Friday, December 14, 2012

Proverbs 5: Lessons from an Adulterer

In Proverbs 5, Solomon tackles a subject he knew a lot about: adultery. Not only was he born from an adulterous relationship, but the man, himself, had over 1,000 wives and concubines. He KNEW and LIVED the repercussions that accompany this sin! Let me say upfront that I know how painful and personal this subject is for many of you. And I know that some of you have a hard time listening to this subject. For some of you it seems old-fashioned and irrelevant in a modern world where hooking up outside of marriage is the norm. For others, who are beyond the virginal age, yet find yourselves now either widowed or unmarried, this message seems meant for young people, and certainly could not be meant for you at this point in your life.

This is the problem with God’s Word. We either have to take it all or leave it. God says what He means and means what He says. And this subject, like no other makes people uncomfortable or even downright mad at God. We will be parking here for a couple of days, because it is such a serious subject.

Right off the bat, I was a little irritated that Solomon seems to lay the blame for adultery on the seducing woman! He lists all of her tricks and cunning ways, and, at first glance, it seems that the poor man has to guard himself from HER! You have to read to the end where he slams the man and lays the blame forcefully at his feet. Surely, this is a sin that entangles BOTH the man and the woman equally. But, because Solomon is talking to his son, the initial warning is against the feminine wiles:

For the lips of an adulteress drip honey,

    and her speech is smoother than oil; 
but in the end she is bitter as gall,

    sharp as a double-edged sword. 
Her feet go down to death;

    her steps lead straight to the grave. 
She gives no thought to the way of life;

    her paths are crooked, but she knows it not. (Proverbs 5:3-6)

This gal may look hot - especially when compared to your wife of several years, who is still trying to shed the weight from pregnancy and is exhausted from chasing toddlers and running kids around town to appointments and sports practice. Maybe she’s a bright young thing at the office who is always perfectly dressed and who thinks everything you say is amazing. She hangs on your every word. At first you just started a little innocent flirtation, but now you can’t wait to get to work to see her! “WATCH OUT!” Solomon cries! There is danger ahead, because she will lead you to death! The death of your marriage, the death of your family, the death of your integrity and self-respect, the death of your soul!

And what happens in the end? Solomon warns that you will give your best strength to others and your years to one who is cruel...strangers [will] feast on your wealth and your toil enrich another man’s house...your life you will groan,when your flesh and body are spent. You will be filled with regret that you would not listen and you will come to the brink of utter ruin in the midst of the whole assembly. (vs. 9-14) An affair will lead to financial ruin, the corruption of your body, and complete humiliation. The only ones who will prosper will be the attorneys!

Now, all of us have friends, family, or neighbors who have been through the pain caused by adultery. Or maybe you’ve experienced it up close and personal. As a teacher, I see the collateral damage to the children daily. Is there any good news here? Yes! The grace of God covers even adultery! There is hope in the gospel.

Solomon’s father, David, was not only guilty of adultery but also murder! Yet, the Bible tells us he was a man after God’s own heart! David repented and grieved over his sin with Bathsheba, and God forgave him and washed him white as snow (Psalm 51). He lived with the consequences, but the judgment was completely removed and the joy of his salvation was restored. Jesus not only came to redeem sinners, He also came from a long line of sinners, including adulterers!

Tomorrow we’ll continue with Solomon’s observations and advice as he nails the man!

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