Monday, September 28, 2009

Proverbs 5

My son, pay attention to my wisdom, listen well to my words of insight,that you may maintain discretion and your lips may preserve knowledge. For
the lips of an adulteress drip honey, and her speech is smoother than oil; but in the end she is bitter as gall, sharp as a double-edged sword. Her feet go down to death; her steps lead straight to the grave.

Proverbs 5:1-5

In Proverbs 5, the Teacher warns his son about the dangers that surround the adulteress. What is interesting to me is that the Teacher doesn't just briefly warn His son -- He enumerates all the pitfalls of entrapment. I find it particularly interesting that the Teacher speaks to His son in order for his son to "maintain discretion" and "preserve knowledge." The son, it seems, has already done well to listen to his father. Perhaps, a Christian man might think he is doing well in his walk with God. But, the Teacher sternly warns that all that his son has gained will come to naught if he entertains the notion of trifling with an adulteress. As Paul wrote, "So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don't fall!" (1 Cor. 10:12).

Some defining characteristics of the adulteress are as follows:

1. "The lips of an adulteress drip honey" (v. 3a.)

I believe that the Teacher is referring to the locus of physical attraction. In this case, it is the lips. In modern times, it would proably be a woman's figure or pretty face. In any case, this is the first hook that the adulteress casts toward the man. This woman is a very tantalizing sort -- she is very easy on the eyes. As we all know, physical attraction can be very powerful in a man. So how does a man escape this first step in the attempted seduction? By following the Teacher's advice: "Let your eyes look straight ahead, fix your gaze directly before you" (Prov. 4:25). If a man disciplines himself to put a guard over his eyes, he will be saved. If he does not, he risks nothing less than utter destruction.

2. "Her speech is smoother than oil" (v. 3b).
This is the next step in the attempted seduction. Perhaps a man is wise enough to avoid pursuing a good-looking woman to whom he is not married. However, an adulteress knows the leverage that she possesses in her beauty, and she will use it to full advantage. She will use just the right words to hook him: she will tell him how great he he deserves someone better than his she has always needed a man like him. This is exactly what the man needs to hear to move toward her -- and she knows it. He doesn't have the nerve or the courage to step out on his own; but if she calls, he will find it impossible to ignore her flattery. The only thing he can do to avoid entanglement is to "keep to a path far from her," to " not go near the door of her house" (v. 8).

3. "She gives no thought to the way of life" (v. 6a).

This is pretty simple: an adulteress doesn't care about the things that pertain to life. Her primary concern is her own satisfaction, and she has no desire to seek the Lord.

4. "Her paths are crooked, but she knows it not" (v. 6b).

This is very similar to the last characteristic. A woman who is not walking with God is, by default, walking in the flesh. And "those who are in the flesh cannot please God" (Rom. 8:8). So, then, it is no surprise when the adulteress follows crooked paths. She does not possess wisdom, for wisdom begins with the fear of the Lord.

Proverbs provides us with the ear-markings of an adulteress in order to give us the ability to recognize danger when we encounter it. Further, God gives us widsom on how to deal with it once a problem is identified. The reasons to avoid adultery are also outlined. I'll go over these in a future post.