October 12

Reading: Proverbs 7

1  My son, keep my words and treasure up my commandments with you; 2 keep my commandments and live; keep my teaching as the apple of your eye; 3 bind them on your fingers; write them on the tablet of your heart.

4  Say to wisdom, “You are my sister,” and call insight your intimate friend, 5 to keep you from the forbidden woman, from the adulteress with her smooth words.

 

6  For at the window of my house I have looked out through my lattice, 7 and I have seen among the simple, I have perceived among the youths, a young man lacking sense, 8 passing along the street near her corner, taking the road to her house 9 in the twilight, in the evening, at the time of night and darkness.

10 And behold, the woman meets him, dressed as a prostitute, wily of heart.

11 She is loud and wayward; her feet do not stay at home; 12 now in the street, now in the market, and at every corner she lies in wait.

13 She seizes him and kisses him, and with bold face she says to him, 14 “I had to offer sacrifices, and today I have paid my vows; 15 so now I have come out to meet you, to seek you eagerly, and I have found you. 16 I have spread my couch with coverings, colored linens from Egyptian linen; 17 I have perfumed my bed with myrrh, aloes, and cinnamon. 18 Come, let us take our fill of love till morning; let us delight ourselves with love. 19 For my husband is not at home; he has gone on a long journey; 20 he took a bag of money with him; at full moon he will come home.”

21 With much seductive speech she persuades him; with her smooth talk she compels him.

22 All at once he follows her, as an ox goes to the slaughter, or as a stag is caught fast 23 till an arrow pierces its liver; as a bird rushes into a snare; he does not know that it will cost him his life.

 

24 And now, O sons, listen to me, and be attentive to the words of my mouth.

25 Let not your heart turn aside to her ways; do not stray into her paths, 26 for many a victim has she laid low, and all her slain are a mighty throng.

27 Her house is the way to Sheol, going down to the chambers of death.

 

People come to the book of Proverbs with a misconception, often thinking that they will be reading pithy statements on life with which they will agree and feel affirmed.  But Proverbs is full of serious, persistent, confrontational warnings.

The opening verses of chapter 7 again urge the reader to keep his father’s commandments (God’s commandments) and to seek wisdom.  “Say to wisdom, ‘You are my sister.’” (vs. 4)  What a picture of Lady Wisdom’s role in our lives.

But then, we again turn our attention to the dangers of the “strange woman.”  You have been warned.  The author is relentless on this front.  It is as if he knows that people have a terrible problem with lust and infidelity.  He does know.  We do.

As I sit and write, at least six people come immediately to mind who were friends, faithful Christians, but then left the Lord for the sin of immorality.  To my knowledge, only one of them has returned to walking with God.  It was a hard road.

In verses 5-23 the “strange woman” is presented as a huntress stalking her game.  You might respond by saying, “Surely people do not really do this.  Do they?”

I have noticed something about the society we live in.  As soon as a man or a woman begins to have struggles in their marriage, others move into the picture.  These people are all around us, struggling, lonely, wanting to be loved, confused, weak willed, often amid broken relationships themselves.  For you, when the marriage is hard, they are like sharks, smelling blood in the water.  They come in for a bite because of their need.  Kick them in the nose!  Consider verses 21-23.

Guard your heart from the woman who will take you away from the Lord.  Please beware.  “All her slain are a mighty throng.” (vs. 26)