Like a trampled spring and a polluted well Is a righteous man who gives way before the wicked. Proverbs 25:26
A spring or well holds such promise. When we come to one or hear of one there is the hope of clear fresh water. We can drink and be refreshed. Yet to come to one and find it trampled to where it is dirty and filled with mud and pollutants is such a disheartening thing. This is true in the realm of water - but how much more so when applied to the lives of godly men.
This trampled spring or polluted well is actually a godly, righteous man who surrenders and gives way before the wicked. Giving way has the idea of wavering, wobbling and shaking before one falls. The fall is imminent and that is what all the movement indicates is coming. The Hebrew also indicates it can be a foot slipping or a fire flaming out.
This picture in the Hebrew is applied to a righteous man who faces the true test of his righteousness. THE test is when he stands before the wicked. He chooses to face such a test by walking in righteousness, and that might cost him dearly. The test may be as little as the disagreement of others - and it may be as large as facing martyrdom for his stand. Regardless the situation, this righteous man chooses instead to give way - to wobble and totter in his views. He changes his mind - or acts contrary to it. His pollution and trampling come as a result of not standing firm in his convictions. He does not hold to the Word in such situations - but gives way before the world instead.
There are so many men and women in history who have given way before the wicked. They have chosen the way of peace - at least peace on this earth. There will be no peace for them in the end when they stand before God. But they do not want to rock the boat. The conclusion of such matters is that a life that could have been so refreshing to others is trampled and polluted. Now all it does it disappoint those who needed a refreshing drink. What they could have offered is ruined - because they chose to waver in their faith before the wicked.
There is another way that we give way before the wicked. It is not as public as the outright denial of Christ contained in a renunciation. Yet this kind of "giving way" happens in a secret tribunal - the one that comes up in our hearts when wickedness comes and asks for our obedience. There are secret forays into sin - and secret moments when we give way before the wicked. Such things are not public displays - but they nevertheless muddy he waters of our heart. It might be a little while lie we chose to indulge in - or a look that begins innocently, but ends in an adulterous heart. It might be a way we've cheated or cut corners at work to not give our best for God's glory and the testimony of His name. Whatever it is, it tramples our well - and muddies the waters of our heart so that we cannot give as clear a drink of clean, life-giving water to others from the well of our hearts - that should be flowing outward with the rivers of living water of the Holy Spirit.
There is hope for those who have thus fallen in the New Testament. Peter gave way before the wicked - and that could have been the final message of his life. Fortunately for him Christ came and offered grace and forgiveness. He called Peter to repentance - and then back to usefulness. In no way do I want to lessen the truth of this passage - that righteous men need to stand in righteous views when the wicked come wanting them to compromise. Godly men need to remain godly when the ungodly want them to "tone it down" and lower their standards (which most often means to lower the standards of Scripture). We do need to stand firm and hold to the Word rather than the world. But, when we do fall, it is good to know that when we confess our sins God is faithful and just to forgive them. Nevertheless, we need to be wise and stand firm when confronted by the wicked. To do otherwise may mean allowing a well or spring that could offer many a fresh drink of the water of the Word, nothing more than the muddy, polluted waters of sinful compromise with the world. There are plenty of places where you can be served a drink of that kind of swill. May God help us to be men and women who stand firm on the gospel - which grants us power to stand - and also gives us grace to get up even if we've made the mistake of giving way before sin in our lives. May we be wise and choose righteousness and holiness so that the waters of our heart not be muddied with the pollution of sin and compromise.
This is the way of an adulterous woman: She eats and wipes her mouth, And says, "I have done no wrong." Proverbs 30:20
One of the worst aspects of sexual sin is the way that is blinds us to the truth. Here we have a proverb dealing with the women who commits adultery. Her way is to indulge her sin as one would sit down to a big meal - then wipe her mouth afterwards and boldly state that she has done nothing wrong. She is completely blind and arrogantly unmoved by her actions and by the Word of God which proclaims them wicked.
We are living in the days of sin that looks just like this. We have those who live openly in their sin - and argue that such a lifestyle choice is not sin. God has proclaimed that adultery is sin - and that commandment from the time of Moses still stands this day without having been weakened in the slightest. Some might protest that Jesus forgave the woman caught in the very act of adultery. I would agree - but would add that after he gave her the most gracious forgiveness, He also stated to her that she should go her way and SIN NO MORE. When He gave her grace - it was the grace of God that teaches us NOT TO SIN. It was not grace that condoned sin. And just in case some have forgotten the rest of the gospel - He eventually bore her sin to calvary's cross and paid the full measure of God's wrath for it.
