The remaining portion of chapter one of the Book of Proverbs is often entitled “Warnings”. What is the purpose of a warning? A warning is a notice of impending danger or unpleasantness, possible harm or problem(s) that could otherwise be avoidable. The person who is issuing a warning is well aware of the impending danger or possible problem. His or her purpose is to bring the recipient(s) of that warning to the same awareness.
That said, day two is Proverbs 1:8-33…
(8) Listen, my son, to your father’s instruction and do not forsake your mother’s teaching. (9) They are a garland to grace your head and a chain to adorn your neck. (10) My son, if sinful men entice you, do not give in to them. (11) If they say, “Come along with us; let’s lie in wait for innocent blood, let’s ambush some harmless soul; (12) let’s swallow them alive, like the grave, and whole, like those who go down to the pit; (13) we will get all sorts of valuable things and fill our houses with plunder; (14) cast lots with us; we will all share the loot”— (15) my son, do not go along with them, do not set foot on their paths; (16) for their feet rush into evil, they are swift to shed blood. (17) How useless to spread a net where every bird can see it! (18) These men lie in wait for their own blood; they ambush only themselves! (19) Such are the paths of all who go after ill-gotten gain; it takes away the life of those who get it. (20) Out in the open wisdom calls aloud, she raises her voice in the public square; (21) on top of the wall she cries out, at the city gate she makes her speech: (22) “How long will you who are simple love your simple ways? How long will mockers delight in mockery and fools hate knowledge? (23) Repent at my rebuke! Then I will pour out my thoughts to you, I will make known to you my teachings. (24) But since you refuse to listen when I call and no one pays attention when I stretch out my hand, (25) since you disregard all my advice and do not accept my rebuke, (26) I in turn will laugh when disaster strikes you; I will mock when calamity overtakes you— (27) when calamity overtakes you like a storm, when disaster sweeps over you like a whirlwind, when distress and trouble overwhelm you. (28) “Then they will call to me but I will not answer; they will look for me but will not find me, (29) since they hated knowledge and did not choose to fear the Lord. (30) Since they would not accept my advice and spurned my rebuke, (31) they will eat the fruit of their ways and be filled with the fruit of their schemes. (32) For the waywardness of the simple will kill them, and the complacency of fools will destroy them; (33) but whoever listens to me will live in safety and be at ease, without fear of harm.”
PROVERBS 1:8-33 NIV84
A garland to grace your head and a chain to adorn your neck. The graceful garland and adorning chain signify a distinguishment. They are items which would certainly make it obvious that the wearer is set apart, different from the norm. That’s the effect of listening to wise instruction and not forsaking wise teaching– standing apart from the masses as a peculiar person.
If sinful men entice you, do not give in to them. Is it just by happenstance that the sinners spoken of are plural? “Them,” “us,” “we,” “our,” “their,” “they,” “these,” “themselves.” I think not. Sinful enticement is widespread and bound to be encountered everywhere by everyone. More than that, this plurality further reinforces that wisely living according to the well-established perfect truth depicted in Proverbs sets one apart from the world– it’s a holy life in opposition to the widespread sinfulness.
Such are the paths of all who go after ill-gotten gain; it takes away the life of those who get it. Going after ill-gotten gain (greed, covetousness, murder, etc.) is calamitous and miserable. The sinner’s end AND the means to that end is destruction and death. “[T]hey will eat the fruit of their ways and be filled with the fruit of their schemes…” (Proverbs 1:31, NIV84).
I in turn will laugh when disaster strikes you; I will mock when calamity overtakes you— when calamity overtakes you like a storm, when disaster sweeps over you like a whirlwind, when distress and trouble overwhelm you. How listening and responding to wisdom would have prevented: disaster, calamity, distress, and trouble! Who in their right mind would want to sign up for those things? But then again, this continues to reaffirm the point (as made in Proverbs 1:1-7) that both accepting and rejecting wisdom are intentional and deliberate decisions. Repenting at rebuke, refusing to listen, not paying attention, disregarding advice, not accepting rebuke, hating knowledge, not choosing to fear the Lord, not accepting advice, and spurning rebuke are ALL intentional and deliberate actions.
Then they will call to me but I will not answer; they will look for me but will not find me. There is a time when it is too late. We all have that friend (or might be that friend ourselves) who will remark, “watch your step,” AFTER you have already tripped. Our response to that might be a sarcastic, “well, thanks” or “you should have told me that BEFORE I tripped, captain obvious”! Heeding a warning after the fact isn’t too useful. This is a forewarning. Isaiah 55:6 (NASB) tells us to “SEEK THE LORD WHILE HE MAY BE FOUND; CALL UPON HIM WHILE HE IS NEAR.” That word “near” used in Isaiah also appears in Psalm 34:18 (NASB), “THE LORD IS NEAR TO THE BROKENHEARTED AND SAVES THOSE WHO ARE CRUSHED IN SPIRIT.” Again, we are reminded of the points made earlier in Proverbs 1:1-7! (Missed that post? No fear! Click here to read.)
I hope that you are coming to see along with me the beauty of the unity and consistency within Proverbs. Proverbs shouldn’t be likened to a 365 day flip calendar of mutually exclusive yet somehow inspirational and or humorous quotes. Each statement of well-established perfect truth confirms and is confirmed by the other statements…and in greater context all of Scripture.
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