From Ears to Feet

From Ears to Feet

Scripture: Proverbs 4:26-27, 1 Kings 3:9, Matthew 13:44
Date: 01/10/2015  Lesson: 2
"Training in wisdom consists in hearing proper instruction and in following and obeying what we have learned so that we don't end up walking in the wrong direction."
NOTE: If you have a Bible question for Pastor Doug Batchelor or the Amazing Facts Bible answer team, please submit it by clicking here. Due to staff size, we are unable to answer Bible questions posted in the comments.

Please note: Approved comments do not constitute an endorsement by the ministry of Amazing Facts or Pastor Doug Batchelor. This website allows dissenting comments and beliefs, but our comment sections are not a forum for ongoing debate. Please be civil to one another.


Good evening, friends, and welcome again to Sabbath School Study Hour. I'd like to welcome our audience joining us across the country and around the world on the various television networks. I'd also like to welcome our local audience here in Sacramento, the members of the Granite Bay seventh-day adventist church who have braved the rain and the wind to come join us this evening as you continue taping this very interesting study dealing with the book of Proverbs. Friends, if you don't have your lesson quarterly, you can download today's lesson at the Amazing Facts website - just 'amazingfacts.org' or '.com' and you can download today's lesson. Today we're looking at lesson #2 in the book of Proverbs - in our study together on the book - and it's entitled, 'from ears to feet.

' Very interesting study that we're looking at today. We have a free offer, that goes along with the lesson for today, that's entitled 'is it is a sin to be tempted?' And we'll be happy to send this to anybody who calls and asks for it. Our resource line is -788-3966 and you can ask for the book, 'is it a sin to be tempted?' You can also download the pdf of this book at the Amazing Facts website - just 'amazingfacts.org' and you can click on the free library - you can type in 'is it a sin to be tempted?' And you can read the whole book right there online. Well, again, welcome. Thank you for being with us.

As usual, before we start our study in God's Word, let's just bow our heads for a word of prayer. Dear Father in Heaven, we thank you for the opportunity to gather together to study your word. It's a very important book filled with practical wisdom for day-to-day living. So bless our time together as we continue studying the book of Proverbs, for we ask this in Jesus' Name, amen. Well, with that, I'd like to invite Pastor Doug Batchelor to come forward and lead us in our study this evening.

Thank you pastor jëan ross and welcome, friends, to our Sabbath school time. I always want to extend a special welcome to those who might be watching on television or the internet. It's always encouraging when we hear people that are tuning in from so many places around the globe and as we travel - recently we were in New Mexico, met a lot of people who watch the program there in town and so I just want to welcome you again. Our lesson in dealing with Proverbs is - who feels adequate taking the things that Solomon wrote and expounding on them? And so, you know, we're dealing with trying to delve into the Proverbs of the wisest man, aside from Christ, who ever lived. But we're going to do our best to endeavor that again tonight.

Our lesson, once again, is 'from ears to feet' is lesson #2 in our new quarterly dealing with the subject of Proverbs. And we have a memory verse. And the memory verse is from Proverbs chapter 4, verses 26 and 27 and I always appreciate if you want to say that with me out loud - Proverbs chapter 4, verses 26 and 27, are you ready? "Ponder the path of your feet, and let all your ways be established. Do not turn to the right or the left; remove your foot from evil." Now, in the Bible, when it's talking about the subject of hearing, it doesn't always mean just your auditory nerves. It's going much deeper than that.

And as we study these Proverbs and, by the way, our lesson today is really going to be dealing with Proverbs chapter 4 and if we get all our homework done we're going to make it to Proverbs chapter 6, verse 19. Next week we'll take up Proverbs chapter 6 starting with verse 20 on, but that's our - kind of our assignment and if we can get through all of that, that'll be wonderful. The first verse you're going to find in Proverbs chapter 4, "hear, my children, the instruction of a father, and give attention to know understanding;" now, the word that you have there in Hebrew for 'hear' is the word shema and it doesn't mean the same thing as hearing, typically when we use that word in english. The definition you'd find, and this is just from strong's concordance, it means, 'to hear intelligently or by implication of hear with attention; to hear with obedience; to discern; to give ear; to understand.' Now just - sometimes the best way to understand the Bible is to let the Bible explain the Bible. Solomon, when he was invited to be king - he was a young man, his father died - he was overwhelmed with the task of being king of the people.

You remember, he prayed a prayer and he said, 'Lord, I'm just a child. I don't know how to go out or come in' and he prayed for wisdom. But, you know, specifically, what he said? If you look in 1 Kings 3, verse , he prayed, "therefore, give to your servant an understanding heart to judge your people that I might discern between good and evil. For who is able to judge this great people of yours. That word, 'understanding' is the word 'shema' - it means 'a hearing heart' - a heart that's able to hear the voice of the Spirit.

Now can you think of some places where Jesus said, 'he that has ears' - Revelation 3:22 - 'he that has ears let him hear' - what? - 'What the Spirit says.' So it's one thing to hear, it's another thing to listen. In the Hebrew mind, when it said 'hear' - it's really saying, 'obey.' So when it begins and it says, 'my son - hear, my children' - I remember I had an english teacher - I went to a catholic school in miami - I went to two different catholic schools in miami - this was a school called 'curley' - all boys school - and we had an english teacher and I remember, more than once, he said it to me and other students, we'd say, 'could you repeat that, we didn't hear you?' He said, 'you heard me, you weren't listening.' So sometimes we just don't hear. It's like these two guys were out fishing one time and one of them says to his friend, he said, ' my wife seems to talk to herself.' And his buddy responded, he said, 'my wife talks to herself too, but she's not aware of it. She thinks I'm listening.' So you have that dynamic where people are there, they're just not really listening. And God is saying, 'shema' 'hear, understand' - and it's the kind of listening where you actually follow through.

