Publication Date: November 4, 1981
Walter J. Cummins graduated from the Power for Abundant Class in 1962.
He received his Bachelor of Science degree in Education from Ohio State University in 1968 and his Master of Education degree in Secondary School Administration in 1978 from Wright State University.
He was ordained to the Christian by The Way International in 1968. He has studied at The Way International under Victor Paul Wierwille and K.C.Pillai. In addition to his teaching responsibilities, he was director of the Research department of the Way International and served as assistant to the president.
November 4, 1981
And let’s go to the Book of Proverbs, chapter 6 tonight. In our last session together, we went through the first five and a half verses and we saw the introduction to the Book of Proverbs and how it lays out the course goals and objectives through the entire curriculum for the students that are learning the Book of Proverbs. We saw that the two main things that are being covered in the book are wisdom, it teaches wisdom, and the corresponding moral discipline that goes along with it. And that there are three types of judgment involved in this learning: truth judgment, ethical judgment and functional judgment. And we’ll see these three types of judgments as we work the Book of Proverbs because that’s what the student of the Book of Proverbs needs to learn; how to make truth judgments, judgment based on ethics, and proper functional judgments in his operation in life, in business and whatever he’s involved with. And I also told you briefly that the first nine chapters are broken up into 15 didactic narratives or 15 sections that are each introduced by the terms “my son” or “my children”. And tonight we want to look at one of these sections in chapter 6. We’re not going to go through the whole Book of Proverbs verse by verse, but rather we’re going to take some of the difficult sections each time we get into it and work those individually now that we have the background of the Book of Proverbs. And tonight we’re going to look at these first 19 verses of chapter 6. You’ll notice that it begins with this phrase “my son”, so it’s introducing this section. Then you get down to verse 20 and it opens with “my son” again. So, this is one of those sections, one of those fifteen sections I told you about, verses 1-19. And this section deals with business principles. And it’s broken up into three parts. There are three parts in this…these 19 verses. Verses 1-5 and then verses 6-14 and then verses 15-19. Now, I’d like to read to you this first section. It’s starts out:
Proverbs 6:1-5: 1 My son, if thou be surety for thy friend, if thou hast stricken thy hand with a stranger, 2 Thou art snared with the words of thy mouth, thou art taken with the words of thy mouth. 3 Do this now, my son, and deliver thyself, when thou art come into the hand of thy friend; go, humble thyself, and make sure thy friend. 4 Give not sleep to thine eyes, nor slumber to thine eyelids. 5 Deliver thyself as a roe from the hand of the hunter, and as a bird from the hand of the fowler.
Now in here you have some difficult things, especially in verse 3 where it goes…where
it talks about humbling yourself and making your friend sure, when you’ve already been surety for him up in verse 1. And delivering yourself from a roe. Well, what is a roe? Some of these things that are not a part…a regular part of our vocabulary and our culture. Well, back in verse 1.
Proverbs 6:1: My son, if thou be surety for thy friend,...
“Surety” is an English word. Not too many of us use it too often but it is... one who is supplying surety for another person is like a co-signer on a mortgage, or he pledges himself to another. It’s one who makes himself liable for the default or miscarriage of another person. It doesn’t have to deal with money, although generally, we think in terms of being surety for a friend when he borrows money and then you co-sign for him so that you’ll…if he doesn’t pay or isn’t able to pay that you’ll be able to pay his mortgage for him or his loan. But it doesn’t always deal with that. It could be being a co-signer or making yourself a surety for someone who is supposed to appear in court or someone who is supposed to show up for a contest that you’re the one that’s responsible to see that he gets there. Maybe the best man is like a surety for the groom at a wedding, where he’s supposed to make sure that the groom gets there. There’s different types of surety, but generally we think in terms of it from a financial standpoint.
