There are three things which are too wonderful for me, four which I do not understand: the way of an eagle in the sky, the way of a serpent on a rock, the way of a ship in the middle of the sea, and the way of a man with a maid. Proverbs 30:18-19
In today's proverb of the day, I want to expound on what the Bible teaches is the perfect way to understand a woman. This is especially the case when a guy is trying to woo the woman to be his. There are a set of inescaptable rules and things you have to do - and if you do them - you will win any woman you approach. Those who have not yet detected the dripping sarcasm in this first statement on today's proverb - I need to let you in on the fact that I am not using dripping sarcasm - I am using sarcasm that is running like the Mississippi River at full flood stage. Any man who has gained any wisdom on the topic of women and how to understand them perfectly knows that such a body of information does not exist. If it did - and the women of our world learned of its existence, they would immediately change their behavior in such a way as to make the author of that book truly look ridiculous.
Today's proverb uses a common Hebraism of relating a series of things together that have a common thread. It was common to have people speak of three things that had common elements - and use them to relate to the fourth, which is the true focus of the proverb. Here, we see that the true focus of this proverb is that of a man with a maid. What the writer is telling us is that the way of love between a man and a woman is something that at some level will have to be left as a mystery. The typical, "Men are From Mars, Women are From Venus" mentality that overflows from our societies' bookshelves, will break down eventually. Regardless of the number of degrees held by a psychologist or psychiatrist, no one knows everything there is to know about relationships between men and women.
God tells us through this writer that there are three things on earth which were wonderful to him - and even four which he does not understand. The science of our day would proudly announce that they have solved these mysteries by explaining the flight of the eagle by a sophisticaled grasp of Bernoulli's Prinicple. They would equally pride themselves on an understanding of neuromuscular and skeletal activity to explain to us ignorant pleebs the way of a snake on a rock. They might laugh at our utter simplicity and stupidity by explaining to us the principle of water displacement that allows such a heavy ship to float in the middle of the sea - and would enlighten us as to how to harness the power of the wind and sails to propel the ship through water.
I am very grateful for the things that investigation and the disciplines of science have helped us to understand. But for all the wonderful discoveries that I do enjoy - the one thing I have come to despise is the arrogance of scientists who seem to think that the whole concept of wonder either doesn't exist any longer. Or they feel that those who express poetic wonder, as the writer of proverbs does here, are simpletons. That I've grown to hate - because a world without wonder, awe, and mystery is a world that overflows with the overbearing pride of fools who no longer realize that though they were to pursue it for a trillion lifetimes - they will never fully grasp all that there is to understand about the universe. Honestly - it is not just the universe they will misunderstand - but the joy of life itself - which they will want to reduce down to a formula or two.
The eagle flies on the wind - and can rise and fall with it for hours having never to flap its wings. Its ability to do this while staring at the sun (with special eyelid covers which keep it from going blind) ultimately is a wonder and a mystery to me. The way of a serpent on a rock - its seemingly safe and sedate look - which can instantly turn deadly in a moment. The fact that something so deadly - cannot survive without heat - and how it draws it from the rock as it bakes in the sun one moment - and the next the snake hides in its shade to avoid being dehydrated and burned to a crisp is wonderful to me. To see a massive boat - even those in our day that are made of mutiple thousands of tons of steel (which doesn't have the capacity to float on its own) sit in the ocean, bobbing up and down in the water which would sink it within minutes were the hull to be pierced - is still amazing to me. And all these principles that men have discovered and proudly named after themselves - who designed the world so that these things would be true? Ah, to have mystery is to still live in a world of color and astonishment.
