If anything is sure to turn off readers, it’s these two statements. One, a key term in Proverbs is “wisdom.” Two, wisdom refers to “skill in the art of godly living”.
Who wants to hear about wisdom? (Hey, can I just get an app for my phone, so I don’t have to read the Bible or go through painful discipline?) And what’s this about “skill in the art of godly living”? Isn’t godly living all about keeping rules that ruin your freedom? And since when is godly living an “art” that you have to become skillful at?
Let’s juice this up a bit. I want to talk about sex. Now because Proverbs was probably written in the 900’s B.C., it doesn’t refer to all the “advanced” sex-stuff we have today. No proverb about Internet pornography, for example. But where Proverbs says “adulterer” or “prostitute”, substitute any God-prohibited sex-thing you’re tempted by.
In the first seven chapters of Proverbs a father is urging his son to be wise. He wants his son to learn “skill in the art of godly living.” So these are not God-thundered words from a smoking mountain top to a knees-shaking people below. These are loving words from a father’s heart–wisdom he may very well have learned from an experience that nearly cost him his life. Come to think of it, it comes from the Father whose love for us cost his Son his life. I pray the Spirit of our Father will use his words to make you (and me) wise. Let’s read thoughtfully . . .
“When from the window of my house, from behind the screen, I gazed down. I looked among the naive young men and noticed among the youth, one who had no sense. He was crossing the street at her corner and walked down the path to her house in the early evening, at the onset of night and darkness.
“All of sudden a woman approaches him, dressed like a prostitute and with a cunning mind. She is noisy and defiant; her feet don’t stay long in her own house. She has one foot in the streets, one foot in the public square. She lies in wait at every corner. She grabs him and kisses him. Her face is brazen as she speaks to him: ‘I’ve offered sacrifices; today I’ve fulfilled my solemn promises. So I’ve come out to meet you, seeking you, and I have found you. I’ve spread my bed with luxurious covers, with colored linens from Egypt. I’ve sprinkled my bed with myrrh, aloes, and cinnamon. Come, let’s drink deep of love until morning; let’s savor our lovemaking. For my husband isn’t home; he’s gone far away. He took a pouch of money with him; he won’t come home till full moon.’
“She seduces him with all her talk. She entices him with her flattery. He goes headlong after her, like an ox to the slaughter, like a deer leaping into a trap, until an arrow pierces his liver, like a bird hurrying to the snare, not aware that it will cost him his life” (Proverbs 7:6-23, CEB).
I can hear the uproar from NOW (National Organization for Women) now. “So the woman’s the bad guy, huh?” No, you’re missing the point. Make the young man the bad guy. Let him seduce her. It doesn’t matter. The point is in the last paragraph . . .
“He goes headlong after her, like an ox to the slaughter, like a deer leaping into a trap, until an arrow pierces his liver, like a bird hurrying to the snare, NOT AWARE THAT IT WILL COST HIM HIS LIFE.”
. . . not aware that it will cost us our life.
Be warned. young men. Be wise. It will cost more than you know. Far more than it’s worth.