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As we begin a new year, we’ll be studying the book of Proverbs for the first 31 days of the year. The new year is a great opportunity to invite your friends, families, and Life Groups to read along with you in 2023. If you missed the first day’s reading or are looking for an overview of the book, click here to catch up!
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Read Proverbs 5
Warning Against Adultery
5 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.
A theme throughout Scripture is that there is a way of foolishness and wickedness that leads to death and there is a way of righteousness and wisdom that leads to life. In this chapter, Solomon is going to show us both paths, as he pleads with his son to choose the path that brings about life.
In the first six verses we see that sexual immorality, specifically adultery, leads to death. Even though the temptation may seem to be sweeter than honey (which was the sweetest substance in Israel) and smoother than oil, it is actually as bitter as gall (the most bitter substance in Israel) and leads to death. He warns his son to keep far away from the adulteress woman (v. 8), and to “not go near the door of her house.” This is a principle repeated throughout the Scriptures. When we are faced with the enticement of evil and temptation of sin, walking in holiness isn’t merely telling yourself in your own strength to “not sin”, but instead making every effort by the grace and power of the Spirit to flee from sin.
Paul encourages us in 2 Timothy 2:22 to “flee the evil desires of youth and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.” Peter encourages us in 1 Peter 2:11, “Dear friends, I urge you, as foreigners and exiles, to abstain from sinful desires, which wage war against your soul.” We must not tip-toe around sin and try to get as close to the line as possible. We must run as far from our sin as we can, and instead chase after the way of righteousness and purity. Since our sinful desires are waging war against us, we must fight faithfully by fleeing!
Though sexual immorality leads to death, there is a way of righteousness and wisdom that brings about life. It is found in walking in God’s way and design. In this specific chapter, Solomon speaks of the joy that is found in walking in God’s design as it relates to sexual intimacy in the context of marriage. Intimacy one experiences in marriage ought to be reserved for one another alone in the safety and protection of the marriage covenant. There is joy, blessing, and satisfaction to be found in the love and physical intimacy of your spouse. This is the way God intended it. To walk in the righteousness and wisdom of purity leads to the good life God intends for us. This applies to other areas of our life too! No matter if you are single, or married, the eternal principle of walking in God’s design rather than pursuing our own sinful desires applies to us all. Sin ensnares us but walking in the wisdom of God’s best brings about freedom!
- How are you facing temptation this week? How can you flee from them and not even “go near the door of her house,” as it relates to your own sin?
- Evaluate your “teachers” and “instructors.” Are there people in your life that you are fully known by and confessing sin to who you can gain wise counsel from? Or are you living in isolation, making decisions on your own, and not known by trusted believers?
- If you fully believed verse 21, that “your ways are in full view of the Lord,” how would that change the way that you live?
I thank you that your design leads to life. Help me crave your way over my own way. Might my appetite for sin consistently decrease as my appetite for you increases. I want to desire you more than I desire my own sin. Please show me that my sin is as bitter as gall, and leads to destruction and ruin. Show me the way that is everlasting and conform me into the righteous image of your Son. Thank you for the gift of your Spirit, and the way the Spirit helps me in my weakness. I cannot pursue righteousness outside of depending on your grace and strength. Thank you for being a God that is faithful and just to forgive me of my sins and purify me of all unrighteousness. I love you and I trust you. Amen.
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