Now to the way of a man with a maid. I've discipled enough young men and women to know that this is something I'll never fully grasp. How the most logical young man I've ever known can pretty much lose his mind and all of his logic because of a young woman who captures him with a single glance from her eyes - yeah, there's a formula for that! Love is something science has tried to quantify - even measuring pheremones and electro-magnetic impulses - but has failed miserably in trying to do so. These things are for the most part unexplainable - and wonderful. There is wisdom that will guide us in them - but not to the point of missing the creativity and glory of God in the process. There are principles that we should follow in pursuing a young lady - and others that the young lady is wise in maintaining as she runs just long enough and slow enough for the young man in pursuit to catch her (but not until he wins her and commits to her for life). The thing is that in the midst of the principles - in the midst of the pursuit - we don't ever need to lose the wonder and joy of a blush - of a heart that is ready to explode from emotion - or of a heart-sickness in having to be away from the one we love. To lose those things would be to lose our humanity. A wise man knows that losing that means losing something that mere science can never replace. God meant for some things to simply inspire wonder, awe, amazement - and honestly - a sense of God and His glory in this world.
Now then, my sons, listen to me And do not depart from the words of my mouth. Proverbs 5:7
Wisdom is something that should passionately be spoken to our sons. It is something they should hear from us with a sense of urgency and importance that should ring from what we say to them. If we do not speak with this kind of passion we may have our children go the way that the son in laws of Lot went.
We read in Genesis of this sad event in Genesis 19:14, " Lot went out and spoke to his sons-in-law, who were to marry his daughters, and said, "Up, get out of this place, for the LORD will destroy the city." But he appeared to his sons-in-law to be jesting." Unfortunately for Lot - a passionate plea to late seems like little more than a bad joke. The lack of passion concerning the immorality and ungodliness of the people was palpable. He rarely spoke out, though his righteous soul was tormented by their behavior. But Lot decided not to speak too stridently about sin in his day. The result of his lack of conviction about the sin that ran rampant in his town was that no one took him seriously when he came with a warning about God's judgment. He never seemed too disturbed about the sin before - so maybe he was overreacting to the situation at hand. In the end the men who would have been his daughter's husbands laughed him off - and were destroyed when the fire and brimstone fell from heaven.
This is why we need to speak with the passion of this father. When he says, "listen" he uses the word that speaks of listening to obey. He wants his words regarded, heard, and followed. When he says, "do not depart" he uses languate that is strong. The idea behind this admonition is like a military leader urging his troops to not desert him or quit fighting. Strong words are employed by this father to call his sons away from sexual immorality. Do we use words this strong when speaking with our sons on such issues? Do we use any words? Do we even speak with them about such things?
Our sons need us! We live in a day of loose morals and lying promises. The morals of our day are loose because our nation has abandoned the words of the Lord. Schools forbid us from speaking such things to students. In the places where an abstinence message is allowed - a Scriptural one is forbidden. It seems almost insane to keep such a message from our young ones considering that over 40 different incurable sexually transmitted diseases run rampant in our society. But the real danger, according to our lawmakers, is that someone might harm them by speaking a religious message to them. What is allowed more and more is the lying promises of our soceity. Safe sex is promoted - with the thought that they are going to be sexually immoral anyway. The problem is that the so-called safe sex message relies primarily on condoms - which have a 1 in 6 failure rate. Their message of safety is about as effective as playing russian roulette with a six shooter. Come on - there's only one chance in six someone is going to blow their brains out! Keep your morality off of our pistol! We'd consider such talk sheer insanity if it were uttered to our kids about playing russian roulette. But for those who offer the same message with an incurable sexually transmitted disease - well, that's open thinking and progressive education. Honestly . . . sounds like a gathering of idiots to me.
Dad's - this was NEVER to be a matter handed over to school and governmental officials. Sex education and far more importantly sexual morality was and still is to be taught by a father to his son. That way we can not only teach them about their sexuality as a gift from God. We can also let them know of the perversion of it by the Fall - and the dangers that come from ignoring the Word of God.
And you say, "How I have hated instruction! And my heart spurned reproof! Proverbs 5:12
Pride goes before a fall . . . into sexual sin. This entire chapter is a father's advice and counsel to his son. The issue which is being discussed is that of sexual immorality - with an emphasis on the adulterous and immoral woman. Toward the end of his instruction Solomon tells his sons that there will come a day when their aduiltery will be brought to light by God. When that day happens, we are told that the one who followed after these sins will not be truly repentant. Instead he will speak of how he hated all that teaching about adultery being sin. He ignored all that garbage that the Bible had to say about morals. He will say it even as his life is in shambled about him - due to his sexual immorality.