“If thou be surety for thy friend,”...then it has the word “if” in italics because it’s not in the Hebrew text. And if you leave it out, it makes perfectly good sense. It says, “My son, if thou be surety for thy friend, thou hast stricken thy hand with a stranger.” Because your friend has made an agreement, a contract, an arrangement with someone else, who perhaps you do not know. But you are co-signing for your friend, so in essence you are shaking hands with that other person. You are making the agreement yourself with that other person who you may not know, he’s a stranger. So you’ve stricken your hand with a stranger. And that phrase “to strike the hands” is used frequently in the scripture of agreeing with someone. Just like we shake hands when we agree over something, you shake hands with someone. Proverbs 17:18; chapter 17, verse 18 also uses this expression.
Proverbs 17:18: A man void of understanding striketh hands,…
The word “understanding” there is “heart”. The Hebrew word is leb (L-E-B) which was one of those words I gave you last week that means…or that’s translated “wisdom” in a couple of places, but it means “heart”. It means “heart”.
Proverbs 17:18: A man void of [heart] strikes hands [he makes these types of agreement], and becomes surety in the presence of his friend.
There you have it again. Only a person that’s dev…that’s void of heart strike hands and become surety in the presence of his friend. Then again in chapter 22. Chapter 22, verse 26.
Proverbs 22:26: Be not thou one of them that strike hands, or of them that are sureties for debts.
It’s not a good business principle to strike hands, to make that agreement and of them that are sureties for debts.
Proverbs 22:27a: If thou hast nothing to pay,…
If you don’t owe no one anything or if you’re not a co-signer for someone…
Proverbs 22:27b: …why should he take away thy bed from under thee?
Who is going to repossess your bed? Or who is going to repossess your furniture? If you don’t owe anyone anything. See?
Proverbs 22:28, 29:
28 Remove not the ancient landmark, which thy fathers have set. 29 Seest thou a man diligent in…business? he shall stand before kings; he shall not stand before mean [or average] men.
He’s going to stand before kings when he does these good business principles and one is not getting yourself in over your head to where you cannot handle a responsibility like becoming a surety for someone else, and especially if that person isn’t capable of handling it himself. In chapter 11 of Proverbs, verse 15.
He that is surety for a stranger shall smart for it: and he that hateth suretiship is sure.
So the west way…the best way to be sure is not to get involved in suretiship. Okay. Not being surety for someone else. Now you have to understand this in light of the love of God in the renewed mind in helping your brothers and sisters, because when people are growing up in the Word we’ve got to become broken bread for them until they learn to walk on their own. That’s one of the principles, where you let people walk on your feet until they’re able to walk on their own feet. But it doesn’t mean getting yourself into the point where they’re capable of pulling you down. Where you can’t cover for whatever you’re doing trying to help someone
else. Like it says in Galatians 6:1, where you don’t let…you help other people but not to the point where they get to you. See? Where they pull you down. In chapter 22 of Proverbs, in verse 7.
Proverbs 22:7: The rich ruleth over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender.
Now this ties in with suretiship. Because if you owe someone something, then you’re a servant to that person that you owe it to. You’re not in control of the situation. The…the lender is in control. He’s the boss because he’s the one you owe money to, or owe a responsibility to. So if you’re a borrower you become a servant or a slave to the one that’s loaned you the money. Or if you’re co-signing for someone, you’re still in that category and it says: we’re going to smart for it and the best way to be sure is to hate suretiship, avoid it. See?
Back to chapter 6. So if you’re “surety for your friend” in essence you’ve shaken hands with a stranger, you’ve made an agreement with a stranger. And the result is you are:
Proverbs 6:2a: …snared with the words [of your mouth] of thy mouth.
You’re snared; you’re trapped with the words of your mouth.
Proverbs 6:2b: …thou art taken [or captured] with the words of thy mouth.
Now he says the same thing twice in two different ways. Once he says, “you’re snared or trapped with the words of your mouth” and then he says it again, “you’re taken or captured with the words of your mouth.” This is a figure of speech, called pleonasm; (P-L-E-O-N-A-S-M), pleonasm.Where it’s said twice for emphasis.
