Job 39

Job 39:1-12

39 “Do you know when the mountain goats give birth?
    Do you watch when the doe bears her fawn?

Do you count the months till they bear?

    Do you know the time they give birth?

They crouch down and bring forth their young;

    their labour pains are ended.

Their young thrive and grow strong in the wilds;

    they leave and do not return.

“Who let the wild donkey go free?

    Who untied its ropes?

I gave it the wasteland as its home,

    the salt flats as its habitat.

It laughs at the commotion in the town;

    it does not hear a driver’s shout.

It ranges the hills for its pasture

    and searches for any green thing.

“Will the wild ox consent to serve you?

    Will it stay by your manger at night?

10 Can you hold it to the furrow with a harness?

    Will it till the valleys behind you?

11 Will you rely on it for its great strength?

    Will you leave your heavy work to it?

12 Can you trust it to haul in your grain

    and bring it to your threshing floor?

The wonders of the animal kingdom are put before Job and further questions that he would have no answer for.

Job had at one point reasoned that God did not really know his situation. The reason that he had not yet been rescued was because perhaps God was unaware. God clearly knows the details of how the complexity of his creation works and he knows the small details of Job’s life.

The diversity of creation is brought to the table. Every animal has it’s own personality and instinct. This is true of each individual human being too, The variety and complexity in creation is astounding,

Jesus taught a lesson in Matthew 10:29-31 that he knows even when one sparrow falls to the ground and that we will not be forgotten, God knows the details of our lives, He knows everything that has shaped us and caused us to act in ignorance and fear. He knows why sin has surfaced in our lives, He understands this and has compassion for our pitiful plight.

In verses 1-12 we read about goats, donkeys and oxen. On the farm these animals are domesticated and managed but here he speaks of wild animals before they are tamed. They behave as God intended them to behave and not to obey the instructions of men.

Wild goats are shy, they live in the mountains. The young goats are not loyal to their mothers, they quickly gain their independence and go off on their own.

A tame donkey is a loyal animal that is easily managed and can carry heavy loads. A wild donkey however is completely different, it will not obey any man’s orders. It is completely unmanageable.

An ox has incredible strength. Job used to own 1000 oxen (Job 1:3), they are very useful in agriculture because of their strength.

I have seen verse 9 translated as unicorn before but the Hebrew word just means an animal with horns. The idea is an animal that cannot easily be domesticated. Ox seems better to convey the idea. It is an animal of great strength. However, it would be of no use to the farmer if it cannot be tamed. It might wander into the fields and instead of being useful to the farmer it would destroy the crops.

A wild ox would be happy to take the crops but instead of taking the crops to the farm house or the barn it would eat the crops itself!

The question being asked of Job and his friends is what do you really know? Who are you to question my ways and my purposes? You have no idea about the complexity of creation and why I have done what I have done or the point of all this. Just be quiet!!!

Good point. I am too quick to lose my gratitude and perspective and act as though all that matters is whatever is in front of my nose. There is a big world out there beyond my needs, my wants, my desires, my issues and problems. 

God is God, I am not!!!


Job 39:13-18

13 “The wings of the ostrich flap joyfully,     though they cannot compare     with the wings and feathers of the stork. 14 She lays her eggs on the ground     and lets them warm in the sand, 15 unmindful that a foot may crush them,     that some wild animal may trample them. 16 She treats her young harshly, as if they were not hers;     she cares not that her labour was in vain, 17 for God did not endow her with wisdom     or give her a share of good sense. 18 Yet when she spreads her feathers to run,     she laughs at horse and rider.


In his description of the ostrich God lets us know about the diversity in creation. Some animals are created to be wise and clever, others are created with other impressive traits but are not so bright. The Ostrich is a mixture of foolishness and strength. Ostriches have been known to chase horses and scare them off!

The variety in creation is astounding. There are some bizarre creatures out there and some very majestic creatures. The ostrich has wings but does not fly. It runs extremely fast and has incredible strength. Some birds are extremely careful about their eggs and care for their young but ostrich eggs are left in vulnerable places and it does not appear to have any sense of maternal instinct.