Now, in a moment we're going to have somebody read Isaiah 30, verse 21, who's got queued up for that? Mrs. Batchelor, we'll get to you in just a moment. But before we do, I want to also read a few other verses that just bring out the hearing aspect of what Solomon is saying. By the way, one of the most successful advertising - there've been several very successful advertising campaigns, you know, one of them is the 'got milk?' Campaign - it was very successful - and another one was the 'can you hear me now?' It was for verizon phone. All of you probably remember this guy walks along, he's on the billboards and the tvs everywhere and he's just stopping at all these destinations everywhere saying, 'can you hear me now?' Because, you know, everyone knows the frustration - it happened to me today - of being on a cell call and having it break up and right when something very crucial is being said and I've - matter of fact, Karen, in our neighborhood, she was looking a little perplexed - she was driving away from the house and she saw me parked three houses down from our house and I think she was wondering later, 'why were you parked there? Our house is right around the corner.

' I said, 'I was on a very important call with a very important person, and as I entered our neighborhood, it started breaking up and I turned around, left our house, pulled back to where it was clear and I stopped because I wanted to be able to hear what he said and I wanted him to be able to hear what I said. You know, what's really frustrating is sometimes I'll be in a conversation and all of a sudden I just feel like I wax eloquent and I say all of these things and then I realize I've lost the signal, they didn't hear anything I said. Anyone else have that before? My best thoughts - my most important points and nobody was listening. So he says - if you look in Proverbs 4:20, "my son, give attention to my words; incline your ear to my sayings." - Give attention - it means being a hearer and a doer. And then you'll find, you know, - part of our assignment is Proverbs 5 - look at Proverbs :1, "my son, pay attention to my wisdom; lend you ear to my understanding," - you know, God says, 'these people draw near to me with their mouths but their hearts are far from me.

' And sometimes we say, 'yes, yes, Lord.' But we don't do. Jesus tells a parable one time to illustrate this point. A man had two sons and he said to the first son, 'son, I need you to work in the field for me today.' He says, 'I'm on my way, dad.' But he doesn't go. And the second son, he says, 'I've got other plans.' But he regrets later and he goes. And Jesus asks a simple question, "which of the two did the will of The Father in heaven.

' They said, 'well, the second one.' You know why? They both heard their father but one heard with his feet. He went and he did it, which is a great segue to your verse, mrs. Batchelor, Isaiah 30, verse . And it reads, "your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, 'this is the way, walk in it,' whenever you turn to the right hand or whenever you turn to the left." And so here it's talking about hearing and showing that you're listening by where your feet go. So when you think about the feet in the Bible - for our friends that are listening on television, if you hear a faint roar in the background, it's not audio problems, it's pouring rain, which we're very thankful for in California, it's pouring rain.

I know everyone here hears it loud and clear. I don't know how much the microphones are picking it up, but anyway, when you think about someone walking with God, who comes to your mind? Enoch. Enoch. And you walk with what part of your body? Your feet. And you walk down the paths.

You'll often hear the words 'the walk,' 'the path,' 'going,' and it's talking about the direction of your life. In the Christian life we only have a couple of ordinances. One of them is the communion service, which also encompasses - at the Lord's supper he washed their feet and then the, of course, baptism is the other. Why do we wash feet? Why does Isaiah say, 'how beautiful upon the mountains are the feet?' I mean, when you think of a person and how beautiful they are, how often do you say, 'wow, they've got really pretty feet?' I mean, that's - to me, feet are the gnarliest part of a person's body and, you know, they typically are going down roads - back then, in particular, that were shared with the animals and so to say, 'how beautiful on the mountain are the feet of those that bring good news' - it's the direction of their walk that it's talking about. Who else does it say in Genesis walked with God - besides Enoch? Noah.

Noah. That's right. Noah walked with God. I remember doing an amazing fact about a man named David kunst, who took off from, I think, waseca - what is it - Wisconsin or - and he walked around the world. His goal - he started out as a surveyor - he decided to walk around the world.

It took him years. Half way through the journey, his brother actually was shot in afghanistan and he took a break - he was shot too, but he survived, went back, started off where the accident was - or the murder - continued his walk - walked from - walked from Wisconsin to New York - took a boat, of course, didn't walk across the atlantic - to spain - portugal, walked across spain, walked across europe, all the way across asia, afghanistan, the middle east, to india, took another boat to australia - and he had mules that would pull a cart with him. The mule was called 'willie makeit' and he went through three mules on the journey - got to australia and walking across australia is - I've been there - it's just unbelievably wide, dry country and his mule died and there was a school teacher, I think her name was jenny, and she offered to pull his cart - she just put the cart sort of in idle mode - she pulled it all the way across the outback as he walked. They ended up getting married, as you're probably not surprised. And he made it, then, back to California and then from California back to - they had him carry the olympic torch - made it all the way back - walked around the world one step at a time.

That's talking about the direction of your life is your walk. So Proverbs 4 - and we're still in Proverbs chapter 4, verses 18 and 19, "but the path of the just is like the shining sun, that shines ever brighter" - it's growing brighter - "unto the perfect day." - So path is talking about someone you walk on - it's movement - it's growth. So there's growth in listening to God's wisdom. It's not stationary. You make a mistake or you obey and you progress.