The two words used in this verse are instructive to us about what our attitude becomes toward God's call for holy living. The first word is "sane" which means to hate. The word means to loathe, dislike, and even despise another, their actions or their words. Here the sexually immoral man hates the instruction of the Bible on sex. He also "spurns" reproof. The word for "spurn" is the Hebrew word "na'as" which means to revile, reject, and scorn. This word has the idea that the one doing this is very unhappy and angry as they do this. Thus when reproof comes their way - they can spew angry and unhappy words as they hate what they are hearing. I've had the unfortunate responsiblity to confront people about sexual immorality - and have faced the vitriol that comes toward those who dare to speak against the spirit of this age, which fully embraces a full and free expression of sexuality without any limits.
A quick look at the Biblical record of people who were given over to sexual immorality shows that they were very rebellious to the message of God's Word. Whether that was an appeal to the Law of God - or the appeal of one of God's prophets, they hated when they were rebuked. Just like this passage says, they spurned God's reproof and would not listen to the teachers God sent them. Sexual sin blinds us to the truth - and the further we go into it - the worse that blindness becomes. All that is visible is the desire for more that knaws at those who reject the morality God calls us to follow.
God warns us in Romans chapter 1 that ignoring His commands concerning sexuality, (Which are simply this - sex is only acceptable in a marriage relationship between a man and a woman - all other sexual activity - heterosexual immorality, monosexuality, or homosexuality are sin) ignoring them is sin. When we reject this - God gives us over to our sin - first in more bondage to fornication heterosexually - and eventually to homosexuality, as a sign that we are further being given over to our sin. What is a little frightening is that by the end of Romans - we have a society that has rejected pretty much all that God commands - and heartily approve of others who live as they do - rejecting God's way. There is a steady move away from God, away from listening to Him and His Word, and away from any kind of teachable mindset.
A wise man sees far enough into a sexually immoral lifestyle to know that it will hurt him in many ways. We've seen from prior verses that health and relationships are destroyed by it. Now we see that one's relationship to truth is greatly harmed by it - as well as their relationship with the God Who gave His Word to us. Some think they can tinker with immorality without consequence to their relationship with God. After reading and looking at today's proverb - the wise man knows better, and instead submits himself to God's Word. The stakes are just too high to ignore what God says here.
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.
She does not ponder the path of life; Her ways are unstable, she does not know it. Proverbs 5:6
Here is another in a list of warnings given to the man who would think of committing adultery. It is part of the description of the adulteress. Before I go into this particular verse I do want to make a comment or two for the ladies. This passage does describe for us the woman who either leaves her husband to have sex with another man - or a single woman who enters into relationships with married men and thus is committing adultery with him. I do not in any way want you ladies to think that any man is receiving a pass here. This passage is dealing with this issue from the perspective of a warning to sons. Fascinating that this warning comes most likely from David to Solomon - two guys who learned much from the wrong side of this issue. David's warnings to his son Solomon were for the most part unheeded in the end - and Solomon's sin was the undoing of Israel. So you can see that the cost of mistakes in this area are great. Fortunately for us - the grace of God and His forgiveness are greater. Nevertheless - a whole host of problems come when a young man is foolish enough to be ensnared by the adulteress. Oh, and ladies . . . the greatest snare for him is not the woman herself - but his own lusts that wage war in his soul. His greatest battle is with godly self-control, obedience to the Scriptures, and not living out of his flesh as a source. But, with all this said, it is a wise father who speaks to his son about these issues - even if it is from hard lessons learned.
