Have you found honey? Eat only what you need, That you not have it in excess and vomit it. Proverbs 25:16
Overindulgence is something to be avoided in life. Here we have an admonition to be careful when we find honey. This most likely refers to wild honey that is found in the forest areas around Israel. It would be much like the honey that Jonathan found after the battle with the Philistines in the forest. The counsel is to eat only what you need of this honey. The problem comes when our desire for something sweet and tasty goes beyond our stomach's ability to handle it. Then we will have a reaction from being too full - and we will vomit due to having an excess. But this proverb goes beyond a dietary warning and restriction. It refers to the problem we all have with excess in any area of life.
Having good things is profitable to us. It is when we allow these good things to go beyond where they should that good things become a problem - and possibly even an addiction. Moderation is wise in just about every area of life. To moderate ourselves makes us take time to consider what we really need. Yet, because of the fall of man into sin, we are no longer wired for moderation. We are wired for the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the boastful pride of life. That kind of wiring can get us in serious trouble. When we overindulge our desires - we can build that desire into something that we no longer control. Our desires control us. We see this in every kind of addiction. The addict can no longer control their desires. Their desires control them - and dominates them to the point of being able to command them what they WILL do. This leads to an "out of control" lifestyle - which becomes horribly destructive to the one caught in it.
The wisdom of God is to live life in moderation - especially when it comes to anything that flies in the "lust" zones of our lives. What is good can become what is overdone. When it reaches these levels it then can become that which makes us sick - sick in body, but also sick in our minds and our spirits as well. Knowing this the wise man approaches all things with a desire that they remain under the control of the Holy Spirit and the guidance of Scripture. This is how he avoids trouble that comes from fallen desires gone wild.
"Whoever is naive, let him turn in here," And to him who lacks understanding she says, "Stolen water is sweet; And bread eaten
in secret is pleasant." Proverbs 9:16-17
Up to this point we have only had limited information upon which to examine Folly's call to us. We have had to use our understanding and insight to see that such a call is detrimental to us. But when we come to verse 16 of this passage we no longer have the slightest doubt that the call to foolishness is a call to wicked, sinful choices and to a life embracing deception and lies.
"Stolen water is sweet." This is the statement that Folly offers to us. This is her advice to those seeking to make their paths straight in life. This phrase is actually saying to us that stolen water is sweeter than water that you have by normal legal means. We are being told that there is something about immoral, illegal behavior that makes the water taste just better than it normally does. The quest of stealing it adds something - maybe a sense of adventure and risk - that just drinking your own water does not provide.
There is a biblical allusion here that Keil and Delitzsch offer that is fascinating to me. A passage in Proverbs chapter 5 is mentioned where we are told to "Drink water from your own cistern and fresh water from your own well." (Proverbs 5:15
). What is counselled here is that drinking stolen water or water that is NOT from your own spring or well - is compared to adultery. If that is the case here in Proverbs chapter 9, then this passage explodes with meaning - and warning. Folly will encourge you to drink sexually from a fountain other than that of your own marriage. Adultery and fornication are being encouraged. Steal a drink from your neighbor's marriage - or from an unmarried woman's life - that kind of sex is far more sweet than being faithful to your own marriage. This is wicked counsel of the worst order! Whether or not this refers to stealing water - or adultery and fornication - either way, Folly is out to destroy us.
The second thing she says to us is that ". . . bread eaten in secret is pleasant." Here again Follly is saying to us that we need to be deceptive. Simply eating bread with family or friends is not enough. We need to be eating bread in secret - which intimates that we are doing something that necessitates hiding from others. Anyone with an eating or drinking problem will tell you that when you begin to hide your eating or drinking from others and do it secretly - you've got a serious problem. When I sneak a cookie - or buy some kind of food I know I shouldn't be eating - it is amazing how often I eat this food away from the sight of family - who lovingly would warn me that eating that way is not the healthiest choice for me.
The sad thing is that Folly is lying to us. She is saying to us that even the water and the food taste different when we sin in eating and drinking it. Normal living, holy living - is a drag - and only people who are boring live that way all the time. Live on the edge - do something out of the ordinary - live for yourself a little. These are the messages of the fool - and they are heard and heeded by other fools.