You learn new things. You move on every day - through your life is - life is dynamic. You're constantly in motion. Now, by the way, that Proverbs chapter 4, verses 18 and 19 sounded to me a little bit like Peter 1:19, where it says, "and so we have the prophetic word confirmed, which you do well to heed as a light that shines in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts;" - talking about that light that gets brighter as you walk in it. Does God say 'if we walk in the light as he is in the light the blood of his son Jesus Christ washes us from all sin?' It's - so what does walking mean, biblically, and to Solomon? Not just walking in circles, talking about follow - hearing with your feet.

Hearing with your feet the words of God - going in the direction God gives you. It's one thing to say 'I hear.' But it's another thing to show you hear by doing. So, it's kind of like if there's a fire alarm going off and someone says, 'do you hear the alarm?' And you say, 'yeah.' And you sit there. You wonder, 'do they really hear the alarm?' Because if you really hear the alarm, you take cover or you escape the building. So hearing, in the biblical sense, means it's an active word.

While I'm on the subject, believing, in the biblical sense, is also an active word. 'Whosoever believes in him will not perish but have everlasting life.' Believing - it means, biblically, 'to be live' - it's a life in him. Living in him. It's not - sometimes we think, 'well, yeah, I believe there's a God, that means I'm saved.' And James says, 'well, the devils believe. It's more than that.

' So - same thing with the idea of hearing and walking in the Bible - it means going in the direction of God. Alright, in a moment someone's going to read John 12:28 - you'll be lined up for that. Alright, first we're going to do Matthew 3:17, "and suddenly a voice came from heaven, saying, 'this is my beloved son, in whom I am well pleased." So that's one point, when Jesus was baptized. How about in the old testament, did some people hear God speak audibly? Samuel. Samuel.

That's right. Of course, eli didn't hear it but Samuel heard it three times. How about the Ten Commandments? I mean, here you're not - it's one thing when someone says, 'God spoke to me last night.' And you say, 'oh, really?' You know? And how many of you kind of look at a person with your head to the side a little bit when they say, 'I heard the voice of God.' You wonder if they maybe did hear something but you don't know. But when a whole nation says, 'we heard God declare his law.' That's in the testimony not of two or three, but of two or three million heard it. Go ahead, read for us John :28.

Here's another example: "'father, glorify your name.' Then a voice came from heaven, saying, 'I have both glorified it and will glorify it again.'" Alright, so here's two times The Father speaks, pointing out that Jesus is his son, and there's another time when Jesus goes up the mount of transfiguration and Peter, James, and John, after they see Moses and Elijah and they hear the voice of God, and what does he say? 'This is my beloved son. Hear him.' The voice of God - they heard the voice of God. But most of us don't hear God's voice audibly. We hear him speak to us. Sometimes God speaks to us through circumstances.

Sometimes he'll speak to us, of course, through His Word. God speaks to us through - sometimes other people and/or events or providence - but that's why it's so important to hear. I always remember this story about that great preacher george whitfield. You know, there were a few preachers that brought about a great reformation in the late s. One was John wesley and another one was george whitfield - george whitfield actually went into an acting career and was converted by studying with charles - principally with charles and John wesley - and he had - he had such a tremendous voice - I read a book once called, 'trumpet of the Lord.

' You've heard people say, 'that guy's got pipes?' Whitfield, even by the testimony of Benjamin franklin, had a one in a million voice and when he would preach, he could project so that tens of thousands of people could hear him. Now, I really respect that because I know, without artificial p.a. - Small room like this, you know, you can hear, but without an artificial p.a. System, you get 500 people, it's hard to hear. And I - if I try to project myself - you can ask Karen, if they don't turn up the audio, I lose my voice.

And this guy would speak to thousands and franklin actually did an experiment where he actually walked as far away as he could and he says in his autobiography, 'I got a mile away - I could still hear him.' I mean, he had an incredible voice. Well, he would go through towns. Not only did he have an incredible voice, he had the power of God's Spirit and he would preach and saloons would close and go out of business and great revivals followed when he went. And I remember reading one story about these characters that were in this town, they heard that whitfield was coming - this is in America - and they said, 'you know, I'm interested to see the man but I don't want to hear him preach because I understand that if you actually hear him preach you'll get converted and I don't want to be converted. I like my drinkin' - I like my ways - but I'm real curious.

' So they said, 'if you hear him, you'll be converted so don't go if you don't want to be converted.' And he said, 'well, I'll just go and when he gets up to preach I'll plug my ears.' And so he went, as the story goes, he went and he found a tree at the edge of the crowd and he climbed up in the tree like zaccheus and he kind of locked his legs around a branch and leaned back against the tree and when whitfield took the platform and started preaching, he stuck his fingers in his ears and a horsefly started buzzing around his head. Now horseflies bite and he was, you know, shaking, trying to keep the thing away from him and the thing landed on his face. Right when he pulled his hands out of his ears to shoo the thing, he heard whitfield say, 'he that has ears let him hear what the Spirit says.' And he was - I don't know if he fell out of the tree or what, but that's all it took and he knew God was speaking to him. And that's what Jesus says, of course, in Revelation 3:22. Christ said, in Matthew 13:44 - and we're still finishing up the section on hearing, he said, 'again, the Kingdom of heaven is like a treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and hid; and for joy over it he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.

