25     Let your eyes look straight ahead,
And your eyelids look right before you.

26     Ponder the path of your feet,
And let all your ways be established.

27     Do not turn to the right or the left;
Remove your foot from evil.
(Proverbs 4:25-27)
          As is seen in a number of other passages in Proverbs, this particular couple of verse is one of the more familiar and well known bits of what Solomon had to say to his readers.  Of course, this is particularly true of verse 27.  
           Verse 25 starts with the idea of “letting” our eyes look straight ahead.  I have seen much application and regular application of this idea in my own practical life.  I noticed a while ago that if, while driving, a look down to press a button or some other part of the interior of the car, the car tends to start, slowly drift in the same direction, slowly and not dramatically, but it happens never the less.  Needless to say I have taken to being certain that my eyes are forward at all times.  As I pondered this couple verses, I could see the real and necessary application to spiritual matters.  For one thing, it stands as a real challenge for us to be firm in our resolution about remaining in the right way. Metaphorically, it suggests that when a person turns his eyes away from the path, he is apt to stumble.

          Solomon’s reference to eyes and eyelids in verse 25 are really a double statement of the same thing, repeated for emphasis.  Notice also the beginning of the verse, with the word “Let”.  There are two ideas here. 
  1. First it speaks of the deliberate actions involved.  Solomon’s advice is for us to see to it we are taking what action or effort tis needful to be sure that the vision and attention is where it ought to be.  
  2. Second it speaks of the possibility or temptation to allow our emphasis and focus to wander, even a bit.  We must see to it that this does not happen, and take what steps are needed to resist or protect against this possibility.
          Of course, we might also note that there is the possibility that, in our normal vision, we might accidentally or, perhaps purposely allow our vision, our “eye” to drift away from being “ahead”.  We note also that Solomon tells us to see to it that our “sight” is “straight” forward.  The word is only used a relatively few number of times in the OT.  It is translated as “against” 10 times, “before” nine times, “directly” once, “for” once, “on” once, and “over” once.

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 “He knoweth not that the dead are there; and that her guests are in the depths of hell.”
Proverbs 9:18
          The several verses of which verse 18 s the final statement speaks of “Folly’s enticement”. Here we can see that, as in other passages, “Folly”, too, is personified, here as a foolish woman, and those who choose her instead of our Lord court death and hell.  Solomon was very good at painting pictures of what it was that he was trying to get across to us.  He sought to draw either pictures or to use, as here, personification concerning human attributes that are familiar to use so we can readily grasp his point.  These verses are not intended to be demeaning to women in general, but apply to a certain type of woman, the foolish and immoral woman.
         It is important that we see this last verse in its’ context:
13 The woman Folly is loud;
  she is undisciplined and without knowledge.

14 She sits at the door of her house,
  on a seat at the highest point of the city,

15 calling out to those who pass by,
  who go straight on their way.

16 “Let all who are simple come in here!”
  she says to those who lack judgment.

17 “Stolen water is sweet;
  food eaten in secret is delicious!”

18 But little do they know that the dead are there,
  that her guests are in the depths of the grave.

          As we have said, verse 9:13–18 These last six verses stand as the counterpart to verses 1–6. Like a Woman, Wisdom, Woman Folly finds the most prominent place in the city to issue her invitation (v. 14; cf. v. 3). She issues the same invitation as Woman Wisdom, “Let all who are simple come in here!” (v. 16; cf. v. 4). Whereas Woman Wisdom calls on individuals to leave simplicity, Woman Folly invites them to capitalize on it and develop this “quality.”
         We see the reference to “A foolish woman”; literally, the woman of folly, the genitive being that of apposition, so that this may well be rendered, in order to make the contrast with Wisdom more marked, “the woman Folly.” She is regarded as a real person; and between her and Virtue man has to make his choice. “Is clamorous”; turbulent and animated by passion (as ch. 7:11), quite different from her calm, dignified rival. She is simple; Hebrew, “simplicity,” in a bad sense; she has no preservative against evil, no moral fibre to resist temptation. And knoweth nothing which she ought to know. Ignorance is the natural accompaniment of Folly; in this case it is wilful and persistent; she goes on her way reckless of consequences. Septuagint, “A woman foolish and bold, who knows not shame, comes to want a morsel.”
         So she is boisterous and restless. She is easily distracted, her attention span short. Unlike Woman Wisdom who is clear about her purpose and actively pursues it, Woman Folly is inactive. She does not build a house; she does not prepare a meal because the food she offers is stolen (v. 17). She only sits at the door of her house (v. 14). Hers is a dysfunctional world.

