Search This Blog

Monday, October 14, 2013

Much and Many - hocking their wares

Exercising good judgment as evidence by our conduct is an outflow of listening well to wisdom's call.  Learning to speak when in makes sense and then remain prudently silent when it does not is also an outcome of having learned the lessons of wisdom.  Knowing when to keep quiet and when to speak up is difficult, isn't it?  Realizing when action is the course desired, but also when inaction is the best means of attack is also an art.  There is a fine balance which must be learned and it is learned by paying attention and listening carefully - we become "readers" of the signs, so to speak.  I think God gives us the ability to "read" the circumstances, know when it is the right moment to move, and holds us back with some check in our inner man when the time is not right - but these "skills" are learned at his feet, not simply by trial and error.  When we do err, if we bring those things back to him, he is quite willing to help us learn where the action went wrong, or what was said which probably should have been left unsaid.  At that point, the learning "effort" belongs to us.  Somethings just never get "learned" because we hear, but then don't commit them into our practical, everyday life - we don't allow them to affect our "practice".

Mark well that God doesn’t miss a move you make; he’s aware of every step you take.  The shadow of your sin will overtake you; you’ll find yourself stumbling all over yourself in the dark.  Death is the reward of an undisciplined life; your foolish decisions trap you in a dead end.  (Proverbs 5:21-23 MSG)

In this fifty chapter of Proverbs, we are reminding of the enticing effects of immorality.  This is more than a chapter about remaining faithful to your husband or wife.  It is instruction into knowing exactly where your heart is directing its affections, what you really are seeking, and that what is "available" is not always the "wisest" choice for our lives.  What we discover is the effects of being "unfaithful" - choices of the heart which "stray" from the commitment of relationship once made will result in shame and grief.  

It doesn't matter whether we are speaking about the relationship of marriage, that of a close friendship, or most importantly of the relationship we have with our Savior.  Get pulled away by enticing talk or appearances - reap the consequences of shame, guilt and grief.  God doesn't emphasize the importance of remaining "pure" in heart - committed to only one - because he likes to "limit" us.  He knows the anguish and disgrace of giving to anyone else what has been dedicated to another - especially him!

The main aim of the chapter is to remind us of the importance of being captivated by one, not the lust of Many or Much.  Many and Much are close companions in this journey we make each day.  We are constantly faced with the lure of Much and the fantasy of Many.  Much attempts to snag us by playing into our desires for competition and attention.  Many pulls us in with the stroking of our pride and the disguise of the adequacy of "popularity". We probably find ourselves surrounded with the many enticements of Many and Much, not because we have the need for either, but because Many and Much appeal to some "unfulfilled" desire we have -  a desire we have not learned to control or given much attention toward understanding in our lives.  

Captivation is the ability to attract and hold the attention and interest of the other.  What captivates your heart today?  What is playing on your interests? What is capturing your attention?  These are the questions asked by the proverb - for what attracts our attention, holding it for even short periods of time, will eventually peak our interests - and interests aroused will soon require some investment on our parts.  We are "fascinated" by the things Much and Many put out there as displays to lure us in.  If you understand anything about "advertising", you know the "hook" has to be there to get someone to pay attention to the billboard, commercial, or the like.  No hook - no attention.  No attention - no sale!

Much plays on our affections, promising something we don't possess without the numerous activities and things Much offers for our "satisfaction".  Many promises to build up our ego by the "status" Many promises once you have amassed all it has to offer.  Much and Many are not limitless, though.  Their "satisfaction" and "status" are not without end.  There is but one relationship which produces unending satisfaction and status unmatched by anything in this world - the relationship of One.  

Some may find the first several chapters of Proverbs a little hard to get hold of because there is all this talk about prostitutes.  If we put all things in perspective, realizing the enticement and luring effects of those who "hock their wares", so to speak, we can see these chapters as practical illustrations of the effects of a divided heart.  A heart which vacillates and cannot "get a fix" on any one thing as its means of satisfaction will be "lured into" the traps of Much and Many - hocking their wares for us to spend ourselves in pursuing. The "hook" of their appeal is in their "advertising" - but what they don't tell you is in their "fine print".  It is most often the "fine print" we fail to read - so God gives us some insight into the "hidden agenda" of Much and Many.

Much and Many appeals to the majority - the Captivation of One appeals to only a few.  What about you?  Who has your heart?  You may have been "hooked" by the advertising and fine print of Much or Many, feeling their is no way out of the obligation you are under to one or the other.  Yet, if you know even one truth about our Lord Jesus it is this:  He isn't "bound" by their "contracts"!  Neither are you!  You may break free of the hold of Much and Many at any time - by stepping into the embrace of One.  Just sayin!