" So this biblical kind of hearing is the kind of hearing where you recognize the Word of God and then you go and you're willing to do whatever it takes. If it means liquidate all that you have that you might follow what the Lord is saying. You know, there's two kinds of ears that you have as a Christian. We've all got ears where we hear the horizontal. And then, as a Christian, you need to have ears where you're always listening to the vertical.

How many of you, through the day, send up little prayers? You're talking to someone, you're trying to deal with an issue, you're needing wisdom for a decision, you're praying a light will change before you get to it and - am I the only one that's done that? And you just - you're constantly launching these little prayers. You know, a lot of airplanes actually have two radios. And you've got one radio where you can actually fly along and you can listen to radio stations like everyone else. People in airplanes actually get more bored, sometimes, than drivers because you don't even get to turn, it's just usually a monotonous straight line and - so you've got a radio that listens to what's happening on earth but, even more important is, you've got a radio that's telling you what's happening in the air. And you've got to listen to air traffic and directions and - being a Christian, you almost need both kinds of ears.

You need the Spiritual ears and you need the typical ears to listen to others. Alright, next section, and this launches into Proverbs 5, dealing with not only hearing, but protecting your family. In the next few sections we're going to do 'protect your family, protect your friendships, protect your work, protect yourself.' So the rest of them are under the 'protect' category. And maybe we should start out and just take a look here in Proverbs chapter 5, if you go to - oh, I'm going to read verse 2 - we already read verse 1, "that you may preserve discretion, and your lips may keep knowledge." - Being careful what you say - "for the lips of an immoral woman drip honey," - now he's not talking about lipstick. Lips typically, in the Bible, is talking about - when Jesus said, 'these people draw near to me with their lips' - it's not talking about kisses, it's talking about words.

And so when it talks about "the lips of an immoral woman drip honey, and her mouth is smoother than oil;" - it's not talking about appearance. It's talking about seductive words. And this works both ways. Solomon, being a man with many wives, evidently was an expert in this category and he is warning against being enticed. And so now it's talking about protecting your family and you'll see as we read on he's talking about protecting your marriage - and he gives some very clear guidance here.

"For the lips of an immoral woman" - this is Proverbs 5:3 - "drip honey, and her mouth is smoother than oil; but in the end she is bitter as wormwood, sharp as a two-edged sword. Her feet go down to death, her steps lay hold of hell" - or the grave - sheol - "lest you ponder her path of life - her ways are unstable; you do not know them. Therefore hear me now, my children, and do not depart from the words of my mouth. Remove your way far from here, and do not go near the door of her house," - alright, I'm going to have somebody read for me, in a moment, Genesis 39, verse 10 - you'll have that? Okay. And you notice he's saying, not only in Proverbs 5, verse 8, "remove your way far from her," - that means, you see her coming, cross the street and pass on the other side.

Talking about - now, is this just talking about predator women out there or is it talking about a principle of temptation? That's why we're offering this book on temptation. That can be all different kinds of temptation. It's not just talking about men being tempted by women, but it could be women tempted by men. It's just talking about avoid those areas of temptation. He also goes on to say, ".

..do not go near the door of her house," - don't even go near where the temptation is. In connection with that, we're going to look at a verse dealing with the life of Joseph. Why don't you read for us Genesis 39, verse 10? "So it was, as she spoke to Joseph day by day, that he did not heed her, to lie with her or to be with her." Just - he went - now, I think all of us remember the story where Joseph became a slave in the house of potiphar. Potiphar's wife - it says 'she cast her eyes on Joseph' and she'd take every opportunity to - she wasn't beating around the bush - she actually came out and said, 'lie with me.' And he said, 'how can I do that? That's a sin!' And she didn't take 'no' for an answer. She figured, 'you're a slave.

I'm the master. This is an order.' And he just avoided her. And he would stay as far away as he could. You know, we think - there are so many examples in the Bible of people that fell. You've got the wisest man, Solomon, did he fall in that area? You've got the strongest man - who's that? Sampson.

Did he fall in that area? You get a man after God's own heart, like David, one of the bravest men - goes against giants - did he fall in the area of that temptation? And so - but, you know, I'm so glad there are two examples, I can think of, of heroes in the Bible that were victorious. We always think about, 'well, everybody's weak and everyone's human' - and people love to quote David and say, 'he was a man after God's own heart.' But I don't think we ought to quote David, I think we ought to quote Joseph and say, 'yes, people can be victorious.' Job says, 'I have made a covenant with my eyes. Why should I look upon a maid?' He wouldn't even look upon it to be tempted. And he's got a whole section in there where he talks about that and I'll not read right now. Paul says if - when a person violates their marriage, they're taking fire in their bosom and they're sinning against their own flesh.

And so, in protecting yourself, in protecting your family, the Bible says 'stay away from these areas of temptation.' If you're out traveling and you go into a hotel that's got all those cable movies, don't say, 'well, I'm just going to see what the movies are.' Don't even go look. Don't go near it. Don't engage. I have a practice - I have one girlfriend. She's here tonight.

Karen knows her. It's her. You're going to think I'm extremely old fashioned, but I think it's dangerous for men to have close female friends if they're married - especially if they're in the ballpark - I mean, you know, if you've got a friend that's 80 years old, nothing - no offense to those that are 80 out there watching - you know what I mean. You need to stay away from those - first of all, avoiding the appearance of evil, but don't even give sin an opportunity. And i, as a pastor, I've had ladies that have come to me during the service and have said, 'I really need to talk to you about something.