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We want to think a bit about Judges 2:18,

           “When the LORD raised up judges for them, the LORD was with the judge and delivered them from the hand of their enemies all the days of the judge; for the LORD was moved to pity by their groaning because of those who oppressed and afflicted them.”
           Judges 11 began a section where we have an increasingly details and forceful view of Israel’s faithlessness, despite being in the Promised Land and enjoying the blessings promised in the Old and Palestinian Covenants.  Chapter 2:1 actually gives a fairly dramatic statement of the growth and increasing seriousness of Israel’s disobedience. 

2 Then the Angel of the Lord came up from Gilgal to Bochim, and said: “I led you up from Egypt and brought you to the land of which I swore to your fathers; and I said, ‘I will never break My covenant with you. (Judges 2:1)

           Verses 2-3 speaks clearly of the fact that they were forbidden to make any covenants with the people of the land, this following His statement there at the end of verse 1 that He “will never break My covenant” with them.  The end of verse 2 introduces the first ominous tone to the discussion. 

“…you have not obeyed My voice. Why have you done this? Therefore I also said, ‘I will not drive them out before you; but they shall be thorns in your side, and their gods shall be a snare to you.’ ””

           It seems that the Israelites either did not realize or did not choose to observe the seriousness and reality of what God had told them.  For some reason they thought that they would be “OK” in spite of their pursuing their own course in the land.  Yet it is clear that the state in which we find them very soon after Joshua died (2:7-10) was one that was pretty much what God, via the Prophet had said would follow their disobedience.  
   
       We’re told a good bit about the general nature of Israel’s disobedience in verse 11ff.:
                      1.      They did what the writer calls “evil” in a general sense (11a)
                      2.      In connection with that, we’re told they “served the Baals” that had been worshipped by those who were in the land upon Israel’s entrance.
                      3.      The writer tells us that they “forsook” the Lord God of their fathers, doing so in spite of all of the wonderful and powerful things that He had done for them in their exit from Egypt.
                      4.      We’re also told that they “followed other gods from among the gods of the people who were all around them”.  
                      5.      We must note also that it was not just a matter of “following” these “other gods” which were the people’s gods in the land.  We’re told that they were influenced to the extent that they worshipped (“bowed down to them) them instead of the Lord Who had done so much for them in addition to both warning them of the coming danger and then forbidding them so to do.
                      6.      Yet another thing was that they in turn “…forsook the Lord” in the way and manner in which the worshipped.  This is very significant as they allowed themselves to led to indulging in forms and processes that God found repugnant.  
                      7.      It was not simply that they gave themselves over to false worship, but that embraced and thus “served” Baal and the Ashtoreths, the “gods” of the land.  A terrible offense to God.
                      8.      We should also note that this is an example of people who call themselves God’s people accommodating and then conforming themselves to the manner and style of worshipping that the people around them use.

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A Shiggaion of David, which he sang to the Lord concerning Cush, a Benjamite.

O Lord my God, in You I have taken refuge;
Save me from all those who pursue me, and deliver me, 

Or he will tear my soul like a lion,
Dragging me away, while there is none to deliver. 

O Lord my God, if I have done this,
If there is injustice in my hands, 

4  If I have rewarded evil to my friend,
Or have plundered him who without cause was my adversary, 

Let the enemy pursue my soul and overtake it;
And let him trample my life down to the ground
And lay my glory in the dust. 