Amazingly - the truth is that God sees you even when you drink your stolen water - when you commit adultery in secret - or when you eat your bread hidden from the sight of others. God sees - and He will eventually expose you and show your folly. It is far better to live in open obedience - than to listen to lies that secret sin is better. This, though, is something about which we must absolutely warn our children. These lies WILL come to them and it would be much to their benefit to be able to recognize them as lies when they arrive. A wise father will take these things to heart and will take the time to faithfully teach his children to avoid them.
For many are the victims she has cast down, And numerous are all her slain. Her house is the way to Sheol, Descending to the chambers of death. Proverbs 7:26-27
Today we come to the end of our look at overcoming sexual temptation in chapter 7 of Proverbs. It ends with the father warning his sons one last time of the extreme dangers of the strange woman - the prostitute - the adulteress. Just a note to dads out there. This is the third time a warning has been issued to his sons by this father in as short as 18-20 verses.
First he refers to her victims as the mortally wounded. Many, he says, are the mortally wounded that she has cast down. The word victim here refers to those who have been mortally wounded in battle. The world would have us view casual sex as something pleasurable alone - the Word tells us that it is something far more deadly. It is part of the war to destroy men and women's souls. When they depart from the Scriptures - they find themselves wounded badly - mortally by it. It probably should be noted here that this primarily refers to a man committing adultery with this woman. Although any sexual sin is deadly, the sin of adultery is more damaging in the end. Most often it ends a marriage - and blows a family apart. Those who have been through a divorce and a divided family know very well the damage such actions cause in the home. But this is only one way that sexual immorality is dangerous. There is also the specter of sexually transmitted diseases. Consider the multiple stories of men who entered into adulterous affairs - only to find out later that they had not only contracted AIDS themselves, but they had passed their disease on to their innocent wives as well. In this case death is brought to an entire household. There are currently over 30 different sexually transmitted diseases that cannot be cured. Do we really want to swim in the cesspool of the world of ungodly, immoral women and men with the state of our collective societal health in such disarray?
But there are worse things than just the diseases that come from sexual immorality. There are the victims in the families - wives, children, and parents with broken hearts. Testimonies that have been destroyed lie fallen and trampled by the effects of actions taken in the moment of unthinking, foolish passion. The adulterous woman has seen numerous ones "cast down" in this way - and numerous slain because of the problems that have arisen in the end from the disease, the anger - even double murders due to one partner being so distraught that they first kill their spouse - and in remorse for their death - take their own lives. All of them lie slain due to the horrific effects of sexual sin.
last thing this man says about sexual sin and the place the adulterous woman takes men - is that there is an address where she lives. We are not talking about the physical address - wherever that is on the earth. We are speaking of the ultimate address - Death. Her house is the way to Sheol - the place of the dead. It is a house that is a descent into chambers of death itself. The word "chamber" here means a parlor or a room. It is not a special word - but when it is further described by the father - it takes on a very ominous sense. The chambers of death.
I am not usually a fan of some of the modern paraphrases of the Bible - but here both the "Message" and the "Living Bible" are paraphrased in such a way that they almost make goosebumps rise on my arms. Let me quote what they say about this last verse so you can read them and see a picture in your heads.
The Message says in verse 27, "She runs a halfway house to hell, fits you out with a shroud and a coffin." That is pretty expressive isn't it. She promises pleasure and sexual fulfillment - but actually she is just a pit stop on the way to hell. You think she is undressing you for a night of passion like no other, but actually she is just getting ready to outfit you with a death shroud and a coffin.
The Living Bible states verse 27 this way, "If you want to find the road to hell, look for her house." Can you imagine a road sign that does say "Main Street," or "Fifth Avenue," but rather - "Road to Hell." Would you ever even want to be near that street - that pathway? That is what the wise father tries to do for his son. He seeks to paint such gruesome pictures - he may even tell true stories of the horrors of sexually transmitted diseases - of homes crushed and destroyed - of lives that crumbled - all for the purpose of warning his sons. These are not just ways of graphically describing something - they are promises from God - warning signs for us along the road to sexual immorality and adultery. Ignoring them is just as stupid as ignoring a bridge out sign. May God give us first the wisdom to heed His word for our own lives - and then may He also fill us with the wisdom and the Spirit to warn our sons in a way that engraves the truth about such things deep in their minds - reaching even to the innermost parts of their hearts and spirits.