Job 39:19-25

19 “Do you give the horse its strength     or clothe its neck with a flowing mane? 20 Do you make it leap like a locust,     striking terror with its proud snorting? 21 It paws fiercely, rejoicing in its strength,     and charges into the fray. 22 It laughs at fear, afraid of nothing;     it does not shy away from the sword. 23 The quiver rattles against its side,     along with the flashing spear and lance. 24 In frenzied excitement it eats up the ground;     it cannot stand still when the trumpet sounds. 25 At the blast of the trumpet it snorts, ‘Aha!’     It catches the scent of battle from afar,     the shout of commanders and the battle cry.


From the ostrich we move into a magnificent, vivid picture of the war horse.

A war horse is more fearless than a loyal soldier.

Ostriches are like cowards! They run away from the battle. But army horses do the opposite. They race into the battle.

The Ostrich has physical strength but the horse represents mental strength and courage as well as physical strength.

Man did not give the horse strength, God did.

An army set for battle is set rigid with discipline and focus to hem back the fear that may be felt. The horse however, is impatient and engaging, it cannot stand still, but rises up with his fore feet and paws and prances. it digs the earth and makes it hollow, by a continual striking upon the ground. It feels no fear and has no hesitation.

Horses are not able to reason that they might be going to their own death in battle. They just want to do what horses do. This is the wonder of God’s design.

Job 39:26-30

26 “Does the hawk take flight by your wisdom     and spread its wings toward the south? 27 Does the eagle soar at your command     and build its nest on high? 28 It dwells on a cliff and stays there at night;     a rocky crag is its stronghold. 29 From there it looks for food;     its eyes detect it from afar. 30 Its young ones feast on blood,     and where the slain are, there it is.”


The hawk’s strength of wing is extraordinary, and one of the most majestic sights is to see a bird of prey in flight. Human ingenuity has not been able to master flight so majestic.

Even young hawks manage such precision navigation in their migration.

The sight of a bird of prey is razor sharp, When it spies it’s prey, it flies with incredible swiftness and accuracy, even like an arrow out of a bow.

Eleven of God’s creatures, six beasts and five birds, are presented for Job to explain. God cycled through all of these subjects, and when He finished, Job had not answered one question.

We have nothing to answer in creation. What can we say?


Proverbs 29


Proverbs 29:1-4
Whoever remains stiff-necked after many rebukes
will suddenly be destroyed—without remedy.
2 When the righteous thrive, the people rejoice;
when the wicked rule, the people groan.
3 A man who loves wisdom brings joy to his father,
but a companion of prostitutes squanders his wealth.
4 By justice a king gives a country stability,
but those who are greedy for bribes tear it down.
Verse 1 informs us that if we refuse to learn the outcome of our life will not be good. We must learn as our knowledge of God grows, we must learn by listening to wise counsel of others, we must learn from our own mistakes. (See also Proverbs 1:24-33).

Verse 2 I am sure was an instruction to Solomon’s son. The King designate. To win the hearts of the people the ruler needs to be absent of self service and corruption. The people will thrive under a God fearing fair ruler.

We do not want wicked rulers. I pray that our rulers will be good rulers. Everyone will benefit if our rulers are good.I know that God uses good, bad and really bad rulers to bring about his purposes but I pray that our rulers can gain spiritual wisdom. 

Verse 3 is sad because we know the outcome of this instruction from Solomon to his son. Solomon’s son, Rehoboam, sadly was a foolish king. He loved pleasure. His selfish attitudes caused his country to split in two. His people suffered greatly because of his actions.

I don’t write this with any sense of judgment. I did the same thing with my household and hurt many people that trusted me. The damage is irreparable even with my own good hearted efforts. 

God can repair what I cannot and this world is in a state of disrepair as are all of our lives. None of this get’s fixed completely until eternity.

