Proverbs is God’s wisdom in marriage and life being imparted to man. How do we help a simple man understand our brilliant God? We use easy-to-remember parallels, couplets, and rhymes. The simple and naive can learn, but the fool may never understand.
The Need For The Bible
The Scripture is the very Word of God. It is all we need to live successfully in the way God measures success. And yet we are in a cultural context that has become very challenging. So many churches affirm love, tolerance, and acceptance. However, the Bible is the very Word of God. Therefore, explaining, teaching, and making it accessible to everyone is essential.
Context for The Book of Proverbs
In the book of Proverbs, Solomon is writing primarily to middle schoolers through almost married couples. He is explaining and imparting wisdom. In last week’s sermon, we looked at the way of the righteous versus the way of the wicked. The overall picture of Proverbs is that wisdom is like a woman. Proverbs 31 is explicitly not a personal goal to aim for but an explanation of what wisdom looks like.
Meditation on The Word (Proverbs 5:1-2)
In today’s text, Solomon says, ‘my wisdom and my understanding’ to create a parallel. They’re different, but he’s saying a similar thing differently so that we remember. The father tells the sons that he wants them to have wisdom and understanding. He is hammering in the importance of paying attention, inclining our ears, grasping what we’re being told, and eventually internalizing this wisdom.
You will not grow apart from time spent in the Word period. Most Christians have difficulty with prayer and don’t open the Word daily. The Word is life. God loves you and offers wisdom. He provides a way through our crazy culture, but you must spend time in the Word.
Solomon says to observe discretion, and your lips may reserve knowledge. We are given clarification for this in Proverbs 17:3. We will always regret speaking out of anger, but we will never regret speaking with kindness and a level head. So it’s not only holding back but also knowing what to say and when to say it.
Seduction (Proverbs 5:3-6)
We see an immediate contrast here with the unrestrained lips of the adultress versus the instruction to the sons in Proverbs 5:2. Seduction is powerful and connected to speech all the time. We see this with Potiphar’s wife in Genesis 39:10, who came to Joseph daily saying, ‘come lie with me.’ Sexuality is based on dialogue.
We whisper sweet nothings, but we see in Proverbs 5:4 that it is a deception. While it may taste like honey and be smooth as oil, it is always bitter. A theme in Proverbs is the ‘smooth tongue, smooth words,’ provocative language that pierces the heart of the vulnerable. It is as sharp as a two-edged sword – it cuts both directions, in and out, side to side.
The Seductress is the one who seduces with language, dripping with honey. Dr. Bruce Waltke adds, ‘She cuts her victims to pieces without the milk of compassion.’ Solomon moves on to the murderous intent from her mouth. Her feet go down to death and take hold of Sheol. In Leviticus 10:10 and Deuteronomy 22:22, we are reminded that adultery brought the punishment of death in the theocracy of God’s economy under the Mosaic law.
The adulteress wanders in immorality and darkness. This language is similar to Cain being a ‘vagrant and a wanderer on the earth.’ The unfaithful and immoral have no home and stagger through life in sin from bed to bed. She does not ponder the path of life. Her ways are unstable, and she does not know it. This is uncomfortably descriptive of a person given over to immorality. This is someone so profoundly seduced by evil that they can’t even see what they’re doing.
The Folly (Proverbs 5:7-14)
Here, the father’s plea becomes more urgent. Before we get the list in Proverbs 10 and beyond, the father is doing everything he can to set up these parameters for his sons. He’s trying to create a fertile field so the naive, the ones who can still learn, will incline their ear.
This is the second time, following Proverbs 4:1, that we see the Word son become plural. But, again, the literature tells us he speaks this way because it is his legacy.
The plurality is not necessarily a group sitting there listening to him but rather the family’s legacy. We also see the continuing movement of feet, paths, and ways. We get to choose daily which way we go. Vigor is one’s honor, and the word cruel is rarely used in the Bible. The idea here is someone who does something mercilessly. It means giving your life over to someone who has no compassion.
Avoidance is common sense and excellent prevention for cruelty. Listen to your gut and avoid any situation that seems fishy. Whether it’s a relationship, physical safety, or a decision, you’ll never regret avoiding the door mentioned in Proverbs 5:8. If you go through the door, you will regret it. Adultery comes at a high cost and will lead you to ruin. Proverbs 5:14 completes the thought if you go down this path, you will awaken one day bankrupt with regret and ruin. He cautions the sons, ‘don’t live to regret this; live to rejoice you have kept away from the seductress.’
The Wife of Your Youth (Proverbs 5:15-23)
The father’s instruction points immediately to the solution. The way of wisdom is to avoid folly. The antidote for adultery is a godly marriage relationship. A sexually intimate marriage is the best antidote. The larger record of the Scripture is God preparing a bride for His groom. The Christian marriage reflects God’s design from Genesis 2 throughout time.
Remarkably, the Bible opens with a wedding – God’s image bearers, man and woman becoming one –and is complete with instructions, examples, and accounts of believer’s marriages. The Scripture culminates in another wedding: Christ and His bride, the church. The Christian marriage reflects God’s design and love for mankind.
That’s what Ephesians 5 is all about, but we miss it. In the context of the Revelation wedding, we see the culmination of Jesus marrying His church. He took her sin upon Him and died in her place on her behalf. That’s the greatest love ever. He died for His wife.
And the world has spoiled what God meant to be good. They have perverted, twisted, distorted, and mutilated themselves beyond common sense, beyond design, in the lie that they can choose what/who they will be. They are toying with what God meant good; they are sick in sin and have become an abomination toward God’s created design. The world is not your friend. The most significant difficulty of the Christian life is how to live in the world but not of it. Wisdom will bear fruit, and you’ll never regret not sinning.
Three Lessons of The Text
- Sexual sins will leave scars, but forgiveness is available. God is redemptive, kind, and merciful to the sinner’s repentance. Scars hurt, and they refer us back to the pain that caused them. The same is true of our sins. The moral of the story is don’t go in that door. Given time, a person who chooses to live outside the boundaries of a heterosexual, monogamous marriage will face the consequences of sin. There are two ways to handle it. You become callous, persist, or deal with God on His terms. The amazing part is that He forgives us. All sin is an illegitimate means to a legitimate end.
- You will never regret choosing not to sin. When we choose not to sin but to stay on track, we will never feel the guilt or shame of a sin we did not commit. It is not the primary motivation, but it is true. Our highest and best preventative is our intimacy with Christ, our pursuit of the good and godly friends He gives us, and the marriage bed.
- God’s design for intimacy in marriage is a blessing beyond anything the world can offer. It is far more fulfilling, beautiful, and truly a blessing than the world’s lies. The immoral are robbed of true life. They are deceived and will remain lost in a moral vacuum that can never fulfill, bless, or be what God designed for our good now and forever more.
Catch up on the rest of the Proverbs sermon series here.