She looks for wool and flax and works with her hands in delight. She is like merchant ships; she brings her food from afar. She rises also while it is still night and gives food to her household and portions to her maidens. Proverbs 31:13-15
Solomon's mother is describing for hiim the excellent wife. She began with how the excellent wife is faithful and true to her husband. The second trait that she describes for him is how the excellent wife cares for her household. There are thre things mentioned in these verses. Let's take a look at them.
First we see that she looks for wool and flax and works with her hands in delight. Just an observation that we should make initially is that this lady is not into watching soap operas and reality shows and eating bon-bons on the couch. She is a busy lady, as most wives are. She is looking for things to do. Here we see that she is searching for wool and flax - evidently to do some kind of handcrafted items for either her family, her employees, or paying customers. It is interesting to find, after reading an Enclyclopaedia Brittanica article on these two substances - that far more than just knitting or sewing is involved in gathering these two things. The wool is gathered from sheep - and is first strained in a manner of speaking to get the fatty substance from it. This is used for greasing things - and was also considered a beauty aid in how it softened skin. The flax was gathered from the field and was used for a number of different things. The fibers of the plant were used to help make linen - while the seeds and the crushing of the plant produced flaxseed oil - which was used as a health aid - especially with problems like constipation. The flaxsed oil was also considered a wonderful health aid for older people - as we now have learned that is lowers cholesterol and helps with blood flow in the body.
The excellent wife was not afraid to work with her hands on these things. In fact she considered it a delight to work with her hands. I remember my grandmother working with her hands almost constantly. She was able to knit or crochet, tat or sew and even talk to us while she was doing it. These are things we've pretty much lost in our generation - and it has hurt us. I fear that the majority of women in today's work are not delighted in working with their hands - and instead of having women who talk with their children and families, giving them wisdom and speaking of the things of God - we now gather around a television to listen to the converstaion of fools. Do you really want your kids growing up with the Kardashians, Snooki and JWow, and the Dance moms as their role models?
The excellent wife also enjoys cooking. She does not live out of a box - although that did not exist at that time. This lady goes out of her way to bring interesting and delicious foods to her family. Some southerners take this passage to mean that she grills out all the time (you know - she brings her food from a'far - from a fire - southern drawl removed). She looks for good food - and seeks out merchants who bring interesting and exotic foods that will make for exciting fare for the family.
The third thing we see is that this excellent wife has servants who work for her. But she is humble - not seeing herself so high above others as not to serve them as well. She brings portions even to her maidens as she rises early in the morning to cook for them as well as her family. I have to admit to nostalgia when reading this - because I cannot remember a time, other than when my mother was sick, that I did not wake up to the smell of something cooking for breakfast in the morning. I took it for granted - and yet - there was a solidity brought to me because I would sit with my mom and dad and eat breakfast with them. We'd talk - and when I was older (adolescence and high school) they would drag conversation out of me. It might shock you to learn that they did this even though I was a competitive swimmer for four years, waking up at 5:00 a.m. to get to an early morning practice. What was interesting is that even though the hour was early - my mom never complained about it. She just delighted in doing kind things for me.
Ladies - I've always marvelled at how you can give yourselves away for your husbands and children! The selflessness and hard work truly amazes me. The excellent wife is like this - delighting to work with her hands - to make even exotic and exciting meals - and to rise early to feed her household. The word that I guess describes all this is the compound word, "servant-hearted." What a blessing comes to a famiily when they have such a lady as the woman of the house. Her character is much like that of her Lord Who said that He did not some to be served either - but to serve and give His life for others. Ladies, when you live like this you bless your entire home - not just with hand-made items, food, and breakfast . . . but with the very spirit of Christ permeating your home.
An excellent wife, who can find? For her worth is far above jewels. 11 The heart of her husband trusts in her, and he will have no lack of gain. 12 She does him good and not evil all the days of her life. Proverbs 31:10-12
For the next week or so, we will look at the "excellent wife" as she is represented in Scripture. This portrayal is given by Solomon's mother, who sought to point him toward the right kind of godly woman to be his wife. Rather than try to give direct parallels to everything that is written in this chapter, I'm going to look at this excellent wife more by categories. That is because, due to culture and the times in which we live, we don't do some of these things any longer. I also do not believe that godliness in a woman is measured by whether she spins her own yarn or makes her own bread. Godliness is determined by issues of the heart - not by works that a woman does or does not do. So with that in mind - and with that as our backdrop - let us dive in and take a look at what God calls an excellent wife in His Word.