Solomon was a king. And he was also a judge. He believed that a ruler must be fair. He taught his officials to refuse bribes. Verse 4 echoes this attitude. Later Hezekiah became king. His officials found this good advice and they copied it (Proverbs 25:1).

Proverbs 29:5-6

Those who flatter their neighbors
are spreading nets for their feet.
6 Evildoers are snared by their own sin,
but the righteous shout for joy and are glad.
The first man has an evil scheme. He uses words that are not sincere to praise his neighbour. So this evil man pretends that his neighbour is a great man. The evil man wants the neighbour to trust him. This will benefit him in some way

It looks as though the evil man is creating a net for his own feet or perhaps the neighbour’s feet. Either and both could be the outcome. Whatever it is, the bottom line is that we should beware of flattery from others and at the same time be sincere with our own words. 

Sometimes flattery serves as a mild manipulation and sometimes it can be more sinister. Anything less than sincerity is a net. I am committed to being sincere today. Verse 6 tells us that the evil man brings on his own problems.

Proverbs 29:7-11

7 The righteous care about justice for the poor,
but the wicked have no such concern.
8 Mockers stir up a city,
but the wise turn away anger.
9 If a wise person goes to court with a fool,
the fool rages and scoffs, and there is no peace.
10 The bloodthirsty hate a person of integrity
and seek to kill the upright.
11 Fools give full vent to their rage,
but the wise bring calm in the end.
Verse 7 reminds us that to love is to put down our self interest and to care for those who are poor or have no voice. I want to do something proactive that meets the need of someone that cannot help themselves. I think about it often. Occasionally I might do some good deed that helps improve another person’s day in some small way but I pray for God to put something special on my heart in this area.

In verse 8 we read about the wise diffusing anger. A hot topic needs to be considered carefully. When we are angry, we cannot always make sensible decisions. I love the way myself and my wife are tackling our hot topics.

The fool in verse 9 does not like the wise man’s calm and sensible words. They incite his anger and the situation becomes charged. It will be hard to take him seriously even if he has a point to make. Too much noise and not enough substance.

In verse 10 we read about people who are bent on doing wrong and how they war against honest people because they know that their dishonesty will be exposed.

Verse 11 shows us the unbridled and provocative anger of a fool. A wise man on The other hand knows that nothing good can be achieved unless negotiations are carried out in a calm manner !

Proverbs 29:12-14

12 If a ruler listens to lies,
all his officials become wicked.
13 The poor and the oppressor have this in common:
The Lord gives sight to the eyes of both.
14 If a king judges the poor with fairness,
his throne will be established forever.
Verse 12 informs us that leaders need honest advisors. Some leaders surround themselves with “yes men” and people who tell them what they want to hear. This is not good practice and sooner or later it will erode whatever the leader is supposed to be leading whether it is a country, an organization, a business or a church.

Verses 13 & 14 is about being fair and taking care of the poor. In many societies the poor are neglected and not cared for. God wants us to care for those who cannot care for themselves. His heart is that the poor and needy are looked after, helped and empowered rather than oppressed and deprived of opportunity to change their situation.

Proverbs 29:15-21

15 A rod and a reprimand impart wisdom,
but a child left undisciplined disgraces its mother.
16 When the wicked thrive, so does sin,
but the righteous will see their downfall.
17 Discipline your children, and they will give you peace;
they will bring you the delights you desire.
18 Where there is no revelation, people cast off restraint;
but blessed is the one who heeds wisdom’s instruction.
19 Servants cannot be corrected by mere words;
though they understand, they will not respond.
20 Do you see someone who speaks in haste?
There is more hope for a fool than for them.
21 A servant pampered from youth
will turn out to be insolent.
These few verses all deal with the issue of training and discipline and the dilemma of seeing people without morality succeed. The reminder is that discipline is good, we should train our children with discipline so that they learn and God himself will discipline in an appropriate manner with the right measure at the right time. His goal is not to punish in order to satisfy his anger but rather to discipline for the best opportunity to learn, grow and change hence his timing is sometimes beyond our comprehension. The main message of the verses though is the wisdom of discipline and to carefully measure and exercise that discipline.

