Four Things that Lack Forethought
Text: Proverbs 6:1-19
Don’t Guarantee Some Else’s Loan (Proverbs 6:1-5)
It initially sounds like you are doing a good deed. Someone can’t secure a loan on his own, so he asks you to cosign. Yet, Solomon warns that it isn’t as good as it might seem. If a person isn’t able to get a loan, then it means the banks and other people have already determined that he isn’t likely to pay back the loan. If he doesn’t pay and you are the co-signer, then the banks will expect you to pay the remaining amount. Thus, you will be paying for something you never have use of; yet, it will impact your future.
If you are in this situation, the best thing you can do is get out of it as quickly as you can. Ask yourself what will happen to you if the debt comes due tomorrow?
- Notice the urgency that Solomon places on getting out of a cosigning situation. Why is he so adamant?
- If being surety for a neighbor is so bad, what about with someone you barely know?
- Is cosigning always bad?
Don’t Be Lazy (Proverbs 6:6-11)
When you are feeling lazy, you need to consider the ant. Ants are constantly working at storing food. Even though each ant doesn’t move a large quantity of food, he is able to accumulate a large amount over an entire season. And the ant does it all without anyone making it act with forethought. It sounds so good to put off some effort for a later, more convenient time, but the lack of effort also accumulates over time. Before you realize it, the effect of small periods of laziness strikes.
- Apply this lesson to studying for a class. Which is better: to study in small chunks as the class progresses or to cram your efforts for the night before the final exam?
- Where else could you apply this lesson?
The Fate of the Worthless Man (Proverbs 6:12-15)
A worthless person,
a wicked man,
Is the one
Who walks with a perverse mouth,
Who winks with his eyes,
Who signals with his feet,
Who points with his fingers;
Who with perversity in his heart continually devises evil,
Who spreads strife.
Therefore his calamity will come suddenly;
Instantly he will be broken
And there will be no healing.
The repetition of the word “who” serves as bullet points in a list describing the behavior of a worthless, wicked man. We start with twisted words by one person and build up to hostility between people. Each item is a form of misleading. Perverse words say the opposite of what is actually true. People wink when they wish to signal to a few that they don’t really mean what they are saying. As Jesus points out in Matthew 7:15-20, when a person’s words don’t match his actions, then the actions are closer to the truth. Then there are always those who are quick to accuse others of what they themselves are doing (Romans 2:1). Finally, the wicked are constantly devising evil because their very thoughts are twisted (Psalms 36:4; Isaiah 32:7).
Notice that there are two lists, one of body parts and one of actions. One list is shorter than the other, but it leaves an implication that the absent part is the hands because hands spread things; yet, strife isn’t spread by hands. Strife is spread by the accumulated effect of prior actions. This technique makes it easier to memorize lists
Despite the trouble the wicked creates, what we need to realize is that it will not last. What a person does comes back to him and in this case, the fall is almost always a sudden reversal of fortune that can’t be undone (Psalms 73:18-20; I Thessalonians 5:3).
Notice that once again a lack of forethought is being demonstrated. Here is a person who thinks to cause problems for other people, never realizing his actions will come back to him as a personal disaster.
- Is this a warning against being wicked or an assurance that the wicked will not escape the problems they cause?
- What are some indications that you are dealing with a wicked person? What should you look for?
Things the Lord Hates (Proverbs 6:16-19)
These six things the LORD hates,
Yes, seven are an abomination to Him:
A proud look,
A lying tongue,
Hands that shed innocent blood,
A heart that devises wicked plans,
Feet that are swift in running to evil,
A false witness who speaks lies,
And one who sows discord among brethren.
The “six ... seven” sets up a list, telling us how many items are in the list. This is a list of things the Lord hates – more than hates, it is a list of things that God finds particularly disgusting. “Abomination” literally means something that makes you sick to your stomach. It is actually two lists packed into one. We have a list of six body parts that are connected to seven sins. The body parts are: look (face), tongue, hands, heart, feet, mouth. The seven sinful actions are pride, lying, murder of the innocent, planning evil, rushing to do evil, speaking lies when you are a witness, and sowing discord.
What is particularly strange about this list is that only the murder of the innocent is something universally seen as very bad. There is more wrong with these sins than it first may appear (Isaiah 59:1-4).
- Why do you suppose lying is mentioned twice? What is the difference between the two? Aren’t some lies acceptable? (Revelation 21:8)
- What is so bad about personal pride? (Psalms 101:5; James 4:4-10)
- Can shedding innocent blood include more than murder? (Proverbs 1:11)
- Why is planning evil horrible? After all, nothing has been actually done. (Psalms 36:1-4)
- What does being in a rush to do evil say about a person? (Isaiah 59:7; Proverbs 1:16)
- What danger lies in dividing brethren? (I Corinthians 1:10; III John 9-10)