Now therefore, my
sons, listen to me, And pay attention to the words of my mouth. Do not let your heart turn aside to her ways, Do not stray into her paths. Proverbs 7:24-25
After giving a graphic description of the way a man falls into the trap of the harlot, the Holy Spirit gives a conclusion. God begins by having the father call for his sons to listen and pay attention. Here is a huge problem - and one I understand. Most people know the thing they should do about temptations to commit adultery or to visit a prostitute. The problem is not knowing - it is listening when someone is warning them. Very few of the sins of which I've been guilty were committed because I did not know the morally proper thing to do. They were committed because I was not listening to the warnings of the Holy Spirit as I was being tempted. They were committed because I ignored godly counsel that had been given to me.
The wise father reiterates the truth to his sons again and again. He doesn't just talk to them or lecture them - he calls them to listen as he speaks. The word "listen" here does not mean just having the biological functions of the ear working properly. The word means to listen so as to comprehend, to discern, to give earnest heed, to be diligent in obeying what is said. The wise, godly father knows about distractions. That is why he calls his son to listen diligently with a view to discerning obedience that flows from fully comprehending what he has said to his son. The second phrase he uses here as he speaks is this, "pay attention." This phase means to listen and pay attention so as to give heed and to obey what is said. Dads, be careful to gain not just your son's ears - but to aim directly for their heart.
The first thing that is said to the son is that he does not need to turn aside to her ways in his heart. There is the first problem when it comes to men who get caught up in sexual immorality and adultery. Their hearts are the first thing to go. This manifests itself first in seeing their hearts no longer being given to the Lord. In the third chapter of Revelation Jesus says to the church that they've lost their first love - that love that draws them to the Lord and has them belong to Him more than anything else.
I've seen this before in young people - old people - anyone who finds themselves drawn away to sexual sin. They start when they no longer have that passion for Christ. They turn to someone other than the Lord - looking for satisfaction - for something to fill their emptiness. They find that the Lord is not enough - and that they will actually find what they need in someone else. That is how a man allows himself to "turn his heart" to her ways. When his heart is gone - there is a real serious danger - because at that point he probably won't listen. It isn't too much to say - he can't listen - because his heart controls what his ears will listen to in life.
Once he has strayed in his heart from the Lord - and into her ways - then he begins to stray into her paths. He begins walking without the normal cautions that he would have naturally. But worse than this is the fact that he is walking without the guidance of the Holy Spirit. He is grieving the Holy Spirit so his warnings are no longer being heeded. This is a very dangerous place to be. When he does stray into her paths - there will not be the protection that he normally has. Thus - it will be that much easier to fall into sin.
Wise fathers want to speak to their sons about these things. They want to not just fill their ears with lecture after lecture. The godly father wants to gain access to his son's heart. He wants to lay the protections and the guard rails there. That way his sons know that the battle is for their minds first - and for the hearts most. I am not opposed at all to doing exactly what this father does - and that is tell a cautionary tale to his son - filled with truth - and with the consequences of not guarding their hearts against the wiles of the strange, adulterous, sexually forward woman. Share even frightening details of what the possibilities are when they sin sexually. You are not using fear when you do - but you are using wisdom and truth. These are the allies that are needed to win the war against sexual temptation.
Suddenly he follows her As an ox goes to the slaughter, Or as one in
fetters to the discipline of a fool, Until an arrow pierces through his liver; As a bird hastens to the snare, So he does not know that it will cost him
his life. Proverbs 7:22-23
For the past several days we've been looking at how to overcome sexual temptation through the example of a fool who did not. Today we come to the sad choice that this man makes to enter into adultery - and the terrifying way that it is described. Just a point of reference first though to remind us of the context of this passage. This is a father warning his son of these things - and doing so through a story of a man who did not walk in wisdom when it came to his sexuality. Dads . . . I know I am talking to you a lot in these posts - but it is only because your role as a father is absolutely critical. Please talk to your sons - and do so in an honest and straight forward way as this father does. Don't succomb to passivity in this role - because I can promise you that the world is not being passive in the way it is trying to deceive your sons in to the opposite choices for sexual immorality.
