdom wanes. And, Solomon’s life ends no where close to how it looks here in 1 Kings chapter 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, and 8, which shows us a mirror of ourselves. Don’t miss this: Left to ourselves, we are prone to worship the things of this world, and to follow after the wisdom of this world.
What we see in Solomon is possible and present in every single one of our sinful hearts in this room. Which means, we need someone else besides Solomon to help us. And that’s where we see that Solomon was only anticipating redemption in this life, and setting the stage. Now I want you to see how Proverbs fits into redemptive history and how reading the book of Proverbs, although it does not mention the name of Jesus once, it leads us to love Christ, to lean on Christ because this is redemption that will be achieved  in Christ. Turn to Luke 2:41. This is where my study in Proverbs just came alive, as I saw these truths we talked about , this relationship in redemptive history between worship and wisdom, and those coming together- God given worship, God given wisdom.

Redemption achieved in Christ

We don’t have a lot of material about Jesus’s boyhood, about His growing up, His teenage years. But this is one of the glimpses that we do have in Luke 2:41 ”

41 Every year Jesus’ parents went to Jerusalem for the Festival of the Passover. 42 When he was twelve years old, they went up to the festival, according to the custom. 43 After the festival was over, while his parents were returning home, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem, but they were unaware of it. 44 Thinking he was in their company, they traveled on for a day. Then they began looking for him among their relatives and friends. 45 When they did not find him, they went back to Jerusalem to look for him. 46 After three days they found him in the temple courts, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. 47 Everyone who heard him was amazed at his understanding and his answers.48 When his parents saw him, they were astonished. His mother said to him, “Son, why have you treated us like this? Your father and I have been anxiously searching for you.”

49 “Why were you searching for me?” he asked. “Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?” 50 But they did not understand what he was saying to them.

51 Then he went down to Nazareth with them and was obedient to them. But his mother treasured all these things in her heart. 52 And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man.

Vertical and horizontal. Do you see the picture here? This glimpse we have of JesusHe is sitting at the temple, at the place where the glory of God dwells. He makes a startling statement. He asks the question: Do you not know I must be at my Father’s house? He is saying that this, the temple, where the glory of God dwells, this is where I belong. It’s a bold statement. It is only heightened even more when you get to John 2, when He’s outside the temple , He’s beginning His ministry and the picture we have in John 2 and He identifies Himself with the temple. It’s what John chapter 1 set the stage for: „We beheld His glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.” We have seen the glory of God in Jesus, Jesus identifies Himself as the temple in John 2. You want to encounter the presence of God? You want to behold the glory of God? Here I am. And from this picture we see Him teaching others wisdom, growing in wisdom. So, don’t miss what we’re seeing here in the New Testament. The whole picture we’re gonna see in the Gospel:

  1. Jesus is the true temple. He is where the presence of God and the glory of God dwells. This is the reality of  the incarnation. Do you want to see the glory of God, do you want to experience the presence of God? You come to Jesus. He is the true temple, and in this way- Jesus enables the worship of God. Don’t miss it. New Testament Gospel truth: Man will not meet God in a building to worship Him. Man will come to Christ to worship God. Man will encounter the glory of God in the person of Christ. He is the one who makes true worship possible. On the cross, He died to reconcile man to God. The curtain of the temple was torn in two and man is now able to relate to God, to worship God truly   as a result of Christ.
  2. He is the perfect king. – that Israel has been waiting for. David failed. Solomon failed. So on, and so on, and so on, which is why we see in Matthew 12:42, Jesus is speaking to religious leaders and He says, „One with greater wisdom than Solomon is here. Solomon, who was the wisest you know in Israel’s history, has nothing on the wisdom of Christ. But, here’s the question I want you to ask: Why? Why was Jesus’s wisdom greater than Solomon’s wisdom? Because wisdom is the fruit of a right relationship with God. Solomon was not in a perfect relationship with God. He was in an imperfect relationship with God, and, as a result, it flowed into an imperfect wisdom and a life that failed. Jesus, however, was in perfect relationship with God. Perfectly and fully relating to God, identified as the temple, with the Father. And, as a result, wisdom flowing from Him, the very wisdom of God flowing from Him.
  3. Jesus embodies the wisdom of God. He is wise, exactly as the Father is wise, because of His unity with the Father. That’s why Colossians 2:3 tells us that „in Christ are all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.” In Christ. Don’t miss this: What Solomon anticipated, Christ achieved. The picture in Solomon- his heart was stained by sin. Jesus comes on the scene perfect, without sin, in perfect relationship to God, in perfect wisdom, and in His relationship with the world around Him. True temple and the perfect king. Which means, to every single person in history and to every single person in this room: If you want to walk in wisdom, and not waste your life in folly, then there is only one path to take. And it is the path of faith and trust in and surrender to Jesus Christ.