Now, I left out the “if” in verse 1. Clement of Alexandria in his quotation of this verse around the year 200 A.D. quotes it as follows: “My son, if you become surety for your friend you will be giving your hand to your enemy. For a man’s own lips are a strong snare to him and he’s taken by the words of his mouth.” So he left it out too. And there are other…certain translations that leave it out; there are certain translations that put “if” in front of “thou are snared and thou art taken” in verse 2. But they’re not in the Hebrew text, and that’s why I’d leave them out. “My son, if thou be surety for thy friend, you have shaken hands with a stranger.”
“You are snared with the words of your mouth (you are trapped), you are captured with
the words of your mouth.” There’s…you’ve just…you’ve signed for someone else and all of a sudden that friend decides he doesn’t want to pay, and your friend maybe becomes your enemy at the same time. And now you’re in trouble, because you’ve made an agreement. You’ve signed the contract so to speak. Except in the East they didn’t sign contracts. What did they do? Took the covenant of salt, where they ate food after their agreement that had salt in it, which meant that they said what they meant and meant what they said.
By the way I was reading a book just the other day about honesty in business today and how people try to get out of doing good, sound business principles. They bend over backward to avoid honesty in business today. Some salesman had made a sale for a sizable amount to some company or individual, and he showed the contract to his superior. And the superior says, “It’s too tight. You’ve got to put a loophole in us…in there for us.” And he says, “Well you can put it in if you want to,” but he says, “I’ll draw attention to it to the customer. Then if he still wants to make the purchase, fine. Otherwise that’s just the way I’m going to be because I’m honest in it.” So they put the loophole in the contract to keep the superior happy; the superior put it in. The salesman took it to the customer and told the customer about it, and the customer still signed it anyway. But at least he brought it to his attention; he was honest about that part of it. But the fact is, people’s words don’t mean what they say anymore. They’re looking for loopholes, ways that they can avoid things or get out of things rather than practicing honest business principles.
When they made the covenant of salt, they were trapped by their words, so to speak. They were taken with the words of their mouth if it happened to be a bad agreement. But what they said, they meant. And there was no way out of the covenant of salt except death. So that’s why if the agreement was not good, to where the individual they agreed to back up decided they didn’t want to pay off their debts, then they were snared, they were trapped. They couldn’t get out of it because it was a covenant of salt. See that? That’s why that verse 2 is so emphasized here by pleonasm here, said twice. Because your words are what? They’re salted. See? So how do you get out of it if your words are salted, if it’s a bad agreement?
Proverbs 6:3: Do this now, my son, and deliver thyself [rescue yourself, save yourself], when [you are] come into the hand of [your] friend;…
And the word “hand” is the figure of speech, metonomy, (M-E-T-O-N-O-M-Y). Metonomy, where one noun is used that stands in place of another noun. The noun that’s used here is “hand” and what it stands for is “power”. The hand is used for power. When you’re coming into the power of your friend. The hand of your friend is the power of your friend. give you a couple of examples…other places where this is used. Judges 8:6. I’ll read it to you, Judges 8:6.
And the princes of Succoth said, Are the hands of Zebah and Zalmunna now in thine hand [are they in your power], that we should give bread unto thine army?
And then again in verse 22. Judges 8:22.
Judges 8:22: Then the men of Israel said unto Gideon, Rule thou over us, both thou, and thy son, and thy son’s son also: for thou hast delivered us from the hand [the power] of Midian.
The “hand” representing the “power”. That’s the figure of speech metonomy, where the hand stands for something else which in this case is power. And that’s used quite frequently in the Old Testament. When…do this when you come into the power of your friend. Here’s what you do; here’s the way to get out of suretiship:
Proverbs 6:3c: …go, humble [yourself], and make sure thy friend.
Now what does that mean? It doesn’t mean much at all. The word “humble” does not mean “humble”. It’s not the normal word for “humble”. It means to stamp yourself down; to tell how destitute you are. Tell’em about all your bills; tell’em you’re going to go broke if he doesn’t pay off his debt. Go show him how pathetic your situation is.
Proverbs 6:3d: …and make sure [your] friend.
The words “make sure” are, to act stormily or boisterously, to be set, besiege or assail. To plead with him or pester him is better, to pester him. “Go humble yourself or stamp yourself down, and pester your friend.” Go really work on him. The word…this word “make sure”, pester or act stormily is used in Isaiah 3. Isaiah 3, verse 5.
