okay, so i have read through proverbs for YEARS and i really never realized HOW MANY CHAPTERS are TOTALLY DEVOTED to the subject of sexual promiscuity...
and how wisdom in portrayed as in DIRECT contrast with an immoral woman. ugh. that doesn’t bode well for me...
proverbs 7 deals with the “simple” youth who is seduced by the wanton woman. or at the surface of this proverb. but you know i like to go a bit deeper. to keep it all interesting and because i have this TOTAL devotion to Scripture and the way that God keeps hiding little treasures for me in His Word... He is kind of neato like that.
first of all: the “simple” youth....
simple, not as we would define it now as mentally deficient. in Biblical times, this word “simple” means “young, unexperienced, not mature”. a kind of adolescent thinking (not applying only for one’s age, but in discernment, in knowing and choosing what is right, vulnerable and gullible). of course, it is a perfect description of youthfulness. we all go through this state and some of us extend our vacation in this state MUCH too long...
but in the end, we cannot blame this youth’s fall on his simplicity. darn, because i like to blame bad decisions on things like youthfulness... because i think i am still young.
in verse 7 it states that this was a young man “void of understanding” and the hebrew for that word “understanding” is...
1) inner man, mind, will, heart, understanding
1) midst (of things)
2) heart (of man)
3) soul, heart (of man)
4) mind, knowledge, thinking, reflection, memory
5) inclination, resolution, determination (of will)
7) heart (of moral character)
8) as seat of appetites
9) as seat of emotions and passions
10) as seat of courage
this is a young person who has no understanding in his HEART in the INNER PARTS. no resolution, no determination of will, a weak conscience. ruled by emotions and passions, no courage, a bad memory (he must not be a scrapbooker). like every teenager that i have ever met (and a lot of people that aren’t teenagers any more too).
and he is passing by this wanton woman’s street, near her house. he is in the wrong place... by accident? perhaps... but perhaps because he just wants to be close to the action, to see how close he can get. for fascination, to watch, to judge.... who knows? but i know that i do that sometimes. go places where i shouldn’t be and then wonder how in the world i got myself into that sin...
so how does this apply to my living proverbially?
not only am i sometimes the one vacationing in the state of “simplicity” too long, i have a REAL adolescent in my home and another quickly approaching adolescent to boot (and sometimes i do need to boot him). i have some simpletons of my own to deal with on a daily basis.
and deal with them i must. and not in some kind of “dreading this stage of parenting” but actually looking forward to this stage of two and then three teens at once. BRING IT ON!
parenting a teenager has really been EXCITING. millie wants to talk about so many things on a daily (and late into the nightly) basis.
she comes home with these HUGE questions... mostly from conversations on the bus (oh, why do i let her ride home on the bus? maybe because i want to have all these conversations with her... maybe because i wouldn’t think to talk about ALL of these things with her and maxx, if they didn’t ask all these questions...)
yesterday she was involved in a conversation about why if God was all loving, why would He send people to hell?
really, why aren’t they talking about who made cheerleader and who is dating whom? those are the conversations that i had at their age. it would make my life a whole lot easier. i should have avoided telling them not to gossip because gossiping would be easier than answering these questions at 11:00 p.m.
but i told her that for me it all boils down to for me this question abraham asked in genesis...”will not the Judge of the earth do right?” (which i always attribute that verse to job not abraham when i quote it. i need to remember the source better)...
and then i talked about this verse that i love so much...
psalm 62:11-12 God hath spoken once; twice have I heard this; that power belongeth unto God. Also unto thee, O Lord, belongs mercy: for thou renders to every man according to his work.
that God being all Loving and Him being the Righteous Judge can exist together. He has spoken One Word and in it are two things... He has all the Power (judgement) and He alone is Mercy (love).
and then i read portions of this to her. and she kind of understood parts of it (let’s hope more than i understood). let’s have a big cheer for the internet and the information that can be found at good websites (and by the way, we were able to see dr. craig give a lecture at fsu this spring and it was POWERFUL). google is my friend.
and i was thinking that i didn’t wrestle with these kinds of questions until after college. but she is a different girl than i am. and God must have some really good purposes for all these questions (maybe to help me to “be prepared to give an answer”). and i know He holds all the answers to them and sometimes we just have to know that the Judge of the earth will do Right.
this stage of parenting is all about the conversations. the late night talks. being open and willing and awake enough to have them. i remember the days i could just nod and every now and then add in an “that sounds great, yes, i love dora the explorer too”.
but those days are over. nods and platitudes are not going to help my “simple” children become mature. “because i said so” doesn’t open up their hearts. it goes so far beyond obedience, beyond raising kids that “look good and make good grades” ... that is simple in comparison with leading them to the fountain of understanding and encouraging them to drink deeply. it is painful and involves a lot more “dying to self” to do the long slow process of figuring out what is deep in their hearts, and then giving them courage they will need to make the hard choices... and forgiving them when they stumble and helping them get back up OR watching them try to get back up on their own KNOWING that i could help them, but that it might not be as good for them as if they had to do it on their own...
it is the age of opportunity... and i stole that from this book that i am reading. and i want to take every opportunity that they give me, that God gives me, to parent them well. to show them that i don’t have all the answers BUT that i know One who does. that i am not perfect, but i know One that Is, and Was, and Will Be. and that He alone is Enough because LORD knows i will NEVER be enough.
but that isn’t enough for today’s proverb for proverbially living... and today because i am CRAZY like this... i am choosing two verses from this chapter which speak the same message to me (2 verses have a read, one thing have i heard...)
STAY AT HOME... i am a stay at home mom. i really should STAY AT HOME MORE.
proverbs 7:6 At the window of my house
I looked out through the lattice.
i need to be at home (with my family is the actual translation of this) to observe what is going on. i must maintain a constant focus on the things i need to focus on. then i can see where my kids need more understanding. where there heart is leading them... i need to be home, and i need to be on the lookout.
She is loud (raging, disquieted, troubles, in an uproar) and defiant (stubborn, revolting, withdrawn), her feet (journey) never stay at home (with family); now in the street, now in the squares, at every corner she lurks.
and to not become the OPPOSITE of wisdom (the wanton woman, the unfaithful wife). be quiet, listen to the questions. do not be defiant, stubborn, or withdrawn. be teachable and reachable. AND BE HOME. i need to keep my feet at home. stop lurking other places... notice where the message version tells me not to be loitering...
proverbs 7:11-12 (the message)
Brazen and brash she was, restless and roaming, never at home,
Walking the streets, loitering in the mall, hanging out at every corner in town.
oh, another reason to avoid the mall (unless i am shopping and conversing WITH my kids AT the mall, would that count as quality time?)
i cannot be EVERYWHERE and EVERYTHING to EVERYBODY. or i will miss some opportunities to help direct my children in this stage of simple thoughts... a stage that is on the road to wisdom...
and all those late night conversations lead me to lost of early afternoon naps. then i have the strength, the stamina, and the wherewithal to have quality conversations with them. so good thing i didn’t choose the “no napping” proverb yesterday. and since i will be STAYING AT HOME more, then i will be closer to the couch for my naps...