Proverbs 29:22-27

22 An angry person stirs up conflict,
and a hot-tempered person commits many sins.
23 Pride brings a person low,
but the lowly in spirit gain honor.
24 The accomplices of thieves are their own enemies;
they are put under oath and dare not testify.
25 Fear of man will prove to be a snare,
but whoever trusts in the Lord is kept safe.
26 Many seek an audience with a ruler,
but it is from the Lord that one gets justice.
27 The righteous detest the dishonest;
the wicked detest the upright.
These verses play good versus evil in a collection of sayings that are underpinned by the fact that to trust in the Lord is the only security we have and the justice of the Lord is the only true justice. Light and darkness do not mix.  You may or may not get justice from a ruler but you can be assured that if you do it is because God has woven it into the fabric of the universe and the ruler has somehow been able to tap into it. All good things come from God.

To fear or worry about what other people think, what they might do is a snare that will steal our authenticity and perhaps our life.

Pride and anger are destructive and to accomplice with thieves will lead us to a dark place. In contrast peace and humility in the fear of the Lord are the way forward.

Humility is not to have a low opinion of self but to have no opinion of self. It’s to live outside of self. That’s a remarkable place to get to. I don’t think any of us could truly arrive but I can strive. 

Proverbs 12

Verse 10 makes me think about the old adage of kicking the cat. Of course the person that kicks the cat or the dog or beats the donkey has no issue with the said animals. He is angry with himself. I know that my anger is expressed on inanimate objects. There is something about those acts of aggression being a result of what’s on the inside. Squeeze an orange …what comes out? Orange juice. Why does Orange juice come out? Because it’s an orange and that’s what’s inside. Does it matter if the person doing the squeezing loves or hates oranges? No, still Orange juice comes out because that’s what’s inside.

Squeeze or put pressure on a man. What comes out is what’s on the inside. Does it matter if it comes from a place of love or hate? Not really because what comes out is what’s on the inside. Pressure will always reveal what’s inside. It may mean kicking the cat, it may mean throwing a hammer at a fence, it may mean an outburst of rage, it may mean peace or calm. Our goal is love.

Proverbs 12

12 Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge,
but whoever hates correction is stupid.
2 Good people obtain favour from the Lord,
but he condemns those who devise wicked schemes.
3 No one can be established through wickedness,
but the righteous cannot be uprooted.
4 A wife of noble character is her husband’s crown,
but a disgraceful wife is like decay in his bones.
5 The plans of the righteous are just,
but the advice of the wicked is deceitful.
6 The words of the wicked lie in wait for blood,
but the speech of the upright rescues them.
7 The wicked are overthrown and are no more,
but the house of the righteous stands firm.
8 A person is praised according to their prudence,
and one with a warped mind is despised.

Owning my mistakes is important. Listening to others is important, trusting God’s discipline is important. Humility and correction is important. I have within me a “nobody is going to tell me what to do” incendiary gene. I actually like it. I don’t know why. I know it’s dangerous and I know it can send me into dark places.

God will protect us if we trust in him. I can accept that but I have a hard time taking forthright direction from others whilst living in a religious culture where that was praised and encouraged. I can respond very easily if I am led through a process of thinking. If I understand the “why” and trust the person that is leading the process is not doing it out of self interest then it’s easy to hear.

I don’t know if I equate what I can best describe as blind obedience as serving God. That seems to be something of the Pharisees that Jesus reserved his strongest words for. I know I want to live with authenticity.

These verses contrast the evil man and the righteous man. They show what is behind both of them and how God will deal with them.

I want to trust God. Men will do what men do. They will sin. It takes humility and faith to trust another sinner enough to allow them to direct your life. I will never be a doormat but I need to find the right place in this. I am resistant.

To invite others in who I don’t trust have my best interests at heart or don’t believe will understand my heartbeat.

