Proverbs 22:3-5 ESV
“The prudent sees danger and hides himself,
but the simple go on and suffer for it.
The reward for humility and fear of the Lord
is riches and honor and life.
Thorns and snares are in the way of the crooked;
whoever guards his soul will keep far from them.”
There are people all around everywhere who are corrupt, immoral, and wicked, who stir up trouble for others. They are gossips, slanderers, betrayers, liars, and thieves, who live in self-indulgence, for sinful pleasure, and who willfully cause harm for others. Avoid them (2 Tim 3:1-9).
They are lazy gluttons who shirk responsibility and who prey on the weak and unsuspecting. They take advantage of others for their own greed. They are those, too, who may make a profession of faith in Jesus Christ, and who may even put on a show of righteousness, but who are living sinful lifestyles.
Although we are to love all people as Jesus loved us and gave his life up for us so that we could be delivered from our slavery to sin, we are not to bond (unite, partner) with people such as these, because bad company corrupts even bad character and can incite it and make it even worse.
The wicked lay traps for the righteous. They will try to trip us up like the Pharisees tried with Jesus quite often. They will try to get us to join in with them in their dissipation. They may even try to shame us into compromising our beliefs by trying to convince us we are not “normal.”
So, we need to guard our souls from the snares of the wicked. When we see danger, we need to avoid it, get away from it, not keep going and suffer for it. We need to walk away from gossips and from those who like to tell off-color jokes and who like to swear up a storm, etc.
And, we need to avoid going places, especially on the internet, where we might be tempted to sin or where we have fallen into traps in the past, and where we know we will be influenced in ungodly ways. We must know our weaknesses and not “tempt fate.”
And, instead, we must walk in the fear of the Lord, doing what he says to do, and be shaking off any sins that might try to entrap us. And, we must fill our minds with the things of God and not with the things of this sinful world.
Proverbs 22:10-12 ESV
“Drive out a scoffer, and strife will go out,
and quarreling and abuse will cease.
He who loves purity of heart,
and whose speech is gracious, will have the king as his friend.
The eyes of the Lord keep watch over knowledge,
but he overthrows the words of the traitor.”
A scoffer is one who makes fun of people different from him. He enjoys mocking those who aren’t like him, who don’t do the same kinds of things that he likes to do, or who he deems too religious. And, scoffers like to have an audience, too, so they will get others to join them in their mocking.
So, again, we need to avoid people such as these, not to be unloving with them, but so we are not influenced by them, or so that we do not participate with them in their scoffing by listening to them knock other people down for their own sinful pleasure.
And, we need to keep our minds pure and our hearts pure so that what comes out of our mouths is not what is harmful to others but is what gives glory to God. But what we choose to allow into our minds is going to influence what gets stored in our hearts and what comes out through our mouths and our actions. So, we need to filter what we allow inside us.
Proverbs 22:13-14 ESV
“The sluggard says, ‘There is a lion outside!
I shall be killed in the streets!’
The mouth of forbidden women is a deep pit;
he with whom the Lord is angry will fall into it.”
People who are slothful and who are irresponsible and self-indulgent will create all kinds of excuses for why they can’t do what is right and for why they continue doing what is wrong. And, many of their excuses are very lame or ridiculous. And, yet they continue to tell them.
I have found that those especially given over to sexual perversion and addiction will have all kinds of excuses for why they have not changed and for why they continue to willfully and habitually yield to their flesh to engage in what is sinful and harmful to themselves and to others.
And, the “forbidden women” don’t have to be women, though they may be. But this can be anything alluring, enticing, and leading into sin. It could be a picture, a video, a conversation, a story, a novel, a movie, or a TV show, or even a commercial or a half-time show at a football game.
But, the point here is that it is something forbidden by God, something God calls sin, but which allures people into sin who are weak willed and who are vulnerable to being tempted because they are slothful, and they don’t have their guards up, because they don’t walk in the fear of the Lord but according to their flesh.
But sexual sin and idolatry are definitely implied here, and when people do fall into that trap, it is a deep pit, and many people remain there, even many who profess faith in Jesus Christ, some of whom are pastors and elders, too.
But there is a way out. Jesus already made that way out via his death on that cross and via his resurrection, so there is no excuse for anyone to remain there or to be in a continual state of addiction recovery still recycling the same sinful cycle.
Through God-given faith in Jesus Christ, where we surrender our lives to Christ, and where we die with him to sin and live to him and to his righteousness, in his power and strength, we can walk (live) in victory over sin, and we can live holy lives, pleasing to God.
It doesn’t mean we are perfect people, but it does mean that lack of perfection is not used as an excuse for continued sinful and addictive practices. For sin is no longer our master. Sin no longer has control over our lives. Now Jesus is our master and we are under Holy Spirit control.
By the power of God’s Spirit living within us, we can live free from addiction to sin, and we can live morally pure lives and love others with the love of God instead of living for self-gratification and self-pleasure. We just have to say “No” to sin daily and “Yes” to God.
All the Way My Savior Leads Me
Lyrics by Frances J Crosby, pub. 1875
Music by Robert Lowry, pub. 1875
All the way my Savior leads me,
What have I to ask beside?
Can I doubt His tender mercy,
Who through life has been my Guide?
Heav’nly peace, divinest comfort,
Here by faith in Him to dwell!
For I know, whate’er befall me,
Jesus doeth all things well.
All the way my Savior leads me,
Cheers each winding path I tread,
Gives me grace for every trial,
Feeds me with the living Bread.
Though my weary steps may falter
And my soul athirst may be,
Gushing from the Rock before me,
Lo! A spring of joy I see.
All the way my Savior leads me,
Oh, the fullness of His love!
Perfect rest to me is promised
In my Father’s house above.
When my spirit, clothed immortal,
Wings its flight to realms of day
This my song through endless ages:
Jesus led me all the way.
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