Preventing the Downward Spiral (Proverbs 13:1-4)

Sins like to travel in packs. When you study famous Bible stories, you often see one sin leading to another and then another in a sort of downward spiral. When David committed adultery with Bathsheba, for instance, he first became spiritual lazy by not leading his men in battle. He then coveted his soldier Uriah’s wife, then spent the night with her, then tried to cover up the affair, then had Uriah killed when his lies did not work. The whole sad story is recorded in 2 Samuel 11. Another example would be the disobedience of Hophni and Phineas, who rebelled against the authority of their father Eli and disrespected the sacrifices in God’s temple. They fell into immorality and idolatry and led the nation into defeat on the battlefield against the Philistines; because their father did not discipline them, their rebellion also led to Eli’s judgment and death. Their story is found in 1 Samuel 2-4. You might also think of Joseph’s brothers, who envied him as Jacob’s favorite and sold him into slavery after almost killing him (Genesis 37). A major reason that stories like these (which are historical events that really did happen) are included in the Bible is to warn us against the dangerous progression of unchecked sin in our lives.

In Proverbs 13:1-4, we see that the direct teaching passages of the Bible also warn us about the downward spiral of evil. Children who ignore and disobey the commands and corrections of their parents and other authority figures (v. 1) will often fall into violence (v. 2), gossip and lies (v. 3), and laziness (v. 4). Sin is a disease that corrupts who we are and all of what we do. With God’s power, we must fight a daily battle in our hearts to resist sin whenever it surfaces in our lives. Otherwise, we might find ourselves drifting down a path of more and more sin and the resulting painful consequences. Victory over sin can begin each day for you by deciding to submit to the authority of your parents and God’s Word. By closing your mouths and opening your ears to truth (v. 1), you will use your words more wisely and enjoy good results in your relationships with others (vv. 2-3). And by listening to the wisdom of God more and talking less from your own foolishness, you will have more time to work hard on things that matter in helping yourself and others (v. 4).

Doesn’t the upward path of godliness sound so much better than the downward spiral of sin?

The Text (Proverbs 13:1-4)

1 A wise son heeds his father’s instruction, But a scoffer does not listen to rebuke.

2 A man shall eat well by the fruit of his mouth, But the soul of the unfaithful feeds on violence.

3 He who guards his mouth preserves his life, But he who opens wide his lips shall have destruction.

4 The soul of a lazy man desires, and has nothing; But the soul of the diligent shall be made rich.

Questions to Think About

  1. How are you doing with listening to and obeying your parents right now?
  2. How are you doing with controlling your words? Are you getting better at listening to others and talking less?
  3. Are you struggling with laziness this summer? What can you do to better redeem your extra free time the next two months?

In Christ,

Mr. Reel

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