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Thursday, March 24, 2011

Drinking from our own well

Mark well that God doesn't miss a move you make;
   he's aware of every step you take.
(Proverbs 5:21)

This chapter begins again with a warning to pay attention to wisdom and listen closely to the Words of God.  I think Solomon was sharing an important concept - the power of a listening ear and a responsive heart.  He was also repeatedly concerned with the idea that we need to be selective about what and who it is that we are paying attention to.  As we pay attention and learn to listen carefully to wise counsel, we learn to make discretionary decision and to grow in knowledge.  Today, we have various "counsel" that influences our "discretionary" decision - what we hear in the marketplace, the example of leaders, in-your-face celebrities, and the list goes on.  Our youth of today are often influenced more by the examples portrayed in our media than they are by examples right before their eyes in "real life". 

Solomon begins with the idea:  Run from evil!  Notice, he does not say to simply turn our backs on evil - the statement is to "RUN" from it!  The idea is to put some distance between us and what is evil.  Whenever we entertain wrong thoughts/ideas, we are certain to be affected by them.  When we embrace them, we are headed right into that which will destroy our focus, impact our intent, and influence our integrity.  His warning is clear - there is a certain end to embracing sin and that end is far from pleasant.  

This entire chapter deals with the relations we have with those of the opposite sex - those we might enter into relationship with in more than just a casual sense.  His advice to us is to be very, very careful!  There is a destructive influence to treating these relationships in a casual manner.  I will not dwell long on this, but suffice it to say that our society has devalued the importance of marriage - of solid, committed relationships.  In fact, there is a tendency to say that there is nothing wrong with living together without the commitment of marriage.  Marriage is indeed a "dis-solvable" state.  If we find we cannot "solve" issues - we simply dissolve the union!

15-16 Do you know the saying, "Drink from your own rain barrel, 

   draw water from your own spring-fed well"?
It's true. Otherwise, you may one day come home 
   and find your barrel empty and your well polluted. 

The message is pretty clear - if we are going to have the advantages of a married relationship, we need to be committed to it.  We are not to be flitting about from relationship to relationship.  There is something within us that yearns for commitment - even if we say we don't.  It is in the make-up of our inner being.  The damaged people who experience the end results of never making a commitment are scattered all over our communities at this very moment.  Talk long enough with these individuals and you will see that emotions are raw, desires have been left unfulfilled, and trust is far from easy.  

The "advice" of our wise counsel in this chapter is to consider well the choices we make with the relationships we pursue.  They can be our greatest undoing, or our greatest advantage.  It is all in how we pursue them, value them, and commit to them.  God sees clearly what a man does and he examines every path he takes.  Nothing escapes God's view - he also ensures that we always have positive examples in our view so that we can learn to pattern our lives by those examples.  To be sure, we also have plenty of "not so good" examples around us.  We must become selective in those we choose to emulate - our end as a society is based on the choices we make in the hear and now!