The adulteress, like anyone who is willingly cooperating with sin, is not watching for eternal things. The passage states in the Hebrew that she is not watching the path of life. The actual Hebrew word here is "palas" and it means to ponder or to calculate the weight of something. One of the ways this word is used is to weigh out a path and see what it will bring to us in the end. The adulteress is not thinking about eternity - about the judgment of God at the end of life when according to the Bible, all men and women will have to give an account of their choices and actions. The word "ponder" here does not mean just a casual thought - but to stop and think seriously about something. She is not thinking about where her actions are taking her. This is kind of a "duh" statement considering we just read a verse earlier that her feet are swiftly moving towards death and her very steps (indicating a direction taken) are taking hold of the place of the dead. Think about this for a moment. Does anyone who is entering into sexual immorality seriously stop and think about the diseases they are opening up to in their lives? Does anyone entering into adultery seriously stop and consider the havoc coming in their marriage - in their family - in their children's lives? There is not a lot of pondering going on here. Honestly, what IS going on is actions based on lust and desire. Sexual immorality usually involves shutting the "ponderer" down and living by the impulses of our flesh instead. It involves shutting down our brain and our spirit - and thinking with our loins instead.
The adulteress also is unstable. The word for unstable here means to stagger and walk crooked. It has the idea of someone who is swaying in and out of a path. Rather than ponder and consider the path of life - she is wandering and staggering off the road. Jeremiah 14:10 uses this same imagery to indicate that there are those who love their wandering. God told Jeremiah, "Thus says the LORD to this people, 'Even so they have loved to wander; they have not kept their feet in check. Therefore the LORD does not accept them; now He will remember their iniquity and call their sins to account."' This is the same sentiment we sing about in the hymn, "Come Thou Fount" when we say, "prone to wander, Lord I feel it; prone to leave the Lord I love."
This speaks of a "willful" wandering. The adulteress though, is wandering not toward sin with the assurance of God's gracious discipline. She is willfully wandering toward a yawning abyss without seeing its gaping jaws. Her ways are unstable - wandering - staggering toward destruction - but she does not know it. So althought she promises so much through her offer of pleasure, albeit illicit. She does not know even herself where it is eventually leading. For the man foolish enough to be attracted to her wiles and follow her into sin - he simply is walking hand in hand with her to that yawning abyss with its gaping jaws - so step in and be devoured.
Pretty scary description here isn't it? That's the point that David is trying to drive home to young Solomon his son. Remember, David wound up killing Uriah as well as several other soldiers by proxy - had his daughter raped by one of her half brothers - had that son killed by another son (who used his proxy methods to accomplish the deed) - had 10 of his concubines raped in public by his son on a rooftop in front of the entire nation - and had that son die in an effort to usurp the kingdom along with all the soldiers who fell in that battle as well. Kinda cost David far more than he thought to have that one night of hidden passion? Maybe David was wanting Solomon to ponder more than he did - to avoid a similar fate? Maybe whether from success or failure in our moral lives we should do the same with our sons and daughters as well?
My son, give attention to my wisdom, Incline your ear to my understanding; Proverbs 5:1
"Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears." This was the way Shakespeare began the speech of Mark Antony in Julius Caesar. It was a cry for people to listen and to pay close attention because something very important was going to be said. Proverbs has its own soliloquies as well - but they come from the mouths of mothers and fathers to their sons and daughters. This is how the father begins his speech to his son - by calling him to listen and to pay close attention to what he is going to say.
Give attention, pay heed, pay attention, listen is what the father is saying to his son. But he is not calling him to attention to just anything - he is calling his attention to the wisdom that the father shares with him. Wisdom is the familiar word "chokmah" in the Hebrew meaning which means not just seeing or knowing things from God's perspective - but having a skill and experience in using this wisdom to make moral and practical decisions. We are not to turn the education and en-wisening of our children over to others. That is what western culture has done too often. We turn our kids over to the school - even to their Sunday school teachers and youth leaders. Let them teach our children wisdom - that's what they're for right? WRONG! They are there to only add to and embellish the core teachings that should have come from us. When we do not do our jobs as parents - believe me - no one else can make up for it.