Solomon's mom begins by asking a question, "An excellent wife, who can find?" Good question. She is not the kind of mother who just wants her son to get married - no matter to whom. She wants her son to focus on excellence in a wife. She does that by presenting to him a number of character traits that are present in a wife who is excellent. He reminds her son that when he does find one - her worth is far above jewels. There is a hint here of just how difficult a task this may be. Jewels are not found lying around on the ground. You have to search for them. There are few precious jewels - but a lot of rocks. So also may be the search for an excellent wife.
There also may be just a little more than a tinge of pain here for Bathsheba as she writes this to her son. She was not an excellent wife to either Uriah or David. Unfortunately her wisdom was learned in the school of sinful, hard knocks. She betrayed her first husband by committing adultery - and eventually cost him his life in doing this with a very powerful man. Then she agreed to a sham marriage for the sake of covering up her indiscretions - that cost her the first born child of that union. She was a woman who was very beautiful outwardly - but that outward beauty was not indicative of the inward state of her heart. Now, her goal was to do all she could to keep her son from making a mistake like that his father made. She did this not out of bitterness or resentment - but as a recipient of grace. (see the post for Proverbs 31:1-2)
Even as she wrote the words in verse 11 there had to be pain in the penmanship. The heart of her husband trusts in her. He knows she will be faithful to him - and that truth resides in the core of his heart. The issue of faithfulness and trustworthy character is first on her list. An excellent wife is faithful and true to one man all her days. There are no thoughts lurking within him of her seeking out another man - no thoughts of adultery. Oh the peace that resides in a man's heart when this is true - and oh the torture that hunts a man's spirit when it is not. I've seen men destroyed by jealousy - even the point of doing the unthinkable - killing their wives and then themselves. Let me say that this faithfulness is a two way street and the man is held to no less standard as well.
He will have no lack of gain. Does this mean that if you get the right excellent wife you'll be rich? That is not what Bathsheba is saying to her son. She is saying to him that due to her influence and the spirit she brings to the home, he will know no lack of blessing. Go to a home of an excellent wife and what you will see if a woman who cheers on her husband if he is a CEO or a ditch-digger. He will feel as if he is a king in tthe way that appreciation and love flows to him. If there are good times in their lives - they will enjoy them together. If difficult times ensue - those will be embraced as well. In good times and bad - she will be there to let him know that all things will work together for them as they seek The Lord and follow Christ Jesus. As a result this man - whether he has a large bank account or just two pennies who keep each other company - knows that which this woman he has no lack of gain!
She does him good and not evil all the days of his life. Her heart is set on bringing good to him. In this it is first set on walking with God and knowing Him. Then it is set on whatever God's good, acceptable, and perfect will is for her, her husband, and their entire household. She uses her words to encourage and built him up according to the need of that hour - giving grace to him as he hears her. She looks to him to be a man - to reject passivity - accept responsiblity - to lead her courageously, and to look to God for his ultimate reward. And in any moment he shows an inkling of doing this - she cheers him on - letting him know it is a good work he does. She looks to good as God ultimately defines it and she applies herself to seeing that good given to her husband.
What kind of lady is an excellent wife? She is the lady who is faithful and true to her husband. She is the lady who puts his heart at ease for her eyes and heart are fully his. She is a lady who accepts God's direction and will walked out as wonderful gain - regardless of the financial bottom line it brings. She is a lady who seeks the face of God, knows the Word of God, and according to the will of God - brings good to her husband, shunning any and every evil impulse of her fallen heart. This is quite a wonderful woman. A diamond, a jewel, a rare jem whose worth is not measured by her wealth or her looks - the real gem here is a heart redeemed and remade by God. Find one of these - and you have become rich indeed.
As a loving hind and a graceful doe, Let her breasts satisfy you at all times; Be exhilarated always with her love. Proverbs 5:19
In talking about moral sanity we come to a passage that almost makes you a little uncomfortable while reading it, yet it is the very essence of moral and sexual sanity itself! In commenting on this verse I want to take a moment to speak against the moral and sexual insanity that reigns in our society today.