When a society begins to weaken its moral stances on adultery and sexual sin, it is preparing that society for horrible consequences. When that lax morality reaches the point where adulterous women and men are allowed to embrace their wickedness while openly proclaiming that they've done nothing wrong - such a society is at the breaking point. It cannot stand much longer because its very foundations are crumbling to the ground.
Please pray for the United States - praying for revival in the church and awakening among the lost. We've abandoned our moral underpinnings handed down to us from our forefathers. We need for God to first revive His church so that we will once again hold fast to biblical morals - regardless of what is currently morally in style in our nation. Unless this work of revival happens among us first, there will be no awakening among the lost. We must put our moral house in order - dealing with our sexual sins. Then we will have the moral authority to speak to our nation - to pray for our nation - and to witness the people of our nation return to the Lord and to the sanity of sexual morality. May God have mercy on us - and revive and restore us in this most desperate of days.
The one who commits adultery with a woman is lacking sense; He who would destroy himself does it. Proverbs 6:32
This passage deals with the stupidity of committing adultery, plain and simple. Several years ago Randy Alcorn wrote a book called, "The Purity Principle." In it I felt that Alcorn made a statement that is one for the ages. "Purity is always smart, impurity is always stupid." That is what the Holy Spirit is trying to tell us today in Proverbs. "The one who commits adultery with a woman is lacking sense." This is a very genteel way of saying what Alcorn said. We could restate his principle by saying that faithfulness in marriage is always good, adultery is always stupid.
The actual words used here are the ones that are used often in Proverbs. The one who commits adultery with a woman lacks heart. We are being told that adultery shows that we have a heart problem more than anything else. We've allowed our hearts to be captured by lust and sexual immorality rather than by God. While reading a series of purity prayers I've run into the statement again and again where the puritans asked God to capture their heart so that they would not be satisfied by trifling affections. The heart can be captured in this way - and given to things that are so far less than what God wants to give us. The truth is what He wants to give us in Himself. We settle for so much less and so less fulfilling things than Him. And that is what the fool has done - he has settled for adultery rather than finding in God and in His provision of his wife true fulfillment.
We are also warned in this passage that, ". . . he who would destroy himself does it." The literal Hebrew says that the destruction is in this man's soul. He finds his mind strangely drawn and lied to by the enticements of the adulterous woman. He finds his emotions stimulated by a false love and false promises of intimacy and pleasure. As he foolishly begins to embrace these thoughts and these concepts he also begins to lose the war within his will to continue in God's ways and in God's path. Soon he gives in to the onslaught that is coming toward his soul. He no longer lives out of his spirit - where the Spirit of God would give him strength to resist and overcome temptation - but instead allows himself to be taken over by his body and its lusts. As he does this He submits himself to the adultery - and in so doing he "destroys" himself in the process and the sinful choice. Destroy here is the Hebrew word, "sahat" and it means to spoil, ruin, destroy, pervert, or corrupt. When you look at these ways of translating this word they all fit this passage - and all take place as this man acts foolishly by committing adultery.
For the next several days we will look at the terrible consequences and the wise warnings that God gives us in this area. Remember that this entire conversation is one that takes place between a man and his sons. How wise we would be to have this kind of conversation with our sons as they get older and begin to face the temptations of this present world. How wise we would be to also have these kinds of conversations with our adult sons who are married, as well as with our brothers in Christ with whom we share fellowship in God's church. Since these things are written about so many times in Proverbs - it is a reminder that the wise also warn one another with the very warnings given to us by God.
And you groan at your final end, When your flesh and your body are consumed; Proverbs 5:11
Here we find our old friend, the word "acharith," used in connection with the latter stages of sexual sin - and the diseases that area associated with it. It is truly amazing that the Bible speaks of the latter end of sexual sin in these terms. Long before the medical community could even test for these things - and all knowing and loving God warned us against lifestyles that would consume our flesh and our body. What is truly sad is that men and women simply ignore such warnings generation after generation. The result is that sexually transmitted diseases continue to run rampant in society with the same disastrous consequences to men.
