“To do evil is like sport to a fool, but a man of understanding has wisdom.”
While Jesus hung on the cross paying for the sins of humanity, paving the way for man to have fellowship with God, and giving entrance to heaven, we are told a group of soldiers were gambling for His clothing. The most important event in the history of humanity is unfolding, and these men are playing games at the foot of the cross. Sadly, their behavior is all too common among people today. Many, instead of taking seriously their need for Christ, are playing around with sin and treating it like sport. Even among believers this behavior is all too familiar. There are many Christians who seem to live for the adrenaline rush they receive, by getting as close to sin as possible, while not falling completely into it. That, my friend, is a dangerous game. Solomon wrote,
“Can a man take fire to his bosom,
And his clothes not be burned?
Can one walk on hot coals, And his feet not be seared?”
Toying around with, and living on the edge of sin, is a very dangerous game. It will not be long before you find you have taken one step too many and fallen hard. For many, once that line is crossed, it is very difficult to be restored. Sin gets its teeth in us, and like a pit bull, is unwilling to let go. The secret to success, is to stay away from the fences. Don’t live as close to sinning as you can, but as far away as possible.
I had a good friend who had a substance abuse problem. He was doing his best to walk with the Lord, and stay away from former habits. He knew, he not only had to make investments in his walk with the Lord, but he also had to avoid his old stomping grounds. He even had to choose new routes home from work, because the way he traveled in the past took him right through the neighborhood where he would purchase drugs. After months of doing well, staying clean, and growing in Christ, he thought he was strong enough to handle it, and decided to take a short cut home. His path took him right by his dealers place. Before he knew it, he had parked the car, entered the home, purchased drugs, and fell hard. It was over a week later when I heard from him. He had been on a binge and had finally come down. Broken, hurting, filled with self-loathing, and fearing what was ahead, he told me the details of his story.
His story is not an isolated case. If we are honest, we all have stories of toying with sin and falling. Our landing may not have been as hard as his, but sin has had a devastating effect upon us, and those to whom we are seeking to be a godly witness. It is folly to think we can gamble with sin and not lose. If you have been treating sin like sport, it is time to retire. Whatever has been leading you to the edge, remove it from your life, and draw as close to Christ as you can. Paul told Timothy to flee youthful lusts (2 Timothy 2:22) and Joseph took this so seriously he ran from Potiphar’s house leaving his clothes behind (Genesis 39:12).
Questions for Proverbs 10
Up until this point in the book of Proverbs, there has been a theme to the early chapters: God’s Wisdom is painted in a beautiful light, and the person who pursues wisdom is viewed with great favor by God. From this chapter forward the book changes, as most of the book is comprised of short proverbs that are often unrelated to the one before or after. Also, each proverb tends to say two things that illustrate one another. These proverbs can cover a very wide range of application even from verse to verse.
1. Righteousness is contrasted with wickedness in many of these verses (2, 3, 6, 7, 11, 16, 20, 21, 24, 25, 28, 29, 30, 31, and 32). Read through these verses. Make a list of all of the advantages of the righteous. Now make a list of all of the consequences that the wicked must face. Which list do you want for yourself?
2. Verses 1 and 5 mention a “wise son”. What impact does the wise son have on his parents? How is your relationship with your parents? Pursuing God and following His instructions for loving them is the greatest things that you can do to honor them.
3. Look at verse 8. We are naturally prone to not want to have others tell us what to do. The problem is that it is right for us to submit to the authorities that God has put over us. Do you have a good attitude toward the authorities in your life?
4. Look at verse 11, 13, 19, 20, 21, 31, 32. What is the speech of a righteous person likened to? How does it contrast with the words of the wicked? Take time to consider your own words. Is your mouth a blessing?
5. Verse 12 reveals a wonderful truth. This verse is later quoted in 1 Peter 4:8. Think about the people you love: do you seek to cover/forgive/show grace concerning their sin? Or are you quick to fight? Ask God to pour His love into your heart to help you.
6. Look at verse 22. When the Lord blesses a person’s life, there is no hidden cost to the blessing. Certainly we must count the cost in following Jesus, but that is all in the open and Jesus has been plain about it. The devil on the other hand, never tells what the cost will be for doing things his way. Consider this verse carefully. There is no downside! Pursue the blessing of the Lord in your own life!