Isaiah 3:5: And the people shall be oppressed, every one by another, and every one by his neighbour: the child shall behave himself proudly against the ancient [or the older people],…
To behave yourself proudly. This word “proudly” is the same word as “make sure”. He shall act with pestering.What does a child do when he acts proudly, does he pester you? He acts stormily, he puts on a big…big show. That’s this word. So when your friend…when you’re surety for your friend and he doesn’t pay his debt, you go and stamp yourself down, act stormily, pester your friend. Go to him and tell him, “You’ve got to pay this off; you’ve got to
take care of your debt; you can’t let this slide by.” Do anything you can to get out of that suretiship. Lamsa translates these first three verses: “Then you are snared…”. Well, starting with verse 2:
Proverbs 6:1, 2: [Lamsa translation] 2 Then you are snared with the words of your mouth, you are caught with the words of your lips. 3 Do this now, my son, and deliver yourself because, for the sake of your friend, you have fallen into the hands of your enemies; go, therefore, and stir up your friend for whom you have become surety to meet his obligation.
Go stir him up. Do whatever you have to do to get to him to take care of his responsibility. In the first place, you shouldn’t have gotten into this mess but now my son since you’re in this mess, this is what you do. Go pester your friend, stir him up. King Solomon, he says, is admonishing his son in case he has become a surety to his friend and thus has fallen into the hands of his enemies. The son is told to stir up his friend, to pay the debt for which he had become a surety. In the East a good man’s word is accepted as surety. That’s because they’re salted. And at times a man may become surety for his friend who being poor is unable to give a pledge. The good man may incur the enmity of the lender because of the failure of his friend to pay his debt. Most lenders would hold the pledge at a high rate of interest until the debt was paid either by the borrower or by the one who has been a surety for him. On the other hand some borrowers take advantage of the good men who becomes surety for them and they refuse to pay the debt.
So, if you ever get in that situation where you’re surety for somebody else, go bug them, pester them, stamp yourself down. And it says:
Proverbs 6:4 Give not sleep to [your] eyes, nor slumber to [your] eyelids.
In other words don’t let up. Don’t go to sleep until you’ve taken care of this. Okay. See the urgency of it, what he’s putting into it? And again, this is that figure of speech pleonasm. You have the same thing said twice. “Don’t give sleep to your eyes, or slumber to your eyelids.” And the eyes and eyelids are another metonomy. Where those eyes and eyelids represent the individual. “Don’t give sleep to yourself”; don’t give slumber to yourself. See it? And it is said twice so it’s pleonasm so you’ve got two figures involved here which means it’s very urgent. Don’t go to sleep until it’s absolutely taken care of. Don’t stop half way through bugging your friend. Then verse 5 says:
Proverbs 6:5a: Deliver [yourself or rescue yourself] as a roe from the hand of the hunter…
And there the word “hand” again is…represents the “power”. It’s that figure metonomy where the hand represents the power.
Proverbs 6:5: Deliver [yourself] as a roe from the [power] of the hunter, and as a bird from the hand [or power] of the fowler.
And a fowler is a hunter of birds. The “roe” is a gazelle.A gazelle is a small wild animal which is very swift, very beautiful, very gracious. And being very swift, I think is the key to understanding this. That when that gazelle would escape the hand or power of anyone that’s trying to capture him, he would run very fast, to get away. So, you go pester your friend and you don’t give sleep, you keep trying, keep at it. And then, run like crazy from the suretiship without breaking your covenant of salt. Do whatever you can to get your friend to take care of his responsibility, to pay off his debt or do his obligations, whatever he’s supposed to do. And like the bird from the hand of the fowler...What does the bird do when he gets out of the hand? Does he just stand around and hum? No. He flies, to get away. So there’s that first part of this section. If you become surety for a friend, this is what you do. Get out of it, without breaking the covenant of salt. Become surety, but it’s better not to get into surety to begin with like it said other places. But remember as brothers and sisters in the Body of Christ, you sometimes have to become broken bread for other people and let them walk on your feet for a while. But you don’t let them walk on your feet forever. They’ve got to learn to walk on their own.
