Proverbs 5:7

And now, O sons, listen to me,

    and do not depart from the words of my mouth.

Proverbs 5:7 ESV

These are the words of a parent who has traveled further down the road than his child, and thus has seen some of the twists and turns of life that are in his child’s future. Here, the writer wants to get his child’s attention because there are dangers ahead (see 8-14).

In the first clause, listen conveys the idea of “pay attention and do.” Simply hearing what I’m saying isn’t enough; you need to understand and do. I think of a coach calling his team into a huddle to explain what he wants them to do. Often the call to attention in that scenario is, “Listen up!” By that he means “pay attention, I’m about to give you instructions that you need to understand and execute.”

The second clause indicates the expectation of an ongoing commitment to what is about to be said. It isn’t enough to hear and understand; committed application is the expectation.

How often do we read the Bible with the intent to understand and apply? It’s easy to fall into the trap of reading Scripture seemingly for the sake of reading … without listening. At the end of those sessions we can say we read X number of chapters, but we can hardly explain anything that we read. Is that helpful?

Proverbs 21:3

To do righteousness and justice

    is more acceptable to the Lord than sacrifice.

Proverbs 21:3 ESV

This verse is an apologetic against the modern idea that “I have Jesus, so I can do whatever I want.” I have heard people say dismissively about their sin, “It’s under the blood.” While it is true that Jesus’ blood covers all of our sin, our attitude about his sacrifice is not inconsequential.

Here, the writer reminds us of the Lord’s primary desire for righteousness and justice. But, as sinners, how can we do those things sufficiently? Second Corinthians 5:21 reminds us that “For our sake, he made him to be sin who knew sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” So, rather than have a dismissive attitude about Christ’s death on our behalf, we should rejoice that in his death, he made it possible for us to be clothed in his righteousness.

Proverbs 20:2

The terror of a king is like the growling of a lion;

    whoever provokes him to anger forfeits his life.

Proverbs 20:2 ESV

This proverb is obviously a warning about the power of the king. Poking and provoking a king will lead to dire consequences. However, kings should take note that they have a responsibility to their people and they should not behave as animals.

Proverbs 19:2

Desire without knowledge is not good,
and whoever makes haste with his feet misses his way.

Proverbs 19:2 ESV

This verse reminds me of being in a store with a kid. The first thing that catches his attention results in, “Can we get this?” No thought of what it costs. No thought of what it does. No thought of how easily it may break or become outdated. Simply, “I see it and I want it … now.” So many things in life come with a cost, but a broken soul doesn’t think about those things. It simply wants.

How do you fight desire?

Proverbs 18:6

A fool’s lips walk into a fight,

    and his mouth invites a beating.

Proverbs 18:6 ESV

When I was a kid, “You are cruising for a bruising,” was a phrase often used to warn someone that their mouth was about to get them into trouble. The fool would not heed the warning. Note that it isn’t really the mouth that is the problem, it’s the heart. However, it is by way of the mouth that the heart is revealed.

A person that can’t or doesn’t control his mouth is a fool.

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