Just like Proverbs presents us over and over again with the way of folly and the way of wisdom. The Gospel presents us with the same choice. A way of folly- follow after this world, be wise, be smart according to the standards of this world, indulging in this world, out of right relationship with God, and lose your life. Or, the way of Christ- To trust in Christ and what He has done on the cross to reconcile you to God, to be united in relationship to God, and from that relationship to have wisdom flow. And, as if that’s not good enough, this is where it gets just breathtaking.

Redemption applied in us. 1 Corinthians 1:26-31 says that Christ is our wisdom. We were the foolish things of the world, Paul says. And God called us in Christ, and he says, „In Christ, He has become your wisdom, He has become wisdom to you.” This is mind boggling, breathtaking, and overwhelming. Think about this: When you trust in Christ, and your life is united with Christ:
  1. In Christ we live in continual worship. Paul says later, in 1 Corinthians 6:18 that our bodies are a temple of the Holy Spirit, that we walk in the presence of God, we enjoy the presence of God. We enjoy the glory of God by His Spirit’s presence in us. He houses His presence in our bodies. He is in us. This is glorious truth. In Christ, we live in continual worship, which means, of all people we
  2. Revere His person humbly. We walk in reverence of God. 1 Peter 1 We walk with reverent fear. He’s our Creator, our sustainer, our judge, and our Savior. And we live in His presence, so on a moment by moment basis there is never a moment where there is not reverence involved. 
  3. Rejoice in His grace wholeheartedly. We know the truth of Proverbs 28:30 seen in an entirely new way. Those who confess their sins receive mercy. Praise God we know that in its fulness.
  4. Receive His Word consistently. We have the word of Christ. He says to us in Matthew 7 „“Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock.” Hear my word, put it into practice, you will be wise. Guaranteed.
  5. Remember His purposes daily. In Ephesians 1, we see the wisdom of God in Christ linked to the glory of God in getting a people for Himself in human history. The picture is God redeeming for Himself a people  in all His glory.
  6. In Christ, we walk with continual wisdom. And all of this is what we walk in– the purpose of God, the Word of God, the grace of God, revering God, we live in continual worship as those who have the Spirit of Christ in us, which means, because through Christ, we have been reconciled to God, to walk with Him in worship. What flows from that? The fruit of a right relationship with God is WISDOM. And so, now we live, we walk in continual wisdom. That’s the point, it’s what we see: Wisdom is the fruit of a right relationship with God. This means wisdom is flowing here. Jesus is our wisdom. What does that mean, how is Jesus our wisdom?
  • (1) He gives us wisdom whenever we ask. The New Testament makes that clear: If anyone lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives to all without finding fault, and it will be given to Him. Brothers and sisters, every single time you will ask for wisdom, the Father will never answer NO. He will give it freely, when ever we ask. But, heres the beauty. Not only does He gives it through Christ, but
  • (2) He guides us in wisdom wherever we go. He says, „Here’s what you need to do and I’m going to live in you, and I’m going to lead you, and I’m going to guide you, and I’m putting that into practice. You are in Christ, and in Christ are all the treasures of knowledge and wisdom, which means, in every single decision you face this week, you have Christ who has all the treasures of knowledge and wisdom in His Spirit, living in you, guiding you through everything, and walking through.

You have no reason to be worried. You have no reason to be anxious. And you have no reason to wander if you’re gonna make the wrong decision, if you are trusting in Christ, abiding in Christ. He is good. He will lead you and guide you. He’s not even gonna leave you to find the most subjective feeling that feels the most right to you, or to flip the coin, or to tell God, „Well, if I do this, , you do this, and I’ll do this.” You see nothing like that in Scripture. Leave behind that and trust in Christ, who has wisdom from God and for you. Abide in Him. And here we come back to his question that we so anxiously asked: What is God’s will for my life?

