Loose Words and Lazybones
As you listen to wisdom, remember who that wisdom comes from: Christ, the “wisdom of God” (1 Cor. 1:24,30).
Read Proverbs 6:1-19
 My son, if you have put up security for your neighbor, if you have shaken hands in pledge for a stranger,  you have been trapped by what you said, ensnared by the words of your mouth.  So do this, my son, to free yourself, since you have fallen into your neighbor’s hands: Go-to the point of exhaustion- and give your neighbor no rest!  Allow no sleep to your eyes, no slumber to your eyelids.  Free yourself, like a gazelle from the hand of the hunter, like a bird from the snare of the fowler.  Go to the ant, you sluggard; consider its ways and be wise!  It has no commander, no overseer or ruler,  yet it stores its provisions in summer and gathers its food at harvest.  How long will you lie there, you sluggard? When will you get up from your sleep?  A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest-  and poverty will come on you like a thief and scarcity like an armed man.  A troublemaker and a villain, who goes about with a corrupt mouth,  who winks maliciously with his eye, signals with his feet and motions with his fingers,  who plots evil with deceit in his heart- he always stirs up conflict.  Therefore disaster will overtake him in an instant; he will suddenly be destroyed-without remedy.  There are six things the LORD hates, seven that are detestable to him:  haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood,  a heart that devises wicked schemes, feet that are quick to rush into evil,  a false witness who pours out lies and a person who stirs up conflict in the community. Scripture taken from the THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION, NIV Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectWhat should you do to be free from a bad promise?
In a moment of thoughtless gratitude you say, “I’ll do anything for you,” only to regret the demands that such an unconditional pledge might bring from some. Of course, only the manipulative would exploit such a promise, but in public and private life, the writer of Proverbs wisely advises us to avoid the risk. The friendly-seeming neighbor (3) might prove to be “a troublemaker” (12) with “a heart that devises wicked schemes” (18). Such an unguarded promise to almost anyone else is itself a kind of laziness, a symptom of the habitual making of soft choices, and about which the writer of Proverbs has much to offer. You could say the Protestant work ethic was born in the culture of the ancient Near East, with the ant as its mascot. Instead of “a little folding of the hands to rest” (10), the lazybones should be hard at work bringing in the harvest and preparing for an uncertain future. From unguarded words and a pair of folded arms, the fool finds poverty and discord a swift reward (11,14). If you are able, see what James has to say about this is in his letter (chs. 2,3).
Have you ever been trapped by what you’ve said? Open yourself only to Jesus.
Lord, help me to guard my tongue today, and to give myself wholly to the tasks You have set before me.
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