William J. Stewart | Lessons from the Book of Proverbs
Every child, at some point will have “the birds & the bees” discussion. If parents are not willing, there are several others ready to inform children about sex; the school system, the internet, their friends, etc.. Solomon understood this was his responsibility, and so we have Proverbs 5. Parents, you do not want the school system teaching your children about sex. They will not teach what God says. The internet is a bad teacher on the subject. Google searches with the word “sex” in them do not return godly instruction. And no disrespect to young people, but I remember being a kid, and I wouldn’t want my children to learn about sex from my childhood friends. Neither should children today be learning this important topic from their friends. It is a parental responsibility.
HER STEPS LAY HOLD OF HELL
…the lips of an immoral woman drip honey, and her mouth is smoother than oil; but in the end she is bitter as wormwood, sharp as a two-edged sword. (Proverbs 5:3-4)
Sexual immorality, like almost every other sin, has an appeal to it. Satan is masterful in his ability to tell a lie, and some folks are happy to participate in the deception. The immoral woman of the context can be a harlot, but the principle is true in whatever setting sexual immorality presents itself. The temptation will have appeal, it is sweet and smooth. Yet the end is no so. Solomon describes bitterness, death and hell.
The wise king pleads with his son not to ponder her way of life, not to adopt it for himself. It leads to condemnation. Further, her ways are unstable. If someone is OK with sexual immorality, what other wicked activities might they approve?
Though the instruction is true for any illicit sexual activity, it is specifically adultery that Solomon has in mind (v 15-19). We’ve all heard of, maybe even seen (but hopefully not been part of) the situation where a man cheats on his wife (or vice versa) and leaves to be with his new lover. Aside from the fact that it is an unlawful relationship, what confidence can he have in her? She had no respect for his marriage; does he really think she will be “faithful” to him? “Her ways are unstable; you do not know them.”
DO NOT GO NEAR THE DOOR OF HER HOUSE
Remove your way far from her, and do not go near the door of her house, lest you give your honor to others, and your years to the cruel one… (Proverbs 5:8-9)
Paul warns about making provision for the flesh (Romans 13:14). There are certain sins that can be avoided simply by not being in a certain place. This is part of Solomon’s solution for his son. Don’t go near her door. Avoid it, pass by on the other side, take a different route. However it is accomplished, don’t go near her door.
If he does go, if he does yield to the temptation, Solomon lists just a bit of what will come to pass…
…lest you give your honor to others…
Reputations are destroyed and character is tarnished when we invite sin into our lives. Even by going near her door, he opens a door to suspicion. We should avoid the very appearance of evil.
…your years to the cruel one…
A single sin can open a door in our lives for more and more wickedness to reign. We do not want to give Satan control in our lives.
…lest aliens be filled with your wealth…
In the book of Ecclesiastes, Solomon said it was right for a man to enjoy the fruit of his labours (2:24-25; 3:12-13; 5:18; 8:15). How sad then for his wealth to be swallowed up by the wicked (identified as “alien” or “foreigner” in the text, not a matter of nationality, but of faithfulness to God).
…your flesh and your body are consumed…
There is no sin that will do our bodies good; it always destroys. In particular, sexual sins invite diseases and in general, a lifestyle that tends towards shorter lives.
In verses 12-14, Solomon gives a sample of what his son might say, if he chose the path of the immoral woman. It would not be for lack of instruction, since his father was very clear on the dangers. Again, sexual immorality, like all sin, leads to death. It is best to stay away from it; but for those who have followed the path, may they cease and repent before it brings total ruin.
REJOICE WITH THE WIFE OF YOUR YOUTH
Let your fountain be blessed, and rejoice with the wife of your youth. As a loving deer and a graceful doe, let her breasts satisfy you at all times; and always be enraptured with her love. (Proverbs 5:18-19)
In the latter portion of our text, Solomon encourages his son to be satisfied with his marriage. His own cistern, his own well, his own fountains are not for strangers, but to be shared with the wife of his youth.
It is important to maintain interest and passion in marriage. A man’s wife should be as loving deer and graceful doe to him. He should be enthralled by her beauty. It is right that he find sexual fulfillment with her and she with him. Husbands and wives must cultivate their relationship, they have a responsibility to one another to build their love. If things are well at home, one is unlikely to pursue an immoral relationship.
As the wise king draws this chapter’s instruction to a close, he gives a couple of reminders:
- God sees what we are doing. We might be able to hide what we do from others, but God sees all.
- We cannot participate in sin and expect not to get caught in it’s web. Sin will entrap us, and if we do not turn away from it, it will damn our souls.
May we refrain from iniquity, and have a focus for good.