And the answer we gladly receive: God desires for me to know and follow His will so much, that He lives in me, and leads me to accomplish it. That is Good News. I am not saying that it’s easy. I’m not saying that there isn’t work involved here. I’m not saying: Close your eyes and it pops right in front of you, as to what you are supposed to do. There’s still agonizing, there’s still wrestling, and researching this or that. There’s still all that , but, we’re not doing it alone. We’re doing it with the Spirit of the wisdom of Christ Himself, in us. Him leading, Him guiding, and what we discovered is that the goal is not an answer to our questions. The goal is intimacy with Jesus Christ, Himself. And it’s not about getting to a destination, Christ is the destination. And it’s not as much about knowing His will, it’s about knowing Christ, and trusting in Christ, and leaning on Christ, and walking with Christ, and enjoying Christ as our wisdom, at every step.

God’s design for sex

Al Jackson – Red Hot Monogamy: God’s Design for Sex – Proverbs 5:1-23  Message at 

Preaching from Proverbs 5:1-23, Jackson says that God’s design for sex is that a husband be captivated by the love of his wife and a wife be captivated by the love of her husband.

2 principles from this text:

 Principle #1 – Beware the deadly danger of adultery (vv 1-14).

Solomon is saying to his son, and God is speaking to us today, through Solomon’s writings: Beware of the deadly danger of adultery. It will destroy you.  Professor Garret os Southern Seminary says of verse 3 (For the lips of a forbidden woman drip honey, and her speech is smoother than oil, but in the end she is bitter as wormwood,) that „the man is drawn to the adulteress because she inflates his ego with hollow praise, in ways his wife will not”.

Verse 5 – Solomon says,  „Her feet go down to death „, her steps lead directly to the grave; she has a pathway  and it’s the pathway of traveling toward sexual immorality. It’s not progress, it’s regress. It’s not upward, but it’s downward. Adultery is a dead end road and it leads always, always, always to pain, grief and sorrow and deep regret. Verse 6 – „She gives no thought to the way of life, her paths are crooked but she knows it not”. She’s an airhead, she doesn’t know about real life. She doesn’t know about joy, about real fulfillment; she’s trying to gratify the desires of her flesh.

In verse 7 –   Solomon is saying: „Listen up, go on the straight and narrow”. Remember what Jesus said in Matthew 7? „Narrow is the road that leads to life and few there be that find it. And, broad is the road that leads to destruction and many there be that walk on the broad road that leads to destruction„. In verse 8, Solomon is saying, „Keep your distance from her. Stay away”. Surely, you know, before someone commits adultery they think about it. That’s why Jesus said, „You heard that it was said ‘thou shalt not commit adultery, but, I say to you that a man who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart„. First, it’s in the head before it’s in the bed. First, it’s an emotional attachment before it’s a physical relationship.

Let me give you some early warning signs. Someof you need them right now because you’ve already been tempted.

  1. A growing fascination with that other person. Things are not good at home. The romance has kind of settled down and there’s an emotional distance between you and your spouse. If the devil hasn’t already put old ‘honey lips’ in your path, he will; he wants to bring you down.
  2. A heightened sense of anticipation when you have the opportunity to be with this person. Be careful.
  3. A growing desire to confide in him or her, especially about how bad your marriage is. And when you get there, you’re just about ready to lose it.
  4. Emotional adultery opens the door to physical expressions of adultery. You will pay a high price. See Proverbs 1:9-10 „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”
    There’s a price to pay for sexual immorality- it might be an unwanted pregnancy, a sexually transited disease, or it might be something financial. There’s a high price to pay for a few minutes of sexual gratification

Look at verses 12-14 „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.”  I didn’t want somebody to tell me what I could or couldn’t do. I didn’t want that narrow minded, legalistic preacher from Alabama to tell me I couldn’t do these things.  Now, you may cover it up for a while, but, it will be disclosed.

The testimony of the word of God is absolutely sure, „Be sure your sin will find you out„. „Do not be deceived, God is not mocked”. „A man reaps what he sows. He who sows to the sinful nature will reap destruction”.

Please hear my heart this day: Beware, beware the deadly danger of adultery. You are a candidate for adultery, I am a candidate for adultery. Beware! Always keep your guard up. Never, never, never let your guard down. That’s all negative, but, there’s good news. It gets better.