' I say, 'alright, let's talk.' 'Well, can we go to your office?' I said, 'no.' I said, 'we'll sit right here in the courtyard.' Or you leave the door open and someone else is in the other room or you just - you don't give the appearance of evil. A lot of people have gotten in trouble because they get too close to the door of temptation. You read in Proverbs 5:15, he goes on and he elaborates on that principle. "Drink water from your own cistern, and running water from your own well. Should your fountains be dispersed abroad, streams of water in the streets? Let them be only your own, and not for strangers with you.

Let your fountain be blessed, and rejoice with the wife of your youth." Is he talking about water? Is he talking about the water cooler? Is he talking about drilling a well by your house? Or is he talking about your relationships and your love? Having an intimate relationship, when you're married, is supposed to be with your wife. One husband. One wife. It's - that's what he's talking about is - you get the metaphors that he's using here? And he doesn't - if anyone has any doubts, he makes it really clear, "rejoice with the wife of your youth. As a loving deer and a graceful doe," - then it says some stuff that makes you blush - I won't get into - "and always be enraptured with her love.

For why should you, my son, be enraptured by an immoral woman, and be embraced in the arms of a seductress? For the ways of man are before the eyes of the Lord," - there you go again with the ways - meaning the path - the direction of your feet - and he ponders all his paths. His own iniquities entrap the wicked man, and he is caught in the cords of his sin." Now that's a principle that is true. People are typically caught with the cords of their own making. Saul fell on his own sword. Judas took his life because his plot backfired.

Later on in Proverbs, it'll talk about the principle 'if you roll a stone, be careful, that stone might roll back on you.' And so you can just find a lot of examples of that. So, there's a lot said here about resisting temptation. Matter of fact, if you look in 1 Corinthians 10, verse 13, "no temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it." Now that's a wonderful promise, because when people say, 'oh, I just couldn't deal with it. The temptation was too strong.' Isn't that a promise that God will never - when you're tempted, God has already weighed and measured your temptation and he knows what your capacity is and he's made a promise that you will not be tempted above your capacity to resist that temptation. You know right away that if you say, 'this is impossible.

I just don't think I can deal with it. It's just too much.' Well, that's not true. That's what the devil wants you to think. God says, 'it will never be too much because I will never put a burden on you.' By the way, if God allows you to be tempted beyond what you're able - in other words, you have no power to resist that temptation, then it no longer is a sin. If you're tempted - in other words, if the devil took eve in the Garden of Eden and he, in his snake-like form, wrapped himself around her and held her to the ground and with his tail pushed the fruit in her mouth, would God have accused her of a sin? If she - there's nothing she could do to resist it - if she was physically forced to eat the fruit - but it's because she had the power of choice and as long as God gives you his spirit and you have the power of choice, you are able to resist temptation.

It may be a struggle, I'm not denying that. Sometimes it may be difficult to bear, but God says it will never be too much. You know, matter of fact, there are some tips that - it's in this book that we're offering on 'tips to resisting temptation.' It's not just dealing with section 5 and protecting your family, but whatever the temptations are - I think, on the cover, we've got chocolate chip cookies. Whatever the temptation might be, the Lord gives you principles to avoid it. How did Jesus fight temptation? Whenever the devil came to him with - and, by the way, when does the devil come to us with temptation? Jesus - was he tired? What else was he doing for forty days? Fasting? Low blood sugar - he was weak.

Did he have moral support or was he in the desert alone? And so when you're alone - do some people fall into temptation because they think no one's around? When you think you're alone, because you're never really alone, when you're tired, don't wait to have those very delicate conversations with your spouse when you're both tired and it's late and it just seems like the world is falling in on you. You'll find often, after a good night's sleep, you don't even know there was a problem the night before. Just - you need to know how to say - instead of going to bed mad, 'let's just sleep on this and talk about it in the morning when our minds are clear.' A good night's sleep solves a lot of problems. Some people, I think, would have postponed suicide if they could have gotten a good night's sleep. Now that's really something when you think about it.

So that's one thing about temptation, wait. Some temptations - they say that when you're struggling with smoking, for instance, if you resist the temptation for three minutes you'll find that it subsides. Same thing with temptations for food. They say if you're hungry, drink a cup of water and wait three minutes and you might find that that will subdue most temptations. So sometimes, as you resist - what did the devil do when Jesus resisted temptation? He ultimately left.

But he met it with the promises of God. All three times, 'it is written. It is written. It is written.' And that's what Solomon does here through Proverbs, he says, 'the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.' Meaning the words of God. And so when he says, 'my son hear my words' - in chapter 5 - is this just Solomon speaking to his sons or David speaking to Solomon? Or is it God speaking to his sons and daughters? So, yeah.

Notice, also, I want to - I want you to notice that he not only talks about The Father, he talks about The Father and the mother. Yeah, chapter 4 - I'm just jumping back a little bit - "hear, my children, the instruction of a father, and give attention to know understanding; for I give you good doctrine: do not forsake my law. When I was my father's son, tender and the only one in the sight of my mother," and then he goes on. He talks about 'honor your father and your mother.' And so it's in that same vein. Alright, moving along with our study here, 'protect your friendship.

