Wednesday, September 19, 2007

turned away

"When wisdom entereth thine heart, and knowledge is pleasant unto thy soul; Discretion shall preserve thee, understanding shall keep thee;

"To deliver thee from the way of the evil man, from the man that speaketh froward things; Who leave the paths of uprightness, to walk in the ways of darkness; Who rejoice to do evil, and delight in the frowardness of the wicked; Whose ways are crooked, and they froward in their paths."

Proverbs 2:10-15

Solomon speaks from the position of Master: a teacher, a father, one who has seen things and desires, with all his heart, that his children should also see them. But it is not enough--it is never enough--to force wisdom in front of a child's face. Unless it enters his heart, it will not change him. Unless he takes pleasure in what he sees, he'll stop looking at it.

I hear a father's heart in Solomon's teaching. It's not wisdom for wisdom's sake he promotes here, but the true understanding that will preserve, keep, and deliver his children from the ways of darkness.

This passage uses a good old word that has fallen almost entirely out of use, but in Proverbs it could be seen as a more deliberate and aggressive sort of foolishness: "froward." According to Merriam-Webster, "froward" comes from Middle English and literally means "turned away." It describes one who is "habitually disposed to disobedience and opposition."

We use many words to describe froward people. Stubborn. Rebellious. It's tragic because froward people turn away good things from themselves just as assuredly as they turn away from others. Have you ever watched people deliberately, knowingly make destructive choices?

Ultimately, the froward person only wants "his own way"--and his own way, invariably, is whatever everyone else does not want for him. Our culture idolizes people who are so thoroughly independent, but in real life most of us don't like to be around them. Solomon calls the way of the froward crooked, evil, and dark. In the end, the way of those who have turned aside is no way at all.



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