Proverbs 12:9-12
Better to be a nobody and yet have a servant
than pretend to be somebody and have no food.
10 The righteous care for the needs of their animals,
but the kindest acts of the wicked are cruel.
11 Those who work their land will have abundant food,
but those who chase fantasies have no sense.
12 The wicked desire the stronghold of evildoers,
but the root of the righteous endures.

Verse 9 is about being authentic, real and honest. In the old order of things, I pretended to be somebody I was not. I said things and did things to fit in and be accepted, to be appreciated and to gain approval. Today is different. I am no longer somebody I am not. I am somebody I am.

Position, wealth or influence are alluring and the only time they are worth having is when you don’t care about whether you have them or not.

Verse 10 makes me think about the old adage of kicking the cat. Of course the person that kicks the cat or the dog or beats the donkey has no issue with the said animals. He is angry with himself. I know that my anger is expressed on inanimate objects. There is something about those acts of aggression being a result of what’s on the inside. Squeeze an orange …what comes out? Orange juice. Why does Orange juice come out? Because it’s an orange and that’s what’s inside. Does it matter if the person doing the squeezing loves or hates oranges? No, still Orange juice comes out because that’s what’s inside.

Squeeze or put pressure on a man. What comes out is what’s on the inside. Does it matter if it comes from a place of love or hate? Not really because what comes out is what’s on the inside. Pressure will always reveal what’s inside. It may mean kicking the cat, it may mean throwing a hammer at a fence, it may mean an outburst of rage, it may mean peace or calm. Our goal is love.

Verse 11 is about work ethic. Not my struggle. Sometimes I think my only real arsenal is my work ethic. It is a gift. I remember Tony (the producer of the early records that we made back in our rock and roll days) reportedly having a conversation with my mum (she used to manage his insurance as a broker). Once he realised she was my mum he began to tell her about how talented I am and his vision for what I could do. She apparently replied “I don’t know about that. He works hard. I will give him that”.

I may at times seem impressive. I have gifts that I can use, some that impress people. I can write, I am creative, a good speaker, articulate and expressive communicator, insightful, I am a strategic thinker, systematic and methodical, can create an engaging story and lots more but the point is I have been a tree without roots (Verse 12). It looks good above the surface for a while but it’s going die.

I am now a tree that grows properly from its roots. I have strength and nourishment because God is my root. The fruit is not just ornamental fruit that looks good but sustaining fruit.

Proverbs 12:13-23
13 Evildoers are trapped by their sinful talk,
and so the innocent escape trouble.
14 From the fruit of their lips people are filled with good things,
and the work of their hands brings them reward.
15 The way of fools seems right to them,
but the wise listen to advice.
16 Fools show their annoyance at once,
but the prudent overlook an insult.
17 An honest witness tells the truth,
but a false witness tells lies.
18 The words of the reckless pierce like swords,
but the tongue of the wise brings healing.
19 Truthful lips endure forever,
but a lying tongue lasts only a moment.
20 Deceit is in the hearts of those who plot evil,
but those who promote peace have joy.
21 No harm overtakes the righteous,
but the wicked have their fill of trouble.
22 The Lord detests lying lips,
but he delights in people who are trustworthy.
23 The prudent keep their knowledge to themselves,
but a fool’s heart blurts out folly.

These verses are largely about honesty and integrity. Some verses hit me as I think about my life.
Trapped by my own words
My way seeming right despite it obviously being wrong
Reckless words, blurring out folly!
Words are powerful.
Words can hurt, and words can heal.
They can cause untold damage.

After all my deceit, even my honest words are difficult to trust. It hurts but it is a necessary part of recovery and restoration. I have to remember that when I speak it is not my job to convince anyone. That is God’s work. When I remember that it is a game changer in communication. The only thing that carries any weight are my actions.

The truth does not change. If something is true now, then it will always be true. This is like wisdom (Proverbs 8:22-31).

