Saturday, December 10, 2016

Proverbs 2: Delight v. Danger

Chapter 2 of Proverbs continues with the theme of Wisdom. I cannot help but notice the greater presence of hope and joy in this chapter. In 2:6, Solomon says, "the LORD gives wisdom," continuing to say that God is a "shield," "may guard" paths of justice, and will protect those loyal to Him.

Solomon states that after God has blessed someone, it "will enter your mind and knowledge will delight your heart" (2:10). The theme of delight seems to bless this chapter with a particular emphasis on feeling of liberation from the the things one feels in the absence of wisdom.

"Discretion" also figures now as a companion to wisdom, indicating that with discretion one finds protection from various threats: "those who abandon the right paths to walk in the ways of darkness ... and celebrate perversion" (2:11-12).

For where I am right now, I have to balance this call for discretion with the need to seek help from others to resist temptation. What worries me is that too much discretion gives someone with my particular struggles the tendency to hide and dissemble--conduct that can be deadly for someone who hopes to be delivered from the darkness of homosexuality. The answer to this concern of mine comes at the end for the chapter when Solomon says, "follow the way of good people, and keep to the paths of the righteous" (2:20-21). This reminds me that it is good to share struggles with people you know you can trust, rather than struggling in silence and hoping that secrecy will somehow protect you from falling away from God.

The proverb presents various examples of people to avoid: perverts, the devious, "forbidden woman" (2:16), "a stranger with her flattering talk" (2:16) who seems to abandon friends and forget the covenant of her God, only to see her house sink down to to death. The proverb stands as a solid reminder that many stumbling blocks that might trip up a man seeking righteousness are human threats: conduct, behaviors, habits, that one might misinterpret as normal when one surrounds oneself with them.