Now, the second section, verses 6 to 11.
6 Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise: 7 Which having no guide, overseer, or ruler, 8 Provideth her meat in the summer, and gathereth her food in the harvest. 9 How long wilt thou sleep, O sluggard? when wilt thou arise out of thy sleep? 10 Yet a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep: 11 So shall thy poverty come as one that travelleth, and thy want as an armed man.
Now this is pretty well self-explanatory. If you know what a sluggard is, it’s a lazy person. It’s pretty obvious from the context that a sluggard is someone that’s lazy, just can’t get around to doing things. And there are people in the Eastern culture, not true in our culture, that would rather die than work. [Laughter.] I think there are some in our culture too. There are people that would rather die than work. They’re that lazy. But he says:
6 Go to the ant, thou sluggard [thou lazy man]; consider her ways, and be wise: 7Which having no guide, overseer, or ruler, 8 Provideth her meat in the summer...
When does she provide her meat? When it’s meat time; when the things become ripe; when your crops are ready to harvest, that’s when you…when she gathers her meat. She gathers…she:
Proverbs 6:8b ...[gathers] her food in the harvest.
Consider that. Don’t get out to work when there’s no food to gather in. That’s what some people do, “Well, I’m ready to go to work now”...when it’s time to go to bed. See? You gather food, when it’s food gathering time.
Proverbs 6:9, 10: 9 How long wilt thou sleep, O [lazy man]? when wilt thou arise out of thy sleep? 10 Yet a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep:
[Laughter]. Why are some of you laughing? [More laughter]. The folding of the hands is because what do you do when you relax? You just fold your hands. You don’t do anything with them. You fold your hands. I don’t know if that’s body language or not. [Laughter]. Don’t…folding of the hands is a sign that you’re not doing something. See? A little folding of the hands to sleep. Then this next verse is the difficult one in this section.
Proverbs 6:11: So shall thy poverty come as one that travelleth,…
Now, have you ever seen any travelers, any world travelers. Now generally speaking they’re not too poverty stricken. And so you have a little difficulty with that phrase. “Poverty coming as one that travelleth,…” It doesn’t make too much sense and Lamsa assures us (or Bishop, I forget which one it was) that in the Eastern culture, the travelers were not generally poor either.
Secondly, “…and thy want as an armed man.” Now soldiers, armed people, this literally in the Hebrew is a man of a shield. A man of a shield, but it means an armed person, a soldier. They generally were not too poor either. But in the culture what happened is, as you as a traveler were traveling along the highway, outside of the protection of the city walls, there were robbers all over the land. For some people in the East that’s their occupation. I guess it’s true here too. But out in the open areas there are robbers everywhere along the roads. And so, if you’re traveling along and the robbers come, they take all your money and material goods away, then
you have nothing. And you’re as one that is traveling and overcome by these robbers. Or as an armed man, a man of a shield where these robbers, those that are armed, take up…your money away from you. And again in the culture there were two ways people lost money: one was from those robbers along the highway; the other was by the exploitation and taxation of the soldiers. Both were in the category of armed men. And poverty in the East was due to one of two things. Either people were taxed, exploited or robbed, where they lost all of their possessions, or number two was laziness. So a person that folds his hands to sleep a little longer that just wants to keep sleeping, keep going, a little sleep a little slumber…doesn’t consider the lesson of the ant, doesn’t work, would rather die than work...He’s going to be in the same state as a traveler who’s been robbed, or someone who’s been taxed of all of his money, or exploited in some way or another. He’s in the same situation. And that’s the second principle in this section, is laziness. Don’t. Don’t be lazy. Get up and get to work. When there’s something to be done, do it. What does the ant do? Have you ever seen an ant sit down on the sidewalk and take a break? Have you ever watched ants? You ought to watch them sometime, see what they do. And nobody is there shouting orders at him, he just keeps moving on. I understand in some colonies of ants they have sort of a hierarchy of things that go on. But not…but in this one…these…in this culture, maybe it was a different type of ant then….There are different types of ants I know, but they have no guide, overseer or ruler. But they still go out and get the job done. Because they know they need food. It’s food time, harvest time. So they go out and get it, bring it back in, they don’t stop along the way to smoke a cigarette. They just keep going. See? That’s the lesson of the ant, just keeps moving. So that’s lesson number two.