It is a sad thing that we read verse 19 and get a little uncomfortable. The joys of married love and sexual union are one of the wonderful gifts that God gave us when He made our bodies as He did - and introduced us to marriage at the very foundation of this world. There is a purity in what is said here - not impurity. There is a very real joy that we should have in experiencing sexual union with the wife of our youth. Unfortunately sin has so skewed things in our minds that we squirm a little when God paints a somewhat vivid picture of the truth.
God desires for a man to enjoy his wife. He tells us here that her breasts should be the ones that satisfy us at all times. The world though has so twisted our minds and hearts that we struggle with reading this - even though all the world around us is doing all they can to capture our attention with the breasts of women other than our wives. There is the perversion - focusing on the beauty of a woman who is NOT your wife. Television, movies, magazines, and the internet are being used to draw our attention to other women. I see pretty much every day when I go to check my email that the most popular searches on the internet tend toward women whose beauty is being exploited to draw men into the trap of desiring a woman other than their wife. This is the deception of the world - and it is used daily to draw us away from the Lord. That is why I get so frustrated when believers don't want us to read or comment on passages of Scripture that promote healthy biblical sexuality. It is not that we want to start a sexual round-table by doing this - but it does put the real and the true before us. We want to be wise in discussing and commenting on such passages - not turning to gutter language and sexually explicit comments. But the Bible is very clear in what it is saying here.
The second part of this admonition from father to son is that the son be intoxicated by the love of his wife. Usually the New American Standard does a wonderful job of directly translating such things, but my how weak they are on this verse. Exhilarated is NOT what the dad is saying to his son. He is telling him to be utterly intoxicated with the sexual love of his wife. There are not many things God says we should be drunk on - but when it comes to the love of our wife - God says to drink up all the love we can.
That is the essence of sexual sanity dear friends. God wants us to enjoy our sexuality in marriage. He has written an entire book, The Song of Solomon, to exult in the sexual love enjoyed in marriage. He instructs us in that book - as well as in this passage - that it is a good thing to enjoy sexual union and lovemaking with our wife. It is one of the reasons why he gave us a wife and set up marriage the way He did. That is why it is so important that as fathers we have such a talk with our sons. We can guide them away from the raging rapids of sexual immorality - and toward the safe waters of sex within marriage. If we do not tell them - I can promise you the world will warp their minds with tales of sexual exploits that are nothing more than the deception of whoremongers and fools.
Know well the condition of your flocks, and pay attention to your herds; for riches are not forever, nor does a crown endure to all generations. Proverbs 27:23-24
We are on day three of our look at the Ministry of Neglect - and how to avoid it. Today, we will look at knowing well the condition of our families. This area is one where we are truly dealing with a "flock" God holds us accountable to lead and love. The commands to love our wives and to rear our children in the fear and admonition of The Lord are pretty clear. Yet in the midst of everything that is going on in our lives, it is too easy to not pay attention to these precious people God gives to us.
Note the second half of this verse. Riches are not forever - nor does a crown endure to all generations. There are riches in every area of which we speak. For the family, these riches are the people themselves. These riches are the relationships we have with our spouses and with our children. My relationship with my wife grows a day shorter every day that we live. If I am not careful I will spend a lifetime with a woman I hardly know. Too many marriages wind up being two people who are strangers living in the same home. Do you know your wife? Do you love her? Are you spending time with her - leading her spiritually and loving her in concrete ways? We can get so busy with work - with school - with sports - with life itself that we realize that we've not spent time just being with, talking to, and loving our spouses.
Now consider your children. Here is where we see not only the riches of knowing and being with them, but also the part of this proverb that says how the crown will not endure. If you are a dad or mom, you have a crown in your family. You are to rear your children for Christ. As your children grow up - they want to be with you and learn from you. But remember, the crown will not endure forever. They will grow up and eventually have a mind of their own. They will quickly grow to where they have their own goals, their own spouse, their own family. The crown you have will be passed to your children. Lead and love while you can. Know the condition of their hearts. Know where they are spiritually. Know what they need. Honestly . . . just know them! There will be stressful and hard times - but learn to enjoy your children.