' We're going to jump to well, I want to just finish that section on chapter 5. "His own iniquities entrap the wicked man, and he is caught in the cords of his sin. He shall die for lack of instruction, and in the greatness of his folly he shall go astray." You know who is somebody who was caught with the cords of his sin? If you read in the book of Esther - how many of you remember when haman, he developed a trap, had someone build gallows to hang mordecai. Who ended up hanging on the gallows? Haman was holden with the cords of his sin and he ended up getting hung on the very gallows that he built. Alright, now we'll go to chapter , Proverbs 6, verses 1 through and somebody get ready to read Exodus 23 - who's next on that? - Exodus 23, verses 2 and 3 you'll be doing.

Proverbs 6, "my son, if you become surety for your friend, if you have shaken hands in pledge for a stranger, you are snared by the words of your mouth; you are taken by the words of your mouth. So do this, my son, and deliver yourself; for you have come into the hand of your friend: go and humble yourself; plead with your friend. Give no sleep to your eyes, nor slumber to your eyelids. Deliver yourself like a gazelle from the hand of the hunter," - how does a gazelle leave when he spots a hunter? Does he walk away or does he dash? Yeah, it's just a - they dart - "and like a bird from the hand of the fowler." - The birds don't just kind of hop away, they flit and fly as fast as they can. And so, he's saying 'do this quickly.

Go to your neighbor and do what you can to settle that agreement.' Now what is he talking about there? 'If you've become surety.' What is surety, biblically? If you cosign for somebody - if you make a vow where you become responsible - if you enter into a business agreement and you make a covenant, especially if you're making a covenant with somebody that may not be a believer. You've got - some of us have friends that are not - it's okay if you've got friends that are not believers. How else are you going to reach them? But you don't want to be unequally yoked in a business venture with someone who doesn't share your principles. And so, not only is it talking about these vertical relationships, here Solomon is talking about practical partnership relationships. Karen and I have some dear friends up in the hills that we've known for years and, at one point, we went into a business venture with them and we bought a small piece of land and we were going to build a business on it, and as we started getting into it, my friend came to me and said, 'doug, we've got to figure out what's more important, our friendship or this business venture.

' He said, 'if this keeps going, I anticipate that it may cost us our friendship.' And so I said, 'you know, I can see where that could happen too and the friendship is more important to me.' And so I said, 'here, we'll sell you our interest in the land.' And we're still friends to this day. But sometimes you've got to just realize that the devil will take opportunity if you get involved in covenants, financial obligations, and things like that. I had another friend, he was actually a church member - this is not just true of pastors, but got a check, they were new in town and they were trying to get established and they said, 'Pastor Doug, we just got this check from this insurance company.' And I looked at it - it's, you know, aetna insurance, legitimate firm - $1,500.00 - and they said, 'but the bank said they can't cash the check because we're new in town and we haven't opened an account. We don't have anything to cover it and we have to get someone to cosign.' That's surety. You are making their obligation sure to the bank.

And so I said, 'okay, oh, I think we've got enough to cover it. We'll cosign.' So we cosigned. A week or two later I went to the bank and I don't remember exactly how I found out. I just remember discovering in a very abrupt way that $1,500.00 were gone from our account and I went stomping into the bank and said, 'you've got - what's this - this is...' And they said, 'oh, you didn't know. You cosigned for this check and it was canceled.

The insurance company recalled it or canceled the check and since you cosigned and we already gave them the money, it comes out of your account.' Well that really caused a problem. So I went to this church member - now I'm the pastor - and I said, 'brother so and so,' - I said - 'oh!' - He said, 'I heard about that. I'm so sorry pastor.' He was a body man. He said, 'look, I've got this job and I got that job. I'm going to get this done and we'll pay you back.

Don't worry about it.' This was our vacation money and then some. And when I was preaching, small church, that week, family was sitting up front. They used to sing and sit up front and were very involved and it changed the relationship instantly when it went from 'pastor, fellow member to lender and borrower.' One person is a debtor and I'm a debt collector. That changes your relationship with people immediately. And, you know, a week or two went by and nothing happened and I checked with him and said, 'any word?' 'Oh, you know, we had this terrible expense.

' And they were absolutely sincere. They were just - they had a lot of bad luck - and it wasn't coming in. And I noticed something, that after a few weeks they were sitting back a few rows and still none of the money was coming. Not a penny. And a few weeks later they missed a week.

They came back then they missed two weeks. And I'd go visit them and I'd just go visit to see how they were doing. The first thing out of their mouths when I'd go visit them - what do you think it was? 'No, we haven't forgotten. We're going to take care of it. I've got this car.

I've got that car. I've got this job. We're going to take care of it. We're going to get it fixed and...' But they were just struggling and at one point I have to decide - the Lord spoke to me and kind of said, 'doug, what's more important? You're losing these people.' And we basically forgave the debt and we're still friends today. But you had to make up your mind what's more important, because if you get into that kind of surety relationship with a friend, Solomon says the devil is going to exploit it - something is going to go wrong.

Now, I'm just curious, how many of you, to some extent, have done that with friends or family and it didn't work out well? Oh, just most hands. Okay, well, you know what I'm talking about. So he's saying, 'if you want to protect your relationships, be careful. Now, how do you - I was going to have you read a verse before I ramble some more. Go ahead, please read for us Exodus 23, verses 2 and 3.

"You shall not follow a crowd to do evil; nor shall you testify in a dispute so as to turn aside after many to pervert justice. You shall not show partiality to a poor man in his dispute." And I want to - you look at this verse here from Exodus and then, also, I want to read very quickly a short verse in Galatians 6:2, "bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ." If you're going to get into a relationship with a friend where you're going to lend them money, you'd better make up your mind right at the beginning, 'am I ready to sacrifice the money to preserve the friendship?' You might be better off just giving it to a person. As a pastor, periodically, believe it or not, there are members that will ask the pastors in the church if the church can lend an individual money. Do you remember a woman came to Elisha and she said, 'we're badly in debt and the collector's going to come and take away my sons.' And he said, 'what do you want me to do?' In other words, he saying, 'I'm not a bank. But God'll take care of you.