Principle #2 – Rejoice in the delightful pleasure of monogamy

Here I am talking about married monogamy. Solomon is saying here to his son: Beware of adultery, but, rejoice in the delightful pleasure of a monogamous relationship.

Verses 15-16 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? This is a metaphor- cisterns and spring for sexual intercourse. Quoting from Dwayne Garret: The best interpretation is that sprains and streams of water refers to the husband’s sexual affections, as the cistern refers to the sexual affections of his wife. The man should not take his love and desire to anyone else, by going out into the street. The analogy implies that a husband and wife will fill and refresh each other- the one like a flowing stream, the other like a peaceful well. Sexual anarchy results when people cross over the bounds of fidelity.

We live in a society that is characterized by sexual anarchy. And, the Lord’s speaking to us through Solomon today and saying, „Be faithful to your mate”. Drink water from your own cistern, not some other cistern. Verse 17- „Let them be yours alone„. Not someone else’s, yours alone.. „never to be shared with strangers„. First he says it positively „yours alone”, then he says it negatively, „never to be shared with strangers”. The sexual relationship, the sexual expression, God’s intention is that it be expressed between a husband and a wife, and only there. Whenever God says, „Thou shalt not…” it means: Don’t hurt yourself. And when God says, „Thou shalt”, He’s saying, „Let Me bless you”.

Verse 18 Let your fountain be blessed, and rejoice in the wife of your youth. He’s saying, „Be satisfied with the one you’re married to from when you were a young man or a young woman”. Take joy in each other, not in someone else.

Verse 19 a lovely deer, a graceful doe. Let her breasts fill you at all times with delight; be intoxicated always in her love  Captivated is the key word here, by the love of our wife. Not somebody else’s wife, our own wife. Focus on her. Focus on your marriage. Give attention to your sexual expression with your spouse. Make it red hot monogamy.

If you’ll water the grass on your side of the fence, it will be greener than the other side of the fence and the grass on the other side of the fence will not be nearly the temptation it would be if you don’t water the grass on your side of the fence.  Don’t just neglect each other.

Verse 20-21 Why should you be intoxicated, my son, with a forbidden woman and embrace the bosom of an adulteress? 21 For a man’s ways are before the eyes of the Lord, and he ponders all his paths. You know God sees everything? I don’t have to be anxious that someone sees me because I know I am under the all seeing eye of God. Always! Always!

Verses 22-23 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. How sad. Die for lack of discipline.

It’s real. Sexual temptation is real. The allure of internet pornography is just a few clicks away. It’s a deadly path. Well, you say, „Brother Al, what can I do? All these women are coming on to me all the time”. Well, what kind of signals are you sending? They don’t come on to me. I have never had a woman come on to me, except for my wife. Be careful what kind of signals you are sending.

Some of you may say, „I’m in an accountability group and I get asked the hard questions week after week, so I’m safe”. I’m all for accountability groups, but that’s no guarantee that you’re safe. Hear my heart on this. I don’t want to seem disrespectful, I have all kinds of groups that I meet with. But, a man who’s in adultery won’t think twice about lying about it. Lying is small stuff compared to adultery.

You say, „What can I do to ensure I won’t have a moral failure?” I don’t know there’s anything you can do to guarantee, but you can certainly do some things that you can make it very very unlikely. I just want to leave you the 2 primary ones that I try to implement in my life and marriage:

  1. Keep the fire of romance burning hot with your spouse. Men, never flirt with another man’s wife and never fail to flirt with your own.
  2. Pursue your love relationship with God with all your heart.

I believe if we are passionately in love with the bride of our youth and cultivate that relationship and fall deeply in love with God and cultivate a deep love relationship with our Savior, it’s not likely we’re gonna succumb. Scripture says, „Be holy as I am holy”. God is a holy God. It’s a high price to pay, to lose the smile of God for a few moments of sexual pleasure. Men, be holy. Be holy. Jesus said, „Blessed are the pure in heart for they will see God”. Do you wanna see Him? I wanna see Him. I wanna know Him, I wanna experience Him, I wanna walk with Him, I want His favor. I wanna experience they unless of His power.

God honors personal, practical holiness.

