In chapter 7 of Proverbs we are examining the adulterous woman. As we do this we are learning to contrast her actions and lifestyle with what the Scriptures call a godly woman to be. This particular verse may wind up being controversial in what it teaches us. But that is only because we don't teach what the Scriptures say to the women in the church any longer due to the effect of the doctrines of the women's liberation movement. Now that I've opened the proverbial can of worms - let's take a look at today's verse in Proverbs.
One of the descriptions of the adulteress is that she is not at home, but instead is all over town. She's in the streets, the squares - and then we read that she "lurks" by every corner. First let's deal with the fact that she is all over town. The Scriptures teach us that a godly woman is a "worker at home." In Titus 2 we read that the older women should be teaching the younger women to love their hustands, love their children, to be sensible, pure, kind, and workers at home. The church has moved away from such teaching because the women's lib movement has made enough noise to make such teaching uncomfortable in today's society. We are considered "out of touch" if we teach such things. We are told that we should realize that a woman can do anything a man can do - and that she should be liberated from her enslavement to the dungeon of the home.
What I find fascinating is that Paul begins this section of his letter to Titus by saying that he is to "speak the things which are fitting for sound doctrine." This is not a matter of cultural preference - but a matter of sound doctrine. When we do not teach these things in the church - in the way specificed by Paul (i.e. the older woman teaching the younger women) the end will be that the Word of God will be dishonored. The other thing I find fascinating is that for all the so-called liberating that has been done for women - they are still finding that they desire husbands and children. They still find the greatest satisfaction (as well as the greatest challenge) in loving a husband and loving their children. Where this is happening we are also finding that there is the greatest stability provided for children and society to flourish.
The adulteress is not for this lifestyle of staying at home - or at least seeing her life's work there with her husband and her children. The Hebrew here is so descriptive. With short phrases we read that she is now in the streets - then now in the squares - and as she lives this jet-setting life all over town - she tends to lurk by the corners. What is being said is that she is not content being in the home. She wants her own life and her own way. Hopefully we are learning from Scripture that the worst thing for us is to constantly "get our way." This woman does not want the home-based life - the family-based life. She wants to be out and about - doing and being everywhere. She's in the streets and in the squares - and we should note that it seems that nothing of any real use is being accomplished. She's just hanging out - out of the home. This is NOT good for a woman - or - for a man for that matter.
Now before someone begins to protest that I'm suggesting that a woman be a slave to her house - I want to offer a few comments here on the godly woman. Proverbs 31 presents to us the godly woman. When you read that passage you come away with anything BUT a woman enslaved to her home. She is out and about at times - but not without a purpose. She is out and about doing things for her family. She is out and about serving her home. You would probably see her in the streets and squares as well - but not just "lurking" about by every corner. She is accomplishing things - buying and selling - getting things for her husband and her children. She is overseeing servants who work with her to make her house into a home. The problem is not being out of the house - it is being out of the house for no real apparent reason.
We've got far too much "hanging out" going on in our society. Too often our men, women, and children are living their lives to "hang out" rather than to accomplish something. Ever notice that those who are "hanging out" tend to get into far more trouble than those who have a purpose and are "getting out" to accomplish that purpose?
This is the fundamental problem with the adulteress. She is "lurking out" rather than "living out." Let me explain. When we "lurk out," we are wasting our time with no real purpose in view. Actually those who "hang out" and "lurk out" are saying that they are either looking for something to do - or - they don't have anything to do. Because this is their situation, they are going somewhere to "hang out." Believe me that when this is your normal mode of life - you will eventually get into trouble. An idle life is the devil's/flesh's playground. Spend enough time with no purpose and no place to go - and the flesh or the devil will begin making suggestions. Live like this and the world system (which is under the devil's control) will offer a direction - and it is a bad one. For the adulteress woman (as well as the fool she seduces) her time spent "lurking out" looking for something to do - it ends in the sin of adultery.
We need to "live out" our days. What I mean by this is that we learn to live in God's will - fulfilling His purposes for our lives. This is a life spent seeking to know God - and follow what He desires for our lives. When we live like this, we will go out like everyone else. But the time we go out will be spent accomplishing the things God desires for us to do. There will be a purpose to our going out. We will be "living out" the will of God. We will be living to bring glory to God as we take the time He's given us and put it to good use. In the end His purposes will not just keep us out of trouble - they will be lived out to where we have a life filled with purpose and meaning. This is a far better way to live than just "hanging out" or "lurking out" to see what the world, the devil, and our flesh bring us to do.
Wisdom is living a life. Wisdom is a life lived on purpose. Just hanging out will turn to just lurking out - and just lurking out will be a life lived for the wrong purposes. Be wise and live life on purpose - God's purpose.