Friday, January 9, 2015

Warring Influences

The very beginning of the book of Proverbs starts as most would expect. There is a discussion of wisdom and how one may attain unto it. Proverbs 1:7 clearly explains, 
"The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction"

At this point, Solomon begins constructing a discussion of how "his son" should heed the instruction of "thy father." There is at this point shown that good influences are placed before our lives to aid us in avoiding the enticement of sin.

Later, we see a stronger look at positive influence when wisdom begins to cry out in verses 20-33. Here wisdom begs to be understood, begs to be known, and begs to have a chance to save others from the foolishness and simplicity of the world.

In between these two positive influences though, Solomon pens in verses 10-19 a very different type of influence. Here we read,
"My son, if sinners entice thee, consent thou not. If they say, Come with us, let us lay wait for blood, let us lurk privily for the innocent without cause: Let us swallow them up alive as the grave; and whole, as those that go down into the pit: We shall find all precious substance, we shall fill our houses with spoil: Cast in thy lot among us; let us all have one purse: My son, walk not thou in the way with them; refrain thy foot from their path: For their feet run to evil, and make haste to shed blood. Surely in vain the net is spread in the sight of any bird. And they lay wait for their own blood; they lurk privily for their own lives. So are the ways of every one that is greedy of gain; which taketh away the life of the owners thereof."

The placement of this selection makes a great case for the idea that Solomon is trying to get us to understand that wisdom is helpful in avoiding the enticements of sin and the negative influence of those participating in the activity of sin.

After all, if you are in a chapter that both begins and ends by talking about the positive influences of wisdom, why would you decide to take a detour through the negative influences of the world, unless you were trying to show a contrast between the two?

That's what I see Solomon doing here. Further, I see Him placing it rather obviously before us that we will be met with both positive and negative influences throughout our days and as such, if we want to avoid sin, or if we want to actually attain unto any sort of wisdom, we must be able to discern which is the good influence and follow it.

We must do as Solomon declares in verse 5-9, and later in verses 23 and 33,
"A wise man will hear, and will increase learning; and a man of understanding shall attain unto wise counsels: To understand a proverb, and the interpretation; the words of the wise, and their dark sayings. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction. My son, hear the instruction of thy father, and forsake not the law of thy mother: For they shall be an ornament of grace unto thy head, and chains about thy neck....
Turn you at my reproof: behold, I will pour out my spirit unto you, I will make known my words unto you....But whoso hearkeneth unto me shall dwell safely, and shall be quiet from fear of evil."

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