Robert Murray M’Cheyne (Scottish preacher, died at the age of 29) – „Remember you are God’s swordHis instrument—I trust a chosen vessel unto Him to bear His name. In great measure, according to the purity and perfections of the instrument, will be the success. It is not great talents God blesses so much as great likeness to Jesus. A holy minister is an awful weapon in the hand of God.

Guard your heart, cultivate your marriage. Stay in love with Jesus. Our reward is not here, it’s in glory.

 

Al Jackson – Red Hot Monogamy: God’s Design for Sex – Proverbs 5:1-23 from Southeastern Seminary on Vimeo.

Do Not Forsake Your Mother’s Teaching by John Piper

You can listen to the audio here.

Proverbs 1:7-9

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction. Hear, my son, your father’s instruction, and do not forsake your mother’s teaching; indeed, they are a graceful wreath to your head, and ornaments about your neck.

The book of Proverbs begins, „The proverbs of Solomon, son of David, king of Israel.” He was a great king and the son of a great king. That means he was famous and powerful and supreme in all the realm. People bowed in his presence. They did what he said. He had immense authority and honor.

Even Great Kings Should Bow to Their Mothers

How did he treat his mother in this exalted role? You recall his mother was Bathsheba. She had married his father David under very ugly circumstances—very displeasing to God. But she was his mother, and this is what it says in 1 Kings 2:19,

Bathsheba went to King Solomon to speak to him for Adonijah. And the king arose to meet her, bowed before her, and sat on his throne; then he had a throne set for the king’s mother, and she sat on his right.

Then they had their conversation. He rose for her. He bowed to her. And he called for a throne to be put beside his for their conversation. She was his mother. Even kings should stoop when their mothers enter the room.

Solomon was not a perfect king. He was not a perfect man. None of the writers of the Bible was. But God guided his insights and preserved for us true ones here in the book of Proverbs. And I want us to listen to God’s word through Solomon today.

Six Lessons: The Ultimate Issue Is God

There are at least six things he tells us in Proverbs 1:7–9. They all relate to God. They are not merely the kind of wisdom you might pick up in reading „mindworks” or Parents magazine or Ann Landers. They overlap with the wisdom of the world. But the absence of God in the world’s family-advice is ultimately a fatal flaw. Solomon means for us to hear his counsel as all related to God.

We often think of the book of Proverbs as a book of what you can learn from ordinary earthly life. And much of it is. But the point of the book is to bring all that into relation to God so that he becomes the center of it all.

Just one example. In Proverbs 30:8 it says,

Give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with the food that is my portion, 9 Lest I be full and deny Thee and say, „Who is the Lord?” Or lest I be in want and steal, and profane the name of my God.

Do you see what this says about God? The wise man prays, „Guard me from riches and guard me from poverty.” Why? Because if I’m rich I might say, „Who needs God!” And if I’m poor I might steal. And why is that so bad? Because you might get caught and go to jail? Or because you might lose your reputation? No. He says, Because if I steal, I will profane the name of my God.

Riches are dangerous because the ultimate issue is God. And poverty is dangerous because the ultimate issue is God. The book of Proverbs—the most practical, down-to-earth book in the Bible—is written for God’s sake. That we might not deny God in our prosperity and that we might not profane God in the hour of need.

All six lessons in Proverbs 1:7–9 relate to God, and they are all intensely practical.

1. The Origin of Family

The family is God’s idea.

Solomon takes for granted that there are mothers and fathers and children related in relationship of unique accountability. Verse 8: „Hear, my son, your father’s instruction, and do not forsake your mother’s teaching.” This is just a given with Solomon. It used to be with us too. But perhaps it can’t be taken for granted any more. Families are God’s idea. God’s plan. God’s way. They are not arbitrary evolutionary developments based on instincts. The family is ordained by God in creation.

In the very first chapter of the Bible, Genesis 1:27, it says,

And God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. 28 And God blessed them; and God said to them, „Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth . . . „

How are they to do this fruitful earth-filling? By indiscriminate mating and pregnancies? The second chapter of the Bible (Genesis 2:24) gives the answer: A man shall leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave to his wife; and they shall become one flesh.

