Monday, June 5, 2017

Counseled By The King: The Proverbs Of Solomon. Day 12, Wisdom Helps Us Avoid Sexual Temptation, Part Two

Solomon continues his warnings against sexual immorality.

"At the end of your life you will groan, when your flesh and body are spent." (Proverbs 5:11) We saw in yesterday's passage that the sin of adultery breaks down the family, the finances, and the reputation. Today Solomon points out that it often breaks down the body as well. This was especially true in his day, for he lived thousands of years before the discovery of antibiotics. The king knew that a promiscuous lifestyle had the potential to cause disease or death. In our own times some of these conditions are curable, some are lifelong, and some are still deadly.

"You will say, 'How I hated discipline! How my heart spurned correction! I would not obey my teachers or turn my ear to my instructors. And I was soon in serious trouble in the assembly of God's people.'" (Proverbs 5:12-14) Solomon says, "The man who lives his life in sexual debauchery will end his days in bitterness of heart. He will grieve over the way he has conducted his life. He will have lost his self-respect, he will have lost those near and dear to him, he will have lost his financial security, and he will have lost his health. At that time he will realize that he had many opportunities to learn of the Lord's ways and to correct his actions, but even when he sat in the temple his heart was plotting wickedness."

Next the king provides a beautiful metaphor for marital faithfulness. "Drink water from your own cistern, running water from your own well." (Proverbs 5:15) When a man digs a well and finds good fresh water on his own property, does he then run about the countryside stealing water from the wells of others? Of course not. He feels thankful that the land the Lord has given him is able to provide plenty of water for his household. He drinks water from his own well. Solomon wisely advises, "In the same way that you satisfy your thirst with water from your own well, you are to satisfy your sexual desires only with the person you have married. You are not to think of this relationship as stagnant water, boring and dull. The marriage relationship can be like fresh running water, with the two of you constantly growing closer to each other and continually discovering new things about each other. Marriage is meant to be an adventure that two people take together. Don't neglect this relationship. Marriage is far more satisfying than hundreds of one night stands could ever be."

"Should your springs overflow in the streets, your streams of water in the public squares? Let them be yours alone, never to be shared with strangers." (Proverbs 5:16-17) Water in a well doesn't burst out all over the place and run down the streets. Sexual desire is to be contained like the water in a well. We are to practice self-control. Some commentators believe verses 16 and 17 might also refer to the siring of children outside of the marriage relationship. A man who is promiscuous may end up fathering children out of wedlock.

"May your fountain be blessed, and may you rejoice in the wife of your youth. A loving doe, a graceful deer---may her breasts satisfy you always, may you ever be intoxicated with her love. Why, my son, be intoxicated with another man's wife? Why embrace the bosom of a wayward woman?" (Proverbs 5:18-20) These three verses contain some very adult material. Solomon is also the man who wrote the erotic poetry contained in Song of Solomon and these verses are similar in nature to the song he wrote about the marriage relationship. We need not feel embarrassed about this form of marital counseling, for one of God's purposes for the marriage relationship is the fulfillment of sexual desires. He intends for this aspect of marriage to be enjoyable for husband and wife. This is why Solomon says, "Stay in love with the woman you married when you were young. Grow old with that woman. Allow yourself to feel physical attraction only to her. Don't gaze on other women's bodies; that's what got my father David in so much trouble. Looking is not harmless. Looking leads to lusting and lusting leads to thinking about things you shouldn't be thinking about. The next thing you know, you'll be doing things you never thought you'd do. Be happy with the wife the Lord has given you. Work on your relationship with her. Keep your marriage fresh and exciting. Go on adventures together. Learn new things together. Never stop having fun with the person you fell in love with. Then you won't waste your life by running after another man's wife."

In case all the potential worldly consequences of sexual immorality aren't enough to keep us on the straight path, Solomon reminds us that God sees our sins. It might be possible to commit sexual sins without other human beings finding out, but it won't be possible to commit them without God finding out. "For your ways are in full view of the Lord, and He examines all your paths. The evil deeds of the wicked ensnare them; the cords of their sins hold them fast. For lack of discipline they will die, let astray by their own great folly." (Proverbs 5:21-23) Living in unrepentant sin makes a person a slave to that sin, as the Lord Jesus warns us in the book of John. "Jesus replied, 'Very truly I tell you, everyone who sins is a slave to sin.'" (John 8:34) Solomon is saying the same thing, counseling us not to give ourselves over to sexual immorality. Before we realize it, our sins begin to own us. We become ensnared by them, caught tightly in a web of our own making. But our Lord offers us a better way. He can set us free from sinful patterns and addictions, even sexual addictions. The Lord created us with physical desires, but He intended for those to be fulfilled only within the marriage relationship. If we follow Biblical instructions for our marriages we will spare ourselves many hurtful mistakes.

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