An All Too Familiar Trap

TrapYou can listen to the podcast here.

Last week Solomon reminded his son of the familiar theme to pay attention and listen to his teachings. If he’ll learn to control his body – his ears, his eyes, his mouth, and his heart, then he’ll find health and more accurately, healing for his body. We’re talking eternal healing. Stay on the straight path Solomon says, and all your ways will be established. This morning, Solomon moves into a conversation few parents want to have with their kids, but is desperately needed.

We’ll be in Pro. 5:1-14 and it would be great for you to grab your Bible and follow along.

Solomon warns us to avoid the trap, but before he does that, he covers some very familiar ground. Pay attention to wisdom. Listen and understand. When these two things are done, “You may observe discretion and your lips may reserve knowledge.” This is typical of what the father has told the son in the previous four chapters, but then there’s a total shift. It comes without warning and seems strangely placed here. Before we get to that, I want you to know that everything we need to live a life of holiness and godliness can be found within the 66 books of Scripture. No topic is off limits. Granted, some topics are much clearer as we read them than others. In the area we find ourselves now in, the Bible gives us what I believe is distinct clarity. The person that fails to heed these warnings is in for a rude awakening. Don’t be under the misguided notion that what is done between consenting adults is inconsequential. As a church we need to lovingly confront those false ideas and stick with the truth. Don’t assume that nice, proper Christian people are not inundated with sexual temptations. Don’t think it’s inappropriate for me to talk about. Failing to inform the church about the expectation and importance of sexual purity would be a gross failure on my part as pastor of this church.

Solomon says, “For the lips of an adulteress drip honey and smoother than oil is her speech.” That’s quite the word picture. To be certain, Solomon wants his son to understand the danger this type of woman represents, not only to the son, but to the very foundation of the family. This warning is more descriptive than other Scriptures that simply say don’t commit adultery. God is not shy about telling it like it is and He knows there are strong sexual temptations in the world. I think this is interesting because Solomon takes the time to explain the rationale. That’s why this is so important. Adulteress literally means other woman so she is someone other than the wife. You’ve got to notice the temptation is not only in the sexual arena. She uses her speech to flatter the man. Men, be very wary of women that are quick with a complement, that tell you things that build your ego, that give you the idea that she tells you things your wife doesn’t tell you and somehow your wife is lacking. Before you know it, you’re thinking, “My wife sure doesn’t appreciate me like she does.” There’s a difference in an appropriate compliment and one that falls into the category Solomon is talking about. There’s a difference between, “That’s a nice shirt” and, “That’s a nice shirt, it really shows off your chest and arms.” Men, I submit to you that if any woman tells you something like this, run straight to your wife and tell her. That’s how the adulteress begins. She uses flattering speech to draw you in.

That’s the beginning so where does it end? The end of the road is always the same for the married man that engages in sexual immorality. “But in the end she is bitter wormwood, sharp as a two-edged sword.” It’s not a good place to be. The word wormwood is used nine times in the Bible – 8 in the O.T. and once in the N.T. in Revelation. Every time the word is used it represents a bitterness or sorrow. What appears to be an exciting secret shared between two people leads to a place no one wants to go. Look at vs. 5-6. That’s hardly the anticipated outcome. It’s not that she’s lost although that may be true. The idea conveyed here is that she is a deceiver; the path she promises will not only not come true, but the very opposite will happen. Remember what was said in Pro. 2:19: “None who go to her return again, nor do they reach the paths of life.” She is a predator, not a victim. It’s not just women, Ps. 55:21 says, “His speech was smoother than butter, but his heart was war; his words were softer than oil, yet they were drawn swords.” David was referring to the pattern of his enemies, those that sought to destroy him. This woman has no thought to life, has no ambition, no thoughts for tomorrow. She’s unstable and doesn’t even know it.

Repetition is the key so check out Solomon’s reiteration. He gives the familiar repetition when he says, Now then, my sons, listen to me and do not depart from the words of my mouth.” Now for emphasis he says, “Keep your way far from her and do not go near the door of her house.” Take an alternate route. The overarching idea is that if you give in to temptation, if you fulfill the desires of the flesh in this illicit manner, then consequences will come. Read vs. 9-10. The exact people referred to by the terms others, cruel one, strangers, and alien are not known. All the words are masculine so they don’t refer to the adulteress herself. It could refer to any number of men that may or may not include  the adulteress’s husband. You just can’t be sure. What we can be sure about is what’s going to happen to you. Read vs. 11-14. In context, groan is an inarticulate sound conveying deep pain and despair. That’s what’s going to happen at the final end. Is this the end of life when you have to stand before the Judgment Seat? We can’t be certain because Solomon uses the phrase, “flesh and body” rather than refer to the soul too.

As we continue to read, we get a bit more insight. The one that engages in this type of immoral relationship will eventually come to the conclusion that they should have heeded these great instructions. Not just the ones in this passage, but all those that come from the mouth of God. We see some hope though. Verse 14 says, “I was almost in utter ruin in the midst of the assembly and congregation.” We could view this as a public denouncement of behavior. If we identified the adulterers among the church, I’m absolutely certain we would be deemed intolerant, judgmental, cruel, and just plain mean. In the church, we need to be somewhere between The Scarlett Letter and pretending that it doesn’t happen. The Old Testament ruling for this is found in Deut. 22:22, “If a man is found lying with a married woman, then both of them shall die, the man who lay with the woman, and the woman; thus you shall purge the evil from Israel.”

If we heed the warnings, cautions, commandments, and instructions of Solomon, we’ll have a far easier time staying on the right path. God never disciplines us for obedience. Maybe you find yourself in the midst of what Solomon is warning us about. There is hope. If you think you can never be forgiven or be used of God, think again. No sin is too great for God to forgive. Confess it and receive cleansing from Christ.

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