Today: [Proverbs 5] Avoiding Sexual Sin. In Proverbs 5 Solomon has the inevitable conversation with his son regarding sexual temptations. We live in a hedonistic society that confronts us daily with seductive images and salacious influences. These cultural elements unfortunately have crept into the social settings of the church. How many times have you been in a Christian setting and experienced, or saw something taking place that seemed totally inappropriate? Whether it was an activity or the way someone was dressed – your heart was grieved and you knew something was amiss. Christian culture is greatly sexualized even in the area of leadership and platform etiquette and activities. Solomon’s words to his son in this chapter hold great insight and wisdom to help you and I be a part of the solution and not part of the problem in regard to this difficult issue.
[Pro 5:1-23 KJV] 1 My son, attend unto my wisdom, [and] bow thine ear to my understanding: 2 That thou mayest regard discretion, and [that] thy lips may keep knowledge. 3 For the lips of a strange woman drop [as] an honeycomb, and her mouth [is] smoother than oil: 4 But her end is bitter as wormwood, sharp as a twoedged sword. 5 Her feet go down to death; her steps take hold on hell. 6 Lest thou shouldest ponder the path of life, her ways are moveable, [that] thou canst not know [them].
The word for discretion in verse 2 is used 19 times throughout the scriptures. The English definition of discretion is: “the quality of exercising good judgment and distinguishing propriety and beneficial courses of action…” The Hebrew word is “mezima” meaning to “have a thought, to plan, consider or purpose…” Using discretion is as much about what you do NOT do as it is what you actually do. Solomon is speaking to a young man exhorting him not to be led like a sheep to slaughter – without pausing to consider the end result of an unchaste action.
The kind of temptation that Solomon is cautioning against here goes far beyond a temptation to give in to illicit sexual attraction. In popular culture both in ancient times and today the marketplace is driven by titillation and seduction. Outward appearance, sexualization of youth, even the very young is common today and for the most part runs completely unchecked in our society. Yet as Solomon points out – the end of this path is as bitter as wormwood and sharp as a two-edge sword.
Even in church circles seduction and sexual innuendo is common. I remember a lady who told me she was removed from the worship team of her church for such reasons. The church invested in video equipment and was rebroadcasting the worship times to a larger audience. Nothing wrong with this – as promoting the gospel and the spiritual life of the congregation is a laudable activity. However, after the cameras were employed and broadcasting scheduled, this particular lady was removed from the platform and taken out of the worship team. Upon inquiring why the pastor stated flatly that she was overweight and didn’t project the image physically that matched the appeal they were going for in their programming and presentation of the worship team. In other words they were employing the “sex sells” strategy even when it came to worshipping the Lord God.
7 Hear me now therefore, O ye children, and depart not from the words of my mouth. 8 Remove thy way far from her, and come not nigh the door of her house: 9 Lest thou give thine honour unto others, and thy years unto the cruel: 10 Lest strangers be filled with thy wealth; and thy labours [be] in the house of a stranger; 11 And thou mourn at the last, when thy flesh and thy body are consumed, 12 And say, How have I hated instruction, and my heart despised reproof; 13 And have not obeyed the voice of my teachers, nor inclined mine ear to them that instructed me!
If we look at the negatives of promiscuity and loose morals in the example of womanhood that Solomon is describing and warning his son about – where is the antithesis. It isn’t enough to point out what is wrong, but what positive example from the scripture can we give? What is the example we can give of a godly woman? We can look at Proverbs 31 but we will wait for that until we reach that chapter. In 1 Peter 3 we find a passage that speaks directly to a description of a godly woman and it touches as well upon physical appearance and conduct of Christian women toward the opposite sex:
[1Pe 3:1-5 KJV] 1 Likewise, ye wives, [be] in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives; 2 While they behold your chaste conversation [coupled] with fear. 3 Whose adorning let it not be that outward [adorning] of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; 4 But [let it be] the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, [even the ornament] of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price. 5 For after this manner in the old time the holy women also, who trusted in God, adorned themselves, being in subjection unto their own husbands:
As a woman when was the last time you were witness to a conversation between 2 women that was anything but chaste? The word “conversation” there also means behavior. How does a woman have chaste behavior? The word chaste equates to “clean and modest”. Why is this such an important thing? The ancients were so intent on this issue that they completely segregated men and women and eventually fled to the deserts to wall themselves up in cloistered monasteries so as to avoid the temptations of being in the company of the opposite sex. In other words the early church found it so challenging to disciple regarding this issue that they opted out altogether and fled to the deserts in total surrender to the fact that they couldn’t deal with this issue.
