The Story:Even the best of intentions can be hijacked by failing to keep watch over our souls. This, in many ways, sums up Solomon’s struggle. He wanted to be wise and to understand the divine economy – a good thing. He also wanted to be mindful of wickedness and folly – to know it for the madness that it is. But he went too far in “this” – and ended up prideful – and when he turned to “the other” he found a snare he could not easily escape: wanton women. Every person has his or her own snare. Your weakness may not be sex; perhaps it is alcohol or drugs, pride or material possessions, sloth or wastefulness, or just needing to be the center of attention at all times. That snare is likely to be with you as long as you live. Solomon indicates that, even though he has now made the journey back to God, the snare remains: “find” here (v. 26) is a present participle – “I continue to find.” Know your snares and stay away from them (Prov. 1.17).
The Structure: “You can’t keep the birds from flying over your head, but you can stop them from making a nest in your hair.” So Martin Luther is reported to have distinguished between temptation and sin. There will always be temptations. They come to us as part of the Lord’s discipline. When temptation comes we will follow one of two paths: recognize the temptation, resist it, and grow through it. Or recognize the temptation, yield to it, and fall through it to sin. The temptations Solomon faced may not be ours; however, pride and folly are in all our hearts. Thus, no matter the form of our particular snare, we must recognize it and guard ourselves from the pride of thinking we can “handle it”, lest we fall into the folly that waits on the other side.
How do you deal with the temptations that come at you every day?
Each week’s studies in our Scriptorium column are available in a free PDF form, suitable for personal or group use. For this week’s study, “Telling it Slant (2),” simply click here.
T. M. Moore
Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.