Deliverance

21 Jul

DeliveranceYou can listen to the podcast here.

Last week we learned that wisdom does come from God, but there’s no magic wand to zap us with wisdom. We need to be willing to labor to find wisdom; there are no shortcuts. Wisdom gives us the ability to know right and wrong without having every single scenario possible spelled out for us. This morning, Solomon gives us the conclusion to that giant conditional clause as he warned his son about the dangers encountered from people that don’t walk with God.

Take the time to read Proverbs 2:12-22.

The first thing we see is that wisdom is a protector. We live in a real world with real issues. There are threats all around us. Threats that seek to derail us, discourage us, and even destroy us. In the second part of Chapter 2, Solomon warns his son about dangerous men and women. In the two verses before today’s passage, we saw the qualities of wisdom, knowledge, discretion, and understanding. All of these are designed to, “Deliver you from the way of evil.” Think of , “The way of evil” as a path of destruction so let’s see where it leads.

Those four qualities are designed to help us recognize and deliver us from people that are not walking with God. Throughout this study, you’re going to hear 1 Cor. 15:33 over and over again because we see the effects of peer pressure: “Do not be deceived: bad company corrupts good morals.” When a kid gets into trouble, you’ll often hear them say, “I was hanging out with the wrong crowd.” We saw in Chapter 1 how gangs recruit by giving kids a sense of belonging; a sense of family. You’ve got to learn to stay away from those evil people. But wait, doesn’t God love everyone? Of course, but that doesn’t mean you’re best friends with them. There’s a delicate balance between influencing them with the Gospel and them influencing you with evil.

These kinds of people should be fairly easy to recognize. The first clue is their perverse speech. This could mean sexual type perverse speech. It can also mean deliberate and unacceptable speech. The second is their behavior. They, “Leave the paths of uprightness to walk in the ways of darkness.” This is really interesting. They leave the paths of uprightness. This gives us the idea that they were on the right path, but they chose to leave. Leave means go away from or depart permanently. They left right and chose wrong. The third is their desires. They delight in doing evil and rejoice in its perversity. These people are bad to the core. The paths they choose are crooked. They are devious in their ways. Devious means they use underhanded tactics to get what they want. They are dishonest and cannot be trusted.

Wisdom is a protector and wisdom will deliver you. Wisdom does many good things and what it does in v. 16 is a very good thing. Solomon shifts gears a bit and brings up sexual temptation. This is a particularly troubling thing. It seems our society revolves around sex. Sex is brought into everything from advertising to sports, social media and the internet to TV and movies. What God designed to be enjoyed in the privacy of the home between a husband and his wife has been defiled, distorted, and devalued. These temptations have been around since humanity began and we have no reason to think it will ever be eliminated. Sexual sin is as prevalent inside the church as it is outside of the church. But society has redefined it. We’ve seen professing Christians fall into lust, fornication, and adultery and use whatever means necessary to make excuses or justify their actions. Solomon sets this up to deliver us from ourselves and tells us that wisdom delivers you from a strange woman. Strange can mean weird or unusual, but here it really means strange as in stranger.

Be mindful of her ways. Look at her. She flatters: she tells you what you want to hear. She is smooth, deceptive, and tricky. Don’t let her outward appearance and mannerisms fool you into ignoring her inward character. That strange woman is not sent by God, she is not your soul mate; she is not the answer for you. She threatens your family, your livelihood, your life. If she’ll do it with you, she’ll do it to you. She left the companion of her youth and she will leave you. She forgot her covenant with God. Forget in v. 17 means a deliberate choice. Ironically, Solomon doesn’t heed his own advice and his desire for strange women would lead to his own demise. 1 Kings 11 talks about him loving foreign women as well as the daughter of Pharaoh. God told him not to even associate with these foreign women, but that’s later in Solomon’s life. Look where she will lead you in vs. 18-19.    If you take her bait, you will die. Ez. 23:35, “Therefore, thus says the Lord GOD, ‘Because you have forgotten Me and cast Me behind your back, bear now the punishment of your lewdness and your harlotries.’ ” Infidelity between a husband and wife is particularly bad because marriage is a covenant that reflects God’s covenant with us.

Wisdom will protect you, wisdom will deliver you, and finally, wisdom provides the safety net. Wisdom will enable you to recognize the folly of engaging with strange women. Verses 20-21 tells us that the wise man will, “Walk in the way of good men and keep the paths of righteousness. For the upright will live in the land and the blameless will live in it.” We’re talking biblical wisdom. Wisdom from God that results from a relationship with Christ. Ps. 37:29, “The righteous will inherit the land and dwell in it forever.” Just to keep us aware, Solomon provides the contrast to the wise ways he speaks about. Verse 22 closes by saying, “But the wicked will be cut off from the land and the treacherous will be uprooted from it.” The wicked and the treacherous are evicted from the land. You can’t violate the principles of God and expect the promises of God to be guaranteed to you.

Biblical wisdom is a great friend to have. She will protect you, deliver you, and provide you a safety net. You just have to pursue and follow her.

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