Breakfast with Solomon - Proverbs 6:3
"Do this then, my son, and deliver yourself, since you have come into the hand of your neighbor, go, humble yourself, and importune your neighbor"
deliver: This is the Hebrew word nasal which means deliver, rescue, even save. Solomon here acknowledges that, at times, everyone will make mistakes. We all need to know how to undo something that we should not have done. How can we rescue ourselves before our mistake becomes permanent or complete?
Too often we have this idea that we must finish what we know is a mistake. If you discover something is a mistake, then stop and seek to deliver yourself from the problem. It takes humility – which is hard on our pride – and a willingness to be vulnerable in the admission of our mistake and request for a change.
humble: This is the Hebrew word raphas which means to stamp, tread down, humble, trampling under foot. It is a word of lowness and submission. In this instance Solomon suggests that you do this to yourself. Make yourself low and under the level of the person you are approaching. It is a shame that many in our day do not know how to approach another person from this position. Even children are taught to power up and try and connect with people through a power position. When you have made a mistake, take the humble route. Don't try and justify how you were tricked into the problem. Don't try and blame others. Don't try and threaten what you will do if you are not let out of the problem. Just humble yourself. Step down on your pride, admitting that you made a mistake when you said what you said or when you did what you did. This will not be easy and your pride will give your suggestions on how to stand up and be powerful. Refuse to listen to the impulses of your pride. They will not help you; they will only make matters worse.
importune: This Hebrew word is a surprise and the strength of the word is shocking and fascinating. The word is rahab which means storm, boisterously or strongly or boldly. The idea is that this is a request that will not go away. It comes on strong and will not take no for an answer.
From a very humble position Solomon is saying that you strongly ask to be let out of your mistake. This is not a could you please if it is not any trouble for you. It is a please, I need to be released from the mistake I made. I should not have agreed to do that; I just cannot do that.
In one sense the idea is that you become a storm upon the person until he/she releases you from your mistake. You are open and humble about your mistake, but you must be released from your own stupidity. This word importune is a strong word.
When you make a mistake either through what you do, what you say, or what you sign, then be willing to admit that you made a mistake; but go after being released and stay humble but stay after it. Just like the unrighteous judge says about the woman who importuned him. She was like a relentless storm at his court until she received justice. So persistent, humble relentlessness has its place in the arsenal of the wise person. They need it to get themselves out of the stuff they do when they are not wise.