6..Arise, O Lord, in Your anger;
Lift Yourself up because of the rage of my enemies;
Rise up for me to the judgment You have commanded! (Psalm 7:1-6)

          It is always very interesting to spend a little time looking over the content at the very beginning a Psalm.  Here in Psalm 7 we see the title given as a “Shiggaion of David”; not a frequent term, used only twice in the Psalms.  The actual meaning is uncertain for sure; but it is thought to refer to a lamenting song, perhaps one of staggering verse meter?  In another form, it is thought to refer to the emotional effect the Psalm engenders from the reader, similar, theoretically, to that which many upbeat songs get in many churches today, entire congregation responds in a unified fashion emotionally and even physically.  The Shiggaion could certainly have had a similar idea in view, but there can be no certainty to just exactly what its’ form was.  Our only solid conclusion was that it appears here for the benefit of the music leaders in David’s congregation.  There are many who think it to be related to the idea of wondering, reeling, veering, or weaving. Although the NKJV translates it “meditation,” it more than likely conveys shifting emotions or movements of thought.
         As we said, the term may also indicate the song’s irregularity in rhythm.  Habakkuk uses the same term to describe on of his passages in Hab. 3:1:
         This chapter of Habakkuk’s prophesy is often called “The Prophet’s Prayer”.  
                                
A prayer of Habakkuk the prophet, on Shigionoth.
         It seems that Habakkuk was giving an indication, to some degree, of just the particular part of his revelation was to go.  That may be the sense in which David intends it as well.  
         He sang” also seems to indicate that this was a vocal solo. The occasion, given as “
concerning the words of Cush, a Benjamite,” cannot be readily identified from the historical books; however, whoever this was or whatever the name represented, some enemy had obviously been falsely charging David (similar to the actions of Shimei - 2 Sam. 16:5; 19:16).
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 Then shall they call upon Me, but I will not answer; they shall seek Me early, but they shall not find Me.” (Proverbs 1:28)
          Verses 20-27 lays out what can be called for us “The Call of Wisdom”.  Extending through v33, Wisdom is personified and speaks in the first person, emphasizing the serious consequences that come to those who reject it. Similar personifications of wisdom occur in 3:14–18; 8:1–36; 9:1–12.  Seen as a total passage - wisdom is seen as a prophetess and teacher. She shows the folly of those who reject moral instruction and discipline.
           Once Solomon reaches verse 28 we see God’s rejection of sinners carefully detailed. This is the aspect of God’s wrath expressed in His abandonment of sinners. Paul discusses this in Rom. 1:24–28. No prayers or diligent seeking will help them (cf. 8:17).  While this is an awful concept, it is one that needs be preached and witnessed when the opportunity is given with the unredeemed.  Sadly, it is all to often put forth that because off God’s love, he is never willing to “close the door”, despite their continual resistance, rejection, rebellion and persistent rebellion against Him.  The truth of the matter is often that if a person has not sought wisdom before calamity strikes, it is often too late to learn.  Whereas for the unredeemed this is disastrous; but for the redeemed, it results in the chastening hand of God, even severely administered, but no final casting aside and out.  Those who are God’s children, purchased by the blood Jesus, there is security and safety, even from self!


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   For the choir director; for flute accompaniment. A Psalm of David.

Give ear to my words, O Lord,
Consider my groaning. 

2  Heed the sound of my cry for help, my King and my God,
For to You I pray. 

3  In the morning, O Lord, You will hear my voice;
In the morning I will order my prayer to You and eagerly watch. (Psalm 5:1-3)


