Reid Ferguson

Proverbs Six: Watch out son! (III)

 

Probers for Living

Series: Digging Deeper into Proverbs

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1 My son, if you have put up security for your neighbor,
have given your pledge for a stranger,
2 if you are snared in the words of your mouth,
caught in the words of your mouth,
3 then do this, my son, and save yourself,
for you have come into the hand of your neighbor:
go, hasten, and plead urgently with your neighbor.
4 Give your eyes no sleep
and your eyelids no slumber;
5 save yourself like a gazelle from the hand of the hunter,
like a bird from the hand of the fowler.
6 Go to the ant, O sluggard;
consider her ways, and be wise.
7 Without having any chief,
officer, or ruler,
8 she prepares her bread in summer
and gathers her food in harvest.
9 How long will you lie there, O sluggard?
When will you arise from your sleep?
10 A little sleep, a little slumber,
a little folding of the hands to rest,
11 and poverty will come upon you like a robber,
and want like an armed man.
12 A worthless person, a wicked man,
goes about with crooked speech,
13 winks with his eyes, signals with his feet,
points with his finger,
14 with perverted heart devises evil,
continually sowing discord;
15 therefore calamity will come upon him suddenly;
in a moment he will be broken beyond healing.
16 There are six things that the Lord hates,
seven that are an abomination to him:
17 haughty eyes, a lying tongue,
and hands that shed innocent blood,
18 a heart that devises wicked plans,
feet that make haste to run to evil,
19 a false witness who breathes out lies,
and one who sows discord among brothers
(Proverbs 6:1-19 ESV)

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 Solomon: Crooked speech

Proverbs 6:12–15 “A worthless person, a wicked man, goes about with crooked speech, 13 winks with his eyes, signals with his feet, points with his finger, 14 with perverted heart devises evil, continually sowing discord; 15 therefore calamity will come upon him suddenly; in a moment he will be broken beyond healing.”

Christians are to be people of truth.

We come to know our need of salvation, only when we are exposed to the truth of the Fall. We come to know our separation from God only when we realize the truth that God is – and then contemplate that we do not know Him. We only come to be saved, by knowing that Christ died in the place of sinners, and that all who put their trust in His substitutionary atoning sacrifice on their behalf may be reconciled to God, forgiven of all their sin, and granted the gift of eternal life. And we only live the Christian life in power when we come to know the truth of the indwelling presence of the Spirit of God. Indeed, Jesus Himself declares that He IS “the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6)

Christianity thrives on truth, the revealed truth in the Word of God.

Not on myths, theories, suppositions, imaginations, mere customs, traditions or hearsay. As Peter reminds his readers in 2 Peter 1:16 “we did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty.” Then Jesus tells us “God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.” (John 4:24 )  Ps. 51 says “Behold, you delight in truth in the inward being.” Couple this with the startling pronouncement of Jesus in John 18:37c “Everyone who is of the truth listens to my voice.” And the weight of knowing and living in the truth comes home with unavoidable force.

It isn’t a mystery then that our text binds those who play fast and loose with the truth through “crooked speech” and by means of being indirect and subtle with the “worthless” and “wicked” man.

Christians need to guard against slipping.

Lying in our public figures has become such a way of life in America today, no one even blinks an eye anymore. It seems everyone lies about everything and that’s just the way it is. Yet how completely antithetical to Biblical Christianity can this be? And how easily can we as Christians slip into the same way of thinking and living. Which begins by the way – living in untruthfulness inwardly, with ourselves. Lying to ourselves about the depths of our own sin, the reality of our great need of Christ, and the lack of true progress in growing in His image. It then moves from lying to ourselves, to lying to others. The reality is, those who fall into the habit of indirect communication fall into the company of those who are dishonest and villainous. We cannot avoid the connection.

We are to be a plain spoken people.

That does not mean we are to be crass, harsh or overly blunt. It is to say we are to say what we mean, and mean what we say. Hints, innuendo, curved words – are not the way of truth.

And where does this need to be played out more than in our homes. With ourselves, our spouses, and our kids. How much of the strife that our homes endure, is due to the fact that we want others to pick up on our hints, interpret our signals and divine the inwards moods and emotions we couch in indecipherable coded actions, words and tones of voice?

This is not loving toward one another, and it is not the Spirit of Christ, the Spirit of Truth.

From time to time I am challenged again in this capacity when I re-read the way Jesus dealt with people in the Gospels. Bold, loving frankness. The kind of which is all but absent in our day. Even with the Church, in His messages to the 7 in the opening chapters of the Revelation. See how He is unsparing in His searching out their ills, while affirming them in all that He can – and all with an eye toward their good, and increasing intimacy with Himself.

Our sweet Savior never soft-soaps our sin, nor fails to hold and affirm.

For without truth, we cannot love. We may side-step our own discomfort for a moment, but in the end, we sin against those with whom we will not walk in honesty and truth. It takes the kind of courage only authentic love can carry out.

Never forget, we owe our eternal salvation to that fact Jesus never lied to us or misled us in the slightest. Nor could He be our Savior if He did. What a great Savior we have.

~ Reid

Next week: Chapter Seven

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Reid Ferguson

Reid serves as the pastor for preaching and vision at Evangelical Church of Fairport in Fairport New York. A native of Rochester, N.Y., he has served in various ministry areas during his life, including: a founding member of the former Mark IV Quartet, Youth Pastor at ECF, former board member of the Fellowship of Independent Reformed Evangelicals (F.I.R.E.), and author of The Little Book of Things You Should Know About Ministry (Christian Focus Publications, 2002). Pastor Reid blogs regularly at Responsive Reiding.

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