We are warned that if we engage in sexual immorality we will 'growl' at our latter end. The word used here speaks of a deep gutteral groan -a despairing sound that comes because someone has discovered too late that their sexual choices have come to destroy them. This groaning happens also because their glesh and body are consumed. The world mocks the church and the Word of God when we walk about such things. I remember when a Christian teacher said that AIDS was a judgment of God upon homosexuality. He was torn to shreds by the media - and honestly - by too many Christians as well. In a way, I too, think he should not have said this. What he should have said was that AIDS, syphillis, gonnorhea, clamydia, and some 30+ other sexually transmitted diseases are the consequences of sexual immorality, whether heterosexual or homosexual. These are God's judgments on godless sexual choices. He promises them not just in Romans chapter 1, but also here in Proverbs 5
and elsewhere in Scripture. These consequences are inescapable if we choose to walk in rebellion to God in the area of our sexuality.
I took some time before I wrote this post to go to various websites that gave information on the latter stages of STD's. This is what STD's will do to us over time - they destroy our bodies. Let me take a couple of moments to give you some examples of what happen when STD's reach their latter stages. AIDS does its damage by attacking our immune system - making us weak and unable to fight disease. It's final stages make us prone to having numerous different cancers, pneumonia, skin diseases, as well as other diseases that attack various organs in our body. Syphillis in its final stages causes paralysis, numbness in our bodies, blindness, as well as involuntary muscle movements that we cannot control. Worst of all is insanity which comes as our brains are systematically attacked by the disease. Just looking at these two consequential diseases that attend sexual immorality should help us to see that God was very serious when He warned that this type of rebellion will cost us our health. Oh that we would learn from these things, from these warnings concerning the medical consequences of walking contrary to God's ways when it comes to our sexuality.
"For my husband is not at home, He has gone on a long journey; He has taken a bag of money with him, At the full moon he will come home." Proverbs 7:19-20
Once the adulteress has caught the fool in the trap of his own ungodly sexual desires - she then informs him of his soon-to-be-committed adultery. At this point, the man is so entrapped, that he is no longer considering sin - but the ability to not get caught.
She says to him that her husband is not at home - but is gone on a long journey. Evidently her marriage means nothing to her. Long gone are the words of her covenant to God - or any real love for her husband. Instead she is interested in her next sexual escapade or conquest. Her words betray her husband - and also betray that she cares nothing for her own spiritual condition, or that of her sexual prey. Her focus is on neither of them getting caught - in this world. In verse 19 she even knows the approximate time he is coming home. Therefore she can sin unfettered until that time. She even uses her treachery to lure the fool in closer. She is utterly blind to the fact that God sees all this - and they are caught - NOW!
Think for a moment of David. He thought no one saw him lusting for Bathsheba on his rooftop. He thought that only a few knew of her coming to his chambers - and none of them actually knew if they committed adultery. Then, when she became pregnant, he thought that no one knew of his treachery of bringing Uriah from the midst of a battle to cover his tracks. When that did not work, he thought only a few knew of his plan to kill Uriah - and try to legitimize his adultery by marrying his widow after murdering him with an enemy army. But the fact was David was caught the moment he sinned in his heart. It was along the way that more people knew - and if you understand the nature of gossip - far more knew than he thought.
Covering our sin does not work. David said after his sin that he who covers his sins will not prosper. He spoke of how he suffered when he hid his sin - how the work of the Holy Spirit convicting him and sapping his very strength as he tried to keep things hidden was strong. Sin will try to deceive us of its very existance in our lives. It will tell us that we have NOT sinned. It will tell us that we are FINE. But all along the way are lies. The wise man is the one who knows that trying to hide sin is the most foolish act in which a person can engage. God is omniscient and sovereign - that is absolute fact. This means that there is nothing we can hide from Him - even for a second. It also means that all our attempts to maintain our sin are superceded by His sovereignty. Man may plan his steps - but God ordains his way. While that does not mean that God makes us sin - it does mean that His discipline WILL prevail when we do - no matter what we think we are doing to stop it.
"Come, let us drink our fill of love until morning; Let us delight ourselves with caresses. Proverbs 7:18
As we continue our look at overcoming sexual temptation, we come to the direct statement of the harlot. We need to look at this statement to see the deception and the encouragement of sin in it.
She makes the fool an offer of sex - but the way she states it is having his fill of love until the morning. The word she uses for love here is the one that is usually used in the Hebrew for "lover." But what she offers is not love in the truest sense. She offers a fullness of love - at least until the morning. She offers fullness of love - at least until her husband gets home - or she finds someone else to be her sexual dupe. But all the fool hears is that he has a lover for the evening.