          As with quite a few of David’s Psalms, in this one we see him picturing himself (and, I’m sure, quite literally) turning to God for protection and deliverance from the unredeemed and wicked around him.  This is another individual lament, and the first instance of a Psalm with prayers for the personal downfall of the enemies.  Such Psalms have in view a situation where one is faced with bloodthirsty and deceitful persecutors. David is the attributed author, but there is no information on whether a particular experience of his was the occasion for the psalm.  It seems as though his intention was for this to be sung in one instance or another.
         The first one and a half verses indicate for us a couple things that kind of set the tone for what follows:
                             For the choir director; for flute accompaniment. A Psalm of David.
         This tells us three definite things that give a little color to what follows for us:
  1. “For the choir director” - not surprisingly informs us that this Psalm was designed to be sung, most likely in one relationship to the Tabernacle or another (remember that David had no direct part in the actual building of Solomon’s Temple; perhaps with the exception of communicating the need and the desire for the Temple to be constructed; and perhaps the setting up and providing of the start of the necessary provisions for that temple.
  2. “…for flute accompaniment.” Tells us that David, at least to some degree not only “the sweet singer of Israel” but also a musician/composer.  He had a specific idea just how he wanted this Psalm, when finally used for its’ intended purpose, ought to sound.  There would not only be the words, but the melody and manner of playing also.  It might also be that this Psalm was intended to be for use in a congregational setting as worshipful prayer offered together.
  3. We’re also told that this is Psalm of David.  Our information here is that this is one of David’s Psalms, written by him in its’ entirety.  There are quite a number of Psalms that are by others, so this is a valuable tidbit of info.
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 1  How blessed is the man who does not walk
in the counsel of the wicked,
Nor stand in the path of sinners,
Nor sit in the seat of scoffers!


2  But his delight is in the law of the Lord,
And in His law he meditates day and night.


3  He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water,
Which yields its fruit in its season
And its leaf does not wither;
And in whatever he does, he prospers.
(Psalm 1:1–3)
          The first phrase in verse 1 is a common phrase that is often seen, particularly in the Poetic books of the OT.  It begins with couplet “How blessed is…”.  The word “Blessed” appears 45 times in the OT and in the OT (as opposed to the NT) speaks of happiness or a blessing in the sense gaining something that is very welcome.  This is a bit different than the NT sense which speaks of the idea of becoming more like our Heavenly Father Who is the “Blessed One”.  Jesus says that there a number of “be-attitudes” (Matthew 5:3ff) that speak of the believer becoming, because of the adapting of these qualities, more and more like the Father.  
         That seems not to be the meaning meant in the OT, at least not here.  It is actually intended to stimulate thought on the part of David’s readers.  

            How blessed is the man who does not walk 
                in the counsel of the wicked, 
               Nor stand in the path of sinners, 
              Nor sit in the seat of scoffers!

         It is pretty much a rhetorical question, that is a question that has what the writer considers to be a question with an obvious or given answer.  It seems that David considers the answer here to a resounding “Very”!  
         David is suggesting for us that there is an effect tie between walking in a holy fashion and taking delight in the Law of the Lord (v2).  “man”, of course is not speaking of males, but of those belonging mankind, any person in general.  It is a given that the “man” in view is or will be a blessed servant of God.  What David concentrates on here is just “why” this obvious and given thing is so true.  He gives 3 negative reasons and two positive ones before telling us what the result of this blessedness with be.

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   1  How blessed is the man who does not walk
in the counsel of the wicked,
Nor stand in the path of sinners,
Nor sit in the seat of scoffers! 

   2  But his delight is in the law of the Lord,
And in His law he meditates day and night. 

   3  He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water,
Which yields its fruit in its season
And its leaf does not wither;
And in whatever he does, he prospers. (
Psalm 1:1–3)
          The first phrase in verse 1 is a common phrase that is often seen, particularly in the Poetic books of the OT.  It begins with couplet “How blessed is…”.  The word “Blessed” appears 45 times in the OT and in the OT (as opposed to the NT) speaks of happiness or a blessing in the sense gaining something that is very welcome.  This is a bit different than the NT sense which speaks of the idea of becoming more like our Heavenly Father Who is the “Blessed One”.  Jesus says that there a number of “be-attitudes” (Matthew 5:3ff) that speak of the believer becoming, because of the adapting of these qualities, more and more like the Father.  
           That seems not to be the meaning meant in the OT, at least not here.  It is actually intended to stimulate thought on the part of David’s readers. 

How blessed is the man who does not walk
in the counsel of the wicked,
Nor stand in the path of sinners,
Nor sit in the seat of scoffers!
 

