In this verse of Proverbs we continue with a look at the ways of the harlot. There are things said here that will probably offend those who have adapted too closely to our culture. The things that I say today can be very incidiary, yet they probably need to be said. Let me issue a disclaimer before I begin commenting on today's proverb. These things are true of the harlot in this verse. Because you may have some of these tendencies it does not automatically make you a harlot - just like having some tendencies that are present in a mass murderer does not automatically make you John Wayne Gacy. But, when we see the things in our lives it should at least make us pause and ask the question of why they are there - and - if they are hindering our testimony of Christ.
The adulteress comes to meet her man. This is the first thing we see here in this passage. At the risk of sounding like I come from the stone age, I'm going to make the observation that married women should not be seeking out men. This woman is also seeking out and meeting a man while her husband is out of town. I'm not suggesting that a woman stay in her house and not go out until her husband comes home, but I am saying that wisdom tells me that married women who are seeking the company of another man are placing themselves in a position similar to that of the harlot. There was a day (back in the dark ages) where it was considered improper for a married woman to be seeking the company of another man. But those were back in the days when marriages lasted and the divorce rate was far lower than it is today. Why would we want to return to a time like that?
The second thing we read here is that the adulteress is dressed as a harlot. Oh, here we go into the whole concept of dressing modestly. Well . . . you can dress modestly. I'm not suggesting that a woman dress herself in a burka or that any kind of current clothing is out of the question. But what I am stating is that the Bible does speak to how a woman should dress. There is a way that harlot's dress - to excentuate their figures and to draw a man's eyes to their curves rather than to their face. If you dress this way it does not automatically mean you are immoral - but it does mean that your dress does not reflect that of a woman of godly character. It probably also means that you are a stumbling block to brothers who are seeking to honor God by not looking at a woman with lust in their hearts. Since I have several daughters I have dealt with the attitude that says, "Well, maybe the problem is that guys shouldn't be looking!"
To that I say, "Amen, they shouldn't!" But then I also answer that biblical love means doing what is best for others - not just doing whatever we want. It means dressing in a way that will "help" your brothers - not in a way that makes even the church a place where they have to be dealing with how women dress. Modesty does NOT mean setting hem lines and shorts lines by some legal decree. I've seen plenty of dresses and shorts that meet those requirements, yet still draw a man's eyes away from the face to the figure. I also have daughters that have different body types that make it very difficult to find anything that merits someone's legal dressing code approval. But there are certain things that a woman should avoid in dressing herself if she wants to honor God in her appearance. One principle that usually works is that of avoiding tighter clothing and clothing that accentuates her curves or clevage. I think the best passage dealing with this is where God speaks of how a woman should clothe herself with good works befitting of a woman who desires godliness. If you live like that your "heart" will be addressed, which will probably do far more to keep you out of immoral clothing than any list could ever do.
Since I've mentioned the heart, that is the difference here in how we view this woman. Our passage tells us that this married woman who is meeting a man, who is dressed as a harlot, does so with "cunning of heart." The intent of her heart is cunning. She has plans and designs on this man - and they are not good. In the end, a woman's heart is the place we need to look. Unfortunately there are numerous women who might be a little indiscreet - or who would be wiser if they would adopt a more modest way of dress. But they are not dangerous in the end, because even though they may lack wisdom in these other areas - their heart is not filled with cunning or ungodly plans. This woman though is very ungodly. She has plans - and they involve sexual immorality and adultery. She is meeting this man and is dressed in this way for the purpose of seducing him. She doesn't care what the Scripture has to say about being wise - about modestry - even what it has to say about adultery. She is going to sin - and is set in that direction. The issue of the heart is paramount.
For the man who sees these things there is also a lesson. When you see these things - avoid this kind of woman. Be suspect of women who want to come and meet with you. Learn to value the kind of woman who is not just modest in her dress - but who is also modest and discreet in how she approaches men. Be careful and do not let your ego blind you to these things. The pride in a man might look at such issues and sidestep the warnings of wisdom in his heart. He might enjoy having a woman take interest in him. He might secretly enjoy the fact that a woman dresses to arouse in him feelings and desires that cannot be gratified scripturally. He might even enjoy the danger of a woman who is hunting him and showing him such attention, even if she is married. But such a man is a fool! Warnings are given to us to warn us of consequences that await us if we do not wake up and smell the danger. It would be far wiser of us to see such things and make godly choices that might be judged as somewhat victorian by our own society - but which are judged as very smart by a holy God.