That is the problem with sexual temptation - it offers an immediate pleasure - but says nothing of the long-term cost. Sexual tempation (and actually any temptation for that matter) always focuses on immediate gratification. Our flesh wants immediate gratification - and calls out for it every day we live. But immediate gratification may leave a wake of incredible destruction. Therefore, the more we allow oursevles to be deceived into thinking there are no consequences for our actions - the more likely we are going to fall for the lies being fed to us.
The adulteress says that a night of wonderful love-making awaits us. But let's be perfectly honest about this. That promise is for about 10 to 15 minutes. Drinking our fill of love until morning is a euphamism for little more than 30 minutes of our time. The destruction had in that brief period of time - lasts far longer - and I would submit the pain involved is far worse than the intensity of the pleasure promised. I've walked with people through divorce proceedings that last months. I've walked with men who made this fatal mistake - and even years later they were still paying a price when their wives struggled with trusting them when they were late from work. But sin never talks to us in these terms - sin only speaks of the "now" moment of pleasure. Wisdom considers the moments after - the days after - the months and years after.
Delighting oursevles with caresses is another call to live for our flesh, and the adulteress uses it craftily. The word "delight" here is interesting. It means to rejoice in something - finding pleasure in it - and delighting in pleasure by expressing that pleasure above all other things. What is interesting about this word is that the Bible uses it of the pleasure that is found in the sexual relationship in marriage. God actually blesses this delight in pleasure - but He does so with the boundaries of marriage fully in place. We read in multiple places in the Bible that God fully desires for us to experience the joy of married sexual love. God did not give us sexual organs, desires, and the ability to feel pleasure only to forbid it. But He knows that when we do so outside the bounds of a committed marriage relationship, it will
turn destructive. Just delighting ourselves with caresses can lead to the idea of multiple sexual partners - which we know leads to sexually transmitted diseases. It leads to a shallow love based on physical attraction and physical pleasure alone. In its more perverted forms - this leads to homosexualtiy - and in its worst forms to things like incest and rape. Living for the physical pleasure of anything alone will lead to a complete abandonment of wisdom. Sins like gluttony, drunkenness, and drug abuse are all ways that we start with a desire for the physical pleasure of something alone. They all end in a bondage to sin that is very difficult to break.
The call to sexual temptation is a call to live for our flesh - and for a rejoicing in pleasure alone. It does not think at all beyond the moment - and misses altogether the bondage that awaits in the future. The fool does not think ahead - he only thinks of now. He wants his pleasure now and is deaf to any consequences that await him. The way to defeat sexual temptation is to use something other than your physical organs to make your decisions. It is to use God's Word as wisdom guiding your mind as you encounter various things - various people in life. That way you do not wind up a slave to your senses. Biblically Romans 6
reminds us that in life we are going to be either a slave to sin or a slave to righteousness. Sin will destroy us. The wise man submits himself to God - to His Word - and to a life that promises pleasure and blessing beyond the next 30 minutes.
"I have spread my couch with coverings, With colored linens of Egypt. I have sprinkled my bed With myrrh, aloes and cinnamon. Come, let us drink our fill of love until morning; Let us delight ourselves with caresses. Proverbs 7:16-18Yesterday we took a first look at overcoming sexual immorality by understanding the way that the enemy will attack us in this area. We saw that selfishness and ego are two weak points where we can be attacked effectively if we are not careful. Today, we will continue to look at overcoming sexual immorality in our lives.The adulterous woman continues speaking to the fool whom she is enticing with promises of a night he will never forget. Having found "HIM" she then continues to entice him with what she has prepared for their night of passion. Brothers, we need to know that the longer we allow this woman to talk to us - the more likely we are to be caught in her web. This is something that seems strange to those who are looking from the outside in on this temptation. We might find ourselves wanting to scream and yell at this man - warning him of what is about to happen. The problem is that he is all but deaf to those warnings. Having ignored the warnings of the Holy Spirit earlier - he is a sitting duck for this kind of stuff. She speaks of how she has covered her couch with special linens - then speaks of how she has also sprinkled her bed with fragrant enticing smells and things that will heighten their sexual pleasure. Let me say men, that if we have not turned and run by this point - we are most likely caught. This