A profound covenant relationship between one man and one woman—a cleaving to each other alone, in a one-flesh union—is God’s idea of the heart of the family. When this is broken by a tragic death or a tragic divorce, there may have to be single parent families. And God has been faithful to millions of mothers and fathers who have had to raise children alone. But God’s original purpose for the heart of the family was one man and one woman cleaving to each other as husband and wife and becoming one flesh in fruitful sexual union. In that way he meant to fill the earth with humans who image-forth his glory, and with couples whose covenant-relationship shows the world the way that God relates to his covenant people in love and faithfulness.

The family is God’s idea and it is for God’s glory. Solomon assumes that here in Proverbs 1:7–9.

2. The Family as a School

The family is God’s basic school for instructing children how to live in the world.

Verse 8 again: „Hear, my son, your father’s instruction, and do not forsake your mother’s teaching.” The father is an instructor and the mother is a teacher. Therefore the family is a school.

God ordained the family not just to be fruitful and fill the earth with people, but to fill the earth with instructed people and taught people. The family is the place where the next generation is born and where the next generation learns how to live.

Life does not come naturally for human beings. The sucking reflex comes naturally. The falling reflex comes naturally. The iris of the eye closes naturally in bright light. We don’t have to learn to cry when hungry. But that’s about it. And those skills will not get us very far in this world. Humans have to learn just about everything from the most basic skills of walking and talking and eating, to the moral actions of courtesy and gratitude and respect and faith in Christ.

The family is God’s school for this huge undertaking—teaching the next generation how to live in this world and be ready for the next.

And if a mother and a father seek help from others through relatives or nannies or day-care or Sunday schools or day schools or primary schools or secondary schools, the responsibility is still the parents’ and we parents will give an account to God for how the minds and hearts of our children were shaped and molded by the educators and care-givers we entrusted them to.

That’s point number two: the family is God’s basic school for instructing children how to live in the world.

3. The Fear of the Lord as the Unifying Theme

The foundation of family instruction is the fear of the Lord.

Verse 7: „The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge.” In other words if we ask, what’s the basis and beginning and integrating theme of the father’s instruction and the mother’s teaching—what is it that runs through all their daily modeling and counseling and explaining and correcting and disciplining that give unity and meaning to it all—the answer is „the fear of the Lord.”

The family isn’t just a place where children learn to hold spoons and walk on two feet and say” please” and tie shoes and read and look both ways and cut grass and put on makeup and drive a car. The family is where all of this and more begins in God, is guided by God’s Word, and is shown to be for the glory of God. The fear of God—the reverencing of God, the standing in awe of God, the trusting of God—is what family’s are for.

The family is God’s idea. The family is a school. And the unifying theme in the curriculum of this school is God.

4. The Responsibility of Both Fathers and Mothers

Under God both fathers and mothers share in the responsibility of this family instruction.

Verse 8 again: „Hear, my son, your father’s instruction, and do not forsake your mother’s teaching.”

It does not say, „Fathers instruct, and mothers change diapers.” It does not say, „Fathers work at the office and so have no responsibility to teach their children.” Nor does it say, „Mothers work at the office and can turn the responsibility of teaching over to a care-giver.” It says fathers instruct, and mothers teach. They share this responsibility.

If it were Father’s Day I would probably trumpet a challenge to you fathers to take fresh initiatives at home. But it is Mother’s Day, and I want to encourage mothers that this responsibility to teach your children is an immeasurably significant privilege.

God has a way of nullifying the greatness of the great and exalting the lowliness of the lowly. In our culture motherhood is, I think, on the upswing. But only after decades of unusual lowliness and bad-press. The last five our six years have abounded with letters and articles like this one to Ann Landers:

I’m so tired of all those ignorant people who come up to my husband and ask him if his wife has a full-time job or if she’s „just a house-wife.” . . . Here’s my job description.

I’m a wife, mother, friend, confidant, personal advisor, lover, referee, peacemaker, housekeeper, laundress, chauffeur, interior decorator, gardener, painter, wall paperer, dog groomer, veterinarian, manicurist, barber, seamstress, appointment manager, financial planner, bookkeeper, money manager, personal secretary, teacher, disciplinarian, entertainer, psychoanalyst, nurse, diagnostician, public relations expert, dietitian and nutritionist, baker, chef, fashion coordinator and letter writer for both sides of the family.

I am also a travel agent, speech therapist, plumber and automobile maintenance and repair expert . . .