          It is pretty much a rhetorical question, that is a question that has what the writer considers to be a question with an obvious or given answer.  It seems that David considers the answer here to a resounding “Very”!  
           David is suggesting for us that there is an effect tie between walking in a holy fashion and taking delight in the Law of the Lord (v2).  “man”, of course is not speaking of males, but of those belonging mankind, any person in general.  It is a given that the “man” in view is or will be a blessed servant of God.  What David concentrates on here is just “why” this obvious and given thing is so true.  He gives 3 negative reasons and two positive ones before telling us what the result of this blessedness with be.


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 "Hear counsel, and receive instruction, that thou mayest be wise in thy latter end.” - Proverbs 19:20 (Cf. 12:15).
          It seems that everyone is concerned for some gain and some viable progress between now and their future.  Likewise, everyone has their own idea about what the best way to achieve their desired future might be.  Solomon recognized the normality of this in people’s lives and, in several areas of Proverbs, addressed the idea and clearly, not to mention relatively simply.  This one of those places.  The desire to be wise, he recognizes here is both normal and able to be achieved in a relatively direct fashion.  It can be realized, Solomon tells us, with three basic steps in place:
I.    Seeing to it that we “hear” the counsel of God as best and as often as we are able.
          The first step, we’re told, is to see to it that we are “hearing” the counsel of God.  That means two things for us to consider.  First, the word “listen” means to take in via the ears (or perhaps, by reading, by means of the eyes).  Implied in the word is the idea of intention – we listen to the “counsel” of God  with the intention of taking action upon what we hear.  It is NOT just a matter of bulk take in.  We should also note the this verb (listen to or hear) is in the imperative mood.  It is not a suggestion but rather it is a command.  It is something that, if we are to achieve the stated goal (being wise in our latter end) we MUST accomplish, else we will not achieve the goal.  It is essential to the goal that we take in the counsel of God with the goal of application and understanding for the goal to accomplished.  Just to think a bit, we should also note that the manifestation of this “listening” does not occur immediately, it occurs when we approach our “latter end” or the end of our lives.  The “hearing” here can be understood to refer to hearing preaching, hearing teaching, our own study, discussion, etc.  It is NOT referring to hearing the professional speaking of the Prophets or Apostles.  It has more to do with recognizing that the speaking is coming from God and paying it due attention and respect.
           Solomon goes on and tells us that we are to “receive instruction”.  This idea tells us that this “counsel” is “instruction” that we are to “receive”.  In many versions instruction means virtually the same thing as “disciple”.  It is used in a couple of senses in the OT.  It can refer to discipline or to correction with the obvious implication in those ideas.  It can also mean, however, the idea of training or even exhortation with the point of those two words being changing ones’ behavior or thinking and ordering it to be in line with the counsel just heard.  Keep in mind that this entire section is imperative and is presented as that which is necessary and, in a sense, not optional; it is something that the believer MUST pursue.  We are to “accept” this discipline (many versions translated this phrase differently).  This word has to do with an aggressive grasping or taking hold of the object in view; in this case, the discipline mentioned.  The word “discipline” can be translated as chastisement, training, even warning.  It is speaking of the various functions of the counsel of God, the Word o God in our day and age.  The Word of God can give counsel and instruction/discipline and, as Solomon says here, can make us wise as we head on in and arrive at our “latter end” or that time we live out at, at end of life.  
          One of the other powerful implications is that true wisdom that serves God and makes us over in the image over in HIS image is available ONLY by this means.  Like it or not, we cannot appropriate in any other fashion!  So many these days imagine that they either are or can be wise by their own means.  The haughtiness and arrogance of much of the world is both astounding and a bit frustrating.  This is one of the truly mystifying and upsetting things we see in the world around us.  Men, albeit very smart men, think of themselves as possessing far more wisdom than they ultimately have.  They, ultimately, have trusted their own resource, rather than seeking the counsel of God (which like all men – they know exists and they need badly).  But there is none righteous, no not one.  All have gone out of the way…


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