' And he told her he'd worked a miracle for her and took care of her need. But Elisha said - he didn't say, 'here, I'm going to cosign for you.' He didn't say that. And so churches and pastors have to be very careful. Pastors frequently will make donations to members that are in some kind of - the Bible says churches should take care of those of their own household. They'll sometimes help with emergencies, for The Fatherless and the widows, and - but we don't do a loan.

You've just got to say, 'it's a gift.' And you just leave it right there. Because it changes the relationship when all of a sudden it becomes a debtor relationship. Anyway, that's why Solomon makes a big deal out of that and there's good wisdom there. Then he goes about not just protecting your friendships and protecting your family, now we're under the section for protecting your work. And in a minute somebody is going to read for me Proverbs 13:4 - you'll have that, okay? Let's read Proverbs 6:6 through , "go to the ant, you sluggard! Consider her ways and be wise, which, having no captain, overseer or ruler, provides her supplies in the summer, and gathers her food in the harvest.

How long will you slumber, o sluggard? When will you rise from your sleep? A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep - so shall your poverty come on you like a prowler, and your need like an armed man." And so here he's saying diligence - you know, one of the - I remember - you heard me refer to it earlier, but years ago I read the autobiography of ben franklin which is, by the way, very entertaining. He's a brilliant man. But ben franklin quoted from a proverb we'll probably get later - get to later in our study, but I don't know if I'll be teaching that lesson, so I'm going to say it now, where he said, 'show me a man diligent in his business; he will stand before Kings and not mean persons.' Mean persons meaning the low - people of low esteem. And franklin took that and he said, 'I'm going to be diligent in my business. He was a - not only a bright man.

You ever heard of 'poor richard's almanac?' 'Early to bed, early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise.' 'God helps those that help themselves.' All these famous adages that we quote, at least in North America, come from franklin, who was extremely diligent and he was always admonishing people with Proverbs in 'poor richard's almanac.' He was poor richard. He wrote the whole thing. And - but he talked about diligence and he talked about being slothful because here they had this new country and he really instilled a lot of the diligence and the industry in the mind set of the people back there during the infancy of the country. Alright, and so, in that spirit we're going to read Proverbs 13, verse 4. "The soul of a lazy man desires, and has nothing; but the soul of the diligent shall be made rich.

" You know where a lot of government money comes from? Lotteries. How many people really succeed because they're lottery players? Do they desire to have wealth? Sure they do, but they come to poverty, typically. And even some of them - very, very few percentage that do actually win something, because they've not gained it through diligence and work and saving, it's usually gone very quickly and it doesn't end well. What does Solomon tell us to behold as an example of diligence? The ant. He said, 'go to the ant, you sluggard! Consider her ways and be wise.

' You know, it's interesting, he doesn't say, 'consider his ways.' Do you know that virtually all ants are females? Most of the ant in the colony are sisters? Yeah, they - laid by the eggs of a queen. I was doing a few Amazing Facts on the radio program about ants and they're amazing. Someone once said that in south America, fifteen percent of the biomass - living material of organisms - is ants. So if you were to take all the living creatures in south America, break them down, and weigh them, ants would make up fifteen percent of all the creatures. That means the horses, the people, and all the other insects put together, ants would be fifteen percent.

They're virtually everywhere in the world and some ants actually go places - they've got plagues of crazy ants in Texas. And even though ants - for an insect, they've got the largest brains. They actually - ants actually have gray matter in their heads similar to human gray matter. Somebody said that there are some ant colonies that are so big that if you were to take all their brains together that it would equal the brain of one human. That doesn't make you feel very good, does it? But they're hard workers and they have to work - how many of you remember what is it? Aesop's fable about the grasshopper and the ant? And the grasshopper is just kind of hopping around - eats when the grass is green but he doesn't store anything and he starts begging food from the ant in the wintertime because the ant has stored it.

Solomon observed everything in nature. He was very inquisitive - actually talks about that another place in the Bible. You've heard of leaf-cutter ants or parasol ants? They call them parasol ants because when they're walking around in a procession with little cut leaves, it looks like they're holding little umbrellas over their heads. These amazing creatures are often seen walking in processions with a green leaf above their head. They cut off these bits of leaf.

It's not food, but they take them to their nests and they make them into compost and these actually grow a mold and they actually harvest and dry and protect the mold and that becomes their bread. One of the more interesting ants is a species in the mediterranean. It produces its food from farmed seed. The ants take the seeds, they lay them out in the rain. When it rains it starts to sprout.

They let them grow a little bit, they cut the sprout off, they take the sprouts down into their den - their hole - where they chew them up. They make them into little cookie-dough-like cookies, then they bring them out in the sun on a hot day, they bake them, then they bring them in and they store them. And so they've got parasol ants, they've got baking ants. Then they've got shepherding ants. You've heard of ants that will actually shepherd little aphids.