Number one was don’t be…don’t get involved in suretiship; and if you do and you got trouble, here is how you get out of it. And number two was don’t be lazy. Get to work. See? Work. And then number three. Number three is hon…dishonesty. Before we get into the third one I want to read you Proverbs 26 that ties into this section here on laziness. Proverbs 26, verse 13. “The slothful man…” A slothful man is the lazy man.
Proverbs 26:13: The slothful man saith, There is a lion in the way; a lion is in the streets.
And he’s too lazy to get up and do anything about it. He’s hoping somebody else will go out and chase him away but he won’t do anything about it. See?
Proverbs 26:14: As the door turneth upon his hinges, so doth the slothful upon his bed.
[Laughter.] I love that one.
Proverbs 26:15: The slothful hideth his hand in his bosom; it grieveth him to bring it again to his
He’s so lazy, he even wants other people to feed him. He just hides his hand, a little folding of the hands. He doesn’t want to really overexert himself. I was never in that situation, but I know what it means to do more work to get out of work than work that you would do while working. [Laughter.] You know, until I got involved…you know, renewed my mind to the Word, that I had better work, see? Because that’s what it says. So I understand this from experience. Some of you are shaking your head. You understand too. [Laughter.] So those are some of the great ones on…for the young persons, get to work. Now we go back to chapter 6, verse 12.
Proverbs 6:12-19: 12 A naughty person, a wicked man, walketh with a froward mouth. 13 He winketh with his eyes, he speaketh with his feet, he teacheth with his fingers; 14 Frowardness is in his heart, he deviseth mischief continually; he soweth discord. 15 Therefore shall his calamity come suddenly; suddenly shall he be broken without remedy. 16These six things doth the LORD hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him: 17A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, 18 An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief, 19A false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren.
Now this is the third section. And it deals with dishonesty. First of all a “naughty person” in the Hebrew is the word beliyaal. Now you know who Belial is? “A man of Belial” literally is what it is. A naughty person, in other words, a man of Belial. Belial is one of the names of the Devil, Advanced Class, remember? Which means “worthless”. Someone translated it, a man of worthlessness. Literally it’s a man of Belial. One who is void of understanding. A man of Belial, which as wicked as you can get. As dishonest, as low on the totem pole as you can go. To be born of the wrong seed, a man of Belial.
...a wicked man, walketh with a froward mouth.
Not forward [laughter], froward, which means a perverse mouth. His mouth is crooked, twisted. Have you ever seen a twisted mouth? His words are twisted. He has a perverse mouth. In other words, a perverse walk. You see our expression, “if your feet smell and your nose runs you’re built upside down.” Have you ever heard that? [Laughter.] It’s right here in Proverbs. He walks with a mouth…with a perverse mouth. See it? You don’t walk with your mouth. To walk
is that Hebrew expression that means “to conduct your life.” (That was a joke.) Walk with a perverse mouth….
Proverbs 6:13a: He [winks] with his eyes, [and speaks] with his feet,…
There’s the other part of it: to speak with your feet. See I told you. It just lines right up with that expression we use: walk with your mouth and speak with your feet. These guys are built upside down. But he…
Proverbs 6:13b: …[winks] with his eyes, he [speaks] with his feet, [and] he [teaches] with his fingers;
Now that’s real interesting. Not so much to us as it would be to someone in the Eastern culture. Because in the market place in the East, men, business men who were dishonest would make signals to each other. There would be like an in-between man who would be talking with the customer and the boss would be standing over to the side and they’d be making signals with each other. Either winking with the eye or maybe they’d do certain things with their hand, like the coach does in a baseball game, you know. Or at an auction where somebody wants to buy something, he holds up two fingers or three or does something sort of secretive, makes signals with the hands, with his fingers, “he teaches with the fingers.” And they would draw in the sand with their feet...would be another way of doing it. They were dishonest. Those are all things that the business…dishonest business men, especially these men of Belial would do in that culture.
