Lord, open my eyes to what is true, noble, just, pure, lovely, of good report (Phil. 4:8).
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.
This section of Proverbs was written about 3,000 years ago, yet Solomon articulates some of the same issues that we in the 21st century face. Has anything really changed? The same author also penned Ecclesiastes 1:9,10.
This chapter warns specifically against adultery (3,20) and celebrates with
unusually explicit language the joys of marital sex (especially 15–19). There is much more to be said elsewhere about the broader relationships between men and women. For some modern readers the repeated use of “your…” in verses 15–18 may grate. Why does Proverbs not say more about the faithful
husband and warn more about the predatory male? Proverbs does, however, speak of mothers and fathers at certain key seams of the book and there is a unique and protracted accolade to a wonderful wife in chapter 31. I pray about the marriage culture in my society, especially for younger people. I pray for spouses to be thankful for each other.
The title of today’s reading is a double entendre. One sense of “keep clear” is “avoid,” and verses 7–14 give this general advice: “Avoid the seductress, whoever she is.” “Keep yourself in yourself!” (Josef Pieper, Fortitude and Temperance, 69). If you don’t, you will rue it in the end, when you are in all sorts of trouble. Another sense of “keep clear” is “think carefully,” and here I consider the term “in the end” (4). This word also occurs, variously translated, in other places in Proverbs (Prov. 5:11; 14:12,13; 16:25; 23:18). Lord, save me from momentary stupidities, catastrophic surrender to short-term gains. Help me to look down the road carefully, to think clearly, to keep my eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of my
faith (Heb. 12:2). Verse 2 assumes that the son’s wisdom is on his lips—he has learned and assimilated it; it is not just book-knowledge. I read the chapter again and pray for the joy of faithfulness.
Sow a thought, reap an action. Sow an action, reap a habit. Sow a habit, reap a character. Sow a character, reap a destiny. Lord, purify my heart and heighten my awareness.
Lord, make me acutely aware of the rigid boundaries You have placed on acceptable sexual behavior.