Lies do change. Liars will frequently change their story to suit their hearers and the situation. ‘Many witnesses spoke lies against Jesus. However, their accounts were all different from each other.’ (Mark 14:56)

Verse 23 talks about it being prudent to be quiet. A wise man is still wise in his silence.
I have to remember that I have no one to convince, nothing to prove. I should just live and do what I need to do. I can allow people to think whatever they need to think. The pressure is off.

Proverbs 12:24-28
24 Diligent hands will rule,
but laziness ends in forced labor.
25 Anxiety weighs down the heart,
but a kind word cheers it up.
26 The righteous choose their friends carefully,
but the way of the wicked leads them astray.
27 The lazy do not roast any game,
but the diligent feed on the riches of the hunt.
28 In the way of righteousness there is life;
along that path is immortality.

This small selection of wise sayings covers a lot of ground.
The virtues of diligence and having a good work ethic. Those who work hard get the rewards in life such as “roasted game”. I have always worked hard and perhaps at times when everything else about who I am is falling apart my sheer hard work has kept me going.

The value of empathy and being with someone who is feeling anxious. Looking out for others. I am not the most empathetic person but I know I could be drawn into the story of a client in the addiction rehab that I used to run or someone who was hurting in the fellowship. I understand people who lose sight of God and lose heart with religion. I have been there. I understand people who are sad and disappointed by life. I know that pain. Those are the moments I can feel empathy. I find it hard to have any empathy for people who have everything together, because I have never had everything together. I have never experienced life like that.

The importance of choosing the right friends. I read a quote this week from Jim Rohn “You are the average of the five people you hang around with the most”. I think that’s about right.

Walking with God brings eternal reward. No further comment needed.

Proverbs 6

Verse 24 begins a discourse about the lure and danger of the misuse of sex. It will end in disaster. It can be life threatening, it can be financially threatening and it is sure to destroy human relationships.

Proverbs 6
Warnings Against Folly

6 My son, if you have put up security for your neighbor,
if you have shaken hands in pledge for a stranger,
2 you have been trapped by what you said,
ensnared by the words of your mouth.
3 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!
4 Allow no sleep to your eyes,
no slumber to your eyelids.
5 Free yourself, like a gazelle from the hand of the hunter,
like a bird from the snare of the fowler.
6 Go to the ant, you sluggard;
consider its ways and be wise!
7 It has no commander,
no overseer or ruler,
8 yet it stores its provisions in summer
and gathers its food at harvest.
9 How long will you lie there, you sluggard?
When will you get up from your sleep?
10 A little sleep, a little slumber,
a little folding of the hands to rest—
11 and poverty will come on you like a thief
and scarcity like an armed man.
12 A troublemaker and a villain,
who goes about with a corrupt mouth,
13     who winks maliciously with his eye,
signals with his feet
and motions with his fingers,
14     who plots evil with deceit in his heart—
he always stirs up conflict.
15 Therefore disaster will overtake him in an instant;
he will suddenly be destroyed—without remedy.
16 There are six things the Lord hates,
seven that are detestable to him:
17         haughty eyes,
a lying tongue,
hands that shed innocent blood,
18         a heart that devises wicked schemes,
feet that are quick to rush into evil,
19         a false witness who pours out lies
and a person who stirs up conflict in the community.

In this poem, Solomon compares our mistakes to a hunter’s trap. In verse 1, Solomon’s son had good intentions. He wanted to help his neighbour. The son trusted the neighbour. He tried to do the right thing, but the neighbour would not do the right thing. If his neighbour could not pay, Solomon’s son promised to pay instead. Now, his neighbour has failed to pay. The lender expects Solomon’s son to pay. The son’s plan failed and now he is in danger.

These verses resonate with me. I placed myself into so many situations that put me in spiritual and even physical danger. I fell into so many traps. I unwittingly devised some of the traps myself.

Verse 3 calls for humility. If Solomon’s son was proud, he could not escape. He is like an animal in a trap. He cannot free himself. He must ask for freedom. He must ask for help. The only way out of a trap is through humility and the heart of the person that you are appealing to.

