The Book of Proverbs contains much practical wisdom. It includes instructions that are as relevant to us today as they were when they were written. Yet, Proverbs isn’t simply good advice. These instructions, or admonitions, come coupled with blessings for those who adhere to them and severe consequences for those who fail to obey them.
When we come to a passage like the first half of Proverbs chapter 6, we must keep in mind some key elements we’ve considered in our study of Proverbs thus far. First, remember that these texts are to be read from the point of view of a Father instructing his children. We must keep a childlike posture as we read and listen. Second, God instructs us out of love even when his warnings to us seem harsh. Our best interest is in mind. Finally, exhibiting the commendable characteristics in these passages is a result of wise living, not a way to earn favor with God.
Chapter 6 covers several themes, including securing debt, sloth, sowing discord, lying, murder, and adultery. Verses 1 though 15 go more in depth concerning irresponsible behavior while verses 16 through 19 list seven abominations to the Lord. Each sin is a stench in the nostrils of God and a text like this ought to inspire a renewed sense of the gravity of sin. Interestingly, the text includes several references to parts of the body: mouth (v2), hands (v3, 5, 10, 17), eyes (v4, 13, 17), feet (v13, 18), fingers (v13), and the tongue (v17). This list reminds us of the fact that God is concerned that we use our God-given resources wisely. He gave us hands to work for his glory; let us not use them to “shed innocent blood.” He gave us feet to go do the work of the Lord; let us not use them to “run to evil.” He gave us tongues to declare the goodness of God; let us now use them to tell lies. May we learn from this section of Proverbs to exercise godly responsibility with all that God has given us.