In verse 14, in their heart is frowardness or deceit. There was perverseness, deceit, deception in their heart.
…he deviseth mischief continually...
From his heart he’s always thinking how can he screw the customer, like I was saying about putting that loophole in the contract. And people today in business are always thinking how they can cheat the company they’re working for out of something, how they can cheat the customer. How they can…
There was a conference I read in this…that book I was telling you about, on honesty in business...a conference where the salesmen were told—You know, “you’re always supposed to make the customer happy; a satisfied customer.” Have you ever heard that?—their principle was just the opposite, you want dissatisfied customers. Because if you have satisfied customers, they won’t buy anything else. But if they’re dissatisfied, then they’ll buy something else. If they’re
dissatisfied with the automobile they own, then they’re going to buy another automobile. Right? See, just the opposite of honesty in business and that’s the way the world is going. Our times, other times have gone the same way. Dishonesty. “Teaching with the finger… deceit in their heart; devising mischief continually;...” Now, you see, you’ve had five parts of the body here. You’ve had the froward or perverse mouth, the winking of the eyes, (the feet) speaking with the feet, teaching with the fingers and now the heart, deceit in the heart, devising mischief out of the heart continually. Five different parts of the body. But there’s a sixth one. He soweth discord. Now where do you sow? From your reproductive organs, right? So, there’s a sixth part of the body. Only instead of sowing good seed, what is he sowing? Discord, discord where he tries to break people up. Break up families, break up companies, break up groups, break up believers. He sows discord among people. And what’s the result of such business practices?
Proverbs 6:15: Therefore shall his calamity come suddenly; suddenly shall he be broken without remedy.
There’s no cure, no remedy. Suddenly he’s going to be broken. It may take a while sometimes, because sometimes these guys go on and on. But eventually it catches up with them. (That’s why it says not to envy sinners.) But it catches up with them and then calamity comes. And there’s no remedy. When calamity comes to a believer—it says this some place too: that where a righteous man falls seven times, but he always gets up again. But when the wicked fall, then there’s no remedy. There’s no coming back, it’s calamity.
These six things…
How many things did he name? Six. And they were all parts of the body.
Proverbs 6:16a: These six things doth the LORD hate:…
Now wait a minute, there’s seven that...
Proverbs 6:16b: …are an abomination unto him.
Now this is a figure of speech called epanorthosis (E-P-A-N-O-R-T-H-O-S-I-S), epanorthosis; or it’s also called correction. Where he says six things—now wait a minute there are seven. It’s not done accidently; it’s done on purpose. And it simply means that the list is inexhaustible. Right. That there are so many more things that you could say. You could go on and on. But it’s a recalling of what was said in order to correct it, with the idea that there is more that could be
said. And then he lists these six things and adds that seventh thing to it. And if you look through here you have the same six plus that one that you had before. You have, verse 17:
Proverbs 6:17: A proud look....
Before it was “he winks with the…” what? The eyes. It’s the eyes. He’s filled with pride; he’s haughty. He has…
...a lying tongue,...
He had a “froward mouth” or perverse mouth up above, remember? A perverse mouth. Here it’s called “a lying tongue”.
...hands that shed innocent blood.
Up above, “he teaches with his fingers”; here it’s the hands. And by being dishonest in making all these signals with each other to cheat the customer, he’s…it’s just like the man that sheds innocent blood. That’s what dishonesty is. Just as bad as Cain’s killing Abel. Just as bad as slaying someone else, shedding innocent blood. All these things tie together because they’re dishonest. See? I thought of the high priest in the…you know, the Sanhedrin that passed judgment on Jesus, that shed his blood, because of their dishonesty in their agreements. They got false witnesses, the whole thing, a mock trial that wasn’t right on.
Proverbs 6:18a: An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations,...