man is listening with his sex drive by now - and when he has come to that point - he is deaf to anything else. The enticements are too much for him. He will most likely follow at this point. She is making here case first appealing to his ego - and now to his senses of sight and smell. Note though that at no time is his spirit being addressed. This is enticement that is apart from the working of the Holy Spirit. It is based solely in his flesh and his earthly appetites. That is why he needs to be so careful NOT to let things get to this point. What could this man have done to avoid this scenario - to not have gotten down the road this far?First, we need to cultivate a good relationship with our wives. Men, if you are not talking with your wife - you are making yourself vulnerable. If you see that you are NOT talking to her - or the conversation has dulled or gone silent - take great alarm over it! Your ability to talk to your wife about anything and everything is a safeguard to you! It will prevent you from falling into the second trap - talking too much with another woman.Second, you do NOT need to cultivate a relationship with other women. If you have an encounter conversationally with another woman that you would even hesitate to share with your wife, you should be warned - you are headed for dangerous territory. Too many men put themselves in vulnerable positions with another woman because they talk with them - and don't share that conversation with their wives. And - if the talk ever takes an uncomfortable turn - one that is too intimate - RUN! You should run to your wife and reveal that immediately - and ask her advice on what to do. Then you should follow it. Many adulterous affairs would have been nipped in the bud if the husband had only avoided any kind of talk that even remotely made him uncomfortable with another woman.The third thing relates to the second very closely. In the office and at work - keep your relationships and conversations with women on a professional level only. Do NOT go outside these boundaries. It may be uncomfortable to say it - but say it anyway. Your relationship with this woman at work needs to remain professional. Refer her to someone else than you for such conversations and such advice. Opening up such areas can only lead to problems and conflict. She works for you - or you for her - and this does not include a shoulder to cry on when her relationships are having problems. Do not be rude - but make it clear that you are uncomfortable talking about such things. You can even refer her to your wife if she is comfortable with that role - but YOU do not need to go there. The only way to avoid having another woman talk to you this way (sexually)is to make sure that the only woman who feels comfortable doing so is your wife. This man would have been wise to do these things - but since he did not - he is in the lair of the wicked one - and about to be caught in a horrible trap. The time to know of such traps is long before you step into them.Now, let me address one last trap we tend to step into too often. It is the trap of having these things done via the media. What I refer to is movies and television. Most of us would never think of looking into another person's bedroom - and their sex life. That would involve being a peeping-tom. But the fact is that we are ushered into the bedrooms of dozens of couples on a regular basis through film and television. Voyeurism takes place via these mediums every day. We watch a television program or see a movie where these kind of things are played out right before our eyes. We see that sexy woman or hunky guy say all the perfect things - do all the perfect things - and enter into a night of ecstasy (or at least implied ecstasy). We watch romantic movies where the actors are coached into saying the perfect thing in the perfect situation. Then we slouch into our couches wondering why the spark is gone in our own relationship. We are being coached as well by the wicked one. Coached into thinking that our wife or husband is not enough. They don't talk to me or treat me like that. They don't look like that. They don't work out the perfect scenario like that. And before we know it we've allowed our audio-visual voyeurism to make us discontent with our spouse. Then we spend our thoughts dreaming of that perfect situation - and of course - it involves someone who kind-of looks like that person we saw on TV or in the movie. Maybe it is that person with whom we are fantasizing having a romantic episode. Whatever the situation, we're caught - the trap has sprung - and we are much more susceptible now. Careful saints - the temptations and the wiles of the evil one are very subtle. He attacks in a myriad of ways - and his goal is to get to our minds and hearts. There he can plant an idea - a concept - a way of thinking that is opposed to the Scriptures. When he has done that - he has set up a beachhead from which to attack further into our lives. That is why we need to remember what the Scriptures teach concerning our marriages - concerning our wives - and concerning our sexuality. These are matters where to give an inch may mean later finding that the enemy has moved inward into our thinking and reasoning a mile. Reserve ALL such talk and thinking for your wife and your wife alone. That is wisdom.