The father calls his son to bend his ear close when he speaks and when he instructs. "Incline your ear" is like Shakespeares, "Lend me your ears," comment. It is saying to the son that he needs to stretch out his ears - bend them toward what the father is saying. He is to extend and lean his ears to what is being said - but even more to that - to understand his father's words and see how they apply to all of life! We talk about how the younger generation is leaving the church. They are leaving because they see very little relevance to their lives from what is being taught. They see the Bible as stories told to them when they were little - as an antiquated book that no longer applies to today's world. Why? Because they did not hear from dad - nor see in dad a daily pursuit of the truth - as well as a daily understanding of how that truth applies to making decisions in the everyday life that he leads. Of course they are going to think it is of little value. Oh, but when a father teaches his children these things - calls them to listen and bend their ear close as he instructs them. When dad reveals to them a life lived from the perspective of God and of Scripture - that - dear brothers and sisters is a life that will call a son to follow. That child will value what he has heard and SEEN in his father. He will listen because he has SEEN how important this book - the Bible - is to how his father lives. That, my brothers is how we recapture this generation. We do so by living according to God's wisdom - then calling our sons to listen as we recount time after time when that wisdom guided us through the minefields of life. What is the particular "minefield" that the father is so intent on teaching to his son? It is the minefield of sexual immorality. He is talking to his son about women - actually about a certain kind of woman - the immoral one. He is also sharing much wisdom with his son about the battle that will ensue when he deals with women like this. He does not hide such things from his son - he teaches them honestly and very straight forwardly. This is not something that is relegated to the sex ed teacher - it is something the father teaches his son. I'm about to say some things that will probably offend some - while at the same time making others shout for joy that someone is saying them out loud. Sex education was meant to be taught at home and in the church. Never was this meant to be a topic brought up without very clear moral underpinnings. If you look at the first 9 chapters of Proverbs you will see that this issue was raised BY THE FATHER to the son several times. God intended for a godly father to teach his son about sex - and about the pitfalls of being a fallen male in this world. The Bible is not squeamish on the matter of sexuality. It faces it head on - sharing general teaching, instruction, warnings, as well as cautionary historical examples of sexuality running wild and causing great destruction. I've long held that if the whole Bible was ever to be put on film - it would carry at least an R rating. The perils of heterosexual sin, homosexuality, and perversion are not hidden from us. They are displayed in such a way that we see their destructive power and desire to avoid them. Dad, are you teaching your son these things? Have you sat down and taught him about his sexuality - with a proper moral foundation underneath so that his sexuality does not run rampant and destroy relationships and possibly even his health and welfare? Because the church has not stepped out in front on such issues - and because fathers have not taught their sons and instructed them in how to wisely deal with their sexuality - the world has taken over. The result is sexuality taught without biblical morality. How's that working for us so far? Have we brought about a safer, wiser, more responsible sexuality among our children and youth? It has been a disaster because teaching sexuality without morality has led to a sex-crazed society that has cheapened sex and made it accessible and acceptable in every situation. Dads . . . YOU are responsible for how your son and daughter views sexuality. If you do not teach them the truth - they most likely will not know it. The television and movies will not tell them about such things within a biblical context. Magazines and books won't do it either. They will promote the perversions of sex passed on by our society and those who view sex as an anything goes activity - just so long as you use protection. Fathers! Nothing will protect your child from the dangers of unbiblical sex. There is not a condom or a safety device made that protects the heart and the spirit from the devastation and destructive power of sin. May God grant us a revival among fathers - that we will call our children to listen - and we will talk to them frankly and honestly about their sexuality. May we also give them a godly, biblical framework in which to enjoy their sexuality as God intended. If we do not talk to them and teach them - I can promise you others will who have no intention of offering them the greatest protection we can have in sex - the wisdom of God.
He will die for lack of instruction, And in the greatness of his folly he will go astray. Proverbs 5:23
Moral and sexual sanity has as its ultimate goal that we experience the fullness of God's life - and that we stay on a path that will bless and keep us safe. The father reminds his son of these things as he closes his teaching time with him.