From the studies done, it would cost more than $75,000 a year to replace me. I took time out of my busy day to write this letter, Ann, because there are still ignorant people who believe a housewife is nothing more than a baby sitter who sits on her behind all day and looks at soap operas. (Ann Landers, May 1988, quoted in Mom, You’re Incredible, by Linda Weber, Focus on the Family, 1994, pp. 23–24)

That’s true. And it is good to have it said. But vastly more can be said. Let me give one great illustration from the New Testament: the effect of Timothy’s mother and grandmother.

Paul says in 2 Timothy 1:5,

I am mindful of the sincere faith within you, which first dwelt in your grandmother Lois, and your mother Eunice, and I am sure that it is in you as well.

Then in 3:14–15 Paul says,

You, however, continue in the things you have learned and become convinced of, knowing from whom you have learned them [that is, your mother Eunice and through her from your grandmother Lois]; and that from childhood you have known the holy scriptures [because your mother taught them to you] which are able to give you the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.

Now that’s a remarkable testimony. Timothy’s father was a Greek (Acts 16:3). He probably didn’t know the Scriptures. So Paul celebrates the great heritage that Timothy has through his mother and his grandmother. They did what his father could not or would not do. They filled him with the Scriptures, and the Scriptures brought him eventually to faith in Christ, and faith in Christ brought him salvation.

Timothy will live forever and ever because his mother and his grandmother were faithful to Proverbs 1:8.

5. The Submissiveness of Children

God calls sons and daughters to be submissive to their mothers and fathers.

Verse 8 again: „Hear, my son, your father’s instruction, and do not forsake your mother’s teaching.”

These two commands warn against the two common temptations of rebellion. One is when a child is home; and the other is when he is away from home. If he is home, the temptation of rebellion is not to listen when his parent speaks. So Solomon says, „Hear your father’s instruction.” If he is away from home, the temptation is to forsake what he was taught. So Solomon says, „Do not forsake your mother’s teaching.”

Young people, when you are at home, listen to your parents. Do not write off what they say. Do it for God’s sake. This is so important in God’s eyes that he made it part of the Ten Commandments that sum up the whole law. Exodus 20:12, „Honor your father and mother.” Honor your father by listening respectfully when he speaks. And honor your mother by remembering what she taught you about right and wrong—about the fear of God—when you are away from home and no one can see but you and God.

6. The Promise of Reward

Finally, God ordains a reward for sons and daughters who do not forsake the teaching of their mother and father.

Verse 9: „Indeed [literally, „because”], they [hearing your father’s instruction and not forsaking your mother’s teaching] are a graceful wreath to your head, and ornaments about your neck.”

What this verse makes plain is that the instruction of fathers and the teaching of mothers, rooted in the fear of the Lord, is good news. Kids don’t always feel that. Sometimes parents have never grown up into grace enough to feel it either. But that’s what the verse says: hearing a father’s instruction and not forsaking a mother’s teaching will be a wreath of grace and glory and joy; it will be like gifts and prizes around your neck. In other words it will mean triumph and celebration and joy.

The apostle Paul said in Ephesians 6:2 that „honor your father and mother” is „the first commandment with promise.” All the commandments are full of promise, but God goes out of his way to make this explicit for sons and daughters. There is great promise in honoring your mother and father and embracing the fear of the Lord which they taught.

  • „In the fear of the Lord there is strong confidence . . . The fear of the Lord is a fountain of life” (Proverbs 14:26–27).
  • „The fear of the Lord leads to life, so that one may sleep satisfied, untouched by evil” (Proverbs 19:23).

This is the wreath on your head and the ornament on your neck for embracing the fear of the Lord that your mother and father taught you—a fountain of life and strong confidence and deep satisfaction.

A Mother’s Crown of Joy

But since today is Mother’s Day, perhaps the way we should end is by reminding ourselves as sons and daughters—whether old or young—that the fountain of life, and the strong confidence and the deep satisfaction that come from honoring all the truth that our mothers taught us also comes back to them as a crown of joy and honor and blessing in their later years. „Do not despise your mother when she is old” (Proverbs 23:22). „Let your father and your mother be glad, and let her rejoice who gave birth to you” (Proverbs 23:25). Do not forsake the teaching of your mother. It will be a wreath of grace to your head and a crown of joy upon hers.

© Desiring God

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