"Therefore I have come out to meet you, To seek your presence earnestly, and I have found you." Proverbs 7:15Here are the enticements of the adulterous woman. These are the words that she uses to bring a man into her trap - which is her bedroom. Most men do not view a bedroom as a trap. Unfortunately, men tend to view the bedroom as a place of pleasure - and do not see that the difference between pleasure and pain - between a paradise and a pathway to hell is the status of the woman with whom they are having their pleasure at the moment. Guys, I want to be brutally honest with you for the next couple of days. We are going to follow this text for that length of time. This is an area where we are being decimated in the church today. We must open our eyes and begin to discern between the bedroom as a trap and as a treasure. The difference is in one term alone. Are we there with our wives as a holy place - where the Scriptures describe it as the "marriage bed" which it goes on to say is holy - or - are we being duped into thinking that God will in any way bless the bedroom beyond the relationship of marriage. Too often we are the dupes rather than the discerning. We listen to the siren song of the adulteress and do not heed the warning siren of the Holy Spirit to which we are deaf when we succumb to lust - or worse - encourage it in our lives. Please read today's passage and commentary with great discernment - because we, as a gender, must begin to walk in discernment as we walk through this world.Verse 15 reveals to us the secret weapon of the adulteress. It is the ego of a man - and how easily it can be manipulated. Look at what the adulteress says to this foolish man. After making him think that she is right with God (see Prov 7:14 for her religious comments) - she then aims straight for his ego. "Therefore I have come out to meet YOU. To seek YOUR presence earnestly, and I have found YOU." (emphasis mine) Oh, how foolish men love to be made much of by others - especially by a beautiful woman. This reveals to us a secret sin in this man's heart - that of being thought of romantically or sexually by a woman (even if it is a woman other than his wife). And at this point she has set her talons into his flesh. She has begun to hook him with this talk that strokes his deceived ego. Guys this is where we need to be brutally honest with one another. Biblically, God tells us that our desire is to be for our wives. Proverbs 5:17 says that we should be exhilarated with her love - focusing on her sexually. If we are not careful this present world and its sexual insanity will infect us. It is all around us each and every day. The world system is crazed with talk and with innuendo about sex. That is why we need to be so careful what enters our eyes and what enters our minds. Please don't mistake my passion here for either the thought that this is easy - or the idea that I've completely mastered this battle. Unfortunately due to choices I've made in my past, this is a battle that I fight daily. But men, it is worth fighting. Our only other choice is to make ourselves a much easier target for the world - either in physical adultery - or in the mental version of the same sin. This adulteress/prostitute comes to us telling us that it is all about us. I wanted you - I sought you - I've found you. Anything that ministers to the
selfish, self-centered part of us is something we should run from in life. That is especially the case when it comes to our sexuality. There is only one relationship God will bless in this way - and that is the one that we have with our wives. Remember, men, this lie is only for a moment - because, as we will learn later in this chapter of Proverbs, there is a devastating payment that will come when the sexual encounter is over.
Men . . . don't buy the lie that the wicked one puts before you through the lips of the adulteress. It is just that - a lie. She will say that it is all about you - but the truth is it is only about setting the trap. Behind all this lies the wicked one, who is longing to see you, your marriage, your family, your testimony, and your relationship with God destroyed. If you cannot remember anything else - remember the cost to David for his adultery with Bathsheba. It was a one night tryst - but the cost kept being paid for the rest of his life - and on through his family for generations to come. No matter what a woman says to you in this matter, do not believe her. Hold fast to the Word of God. Run! Flee youthful lusts, but pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart. That is the biblical counsel that Paul gave to young Timothy. It should be the counsel we follow when a strange woman comes and tries to gain entrance to our lives through flattery and an appeal to our selfishness.
