Proverbs 23:12-35 The Heart’s Addictions

Yesterday I wrote a lengthy entry about the heart.  Our small group discussed spanking, and then we focused on why children go astray.  We talked about how often something draws someone in and consumes their life.  I remember those who at age 14 in England started their love affair with alcohol.  By high school they had become incredibly dull individuals whose conversation was about the number of pints of beer they had drunk and were going to drink.  Only mildly more interesting were some former Moody students I met in the States whose new found reedom to drink alcohol resulted in cocktail combinations being an overly frequent topic of conversation.  Pornography was an addiction that we talked about at length.  With sexual images and stories so readily available on the internet and teenage boys and girls having such strong urges, sex is even more of a draw than it was when I was younger.  I meet many students at Moody for whom pornography is a battle.  I am thankful that they at least struggle.  In many quarters of the world pornography is seen as a legitimate entertainment choice.  Proverbs warns of how young men (and women) are led astray when their hearts are captured.  The antidote is to model for youngsters a sold-out addiction to the things of God.  This spiritual zeal must have the same passion as the most torrid affair, the most enthralling sport, or the most delicious cupcake.  If we do not pursue first things first, how can we expect children to grow away from things that ultimately will destroy life.

Questions

  1. According to Proverbs, to what must the heart be committed?
  2. What other things grab one’s heart?
  3. What are the dangers of grabbing foolish things?
  4. What secondary things (sex, alcohol, or relationships) have you become obsessed with at some point?
  5. Why do you think more girls are using pornography?  What does this show about society?  What would God want to do to offer a more fulfilling option?

Passage

Apply your heart to instruction
    and your ears to words of knowledge.

Saying 13
13 Do not withhold discipline from a child;
    if you punish them with the rod, they will not die.
14 Punish them with the rod
    and save them from death.
Saying 14
15 My son, if your heart is wise,
    then my heart will be glad indeed;
16 my inmost being will rejoice
    when your lips speak what is right.
Saying 15
17 Do not let your heart envy sinners,
    but always be zealous for the fear of the Lord.
18 There is surely a future hope for you,
    and your hope will not be cut off.
Saying 16
19 Listen, my son, and be wise,
    and set your heart on the right path:
20 Do not join those who drink too much wine
    or gorge themselves on meat,
21 for drunkards and gluttons become poor,
    and drowsiness clothes them in rags.

Saying 17
22 Listen to your father, who gave you life,
    and do not despise your mother when she is old.
23 Buy the truth and do not sell it—
    wisdom, instruction and insight as well.
24 The father of a righteous child has great joy;
    a man who fathers a wise son rejoices in him.
25 May your father and mother rejoice;
    may she who gave you birth be joyful!
Saying 18
26 My son, give me your heart
    and let your eyes delight in my ways,
27 for an adulterous woman is a deep pit,
    and a wayward wife is a narrow well.
28 Like a bandit she lies in wait
    and multiplies the unfaithful among men.

Saying 19
29 Who has woe? Who has sorrow?
    Who has strife? Who has complaints?
    Who has needless bruises? Who has bloodshot eyes?
30 Those who linger over wine,
    who go to sample bowls of mixed wine.
31 Do not gaze at wine when it is red,
    when it sparkles in the cup,
    when it goes down smoothly!
32 In the end it bites like a snake
    and poisons like a viper.
33 Your eyes will see strange sights,
    and your mind will imagine confusing things.
34 You will be like one sleeping on the high seas,
    lying on top of the rigging.
35 “They hit me,” you will say, “but I’m not hurt!
    They beat me, but I don’t feel it!
When will I wake up
    so I can find another drink?”

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About Plymothian

I teach at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago. My interests include education, biblical studies, and spiritual formation. I have been married to Kelli since 1998 and we have two children, Daryl and Amelia. For recreation I like to run, play soccer, play board games, read and travel.
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