Thorns and Snares

My husband, Larry, and I have been working on our “yard” this summer. Our “yard” consists of 5 acres of desert vegetation including close to 100 Saguaro cactus, Mesquite and Palo Verde trees, Barrel Cactus, Graythorn, Crucifixion Thorn, Creosote, Prickly Pear, Pincushion cactus and others I haven’t identified.

Our goal is to prune and separate the plants because of overgrowth. A beautiful Palo Verde may be doing just fine until a Graythorn intrudes on it and entangles its branches and forces it to grow crooked. It was in this untangling process that I began to think of “thorns and snares” from Proverbs.

Thorns and snares are in the way of the crooked; whoever guards his soul will keep far from them.

Proverbs 22:5

Can this apply to our relationship with God? Most definitely. You don’t have to be very far into your relationship with God through the blood of Jesus Christ, to realize there are distractions and traps to lead us into the way of the crooked. Since this website is dedicated to the Song of Solomon, we look at this scripture as it pertains to marriage.

In our book, Simply Song of Solomon, we talk about the snares of selfishness, pride, adultery and pornography. In this blog I want to look at another angle. In our parenting class we look at this scripture as it relates to the following scripture.

Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it.

Proverbs 22:6

Many Christian parents have taken this scripture as a promise that if they are diligent to teach their children the truth then when they grow up they will not depart from the faith. Well, we know this is not always the case. So if God’s word is truth then what is the truth of this verse?

What are these thorns and snares that they need to guard themselves from?  The thorns could be condemnation, bitterness, unforgiveness or anything that brings an offense and robs one of peace.  The thorns can lead to traps of Satan: addictions, pornography, immorality, crime, love of pleasure or love of money.  We as parents want to teach our children about these thorns and snares to they will learn self-control as they mature and learn to “guard” their souls by saying no to the way of sin and death and yes to the way of life.

How does a child know how or what to guard himself from?

The answer is found in the next verse, Pro 22:6 “Train up a child in the way he should go”. Train up is a command to parents to warn children about the thorns and snares in the way or path of the perverse and to train them in the way or path of God’s Word.

Children in their inherited sin nature will follow the way of the perverse. They have no idea how to “guard themselves” or even think that such a thing is necessary. It is up to parents to train and guard their children from a young age.  At the beginning of their lives, we must be the external control to guard their souls and narrow their path in the way of righteousness. 

Let’s look as the second phrase from this verse: “in the way he should go.”

David sang the following song recorded in Psalms that reveals God’s reply to him when he confessed his sin to God.

The Lord says, “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you.  

Psalms 32:8

It’s quite likely that Solomon heard this song from his father and so included this teaching in the verse we just read above, in Proverbs 22:6.

The most frequent Hebrew definitions for the phrase “he should go” are “mouth”, “edge (of the sword”), “according”, and “word.”  As we look at the phrase “according to” it appears 37 times in the phrase “according to the words of” . . . either Joseph or Moses or Joshua or David, or other prophets or kings.  Then 30 times it appears in the phrase “according to the word of the LORD or the commandment of the LORD.” 

Everyone has a choice of two paths, the way of the perverse or the way that is according to the commandment of the Lord.  God commands parents to train their children according to the word or commandment of the Lord.

Lastly, let’s look at the phrase, “when he is old he will not depart from it.”

The Hebrew definition for the word depart does not mean backslide or turn away. There are four other Hebrew words for backsliding that mean the turning of the whole body.  The definition for depart means the turning of the head only and is not associated with rebellion.  It means remove, in the sense that he will not be able to remove the truth from his head that he was taught in his youth.

Solomon is saying in Proverbs, from the very beginning of your child’s life train him in the narrow path according to the truth in God’s Word.  He may rebel or backslide but even into his old age he will not be able to remove the truth implanted in his heart from his youth.  God won’t let him forget the truth.

My question for your marriage is this. Is your marriage all that you had hoped it would be? Are you becoming one with each other? Are you able to communicate honestly with each other? Are you able to talk about that you disagree on?

Perhaps, you were taught the truth of God’s word when you were young, but thorns, offenses had led you into Satan’s thorns and traps causing you to reject the truth of God’s word.

God wants to make your marriage into the marriage that He created and desires for each of His children. If you surrender to the truth you were taught as a child, God will bless your marriage richly.

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