Monday, October 25, 2010

The Fountain of Life and the Snares of Death

Twice in the Book of Proverbs, Solomon, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, writes of "a fountain of life" and "the snares of death." It is worth unpacking these words a little more. There is impressive meaning here.

In the first instance, Solomon writes "the teaching of the wise is a fountain of life, turning a man from the snares of death." In the second instance, it is "The fear of the LORD" that is that fountain of life that turns a man from the snares.

The teaching of the wise and the fear of the LORD are not contradictory. Solomon's father, King David said it this way: "The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom; all who follow his precepts have good understanding." Solomon would have understood "the teaching of the wise" and "the fear of the LORD" as being interrelated.

The fountain of life concept has less impact to us who live in water rich areas of the world. In the semi-arrid Middle East, a fountain of water would have been a source of life.....not just an expression of art. Water brings the land to life, and a fountain or a spring would have meant a place of abundant life. Fountains are also moving water, constantly refreshed.

Creatures caught by snares do not meet death quickly, and that is the image we should see in this passage: slow death. Snares are hidden in small animal pathways in the brush. The animal caught by them has neither seen them nor smelled them as great care has been used in the setting of them.

So it is with sin. The enemy hides the deadly snares of sin carefully in the brush of popular culture. Sin is often seems free or fun, or both at once.

How then to avoid the snares of death? Fear the Lord and heed the teaching of the wise. It remains as true today as when the pen first scratched the words some 3,000 years ago.


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