I was due to offer peace offerings; Today I have paid my vows. Therefore I have come out to meet you, To seek your presence earnestly, and I have found you. Proverbs 7:14-15We are continuing in this verse with the entiement and thinking of the harlot, the adulteress, as she seeks to lure a young man into her trap of sexual immorality. This verse is fascinating because it reveals that the adulteress has a religious side to her as well. Her comment to her prey is truly interesting because it speaks of someone who has gone and done their religious duty. Let's take a look at it today and seek to gain wisdom and reject stupidity as a result.Her statement is that her peace offerings are with her. The idea here is not that she has yet to offer them, but rather that her spiritual condition is one who is at peace with God - someone who has already offered this sacrifice to the Lord - and who, as a result, has some kind of stored up religious earnings. She thinks that she has religious credit on deposit - and therefore she can withdraw it in her current actions. This is the mindset of penance rather than repentance. Penance assumes that we can pay for our sins with some kind of religious ritual - and too often is seen as a payment up to date - with the result being that we can sin some more later. Repentance is a change of mind granted by God - with the result that by grace alone our sin is forgiven. Along with repentance is both restortation and regeneration so that we are truly changed. The one who has engaged in repentance IS changed by God - whereas the one doing penance is engaged in a works mentality where they have earned something from God.The adulteress here is stating that she is paid up - and has somehow earned the right to now engage in further sin. Having done her religious work - her religious duty - she is now free to live as she pleases. This is the danger of works-minded religion - it deceives the one practicing it into thinking that after they have sinned, they can just work some more - work a little harder - and all will be well. There is no transformation involved - just another IOU paid in full to God as they continue in their self-made menagerie of religous ritual.Today she has paid her vows . . . what vows? Evidently there is a supposed promise of reformation - but there is no action toward it coming any time soon. The next verse is so telling because in it she says, "Therefore I have come out to meet you, to seek your presence earnestly." Her comment is that having done her religious duty, having made worthless and empty vows, now she is free to engage in her sexual escapades. Her religion is merely a facade to further deceive whatever willing dupe is in her sites. She's ready to roll - now that she has played her religious game for the week - or the day - or however she works to maintain the illusion of being right with God. What a convenient religion this is. The danger here is that we will be drawn into an illicit relationship thinking that we are having adultery with a good person - a religious person. The reality is that we are walking over the pit that has been covered with leaves by the one hunting us. If we buy the lie and step over the hole, we will quickly find that what we've actually stepped upon is a trap. The lie was there to lure us into a false sense of safety. The reality is that we are now caught - and in grave danger.Just one last parting comment though - because this particular practice is even among those of us who are evangelicals. We need to be extremely careful that we are engaging in repentance before God and not just a protestant form of penance. When we come to confess our sins - we don't need to stop there. Too many (myself included unfortunately) just confess their sins - but do not go into the second part of 1 John 1:9. We are all about confessing a sin that makes us feel bad, feel guilty, feel caught - but are we truly interested in God's change in our hearts? The second half of that verse says that we also ask to be "cleansed from all unrighteousness." Here is the forgotten part. We need God to not only forgive - but cleanse us of the mindset and choices that led to that sin in the first place. We need to say to God, "Get rid of every 'unright' behavior, choice, thought, reasoning, and activity." There is where we can camp out for a while and have the Lord do a thorough heart searching in us. There is where we can be protected from the very sin these two verses reveal to us. We can move from penance to repentance - and in so doing - from merely salving our conscience for a few moments to true change.
And strangers will be filled with your strength And your hard-earned goods will go to the house of an alien; Proverbs 5:10
Here is an interesting and prophetic verse that deals with the aftermath of someone who pursues the immoral woman or adulteress. After stating that following this woman will guarantee that your latter years will be given to the cruel one - we read one of the ways that he will begin to wreak havoc in the adulterer's life.
Strangers will be filled with your strength. This is an interesting verse because it has to do with the cost of adultery. We need to remember that under Old Testament law an adulterer would be put to death if caught having adultery. So this speaks of a more merciful sentence - possibly a financial one. But as the adulterer toils away to pay the cost of his sexual escapades, he sees that the promise of pleasure has turned into a cost that was far more than he thought it would be. Even if he is not given the death sentence, he is forced to pay and pay dearly.
The second thing that happens is that your hard-earned goods will go to the house of an alien. Once again this pictures punishment financially for having sex with another man's wife. The adulterer works hard - but he does not receive any of the benefit of his labor. Instead, he has to face the fact that all his hard work is worthless - because it is going to someone else.
Today, we do not have adultery laws that promise death to the one caught in adultery. But these verses are still true today. Now we have something called alimony and child support. The man who commits adultery will have to deal with the fact that his former wife may divorce him. Since sexual infidelity is the reason for it - often the courts will make the man pay for his misconduct - literally pay. They will set child support and alimony for his actions to destroy his marriage. Now, when he works hard to bring home a paycheck - he does not see it coming to him - to make him wealthier. Instead he watches as it is given to others - not himself. Many divorced men lose up to 50% of their income when this happens.
Wisdom allows us to see the long term liabilities of sexual immorality and adultery. Some only hear the siren song of the adulteress - and are deaf to the sound of the waves crashing on the rocks where they soon will be destroyed. Wisdom opens our eyes to what this is going to cost us - and that price is steep indeed. Some still plunge on into the abyss and pay for it later. But my hope is that many will read these words and see that nothing good can come of an adulterous relationship. And hopefully seeing these things will wisen them up to make a good decision when they are faced with sexual temptations. Hopefully they will see the destruction down the road and avoid that exit altogether.