Reid Ferguson

Proverbs Six: Son, Watch out for the fire!

 

Probers for Living

Series: Digging Deeper into Proverbs

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[learn_more caption=”Proverbs 6:20ff”]

My son, keep your father’s commandment,
and forsake not your mother’s teaching.
21 Bind them on your heart always;
tie them around your neck.
22 When you walk, they will lead you;
when you lie down, they will watch over you;
and when you awake, they will talk with you.
23 For the commandment is a lamp and the teaching a light,
and the reproofs of discipline are the way of life,
24 to preserve you from the evil woman,
from the smooth tongue of the adulteress.
25 Do not desire her beauty in your heart,
and do not let her capture you with her eyelashes;
26 for the price of a prostitute is only a loaf of bread,
but a married woman hunts down a precious life.
27 Can a man carry fire next to his chest
and his clothes not be burned?
28 Or can one walk on hot coals
and his feet not be scorched?
29 So is he who goes in to his neighbor’s wife;
none who touches her will go unpunished.
30 People do not despise a thief if he steals
to satisfy his appetite when he is hungry,
31 but if he is caught, he will pay sevenfold;
he will give all the goods of his house.
32 He who commits adultery lacks sense;
he who does it destroys himself.
33 He will get wounds and dishonor,
and his disgrace will not be wiped away.
34 For jealousy makes a man furious,
and he will not spare when he takes revenge.
35 He will accept no compensation;
he will refuse though you multiply gifts
(Proverbs 6:20-35 ESV)

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 Solomon: Son, You’ll burn your clothes!

Proverbs 6:26–29 “for the price of a prostitute is only a loaf of bread, but a married woman hunts down a precious life. 27 Can a man carry fire next to his chest and his clothes not be burned? 28 Or can one walk on hot coals and his feet not be scorched? 29 So is he who goes in to his neighbor’s wife; none who touches her will go unpunished.”

 

Sex. Talk about the obsession of our age.

Sex is it. So it is E. L. James’ erotic novel 50 Shades of Grey has sold of 70 million copies and is the fastest selling paperback of all time. So it is that everything from beer to cars to internet services to bikinis for 8 year olds to an infant’s t-shirt that says “I’m Hot!” flood the marketplace. So it is that sexually explicit sermons mark many ministries today. And who hasn’t heard about the grotesquely sexualized performance by Miley Cyrus at last week’s VMA’s? The fact of Paul’s assertion in Romans 1 that the wrath of God upon fallen humanity is revealed in how we’ve been given over to “lust and impurity and the dishonoring of [our] bodies among [ourselves]” is daily re-established in every medium known to man.

In one way then it is obvious that the World makes altogether too much of sex.

Given prevailing attitudes and actions, one would seem to be amazed to find that no one EVER died from a lack of it. There is no question that sexual urges, are indeed strong, but there is no reason why they cannot be controlled. Such control is fundamental to a New Covenant worldview lived in the power of the Holy Spirit. Society says it is unreasonable for young people to remain sexually pure and celibate, but the Bible says otherwise. And even in the Church it can be heard that “Men will be men” – so women ought to turn a blind eye to pornography or other sexual sins. We are told that “sex is all men think about.” Yes, we are bombarded with images, yes we are visually affected in ways most women are not by those images – but absent that exposure, we are no more prone to dwell on sex than women. I personally heard extra-marital sex justified among Christians by the argument that “sex is everyone’s right no matter what their circumstances.”

Solomon addresses the reality of this state of affairs in warning his son especially against seeking sexual gratification outside of the marriage relationship – either in the form of prostitution or adultery. And his words in regard to prostitution – sexual gratification granted for money (whatever the form) – he exposes the severely distorted value system by telling his son: “the price of a prostitute is only a loaf of bread.” In other words, when it is all said and done, in the grand scheme of things – sex is so unimportant, you can buy it for a loaf of bread. So why in the world would you expose yourself to the wickedness of adultery and its horrid outcomes for something so truly worthless? Not only that, but like a loaf of bread, which is common and consumed in the eating – satisfying for only a moment – so is sex. Why give your life to what is so fleeting and common?

On the other hand, we have to note that the World makes far too little of sex.

This is because it has absolutely no concept of the glory of it within the plan and purpose of God. The World makes it dirty instead of holy and sacred. They focus on the physical aspect instead of the Spiritual union intended to give us foretaste of our holy union with Christ. They can have no conception of sex as an aspect of worship. They can have no conception of sex as genuine ministry between married believers. And while the physical relationship between a husband and a wife (the ONLY Biblically sanctioned context for sexual gratification) IS important – it is not even CLOSE to all important.

Virtually every animal in creation can have sex. Only the believing married couple however can truly ascend above the physicality of sex, and then beyond even the psychology and emotion of sex to the type and shadow of intimacy with Christ sex is meant to give us insight into. The secret to a happy sex life isn’t technique or frequency or anything else of the kind. It is found in Ministry. Husbands ministering to their wives in making them feel cherished and safe. And wives ministering to the husbands in making them feel accepted and impactful.

What if each married person used the physical relationship as an opportunity to let their partner experience absolute acceptance, value, safety and impact in KINDNESS turned into physical pleasure in the light of Ephesians 2:4-7? “But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— 6 and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.”

What if each married partner, in the act of physical intimacy was communicating to the other: “God has this in store for you in eternity – experiencing the immeasurable riches of His grace and kindness toward you – and I want to be the means of you having a taste of it here and now.”

We’d find out what it means to move beyond exciting, ecstatic or exceptional sex – to eschatological sex. What only a Believing couple can do for one another in genuine Gospel ministry.

The World hasn’t got a clue.

~ Reid

Next week: Chapter Seven

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Reid Ferguson

Reid serves as the pastor for preaching and vision at Evangelical Church of Fairport in Fairport New York. A native of Rochester, N.Y., he has served in various ministry areas during his life, including: a founding member of the former Mark IV Quartet, Youth Pastor at ECF, former board member of the Fellowship of Independent Reformed Evangelicals (F.I.R.E.), and author of The Little Book of Things You Should Know About Ministry (Christian Focus Publications, 2002). Pastor Reid blogs regularly at Responsive Reiding.