The latter end of our days. The consequences of our actions not after a few moments - but a week later, a month later, a year later, a lifetime later. This is what verse 11 of our proverb today is calling out to us today. It is a challenge to think beyond the moment when we make choices. It is a challenge to think longer in to our future and consider where our choices are going to take us.
This chapter of Proverbs deals primarily with the adulterous woman and what she will do to the poor schlub who decides to engage in sexual immorality with her. So far this proverb has told us of some very harsh consequences that will come to the one who does this. We've seen so far that we will give our vigor to others (11), we will give our years to the cruel one which is a reference to the devil (11), the divorce that will likely come will end up having us send our goods to the house of someone else (12), and we will watch strangers be given the money we've earned with our strength (12). These are pretty difficult things to handle - but now we see that the latter end of our lives will be bad. The term "final end" is only one word in the Hebrew. It is the word "acharith" which means to the end of the matter. It has to do with having the wisdom to see what the final end of something is going to be. According to today's proverb, our latter end - our acharith will be that we will groan as our flesh and body are consumed. Let's take a look at what that may mean for us.
The rabbis speak about this passage and beleive it speaks to a problem with disease. When you engage in sexual immorality it opens you up to the world of STD's that run rampant among the sexually active crowd. I just took a few minutes to peruse the CDC website on sexually transmitted diseases and it was frightening to consider how many in our society are infected already. What is even more frightening is that these are statistics from those who report that they have STD's. Some experts believe that these numbers would at least triple or quadruple if we knew everyone who is truly infected. Most of these diseases do not have an immediate effect on someone, but just about every one of them have devastating long-term problems that come with being infected. This is what we would expect when we read what God has to say about sexual immorality here in Proverbs. It is at the latter end of your days that you find your flesh and body consumed by the consequences of your actions. It is a sad reality though that when these things begin to strike, we will groan because of them. The groan mentioned here refers to a groan or a growl - even a roar could be the meaning. What is being communicated to us is that the pain involved here is pretty excruciating. If you've ever seen or heard of how someone dies of AIDS or syphilis, it is not pretty. But this is what awaits those who indulge in sexual immorality very often.
Wisdom is this - God's way in sexuality. He desires for us to reserve ourselves for our husband or wife. He desires abstinence in singleness and faithfulness in marriage. If our society were to adopt these practices we would watch STD's plummet in number - and eventually be gone from our world. But the truth is that fallen men and women engage in sexual immorality. The result therefore is that we have a world that is unfortunately running wild in a very dangerous area - and that the infection rates will continue to rise. May God give us wisdom to avoid being one of the statistics and hold fast to God's way. May we also be wise as fathers in instructing our children - especially our sons as to the true dangers that are out there for the sexually immoral one.