I find it not only interesting, but also highly instructive to see that God addresses the issue of sexual immorality several times in the opening chapters of Proverbs. Far from being a book that is out of date and not in step with the times, the Bible is very instructive to any generation that would pick it up and seek to learn from it. The current verses from Proverbs 7 read more like a script from a soap opera than they do the Bible - but that is the dig isn't it. The Bible does address the core corruptions of man - and does so with amazing clarity and color. That is why it can be so instructive if we will listen.
This all starts innocently enough. The writer is looking out of the window of his home - through the lattice in the window to see what he can see at night. Again, typical evening in a typical town anywhere in the world. But that is where things, unfortunately in a typical fashion, become not just interesting, but instructive.
He sees one "among the naive," one of the simple-minded ones. This is not a compliment - this one is simple-minded because as we will continue to see, he is NOT wise. As he looks he begins to discern something about this young man - he saw deeper than skin deep - and what he saw was not good. This was "a young man lacking sense." The word sense is interesting. It means he lacked heart - he was wanting and very needy - this young man did not have a heart for God - and his heart was in great need of change and transformation. When we get involved in sexual immorality we are among those who lack a heart for God. We are unwise and simple-minded to miss the danger in turning from God to our own fallen hearts. If we are going to stand against the wiles of the devil and those of the world, we need a heart for God. The fact is that these attacks - those that entice our flesh and our eyes and the pride of living our lives as we want - are some of the wicked one's most effective advances. It will take a heart that is regenerated and renewed to stand in these moments. And that is not what this young man possessed. Therefore we continue to read of his demise.
We see what a heart that is not turned to the Lord does here. It may not run directly into sin - but it definitely does not take the principled road either. He takes his journey in a bad part of town - at least a bad part for those with sexual immorality issues in their lives. He does not flee sexual immorality as the Scriptures advise. He decides to "pass through" the street near to the immoral woman's house. He wants to flirt with evil - probably thinking he can handle it in the end. The fact is that he cannot handle it - and as he walks near her house - he suddenly finds that he is taking the way to her house.
Here is wisdom for us in regard to sexual immorality. Stay FAR from temptation. There are times when temptation will come to you - and that is unavoidable. But for the vast majority of life - our proximity to temptation is a matter of our choice. Now, just because you are near to temptation does not mean you will succomb to it, but the closer you get to sinning - the more likely you will choose to sin. The wise man steers clear of the harlot's house. He stays away from the woman who flirts with him. He avoids the loose-moraled women of the world. But this young man reveals his total lack of discernment by heading near her house.
Here is a piece of advice that will pay off for you if you will heed it. When you have a problem with an area of temptation, stay far away from it. When you have the thought that you can go near it - or you have a strong urge to go around it - put that thought out of your mind. This is the prelude to failure and acting out. God will not lead you "hang around" temptation. In fact He instructed us to pray that He would NOT lead us into temptation. When this young man took the way near her corner - he knew within that she would be there. Secretly - at least at a heart level - he wanted her to come out and meet him. To make such a calculated mistake is to make provision for our sin - something the Scripture expressly forbids.
Some may read the previous paragraph and accuse me of prejudice and judgmentalism toward this young man. How could I make such strident comments about him? I make these comments because this young man is not fulfilling Scripture - he is ignoring it. Why would he make such choices? Why would he make them when it is twilight? There is a reason - a twofold reason. First, he has every intent in the recesses of his heart to walk in immorality. Why else would he go out near her house after the sun has set? Why would he wait until dark? Another thing we might not be aware of too is that this was the time when prostitutes and women of this type would go out to ply their trade among men who left their morals elsewhere. To go at this hour to this location was the height of folly - and the prelude to disaster as we see later.
This young man lacks heart - that is the estimation given to us in verse 7 of this passage. He lacks the heart to stand firm in God's ways and avoid the pitfalls of his own flesh. He starts on a journey near her home deceiving himself of his intention to meet her. He gives in quickly when she arives to deceive him. He is not dealling with his core corruptions - not being honest with himself that he is planning on being sexually immoral - and he is not being true to God's standards even as he sets out on his unwise course. The attitude of one avoiding sin is absent in his mind. If it was he would know that the wise man views sin as a plague - as a deadly wild beast whose only desire is to catch and devour him. If that were his mindset - he would have fled this scene instead of having walked into it. May God give us grace to do the same!