Out of this came the vows of celibacy and chastity that went far beyond what God intended. With the vow of celibacy came the thinking in Christian philosophy and theology that you cannot be married and truly serve God completely. This is completely false. However, there are considerations that women (and men) need to consider in their conduct toward one another. Here are few things to consider:
1. Focus as much (more) on the inward than on the outward. Peter said let your adorning not be focused so much on outward appearance as it is on inward character.
2. Men are stimulated by what they see. We are visual. As a woman God never expects you to mask or hide your beauty but there is to be a recognition on your part as a Christian woman that your appearance has a profound effect on men in your presence. Your cleavage, your hem lines and curves have a formidable impact on your male counterparts ladies, and your wardrobe choices should take that into consideration.
3. Peter also encouraged what he called a “meek and quiet spirit”. Again, as a woman you are designed by God to connect with a man at the most vulnerable points of his person. Remember Adam who without hesitation took the forbidden fruit from his wife without registering so much as a suggestion that perhaps they were doing the wrong thing. Ladies, you have powers of persuasion that can bring out the best and the worst of the men in your life. Use your powers for good and godly objectives and keep yourself in check because there are times that because of your sway over your man – that he will simply not do so.
4. Peter concludes is remarks in 1 Peter 3:5 encouraging this example of feminine godliness – pointing out that the holy women of old (such as Sarah) were in subjection to their own husbands. Very, very few men or women are called to be single for Jesus. Paul complained that many were choosing to delay marriage and thus exacerbating wantonness in the early Christian communities he was charged with the care of. Notice also that Peter says these women subjected themselves. It wasn’t a command imposed on a man to brutalize his wife with unfair treatment. It was a caution to godly women to realize the power they held over the men in their lives and an exhortation to be aware of it and keep themselves in check in this area.
14 I was almost in all evil in the midst of the congregation and assembly. 15 Drink waters out of thine own cistern, and running waters out of thine own well. 16 Let thy fountains be dispersed abroad, [and] rivers of waters in the streets. 17 Let them be only thine own, and not strangers’ with thee. 18 Let thy fountain be blessed: and rejoice with the wife of thy youth. 19 [Let her be as] the loving hind and pleasant roe; let her breasts satisfy thee at all times; and be thou ravished always with her love. 20 And why wilt thou, my son, be ravished with a strange woman, and embrace the bosom of a stranger? 21 For the ways of man [are] before the eyes of the LORD, and he pondereth all his goings. 22 His own iniquities shall take the wicked himself, and he shall be holden with the cords of his sins. 23 He shall die without instruction; and in the greatness of his folly he shall go astray.
Verse 14 reveals to us that the community of believers is no more exempt from the perils of hedonism and seduction than the culture of the world. Jimmy Swaggart – a strong contender in the 80’s with a prominence rivalling that of Billy Graham was destroyed by his own captivity to sexual sin. Jim Bakker likewise destroyed his own life and ministry after consorting with Jessica Hahn in a sexual tryst. Ted Haggard devastated his wife, children and hundreds of churches he was charged with leading through a homosexual affair. Roberts Liardon was a promising and rising star in gospel circles till he gave in to an office dalliance with a young man. Mariah Woodworth Etter’s life and ministry suffered greatly because of her husband’s infidelities. Kathryn Kuhlman went through many difficulties because of an ill advised matching in a compromised relationship.
Solomon is not saying to us that passion, beauty or sexual fulfillment is wrong. Theology has taught along that line for centuries and misled many. Verse 18 says “let thy fountain be blessed… v. 19 … let her breasts satisfy thee at all times. There is nothing in the words of Solomon that suggest that there is anything inherently dirty, inappropriate or ungodly about physical beauty or sexual passion. He is simply reaching out to his son (in light of his own personal history) and suggesting to him (and stating to us) that we ignore these issues at our own peril. As men we have to remember what Solomon said in Ecc. 2:14: “… a righteous man’s eyes are in his head…” Gentlemen it is a fact that we will be surrounded by and confronted with promiscuity, sexual innuendo and temptation throughout our lives. We can flee to a monastery or we can discipline ourselves in this area. Ladies – if you call yourself a Christian you have to take these things into consideration in your wardrobe choices, and how you conduct yourself in every situation with the opposite sex. In so doing we as men and women set a standard based on the love of God toward one another in all holiness and brotherly love.
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