The sexually and morally insane will not listen to instruction. They will walk into things that will eventually kill them because they will not listen to those who seek to teach them God's way in life. I know that some roll their eyes when I reiterate this, but to be sexually promiscuous in our day is to roll the dice as to your health in the future. Our world is unfortunately a cesspool of sexually transmitted diseases. The one sure way to be safe in regard to these infections is to abstain from sexual activity before marriage, and then be sexually pure and faithful in marriage. Anything other than these two choices will place us in aposition of danger when it comes to getting a sexually transmitted disease. Not listening to this kind of advice and teaching will put us as risk of dying because we lack instruction, or rebel against it. One of the very real problems that we have in this area is the fact that a large number of parents do not take the time to instruct their children with God's Word in these areas. But to leave such instruction to the public - or private schools is an abdication of our biblical responsibility as fathers! Dad, are you really willing to leave the moral instruction of your children in the hands of the world system - that is steadily opposing the morals and principles of Scripture? It is our responsibility to teach our children the truth and the way of God - and that includes their sexuality and how they interact with the opposite sex.
The second thing the father has to say to his son is that there will also be some who will go astray from the teaching and instruction of the Lord because they are fools. We read that some will go astray due to the "greatness" of their folly. It is not that they are in danger of being fools - it is that they are grand fools! In the West some speak of the Playboy lifestle drawing reference to empire of immorality that has thrived under the leadership of Hugh Hefner and his family. This man and his daughter lead a company of fools into all kinds of immorality, disease, and destruction because of how they urge men and women to abandon moral sanity and live for their unbridled sexual desires. The idea here is to cause someone to go astray, to err, to wander, to make a mistake - and to do so under the deception of arguments that are contrary to the Law of God. That is what the father desires to deliver his son from with all this teaching. He is presenting the truth to his son about his - and other's sexuality. He wants him to know that this is a gift from God - but that this gift is to be preserved and guarded until he can give it to his wife for a lifetime. Anything other than this is a lie - it is THE lie - and it will draw his son away - deceiving him and bringing him into an errant lifestyle, an errant sexuality, and a way of walking that will eventually bind him hand and foot and keep him from following the Lord with all his heart.
Dear brothers and sisters, this is why we need to instruct our sons and daughters with the truth - with the Word of God. Because to do anything less - is to leave our children completely unprotected and liable to an attack from the enemy that will devastate them, their marriages, and many generations that will unfortunately follow in their footsteps - just like ours has since the 1960's when free love was advocated. Unfortunately for us we are learning the hard way that their "free love" was anything but free. It has cost us for 4-5 generations - paying the same price we were warned it would make us pay by a father who tried to instruct his son thousands of years ago. May we see these things - may we heed these things - and may God give us grace to teach our current generation the way of moral and sexual sanity. May we return to the Word - to the Lord - and to a life lived not forour unbridled lusts - but for His glory and an honorable sexuality.
His own iniquities will capture the wicked, And he will be held with the cords of his sin. Proverbs 5:22
Part of the reason that a father needs to teach his son about moral and sexual sanity is that without it - his son will be trapped and enslaved by his own lusts and by the sexual sin that runs rampant in our world. That is what today's proverb wants to teach us - that sexual sin by its very nature is something that will capture and enslave us if we allow it in our lives.
The father tells his son about the one who allows his sexual sin to run loose in his life. He says that "his own iniquities will capture the wicked." Let's look at that phrase piece by piece to see what is teaches us. First we see that we are pointed toward personal responsibility for our actions. It is not the sin of the harlot that captures the sexually insane. It is HIS OWN INIQUITIES that will capture and enslave him. Too often guys want to blame women for their sins. If the ladies would dress more modestly . . . if the ladies would be more discreet . . . if women wouldn't flirt. There are so many different things we can try to do to shift the blame away from ourselves - but the fact still remains - that our own iniquities are what are going to capture us. We cannot blame anyone else for the state of our heart or the choices that we make in life. The fact is that we will have to give an account for every one of our own actions. Sexual sin begins with a choice in our hearts and minds - not in the actions of anyone else. So what if women dress immodestly - don't look! So what if women are not discreet and flirt with us - ignore them and pay them no attention. At the root of ANY SIN is a choice by the one who committed it to act in that way. So the teaching here is simple - DON'T CHOOSE TO SIN.