Suddenly seems such a strange word here - because we've watched this man act foolishly for quite a while now. But suddenly does describe the way men enter into the act of adultery. There is something intrinsic that resists adultery and sexual immorality in us. God has drawn a line in our spirits and souls - and it is one that we have to consciously cross to sin in this way. There is resistance all along the way - but when we push against those inner barriers - they give all at once. The choice to do this is a kind of all at once moment in our lives. We push and ignore the barrier - until it breaks . . . all at once. Then we follow our lusts into far more dangerous territory.
Note here that he follows her. Men, that is not the way that this is supposed to work. God calls us to lead women, not follow them. But far too often men are passive and allow women to lead them. Here, we watch a man ignore his vows, ignore the warnings of the Holy Spirit, ignore the intrinsic barriers to this sin - and follow a woman - into a sexual tryst. Unfortunately too many men have done just this - follow a strange woman sexually into sin. They are not leading in any way spiritually - they just follow where sin points them. But what is truly terrifying here is the picture that is painted for us of just where she is leading him. All along this passage seems to be building to a sex scene of monumental proportions. The flesh salaciously is waiting for the sordid description of the act itself - yet none will be given here. Instead we read that what this fool is doing is compared to an ox going to the slaughter. It is like waking up from a great dream suddenly gone bad. This is not a pleasure palace - but a poisoned pit! The is not ecstasy - it is the end! The ox is going to have his throat slit - be grabbed by the feet or impaled by a hook - and is going to hang thrashing until his death by bleeding out. What a picture of what a few minutes of forbidden pleasure has in store for us.
There are more pictures for us to have forever etched into our hearts about sexual sin. The second is that he is going to the discipline of a fool in fetters. The world lies to us telling us that when we give ourselves over to our fleshly desires we will be free - free from the fetters of a God who does not want us to experience pleasure. The truth is that the freedom is in marriage - with our wives. The bondage is in sexual immorality. The fool is first fettered - bound hand and foot - and then led to the place where he will be disciplined. That usually involved both a financial cost - and most likely 39 lashes upon his back with a whip or with rods. Sooo - how does sexual immorality look now?
The next picture is of a man whose liver is pierced with an arrow. The Hebrew commentaries on Scripture infer that this is a deer that is being pierced by an arrow. The pain of that injury is severe - and fatal - but please note something important to see with this wound. The liver is the organ in our body that promotes purity in our blood. It literally cleanses our blood each time it passes through the liver. But when this man enters into the adulterous relationship, he is being pierced throught the one organ that cleanses our life itself. Remember Scripture says that the life of anything is in the blood. Here the life of this man is being polluted by his sin. But this sin does more than just pollute - it pollutes while also doing great damage to our ability to be purified. Paul makes an amazing statement in 1 Corinthians 6:18
when he says, "Flee immorality. Every other
sin that a man commits is outside the body, but the immoral man sins against his own body."
Immorality is a sin against our bodies themselves. When we join ourselves to a prostitute or an immoral woman - we are damaging our very bodies. That is true physically through things like sexually transmitted diseases. But it is also true spiritually. I work with men - seeking to disciple them so that they will follow Jesus Christ. THE area I hear most trips men up is THIS AREA. That is why Paul's counsel in 1 Corinthians 6:19-20
is this, "Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body." God wants us to glorify Him with our bodies - and that means fleeing sexual immorality. When we do not - we are piercing not just our spiritual condition - but we are seriously weaking our ability to be cleansed and fight sin period.
Next is the picture of a bird actually running toward a snare. What a strange picture. A bird running to get caught and killed. But that is what a man entering into sexual sin is doing. He does not see the snare - nor does he recognize the camouflage. All he sees is the bait - and he doesn't even recognize it as bait. His lusts and desires are driving him and all he sees is momentary fulfillment.
The last statement made to us is a warning. The fool here does not know that this will cost him his life. Once a man commits physical adultery - there is radical change coming for him in his life. Don't lose all hope if you've sinned in this way, because adultery is not the unforgiveable sin. But, it is a sin that costs dearly. Ask David. He will tell you that it pretty much cost him the life he once knew. Everything was different after that. We need to see this as well. Once we enter into adultery - and even when we enter into sexual sin - everything is different. There will be a battle after that - and it will be a difficult one. That is why the father is going to such lengths to warn his son in this passage. He is trying to do everything in his power to help his son see that such a path is not just dangerous - it is fatal! May God give us fathers wisdom to look at our own lives, our own struggles, possibly even our own failures - and warn our sons diligently to beware of sexual sin. May we use the wisdom God offers to us here - and teach them the dangers of such activity - and hopefully rear a generation of young men who will be less likely to step into sin when facing sexual temptation.