The Ministry of Neglect is unfortunately rampant in our society when it comes to marriage and family. The world says to us that our value and meaning is attained by success in our work. We are successful because of what we do. This leads to neglected marriages and neglected children. Over generations this can be multiplied again and again to where an entire society is damaged. The wisdom of knowing the condition of your spouse - of your marriage - and of your family is worth the time it takes to gain it. It will help us grow spiritually - and it will prevent many problems. May God give us grace to walk in true understanding of the little flock God grants to us - in our homes.
It is better to live in a corner of the roof Than in a house shared with a contentious woman. Proverbs 25:24
I find it interesting that a man who had hundreds of wives - felt the need to comment identically on the contentious and quarrelsome ones. This is almost an exact repeat of a previous proverb in chapter 21, verse 9. What Solomon has to say about this is pretty severe.
To live on a corner of a roof would be very uncomfortable in Israel. The houses of that time had flat roofs - and Scripture required them to build a wall around the top so that people would not fall off of them. Often they would have a set of stairs on the side of the home that led to the top of the house. But to live there would be very uncomfortable. In the summer months the roof would be unbearably hot with the sun beating down upon the poor man's brow. In the winter, or the rainy season, it would be wet and cold there. Yet Solomon states that this would be better than to be in even a palace with a contentious woman.
It might be good for us to see what a "contentious" woman looks like - or better acts like. The word used here is "madon" and its basic meaning is strife or dissension. It refers to a quarrel or dispute that is so filled with anger and bitterness that it cannot be stopped once it starts. That is why Proverbs 17:14 counsels us to abandon such a disupute before it breaks out. But the contetious woman knows no such self-restraint. Her pride and unwillingness to submit to God results in her not only entering into disputes - but even engineering and starting them. This same word is used in Proverbs 18:19 to speak of how strife creates strong barriers between people. The contentious woman doesn't care about this because her heart is already bitter and filled with resentment. Rather than avoid conflicts that result in relational barriers - she fights from hers and builds it higher. A few other verses that use this word indicate to us the following: 1) This kind of contention spreads to other people (Proverbs 6:14, 19), 2) it comes from someone who is hot-tempered and given to fits of anger (Proverbs 15:18), and 3) it is stirred by hatred which is lodged in this woman's heart - which is why she rejects loving, selfless responses and chooses her rage instead (PRoverbs 10:12). What an terrible picture is painted of this contentious woman who loves and embraces anger, bitterness, and loveless rage.
Now you might understand why this guy wants to live on the edge of his roof. He chooses this rather than to be in a house with this lady. Life is miserable for him - and he would choose misery among the elements than even a few moments with this train-wreck of a woman. But, honestly for Solomon, such a situation wasn't exactly prevented by having so many wives and so many concubines. Living among that many women vying for the affection of one very selfish, sexually out of control man, could not have been a picnic. This is why the second reference to this circumstance should be used for wisdom in two ways for us. First - be careful not to marry a bitter woman who overflows with resentment and anger. Second - don't create one either by being a man who is unwise in how he approaches the marriage covenant. Be faithful to one woman in your lifetime. And love her in such a way that she will not ever have the problem of being a contentious wife.
It is better to live in a desert land Than with a contentious and vexing woman. Proverbs 21:19
Here we have a proverb about making a wise choice of our mate - or more specifically the wise choice of the right kind of wife. We see two words used to describe the wrong kind of woman, as well as one phrase used to describe what we will want to do if we choose one like this.
The first word used to describe a woman to avoid is the word contentious. This is the Hebrew word "madon" and it means one who is filled with strife and contention. This is a person always ready for a quarrel or dispute. These things come from a heart that is not right with God and a temper that is not under control. The man who marries such a woman will find that this contention, quarrelling, and strife will fill his home. There will always seem to be a problem - and that problem will lead to arguments and strong contentions. The home itself will not be a refuge - but a fight club.
The second word used here is the word vexing. This is the Hebrew word "kaas" which means vexation. This is a word we seldom use any longer - but it means to provoke someone to anger. The wrong kind of wife is one who herself is angry - and who seems to have as a goal provoking everyone else to anger as well. She is ready for a fight, which we get from the previous word - and she delights in being angry. What a difficult life this would lead to for the man who marries such a woman.