The second thing we see here is that these iniquities are a trap. We read that these sins will capture the wicked. The word for "capture" here is the Hebrew word, "lakad" which means to capture or catch something. It speaks of seizing something - like a city or an individual. The nature of sexual sin is the nature of the snare or the trap. The bait is the woman and her looks or her flattery. The trap is the sex or the lust itself. When we choose to look in a sinful way - or to act on lusts within us - the trap snaps shut and we are captured. In a way the father is trying to get his son to see the trap in sexual sin. The last thing we see here is that the trap and the bondage is for the wicked. There is a very clear moral choice that we make when we choose to commit sexual sin. That is a choice to depart from righteousness and instead walk in the way of the wicked. The father is emphasizing this so that his son will have a very clear sense of warning to stay away from situations and from acting according to his lusts.
The father closes this verse with a very scary picture. The wicked man will be held with the cords of his sin. The picture painted by the dad here is of a man whose hands and feet are tied fast with ropes or cords. He cannot move. But the picture here is speaking of sin as the cords and the ropes. Every time he sins - he simply adds another rope - another cord that ties him down. They are tightened with each new instance and with each new foray into the kind of sexual behavior that is outside the bounds of Scripture. The more the young man yields to temptation and sexual immorality, the more he is held fast by new cords and new ropes that bind him ever tighter. Were it not for the Lord's ability to deliver us from our sin and our choices - we would have no hope at all. That is why the father employs such graphic pictures which which to warn his son against such immoral behavior. Such choices have very serious consequences. And it is these very consequences which the father desires to deliver his son from - delivering him from bondage and from shame.
For the ways of a man are before the eyes of the LORD, And He watches all his paths. Proverbs 5:21
As was said yesterday, this is the main reason why the father is taking the time to counsel his son on the issues of moral and sexual sanity. Our ways are before the eyes of the Lord - or said another way - GOD SEES ALL THINGS.
This has to do with the very nature of God. God is Spirit - and therefore can be all places at all times. This truth has to do with God's omnipresence and omniscience. God's omnipresence means that God is everywhere. There is not a place in the entire universe where God is not present. In Psalm 139
David wrote of this when he said,
Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence? If I ascend to heaven, You are there; If I make my bed in Sheol, behold, You are there. If I take the wings of the dawn, If I dwell in the remotest part of the sea, even there Your hand will lead me, And Your right hand will lay hold of me. (Psalm 139:7-10
The idea of God's omnipresence is communicated when David tells Solomon that the eyes of Jehovah are on the ways of men. God watches our paths. David knew this because he thought no one was looking when he committed adultery with Bathsheba. God was looking - and he watched David's path into sexual sin. The day came when God sent one of His prophets, Nathan, to David to confront him openly about what David thought he had done secretly.
The other doctrine that we see here is that of God's omniscience. God knows all things. He knows when we sin - and he knows when two people have agreed to get together and commit adultery. There is nothing that we can hide from Him - because He is God! His power and His might are unparalleled - but so is His presence and knowledge. There is NO limit to either of these things. Therefore, it is wise for us to remember this about Him - and act accordingly. This means understanding and knowing His Word, which reveals to us His heart on moral and sexual matters.
Here is a verse that should help to guide us when it comes to the matter of moral and sexual sanity. Paul wrote to the Thessalonians about the need for each one of them to possess their own vessel in Ssanctification and honor. Here the vessel is themselves - and especially their sexuality. Here is what Paul said,
For you know what commandments we gave you by the authority of
the Lord Jesus. For this is the will of God, your sanctification; that is,
that you abstain from sexual immorality; that each of you know how to possess his own vessel in sanctification and honor, not in lustful passion, like the Gentiles who do not know God; and
that no man transgress and defraud his brother in the matter because the Lord is the
avenger in all these things, just as we also told you before and solemnly warned you. 1 Thessalonians 4:2-6
God desires to sanctify us - and part of that sanctification is helping us to maintain moral and sexual sanity! We are to carry ourselves and our sexuality in "sanctification and honor" rather than in "lustful passion." When Paul later says that we should not "transgress and defraud his brother in the matter," what he is speaking of is adultery. The brother we transgress and defraud is the one whose wife with whom we've had adultery. Paul then gives us a promise in regard to this - that God will be the avenger in this matter.
