Series: Digging Deeper into Proverbs
..[learn_more caption=”Proverbs 5″]
1 My son, be attentive to my wisdom;
incline your ear to my understanding,
2 that you may keep discretion,
and your lips may guard knowledge.
3 For the lips of a forbidden woman drip honey,
and her speech is smoother than oil,
4 but in the end she is bitter as wormwood,
sharp as a two- edged sword.
5 Her feet go down to death;
her steps follow the path to Sheol;
6 she does not ponder the path of life;
her ways wander, and she does not know it.
7 And now, O sons, listen to me,
and do not depart from the words of my mouth.
8 Keep your way far from her,
and do not go near the door of her house,
9 lest you give your honor to others
and your years to the merciless,
10 lest strangers take their fill of your strength,
and your labors go to the house of a foreigner,
11 and at the end of your life you groan,
when your flesh and body are consumed,
12 and you say, “How I hated discipline,
and my heart despised reproof!
13 I did not listen to the voice of my teachers
or incline my ear to my instructors.
14 I am at the brink of utter ruin
in the assembled congregation.”
15 Drink water from your own cistern,
flowing water from your own well.
16 Should your springs be scattered abroad,
streams of water in the streets?
17 Let them be for yourself alone,
and not for strangers with you.
18 Let your fountain be blessed,
and rejoice in the wife of your youth,
19 a lovely deer, a graceful doe.
Let her breasts fill you at all times with delight;
be intoxicated always in her love.
20 Why should you be intoxicated, my son, with a forbidden woman
and embrace the bosom of an adulteress?
21 For a man’s ways are before the eyes of the Lord,
and he ponders all his paths.
22 The iniquities of the wicked ensnare him,
and he is held fast in the cords of his sin.
23 He dies for lack of discipline,
and because of his great folly he is led astray
(Proverbs 5:1-23 ESV)
Solomon continues instructing his son.
Proverbs 5:15–20 “Drink water from your own cistern, flowing water from your own well. 16 Should your springs be scattered abroad, streams of water in the streets? 17 Let them be for yourself alone, and not for strangers with you. 18 Let your fountain be blessed, and rejoice in the wife of your youth, 19 a lovely deer, a graceful doe. Let her breasts fill you at all times with delight; be intoxicated always in her love. 20 Why should you be intoxicated, my son, with a forbidden woman and embrace the bosom of an adulteress?”
It is ESSENTIAL in overcoming temptation that we are taking full advantage of what God HAS given to us, so as to prevent having much of an appetite for what He has not. This is an abiding and vitally important principle. It was established for us back in Eden.
Before God’s command to our first parents forbidding them to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, came this: Genesis 2:15–16 “The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it. 16 And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, “You may surely eat of every tree of the garden.” It is interesting that this “permission” (“you may”) is prefaced in the text by saying “the Lord God commanded.”
Eat! Was the first command.
And with it, the reminder that they may “surely eat of EVERY tree of the garden.” In other words, have as much as you want. Taste as many different things as I have given you. And do not let yourself go hungry, you may SURELY eat. Scope it out. Sample them all. Eat to your heart’s and stomach’s content. Eat!
It is only AFTER this that man is commanded to refrain from the forbidden tree. God is not interested in depriving us and then setting us up to fall. He provides for us out of the rich bounties that are at our disposal.
It is for want of reveling fully in His goodness and grace and filling our souls with the delights which do rightly belong to us, that we are so powerless to refuse those things which are not appointed for us, when offered. This is true in every area of temptation, but it has special application to the married.
Consider God’s Kindness
For married couples, there can be no doubt that the Writer’s words are aimed especially at making sure your physical and emotional desires are being properly met WITHIN your relationship. If you give up there, or begin to grow dissatisfied, much care must be taken to be sure one or the other is not defrauding their partner and thus creating a scenario where temptation has a better chance of getting a foothold.
In order for this to be a reality for most of us, the truth is that husbands and wives must discuss this with one another, and take responsibility toward one another in it. It must be talked about. Calmly. Lovingly. Thoughtfully, allowing for each other’s varied needs and differing appetites. But when such talk is off limits; when we are too embarrassed or unwilling to open up to one another – and not loving enough to accommodate one another (this is NEVER one-sided) we will inevitably run the risk of unspoken and un-agreed upon expectations driving a wedge between us. In practice then, we add weight to our spouse’s already existing burden of temptation. And what can be more unloving than to weaken our partner’s ability to fight the temptations which accost us all? So that each is tempted to find solace in places they were never intended to.
What a practical way to learn how to “love one another, as I have loved you.” (John 13:34)
Next week: Part Three of Chapter Five
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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.