I post papers I have written, some during my graduate and post-graduate studies, some in response to other papers, and some written for other purposes like Sunday school classes or Bible studies. I also post observations on whatever comes to my mind and videos from teaching sessions.
Proverbs 7:14 (NKJV) — 14 “I have peace offerings with me; Today I have paid my vows.
Hypocritical righteousness. Those who are involved in moral impurity often make an outward show of religiosity, and they are inventive at justifying their actions. (See Proverbs 16:2.) But no excuse will suffice when a person stands before the holy God in judgment.
Proverbs 7:13 (NKJV) — 13 So she caught him and kissed him; With an impudent face she said to him:
The aggressiveness of folly. When we view the morally impure woman as a symbol of folly, it becomes apparent why it is so easy not to follow God’s word and God’s will. Wisdom is not aggressive — it must be pursued and cultivated — but folly is.
Proverbs 7:11–12 (NKJV) — 11 She was loud and rebellious, Her feet would not stay at home. 12 At times she was outside, at times in the open square, Lurking at every corner.
Two additional indicators of moral impurity. The immoral woman described here is loud and stubborn. These characteristics are exactly the opposite of those of the godly woman described in I Peter 3:4-5. Second, the immoral woman is aggressive in pursuit of evil. She does not wait for her victim to come to her; she actively seeks opportunities for immorality.
As we read through this section of Proverbs, we should keep in mind that the immoral woman figuratively represents folly, while the godly woman represents wisdom.
Proverbs 7:10 (NKJV) — 10 And there a woman met him, With the attire of a harlot, and a crafty heart.
Two signs of moral impurity. While some scoff at the idea that one’s dress is of any significance, this verse refers to specific attire that identifies a harlot. It is at the opposite end of the fashion spectrum from that of godly women. (See I Timothy 2:9-10; I Peter 3:3-4.) The key concept for godly appearance and dress is modesty. Modesty does not draw the wrong kind of attention to itself. It encourages respect and wholesome admiration for one’s character, rather than emphasizing merely the physical appearance.
The second sign of this woman’s moral impurity is craftiness of heart. The context of this verse indicates this woman is a schemer who traps the unwary.
Proverbs 7:8 (NKJV) — 8 Passing along the street near her corner; And he took the path to her house
The first mistake of a young man without understanding. The first step in laying aside every weight and sin that so easily besets us (Hebrews 12:1) is to avoid the places, people, or circumstances that prey on one’s weakness. If the young man of this passage had remembered the admonition of Proverbs 5:8 to stay far away from the immoral woman’s house, he would never have fallen into her trap. If Eve had stayed away from the forbidden tree, she would never have succumbed to temptation. Temptation usually comes in cycles, and it is usually related to certain times, events, places, or people. The wise person will anticipate these temptations and avoid them to the extent possible.
Proverbs 7:6–7 (NKJV) — 6 For at the window of my house I looked through my lattice, 7 And saw among the simple, I perceived among the youths, A young man devoid of understanding,
The behavior of one who lacks understanding.If wisdom is not considered a sister and understanding a kinswoman, the chances are high that a person will enter into an immoral, sinful relationship with folly. (See Proverbs 7:4.)
Proverbs 7:5 (NKJV) — 5 That they may keep you from the immoral woman, From the seductress who flatters with her words.
The right woman will keep a man from the wrong woman. The immoral (“strange,” KJV) woman can represent two things: (1) a literal woman who is immoral; (2) folly, in contrast to wisdom as a virtuous woman. The first step in this strange woman’s attempt to seduce is flattery.
Proverbs 7:4 (NKJV) — 4 Say to wisdom, “You are my sister,” And call understanding your nearest kin,
Identifying with wisdom.It is important for a person to be closely identified with and related to wisdom and understanding. In mind, speech, and actions one should ally with wisdom, saying, “Wisdom, you are my sister. Understanding, you are my kinswoman.”
Each year, a church near our home features a professional sand sculpture by Dan Belcher. This past Sunday we saw this inspiring work titled “Hope Anchors the Soul.” Susan took this picture with her iPhone 8+. Notice the detail in the engraved letters, the ship at the top, and even the sculpted clouds.
Hebrews 6:18b-19a is the Scripture upon which this work is based. Here are the comments on this text from my book Hebrews: Better Things (Hazelwood, MO: Word Aflame Press, 1997):
Hebrews 6:18–19 (NKJV) — 18 that by two immutable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we might have strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold of the hope set before us.19This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which enters the Presence behind the veil,
The two immutable, or unchangeable, things are (1) the promise God made to Abraham and (2) the oath by which God confirmed His promise. It is impossible for God to lie (see Romans 3:4). The intent of the author in bringing to the readers’ attention the promise made to Abraham was to remind them that they shared mutually in “strong consolation.” They had “fled for refuge to lay hold of the hope set before” them (NKJV). That from which they had fled is not identified, but it may have to do with the persecutions experienced by these first century believers, especially in view of the martyrdom of Stephen. Although they had fled from Jerusalem to other parts of the Roman Empire (Acts 8:1), flight to another geographical location could not offer stability of hope. But a flight from fear to hope gave them “an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast” (NKJV). This hope “enters the Presence behind the veil” (NKJV) because it is anchored in Jesus, who prepared the way for our entry into the very presence of God by virtue of becoming “High Priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek” (NKJV). The flight of hope takes us into the presence of God symbolized by the Holy of Holies in the Jewish tabernacle and temple. Jesus entered the true most holy place with His own blood as opposed to the blood of goats and calves of the Old Covenant. (See 9:12.) Since, as High Priest, He represented us upon His entry, we can boldly “enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus” (10:19, NKJV).
The tearing of the veil which separated the holy place from the most holy place in the temple at the moment of Jesus’ death (Matthew 27:51) demonstrated the termination of the Old Covenant and the establishment of the reality of which it was merely a shadow. (See 9:1-8; 10:19-22.)
How unwise it would have been for the original readers of this letter to turn from the “strong consolation” of hope they had in Jesus Christ and to abandon the “refuge” they found in Him, the very presence of God, to return to the shadowy images of the Law. It is always too soon to give up on the promise of God; since He cannot lie, and since He is immutable, we can have absolute confidence that He will, in His time, fulfill His word.
The fact that Jesus is High Priest according to the order of Melchizedek, not of Aaron (7:11-22), is a jarring reminder that the Law of Moses has come to an end. The ripping of the curtain separating the Holy of Holies from the holy place in the temple and the invasion of the most holy by a priest not arising from Levi signifies in the most dramatic way the conclusion of an era. The Law of Moses and the Aaronic priesthood with which it was intimately connected were wondrous for their time, but they have been superseded by One better than Moses (3:1-6), who brought a covenant better than the Law (8:6-13), and whose priesthood is superior to that springing from Abraham (7:7-10).
My commentary on Hebrews is available in hard copy and as an e-book from pentecostalpublishing.com and as a Kindle download from amazon.com and as an Apple Book.