These ants will have thousands of aphids that are like their sheep, they'll take the aphids from different grazing places - to the plants that they like - they guard them very carefully, and they let them feed and the ants then stroke them and the aphids exude a little sap. I won't tell you where it is exuded from - and the ants eat that - it's a sweet sap - they convert the leaf into this sap and the ants, they shepherd, they protect, they take care - they're like shepherds. Just think, it only took million years for all that to evolve. And yet, they have - wolves have an alpha male that takes the pack and even horses will have, you know, a mustang that will - a stallion that will lead everything but, ants don't have a leader that tells them what to do, but somehow they all know how to cooperate and work together - and then there's ants that, in a flood, they'll all lock themselves into a raft and float. And some of them know that they're to protect the others and army ants - just study ants, it's incredible.

And so Solomon is saying, 'look. Look at the ants. They're one of the most successful creatures on the planet and it's because they're diligent in thinking ahead and working cooperatively to plan and to prepare. So, protect your work. God wants us to be productive.

And, you know, that's one of the things that I think is very important to Christianity, is God calls busy people. You ever notice that? When God called Peter, James, John, andrew - what were they doing? Were they sitting around saying, 'I'm waiting for the Lord to tell me what he wants me to do?' I've met a lot of people that aren't working and I'll say, 'what's up?' They'll say, 'well, I'm waiting on the Lord.' 'What are you waiting on him for? Are you getting newspaper and looking in the?' 'Well, I don't think God wants me working at this, you know, I'm not going to flip burgers and I'm not going to do this and I'm not going to do that. God's got a plan for me and I'm waiting on him.' And they just wait - everyone supports them while they're waiting on the Lord. Any of you ever met that person before? But when God called them they were fishing, they were mending their nets - when God called gideon what was he doing? Threshing wheat. When he called David - taking care of his father's sheep.

When he called Moses - taking care of his father's sheep. When he called Amos - gathering sycamore fruit. And you just go through the Bible, when the Lord calls these people they're busy - when Elisha's called he's out plowing - and God likes us to do things. God made man to work. Now the work of adam and eve in the garden before sin would have been a lot more pleasant than the work after sin, but work is a blessing.

God didn't give man work to be a curse, work was made more difficult, but work is a blessing. And so he wants us to be productive. Okay, 'protect yourself.' Now we're in Proverbs 6:14 and it says - let me just read these last few verses. I'm going to go from 14 on to , "perversity is in his heart, he devises evil continually, he sows discord. Therefore his calamity shall come suddenly; suddenly he shall be broken without remedy.

" - There are people out there that will take advantage of you and Solomon is saying, 'protect your family, you know, protect your relationships, and you have to protect yourself.' Someone said the secret to happiness is joy, which is Jesus, others, yourself - j-o-y. Love the Lord, love your neighbor - that's others - as you love yourself. And there's nothing wrong with protecting yourself. There are people out there that will take advantage of you. If you say you're a Christian, they think that means 'gullible.

' People confuse meekness for weakness and Solomon is saying that if you allow people to abuse and exploit you, you're not helping them and you're not helping yourself. So he's saying, 'avoid certain people that are going to be predators that are out there.' Let's face it, there's a devil in the world and not everyone's listening to the Lord. And the devil uses people to sometimes distract you from your work and your calling. Did a man come to Jesus one time and he said, 'Lord, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.' And you know what Jesus said to him? I'll give you a loose translation: 'that's not my calling.' He said, 'Lord - man, who made me a judge and a ruler over you? My calling is not to arbitrate between you and your brother.' I mean, can you see how quickly Jesus could become distracted from his mission? Have you sometimes had people that - and I've got to say this carefully, because I think we need to love people, we need to care for people, but the devil has people that he will use to distract you from what God really wants you to do. They'll take you from the most important thing you could do and they will never be satisfied.

Jesus said it, so you take it up with him, 'do not cast your pearls before swine. Do not give that which is holy to the dogs.' Nobody ever wants to point to somebody that fits in that category, but we all know that there are people out there that the devil uses to just take advantage of you - it says he walks with a perverse mouth and his calamity will come suddenly.' Go to verse 16, "these six things the Lord hates, yes, seven are an abomination to him:" - so here's a list - how to identify these people - "a proud look, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood," - that doesn't mean they're out murdering everyone, sometimes they just take advantage of innocent people - "a heart that devises wicked plans, feet" - there you've got the feet again - "that are swift in running to evil, a false witness who speaks lies, and" - listen to the one that he caps it off with - "one who sows discord among brethren." You know that, to me, I think when you're a pastor you'll have a church and the Lord's blessing and all it takes is one person who has that spirit to just go from person to person - like Judas - and plant insinuations and evil thoughts and doubts and suspicion and jealousy in the hearts of others and it can just bring discord and bitterness into a whole congregation. And so the devil uses these things and you need to just recognize when those individuals out there - love them, pray for them - but don't let them control your lives because you've got to protect yourself. You've got to protect your relationships as well. Anyway, this is - oh, there's some other verses in here - in the lesson - that also talks about Matthew chapter 15, verse , "for out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies.

" Jeremiah 17, "the heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it?" So we need to love everybody but recognize that we all have the capacity to be very selfish and so maybe I should close by wording it this way: we need to guard ourself for that capacity that all people have in being selfish and harmful. We have a special book - free offer - out of time for the lesson - 'is it a sin to be tempted?' And you can get this by calling the resource number - -788-3966. We'll send it to you for free or you can download it for free, just go to 'amazingfacts.org'. God bless you, friends and the Lord willing, we'll be studying again - chapter 3 next week.

Name:

Email:

Prayer Request:


Share a Prayer Request
Name:

Email:

Bible Question:


Ask a Bible Question