God then warns us what will happen if we marry such a woman. We will not enjoy living in our home. In fact we would choose to live in the wilderness than stay there. The stated New Testament purpose for a godly woman is to create a good home in which her husband and children can live. But when a woman is angry, bitter, and itching for a fight, such a home will not be possible. Her husband and family will prefer living in an inhospitible wilderness than that house - because the wilderness would seem far more hospitable than being with that woman in that house.
What a warning to us to choose our mates wisely. It is also a warning to go beyond how a woman looks to how well kept her heart is. Beauty will pass - and the vanity of looks will one day give way to the attractiveness of one's heart. In that day a man will know that it was a wise thing that he sought first a woman who feared God than a woman who was a physical beauty alone. Beauty is skin deep - but the ugliness of a wicked heart will torture for a lifetime.
It is a trap for a man to say rashly, “It is holy!” And after the vows to make inquiry. Proverbs 20:25
A wise man is one who when he makes a vow to the Lord keeps it. That is what is spoken of in today's proverb of the day. When the man in this proverb makes the statement, "It is holy!" he is stating that what he mentions is separated unto God. This was what the Bible refers to as making a vow to God. This may be a vow to give something to the Lord or it may be to dedicate a certain amount of time or even some relationship to God. Of course included in this situation is the vow of marriage as well.
Once a vow is made before God - it stands. We read of this warning in the book of Ecclesiastes, "When you make a vow to God, do not be late in paying it; for He takes no delight in fools. Pay what you vow! It is better that you should not vow than that you should vow and not pay. Do not let your speech cause you to sin and do not say in the presence of the messenger of God that it was a mistake. Why should God be angry on account of your voice and destroy the work of your hands? For in many dreams and in many words there is emptiness. Rather, fear God." (Ecclesiastes 5:4-7) Once the vow is made before God - all that is left to the one making it is to fulfill it.
Too often people make vows rashly. They make them in the midst of an emotional moment - with no thought to what it will take to fulfill the vows they made. I've watched in some youth meetings a speaker work up a group of youth into an emotional moment where he then asks them to make a vow. The classic that I've seen is to preach a message against dating - and then get all the youth present to make a vow not to date - unless it is the person they are going to marry. As I've watched - I wanted to scream, "Stop!" I wanted to get on stage and read this passage from Ecclesiastes as well as this one from Proverbs. Someone needs to warn these kids against making vows - especially when they are made either emotionally or rashly. When I do pre-marital counselling prior to a wedding I do everything I can to get the couple to realize the extreme intensity and solemnity with which they need to make their marriage vows to their spouse. Vows should NEVER be made lightly - or in all honesty - emotionally or quickly.
This passage in Proverbs states that the one who made these rash vows feels a regret for making them. But that regret comes at the wrong time. They "make inquiry" only after they have made the vow. They do not think before they make it - only afterward when the have to pay the price of their foolish vow. For many it is only afterward, when the emotions wear off, that they begin to see the cost of what they vowed. Unfortunately this is true in marriages as well. When things are sweet and romantic they make the vow. When things get rough and they learn that marraige is indeed for life - they ask their questions and want out. How many divorces could have been avoided if only the couple had of considered the LONG TERM aspect of getting married?
The wise man thinks and considers what he is about to do when entering into a vow. Solomon warns that in many words and dreams there is emptiness. All our emotion and strong religious words "in the mmoment" are honestly nothing more than empty promises. We are so prone to promise something in the heat of a moment that will not ever be carried out in the end. God is seeking to keep us from such foolishness here. He wants us to "fear God." What God is saying to us is that in that moment of power and emotion - be quiet! Get before God and humble yourself - seeking His face and listening. We want to pour out words - when it would be better to be silent and listen to what He is saying. Our response should be humble worship - not boastful vows. Humble worship and submission will do far more to bless us in the end. Vows tend toward pride and the thought we can do something for God. Humility and worship express the kind of dependence on God that will be blessed in that moment - and for a whole lifetime to come.
