The Seven-year Itch
As you prepare to read Scripture today, thank God for those closest to you, and pray that you will be faithful to them.
Read Proverbs 5:1–23
My son, pay attention to my wisdom,
turn your ear to my words of insight,
2 that you may maintain discretion
and your lips may preserve knowledge.
3 For the lips of the adulterous woman drip honey,
and her speech is smoother than oil;
4 but in the end she is bitter as gall,
sharp as a double-edged sword.
5 Her feet go down to death;
her steps lead straight to the grave.
6 She gives no thought to the way of life;
her paths wander aimlessly, but she does not know it.
7 Now then, my sons, listen to me;
do not turn aside from what I say.
8 Keep to a path far from her,
do not go near the door of her house,
9 lest you lose your honor to others
and your dignity to one who is cruel,
10 lest strangers feast on your wealth
and your toil enrich the house of another.
11 At the end of your life you will groan,
when your flesh and body are spent.
12 You will say, “How I hated discipline!
How my heart spurned correction!
13 I would not obey my teachers
or turn my ear to my instructors.
14 And I was soon in serious trouble
in the assembly of God’s people.”
15 Drink water from your own cistern,
running water from your own well.
16 Should your springs overflow in the streets,
your streams of water in the public squares?
17 Let them be yours alone,
never to be shared with strangers.
18 May your fountain be blessed,
and may you rejoice in the wife of your youth.
19 A loving doe, a graceful deer—
may her breasts satisfy you always,
may you ever be intoxicated with her love.
20 Why, my son, be intoxicated with another man’s wife?
Why embrace the bosom of a wayward woman?
21 For your ways are in full view of the Lord,
and he examines all your paths.
22 The evil deeds of the wicked ensnare them;
the cords of their sins hold them fast.
23 For lack of discipline they will die,
led astray by their own great folly.
New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectHas a close friend broken your trust before?
Remember that this book is probably addressed to young men, and that in ancient Israel there was not the same equality between the sexes that we expect today. Those who sense sexism in the “seductive woman” should pause and read the passage in such a way as to see the temptation to unfaithfulness in sexual relationships affecting both women and men. The writer assumes the reader is married (18) and is pretty frank about the sexual dimension to marriage—it is good to be “intoxicated” by your spouse (if you are married), but not when it is another who catches your eye (20).
Perhaps this is a chapter not only for the young, but also for those of us who have been married many years. This not only reminds us that we can find our spouse attractive no matter how old they are (19),and should strive to keep romance alive, but also that we remain vulnerable to honeyed flattery (3), a glamorous figure or a more impressive “six-pack.” In cultures where such things are flaunted, remaining faithful can be a challenge, but if we fail to remain faithful, the end is grief and remorse (11).
Have you allowed your heart to travel into “forbidden territory”? Seek accountability from a trusted mentor today.
Lord, keep me free from sin and guard my eyes.