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.
Proverb a Day
Each day, we'll take a look at a verse from the chapter of Proverbs for the day. Our hope is to gain wisdom each day - and from that wisdom - to have understanding to make godly decisions in the throes of everyday life.
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