Beth Moore — Out of the Net
A net is something you don’t see coming. We’re studying nets together in the word of God and our theme verse is, “My eyes are ever toward the Lord…”
That’s number one. As we work toward number two I want you to go somewhere with me. Go with me, if I can find it, I’ve got a new Bible so I’ll be there in a month but the rest of you, please turn to Ecclesiastes. Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes. Leave something in Psalm 25 because we’re coming back. I’m going to show you guys something so fascinating.
It’s Ecclesiastes 7:26. I love it in the ESV, I want you to hear the wording here. I mean this is strong.
I want you to write down number two and we’re about to talk about it.
A heart can twist into a net.
Now let that just sink in a moment. We’re going to talk about it for a few minutes so let’s explore it. But I want you to think this through. I want you to hear it in the Holman Christian Standard because it says it with less words and you’ll still hear the word, net.
And I find more bitter than death… trap.
And then it says: Her heart, a net, and her hands… her heart is a net.
Wow! Wow! One of my commentators pointed out that it’s really not talking about a prostitute. It certainly goes there with his warnings toward his son but it’s not talking in this context here. It’s not talking necessarily about woman folly. One of the things that the commentator pointed out was that anyone can have a heart that is turned into a net. I mean, it just liked troubled me. And it seems reasonable to me because I thought how in the world does a heart turn into a net? I thought to myself, it seems reasonable to me that if your feet have been in a net long enough, if your feet have made their home in a net… In other words we don’t escape it. Maybe we don’t know how to get out it. Maybe we don’t want out of it. We’re just standing with our feet in a net.
If our feet become at home in a net a net can become at home in our hearts. Anybody get that with me? Once our feet get like, “We’re home here! This is how my feet usually feel, really comfortable in this net.” You stay there long enough and that net will find its home in your heart and that is a dangerous, dangerous thing. Picture it with me because I’m a visual learner. Are many of you? I love images in my head and I just saw it. You know, once you stand here long enough it’s like that net just like crawls up your leg like poison ivy, until it just grows around and overtakes the heart and that net that has been under our feet just begins to overtake the heart.
Now let’s talk about what she would like. I’m going to say to the gentlemen too, “Is this you? Is this you?” So let’s have both genders here because anybody’s heart can turn into a net and we need to be aware of it. We want to be aware of it in our relationships and we want to be aware of it most when we look into the mirror and when we look into our own lives and the way we do our relationships.
Have you ever known a woman that you cannot just be friends with? Anybody know what I’m talking about? You have to get all tangled up with them. You know, just here recently I’ve had to put a little distance between myself and someone I really love. Because I didn’t realize until I read the verse…
Now, I’m going to tell you something up front and I want you to stay there because we’re going to talk this thing through together. I’m in net recovery.
Truly! I’ve had a netty heart my own self. Anybody? Have you heard of a neti pot? We’re talking netty heart here and it’s not any prettier than a neti pot. Don’t even think about it.
So, listen, I’m recovering so I get that but I was just thinking to myself after I saw the verse. It’s kind of what I’m trying to get a breather from. You know, it’s just like whoa, whoa! Where there is so much drama that you just can’t breathe. And I think if we’re trying to picture what it looks like I think that with a woman who has a heart that has turned into a net befriending turns into belonging. Is anybody stepping in that with me?
Where you can’t just like --- Why can’t we just like be friends? Do you ever get the feeling like, suddenly I don’t know I suddenly belong to her? How did that happen? Really, really possessive. If it’s been a long time since you’ve been anywhere without your friend she’s probably a tad netty. Anybody know what I’m talking about? Like, if you no longer know what it’s like to be alone. Can we just be so brave as to say if that’s us? If we have a friend that we’re scared to death that if we leave them alone for a 24 hour period of time they’re going to get a new best friend. And so it may be us and we’re in net recovery in this series. Because that’s the kind of like sticky, just sticky! A woman who’s heart is net can be a woman that won’t let go, just won’t let go! And this can be true in a friendship or a romantic context.
I thought it was interesting, I was thinking today that we have a name for it, strangely. We have a name for it when it’s men. We just don’t call it the same thing when it’s women. You know what we call them? Stalkers. Do you want to hear something interesting? My ministry would be able to affirm what I’m about to tell you. I’ve had about four what I would call finally, ultimately qualified as stalkers and I want you to understand something, only one of them was a man. One was a man and he was not the big dangerous one. Women can be netty. Women can refuse to let go. Women can decide that they own you.
And it’s really interesting how we do, because once we’ve realized we’re kind of caught, then we want out. It’s just nature, it’s just nature because the relationships you and I enjoy the most are the ones we know we could step back from if we needed to. But the more caught I feel the more I want to run. Is it just me?
A woman with a netty heart really wants to be loved but if love wears out she will settle for obligation. A woman with a netty heart can be --- This is a word I felt God gave me and then he confirmed it in his word, ingratiating. Anybody know what I mean? By that I looked it up in the dictionary to be sure that I had the right concept in my mind when somebody ingratiates them self into your life. I found this definition in a dictionary. It says this: to ingratiate means to bring oneself into favor with someone by flattery or trying to please them.
You’re in Ecclesiastes, I’m wondering if I want to let you let it go yet. Go with me to Proverbs 29:5. I want to show you something.
Now, neighbor just is friend. Very often it’s the same word that is in Hebrew 4, friend. I don’t know if it’s there or not but for them there, only their neighbors were their friends. Do you get that with me? I mean, you know what? They had no way to travel like we do all over the place. They didn’t have email. Their best friends were their neighbors. So let’s give it a nice broad range.
But it says that flattery gets peoples’ feet caught in a net. How would that be true? Let me tell you. This is part of what ingratiating does. Have you ever had come into your life that just cannot say enough good about you. Well, they like your hair. And like how do you do your eyeliner and like, gentlemen, I’m sorry, okay, what can I say about you? They like your team. They like … uh huh, you look like you’re really, really working out. You’re good at what you do. I mean it’s a lot of building up. A lot of building up.
Let me assure you that I’m not talking about encouragement. The word of God calls us to encourage people, to affirm people in their faith. It even tells us to honor our leaders. We’re told to honor one another. But that’s different than flattery. Flattery has an element of deceit to it. Flattery is a compliment wearing a cloak.
And you know what it’s like because someone will come in and I mean just be all like that and they’ll – and boy, you want that because it’s addictive. I mean, it’s addictive. Flattery is very addictive. Affirmation can be addictive. So here’s what happens, if they’re really good at it, if they’ve really been in a net long enough where their heart has been overtaken by a net, they’re really, really netty of heart, what’s going to happen is when the time is right, I’m not saying it’s this conscious but I mean it happens like clockwork. Then they begin to withhold it. Have you ever gotten into the car with somebody, you’re used to them pumping you up all the time, and this time they don’t say anything and you knew you looked cute when you got in!