There’s the heart, that’s another part of the body. You have the eyes, the tongue or mouth, the hands, and now the heart. And then the feet…
...that be swift in running to mischief,
The heart devises wicked imaginations; it’s got “deceit in his heart” up above. Down here, his “heart that deviseth wicked imaginations,…” Always thinking of how he can get more out of another person. And then feet that be swift in running to mischief. If you’re making signals like they did in the market with their feet, writing things in the dirt with their feet. They’re like those that are running to mischief, always trying to do something to take advantage of someone else; using people, exploiting people, instead of using things and loving people. “If
you don’t walk on the Word you’ll run into mischief” is the key here. Then you have verse 19.
Proverbs 6:19: A false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren.
…are the last two things. Now the sowing of discord among the brethren is the same as the sixth one up above in verse 14, “…he soweth discord”. Here it reaffirms that. Sowing discord and that’s the reproduction area. Instead of sowing proper seed, he’s sowing discord among the brethren. And what you sow is what you reap. He’s going to reap trouble later on. He sows discord among the brethren. Then he adds, right before that in verse 19, “…a false witness that speaketh lies.” That’s the seventh thing. That’s the seventh thing; the thing that he adds. A false witness is someone outside of the body. It’s another body that you get to cheat with his hands, his eyes, his mouth, his heart, his feet, his reproduction sowing. It’s another witness but it’s a false witness. Reminds me of commercials, where we had this hidden interview. Have you ever seen any of those hidden interviews? They didn’t know the camera was there. And boy these people just thought that product was absolutely the greatest in the world. I wonder. Huh? False witnesses in business or in any other facet of life. Calling in someone else, outside of the body as a false witness to speak lies about whatever it is that you’re doing. Paying someone with a well-known name to say that your product is good. To say, “I tried your product and it worked; it was better than Bufferin or something else.” Those six things or seven because, he adds the false witness...six of them are all parts of the body: the eyes, the tongue, the hands, the heart, the feet and the sowing reproductive area, and then he adds the false witness that speaketh lies. In order to cheat somebody out of something, to exploit someone. Dishonesty in business.
And I thought of those six…or seven (counting the seventh one) in light of our walk, our walk of honesty as athletes of the spirit, in Roman…or in Ephesians 6. Because they have feet that run to mischief, but our feet are shod with what? “…the preparation of the gospel of peace.” Their feet run to mischief, the sons of Belial. We’re sons of God. Our feet are shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace. They sow discord among the brethren. Our loins are gird about with what? Truth. They sow discord. Our loins, our reproductive area, is “gird about with the truth”. What do we sow? The Word. See? We sow truth. Their hearts devise mischief. There’s deceit in their heart. We have the “breastplate of righteousness” over our heart. They wink with their eyes in order to deceive or they have that proud or haughty look in their eyes. “The eyes of our understanding are enlightened” and on our head we have the crown of wholeness, the crown of salvation. With their hands they teach and shed innocent blood. In our hands is the discus of believing which we have because of the believing of the one whose innocent blood was shed. With their mouth, their crooked, twisted, perverse mouth, they speak lies. Out of our mouth comes the javelin of the spirit; the Word of God is what we speak. And then to this list of six things, God added a seventh: a false witness. And to the list of six things in Ephesians God adds “Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the spirit…” which is the true witness. Perfect prayer, the true witness. The witness of speaking in tongues. When you
can speak in tongues, you know that you’re born again of God’s spirit. You have the true witness as opposed to their false witness. Good business principles, being honest in business centers around walking by the spirit, being good athletes of the spirit and speaking in tongues a lot. Isn’t that neat?
So those are three great business principles (principles of life and business; business is life) in this section of Proverbs 6-19 dealing with suretiship, with laziness, and with dishonesty. Showing the young man or the young woman how to get out of suretiship or why he should avoid it, why he should be industrious rather than lazy and why he needs to practice honesty in his walk with God and with other people in life.
[Prayer] Father, we sure thank you for the greatness of your Word and that we can work these sections of your Word and see the principles that we can apply practically in life and in everyday situations. Thank you Father for every person here in the Corps and all the campuses and those listening around the country and Father for your love and goodness to us in the name of your Son Jesus Christ. Amen! God bless you!