Verse 4 calls for swift action to get out of the trap. Waiting and procrastinating or sitting on the fence will not help. It calls for the eagerness, earnestness of repentance. Act quickly, like an animal that runs to escape from a hunter.

In verses 6-11 the virtues of hard work are discussed and the perils of laziness. In 2 Thessalonians 3:10, some Christians refused to work. The church gave food to them. Paul told the church not to do this. ‘If a man will not work, then he shall not eat.’ He added, ‘Do not get too tired to do the right things.’ (2 Thessalonians 3:13)

Evil is generally plotted in secret but there are telltale signs. Verses 12-15 give us some clues. The outcome is not pretty. Not only will he be destroyed but destroyed without remedy. There’s no fix.This strikes fear into me. I think it is supposed to do that.I am fortunate that I was spared destruction without remedy.

Verses 16-19 use a different style of poetry. The poet writes a list of things that God opposes. This style is present in the book of Amos and Proverbs 30. The numbers in the list are not important but the content is a list of attitudes and actions that God hates. I can sadly lay claim to six of the seven. Maybe even seven if viewed in a metaphorical way. I don’t have a leg to stand on.

The qualities to focus on in this section of Proverbs are humility, hard work and being swiftly decisive to do what is right.

Proverbs 6
Warning Against Adultery

20 My son, keep your father’s command
and do not forsake your mother’s teaching.
21 Bind them always on your heart;
fasten them around your neck.
22 When you walk, they will guide you;
when you sleep, they will watch over you;
when you awake, they will speak to you.
23 For this command is a lamp,
this teaching is a light,
and correction and instruction
are the way to life,
24 keeping you from your neighbor’s wife,
from the smooth talk of a wayward woman.
25 Do not lust in your heart after her beauty
or let her captivate you with her eyes.
26 For a prostitute can be had for a loaf of bread,
but another man’s wife preys on your very life.
27 Can a man scoop fire into his lap
without his clothes being burned?
28 Can a man walk on hot coals
without his feet being scorched?
29 So is he who sleeps with another man’s wife;
no one who touches her will go unpunished.
30 People do not despise a thief if he steals
to satisfy his hunger when he is starving.
31 Yet if he is caught, he must pay sevenfold,
though it costs him all the wealth of his house.
32 But a man who commits adultery has no sense;
whoever does so destroys himself.
33 Blows and disgrace are his lot,
and his shame will never be wiped away.
34 For jealousy arouses a husband’s fury,
and he will show no mercy when he takes revenge.
35 He will not accept any compensation;
he will refuse a bribe, however great it is.

The pursuit of wisdom should underpin my life and be the foundation of my decision making. My study time each day is a lifeline that helps me to stay away from my own dangerous thinking. It guards me and protects me from myself.

Verse 23 is similar to Psalm 119:105. ‘God’s word is like a lamp for my feet. God’s word is like a light for my path.’

Verse 24 begins a discourse about the lure and danger of the misuse of sex. It will end in disaster. It can be life threatening, it can be financially threatening and it is sure to destroy human relationships. These things are obvious to me. They always were but there was something that propelled me into the abyss. It says something about the strength of the pull.

The passage alludes to the difference between price and cost. The price of a loaf of bread (verse 26) is about £1- £2 at the time of writing. Sex can be obtained freely and easily especially for someone who was skilled with words and perceptive. The price tag may be next to nothing but the cost is established with a question. “Can a man scoop fire into his lap without getting burned?” (verses 27-29)

We read about the thief who is influenced to steal by his hunger. There is some kind of compassion or understanding for the man in this situation and yet he will not escape appropriate punishment. The sex offender is completely without any compassion or goodwill. He will be punished by the system and there will be punishment from the relationships that have been hurt in the process.

I know it. I live it. This is my reality. It is a good thing. I needed a strong physical reminder of where my actions led. I thank God for my circumstances. I need them.