He who finds a wife finds a good thing And obtains favor from the LORD. Proverbs 18:22
"It is not good for man to be alone, I will make a helper suitable for him." These were the words of God in the garden before the Lord made Eve. This is why it is a good thing - and by the way, a God thing, that a man get married and find a wife. When he finds one - he has found a good thing - and has obtained favor from God. What I find interesting though about this proverb is that it does not say, "He who finds a good wife finds a good thing." Many would like for this passage to say this - but it does not. Let's look at this then for a few moments today to obtain wisdom on the favor God gives us when giving us a wife.
The Hebrew word for "finds" in this opening sentence is "masa" which means not just to find, but also to obtain. The word means mor than just stumbling upon something. The idea of finding here means that someone is searching for something. In this case what the man is searching for is a wife from the Lord. That is the key here. When he obtains one - it is a very good thing he has gotten. Think about the kind of wife God would have us have - especially if we find one that is according to wisdom. This woman would be of the Proverbs 31
kind - she would be a godly woman - and one who delights in her biblical role. This is why finding her is a good thing! Since good here means something beneficial - something that makes us happy, glad, and joyful - this is a lady that came to us from God as His provision for a wife.
When I consider this favor from God (Which is what we learn this lady is to her husband) I think of the way that one of my sons went about seeking a wife from God. The first thing he did was learn how to be satisfied with God - and with seeking God's ultimate purpose and plan for his life. As he did this, he learned not only about the gospel - but about the kind of woman God wanted to give him. He searched out the Scriptures to learn what kind of woman that God wanted for him, knowing that God's will would be the very best for him. In time he had a list of character traits he desired in a wife - and had also learned a list of character traits that God wanted him to have as a husband and father. As he sought the Lord for the grace to become this kind of man - he also sought Him for grace to be joined to this kind of woman. He is married now - and I can tell you that when you do things God's ways - God blesses wonderfully. I could not have hand picked a more godly, wonderful lady than the one that God gave to him. Watching the two of them walk together through life is one of my greatest joys.
But before I leave this proverb, I think I also need to address the other end of this blessing as well. Some marry in a way that is not so wise. They may read this proverb and decide that they were not blessed in having a wife. They may see their wife as a curse rather than a blessing. But, contrary to what they think, this lady in their life is a blessing from God. There may have to be some discipline - and some character development - but the fact that this woman is a blessing is nonetheless a fact.
A wife is a blessing in that she rescues us from being selfish and self-centered. A wife is a blessing in that her femininity helps to break off the harsh edges of masculinity that need work. A wife is a blessing in that she is a provision for our sexual needs - so that we will not turn to pornography or to fornication. A wife is a blessing in that she is there to be a companion in our journey through life. Whether you fully access these blessings and many more may not be nearly as much a problem with her as it is a problem with you! We are so quick to adopt the view of the world and "blame the old lady." But God gave you your wife so that by your example and your choice you would lead her. When you do not - things don't work so well. So a wife is also a barometer of your walk with God. If you are living selflessly and for the will of God, you will most likely have a happy wife and a good marriage. But if you want a woman to be at your beckon-call and to do and be for you everything you want . . . well, you didn't want a wife - you wanted a slave. God meant to give you a wife - and that is for your benefit . . . and your sanctification and maturity. This is why no matter what kind of wife you received from God - she is a good thing - and you have received favor. You may just need to have your eyes opened so that you can see her that way. And I can promise you by the Word of the Lord - that if your eyes are opened to see this beautiful lady God has given you the way you should - you will see her as His glorious blessing to you!
Let your fountain be blessed, And rejoice in the wife of your youth. Proverbs 5:18
A call to moral sanity will always involve a call to rejoice in marriage. In studying to comment on this passage I noticed an interesting dichotomy among commentators. Many shied away from speaking of sexual love in marriage when referring to things in this passage. They wanted to make all the allusions and word pictures within it refer to children instead. I found this a little sad, because between this passage and the entire book of Song of Solomon, God does not even remotely shy away from the subject of the joys of physical intimacy within marriage. In the past too many in the church felt to speak of such things was dirty or out of bounds. But in donig so we relegated the idea of physical pleasure in sex to those who engaged in it outside the bounds of marriage. Now I am not advocating that we go into explicit detail about such things, because God has informed us in Hebrews that we are to keep the marriage bed holy, but I am saying that where God's Word addresses such things, we should not be afraid to address them as well.