God sees and knows all - and as a result we should be wise and fear Him by turning from sin - especially sexual sin. This is not just a warning from a parent who is a little overprotective of his or her child. It is God, knowing our frame and our weakness - and warning us about how sexual sin can take us captive and destroy our lives. But I believe at the root of this admonition is not just a negative warning - but a positive one as well. If we know that our ways are before Jehovah - and that He is watching our paths - we can turn to Him in time of temptation. We can cry out to Him for deliverance and for strength to stand. We can know, as Scripture tells us, that no temptation that has overcome us is not common to man - but God will provide with it a way of escape so that we may endure. He is there - and when faced with serious sexual temptation we need to turn to Him, listen to Him, and in the process shut out the voice of the devil. He truly is there - not waiting to smack us upside the head - but waiting to meet us and strengthen us so that we may stand - and having done everything - to remain standing!
For why should you, my son, be exhilarated with an adulteress And embrace the bosom of a foreigner? Proverbs 5:20
The father in this passage poses an interesting question to his son. He asks him why should his son be intoxicated with an adulteress' beauty - and why should he embrace the bosom of a foreign woman? For the person who frequently commits adultery or fornication - this may seem like a strange question. Their answers may range from a Samsonesque response like, "She looks good to me," to a more common response, "It is between me and her - and it is no one else's business." I would like to address this passage and these kind of comments with today's proverb of the day.
First off we need to address what the father is saying here. He is asking a rhetorical question to his son. This is not asking his son truly why he would do this, rather he is placing the rhetorical question before his son - knowing that he knows, and the son knows the answer to the question. The answer is that he should not be doing this - it is harmful and damaging to him - and to his future. Next, I want to address the whole idea of intimacy and sex.
One of the words we use to state someone has had sexual relations with another person is that they have been intimate together. This term presupposes that sexual activity should involve a far more intimate relationship with another person than normal. But if we are referring to this passage - we see that all that is happening here is sex. The father speaks of the "adulteress" - which means the strange woman. He also refers to her as a foreigner. Why would we engage in behavior that speaks of intimacy - with someone with whom we are not actually intimate? The answer is that we want sex - and desire it only to gratify our lusts. Our hearts honestly are not engaged in any kind of intimacy - and we are turning sexual relations into a selfish, self-centered thing where we get what we want. That is why there is an embrace with someone with whom we are far from intimate.
Here is another question to offer at this point. Why embrace a foreigner - a strange woman whom you do not know? Are you even sure that she is healthy? Does she have a sexually transmitted disease you are going to be infected with in this sexual act? We live in the age of AIDS and also more than 35 other incurable STD's. Do you not care that you may catch a disease by engaging in your adultery. There are far too many women and men who have caught STD's simply by not knowing the one with whom they were having sexual relations.
Let's talk about how this kind of behavior turns us into little more than animals gratifying our sexual appetites. Why would you embrace the bosom of a foreigner? Just to get a sexual release? Are you seeking out sex for sex sake? This leads to all kinds of addictive behaviors. It needs to be said that when you are seeking sex from people in relative annonymity, the ways in which you are harmed by such contact are myriad. Do you really want to pull any kind of intimacy out of sexual intimacy? Do you want to be driven by a sex drive and the call of your flesh wanting gratification without responsiblity and love?
But there is an even more compelling argument to what the writer of Proverbs is saying here. It is found in the next verse. And that is the FACT that the eyes of God see all things - and that God knows every path that we take. We may choose to hide ourselves in the midst of our sexual immorality, but know this. God sees everything that is going on - He knows it. We will get into this tomorrow in the next verse - but one of the most important reasons why we should NOT become sexually active is that God will see everything that we do. There is no hiding from Him - and there is no way to get around the fact that we will face problems - and will face judgment and discipline from Him. But that is a subject we will explore further tomorrow.