With her many persuasions she entices him; With her flattering lips she seduces him. Proverbs 7:21
This is a summary statement of all that we've been looking at the past several days about overcoming sexual temptation - only in the reverse - learning from someone who did not overcome it - but succumbed to it instead.
Two things led to this fool's demise. First is that he allowed the adulteress to have the opportunity to have "many persuasions" in her time with him. This points to a simple, yet oft ignored, truth about the appropriateness of man/woman relationships outside of marriage. Too often as American's we scoff at other cultures who limit the amount of contact a man has with a woman. We tend to scoff at their emphasis on modesty in clothing too - for which we are double fools in this society. The fact is that there is an appropriate way for men and women to interact - and an inappropriate way. Let me explain.
Most affairs begin far from the bedroom. They start with the beginning of an inappropriate relationship between a man and a woman. These relationships almost always begin with one of the other starting to share the problems. With rapt attention the other listens - because usually they share a problem of intimacy with their mate. By intimacy I am not referring to their sexual relationship - but to the fact that they rarely talk any longer. This is due to the busy-ness of life or problems and barriers that have developed over the long-term of their marriage. Since neither of them are really working on this aspect of their marriages - they find someone willing to talk a wondeful thing. They do not intend on committing adultery during that first discussion - but nevertheless - they do enter into a man/woman relating to each other that is inappropriate. This builds as they share more and more - and reveal deeper and deeper levels of intimacy. At one point - sexual tension enters into their relationship. If they do not do a Barney Fife action (i.e. "Nip it in the bud!") they are now on a fast track to adultery. This is because it is not wise for a man to have a "best friend" that is a woman once he is married. In some ways this probably doesn't apply to long-term best friends of the past - although a wise man will shift this kind of friendship toward his wife. But to make a "new" best friend of a woman is never a wise thing to do.
There is another scenario here as well - and that is the fool who is already in trouble - who is kinda seeking another woman. This fool already has one foot in the grave - but he is quickly putting the other one in the longer he talks to the woman who is persuading him to have adultery. The wisest thing a man can do when a woman other than his wife makes any kind of remote advance is to run. The Scriptures tell us to "flee youthful lusts and pursue faith, righteousness, love, and peace with those who call upon the Lord with a pure heart." (2 Timothy 2:22
). The next wisest thing he can do is to tell either an accountability partner of the advance - or honestly - tell his wife. The second is the wisest choice. It truly nips this thing in the bud - and it lets his wife know that she needs to watch this woman. Don't be a fool and ever allow a woman to give any more than one persuasion to entice you away from God and from your marriage vows.
The second thing we see in this passage is that this woman catches this man with her "flattering lips." As I've written in another post - men have this thing called an ego. When we are wise to allow only our wives to stroke our ego - or allow recognition from colleagues at work to do this - or our children - we are being discerning. When we do this for even a moment with another woman other than our wives - we are allowing pride and utter stupidity to drive our ego. Believe me when I say that we do not want these things working in our ego for even a moment unchecked. This adulteress takes the time to say nice things about the fool. She strokes his ego with her flattery - which to be honest is something that might be lacking at home. That is why men give in to this trap. Let me help you for a moment. If this woman marries you after your current marriage is destroyed - and then lives with you as long as your wife has - you've got to know that she probably won't be flattering your ego much either! That is why we MUST grasp that these "flatteries" are nothing more than lies. When you hear them think of the cheese on a mouse trap. Looks awfully inviting - except for that snapping bar that will break your neck as soon as you take a bite. Flattery from a strange woman might not break your neck instantly - but know that the bar is coming at some point - and your spiritual and marital neck will be broken - possibly beyond remedy.
Men . . . I know that your ego will tell you that it's kinda nice to know that someone still thinks your handsome - wonderful - even sexy. But that little spark you felt in your heart when that happened is prelude to a forrest fire that will destroy beyond imagination. It is a lie - and it is going to be very destructive if you don't see it for what it is. It is cheese, brothers! It is cheese on a trap set to catch and kill you! Don't ever think for even a moment that it is anything less - because when you do - you are one step closer to that bar breaking your neck.
"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.