What we are encouraged to do here in this passage is to rejoice in the wife of our youth. We are told that to enjoy physical intimacy with our wife is to allow our fountain to be blessed. The fountain here is a picture of a life-giving source - and the blessed result of sexual intimacy within marriage is that children are produced - which continues the cycle of life. But God is not just speaking of having a child - He is speaking of the process of intimacy which is enjoyed within the sexual union of a married couple. He says that this should be a time when we are blessed. That means God, who made us sexual beings - and who also designed our sexual organs - knew that this was going to be an enjoyable act. He commands us here, through the father speaking to His son, that we should rejoice in the wife of our youth. It is clear that what is said in the following verses refers to love-making between a husband and wife. God wants that to be enjoyable.
Please remember though the context of this passage. This is a father instructing his son about the dangers of sexual immorality and warning him to stay away from adultery and from fornication. It is wonderful to see that in the midst of a talk on moral sanity that a father would tell his son that God's intent for sex is that it be thoroughly enjoyed within the framework of biblical marriage. This is sexual sanity - and it is ignored only to the detriment and hurt of those who do so. But for those who grasp God's view of sex - who see it as God intended for it to be enjoyed - this talk between father and son is wonderfully liberating. It lets us know that God did create sex - and He created the biological reality that sex is very pleasurable. But it tells us such things within the context of God's intent for sexual union. And that can ONLY be blessed within the bonds of marriage. Within that union there is no guilt, no STD's, no prospect of illegitimacy, and no sense of sin. But when we get outside the boundaries which God has set for sexual intimacy, such things abound. That is why it is so vital that we speak with our sons and daughters of such things - because to leave those topics to others is only to surrender them to the sexual insanity that now rules the greater part of mankind.
Drink water from your own cistern And fresh water from your own well. Proverbs 5:15
As David finishes teaching Solomon about the need for purity and faithfulness to marriage, he turns to several verses of instruction. He has given his son a command to steer clear of adultery, prostitutes, and sexual sin. He has given him very severe warnings about what will happen if he succombs to such things. Now he turns his attention to some principles by which his son should live. This is a call for sexual sanity in a world that knows little of it. These verses should be known and taught to men and boys everywhere. I fear that because we do not teach such things to our guys, we suffer greatly because of a lack of wisdom and direction in such areas.
Throughout this section David uses imagery to get his point across to his son. Most of this imagery is not difficult to follow, although there is some debate on it. Today's verse is pretty clearly speaking of being faithful to your wife. David tells Solomon to "Drink water from your own cistern." The cistern is a reference to a wife given by the Lord. Here Solomon is reminded to seek out his needs for sexual intimacy in his home, with his wife. David is saying to him, "Be satisfied with your own wife - and find fulfillment in your relationship and physical intimacy with her." As a man would drink water from his cistern and from the fresh water of his own well, so a man should enjoy the satisfaction of conjugal love with his wife.
Note that here we see this referred to as "fresh water" from one's own well. In the modern era we've seen the horrible effects of people drinking bad water. When a disaster takes place in the world one of the most oft seen diseases is cholera - which comes primarily from drinking bad water. Spiritual and relational cholera happens when we decide that we want to drink from the waters all over the streets - rather than drink from the fresh waters of our own well. We have also seen in the modern era the meteoric rise of sexually transmitted diseases which are running rampant in our world. Such diseases are completely unnecessary and can be avoided entirely. The problem lies in that mankind does not like the cure - sexual abstinence before marriage and faithfulness to monogamy within marriage. Because much of society has rejected such things, we endure over 35 incurable sexually transmitted diseases that roam almost unchecked in our society.
The simple counsel of a godly father to his son is the start of sexual sanity in our minds and in our lives. It is a guard against so many things that when loosed are a pandora's box of problems for us and for our nation. The onl way that we can begin to address all of pandora's evils is to have godly fathers once again arise and be first an example to their children - and then teach them by precept as well of God's ways and paths. In the day that this happens, we will begin to see a revival of sexual sanity once again in our homes, our community, and eventually our nation.