Proverbs- Session 5- 5:3-18

Proverbs 5:3-18

Lesson Resources:

Subject: Sexual Temptation

Central Theme: Defeating Sexual Temptation

Objective Sentence: We can employ three strategies to defeat sexual temptation in our lives.

Keyword: Strategy

Strategy #1- Know the Reality. V. 3- 6.

Strategy #2- Rely on Removal. V. 7-14.

Strategy #3- Pursue after the Remedy. V.15-18.

 

Introduction:

Connection:

  • They say you can live and learn or listen and learn.
  • The wisest thing to do would be listen and learn.
  • The more painful route would be listening and learning.
  • Over the last few weeks in this study on Proverbs we have had the chance to listen and learn.
  • And today’s text deals with a subject that we need wisdom on in our culture.
  • We are paying a very high price in our culture for sexual immorality.
  • Sexual temptation is everywhere.

Tension:

  • The good news is that the Word of God in Proverbs gives us some strategies to defeat sexual temptation when it comes.
  • The father in this text is the speaker, and he is telling his son about this potentially dangerous kind of temptation.
  • If we want to avoid all kinds of pain and honor God in this area, we can use the strategies laid out in Proverbs 5 to help us do that.

Objective Statement: We can employ three strategies to defeat sexual temptation in our lives.

Strategy #1- Know the Reality. V. 3- 6.

For the lips of a strange woman drop as an honeycomb, and her mouth is smoother than oil:  (4)  But her end is bitter as wormwood, sharp as a twoedged sword.  (5)  Her feet go down to death; her steps take hold on hell.  (6)  Lest thou shouldest ponder the path of life, her ways are moveable, that thou canst not know them.

Proverbs 5:3-6

Explanation:

  • Who is talking?  It is still the father speaking to his son.
  • Verse 1 says, “My son, attend to my wisdom…”  He then goes into his teaching.  What is that teaching?

For the lips of a strange woman…

  • Well, the “strange woman” is the subject of these verses.
    • The word “strange” here dispenses the idea of a foreign woman.
    • The Jews were not supposed to marry gentiles.
    • Women who were foreign to the Jewish faith at this time did not live in a culture with the morality of the law espoused to them.
    • Gentile culture was pagan, and generally immoral.
    • The point of this passage is not to claim that every gentile woman was absolutely sexually immoral.
    • Again, remember that Proverbs deals in probabilities.
    • The general wisdom about the “strange woman” is that she does not have the same moral virtue.
  • The father, wanting his son not to be hurt, gives him this insight.
  • What does he say about this “strange woman”?

For the lips of a strange woman drop as an honeycomb,

  • In terms of her speech, she sounds good.
  • The sweetest food that they had in Israel at the time was honey.  This is a lurid word picture.
  • Her lips drip with smooth words like honey does from the honeycomb.

and her mouth is smoother than oil:

  • He also says that her mouth is “smoother than oil”.
    • The most common oil in that day was olive oil.  It was used in a myriad of ways that were beneficial.
    • Olive oil was often seen as a sign of prosperity, and a lack of oil as a travesty.
  • Essentially the father is saying, “Son, the sexually immoral, forbidden woman will sound as good as the best things in life, but…”.

But her end

  • That conjunction “but” is pretty important, for it leads to the wisdom of the passage.
  • The “strange woman” will look good. She will sound good, but her end is devastating.

4)  But her end is bitter as wormwood,

  • The father says that her end is bitter as “wormwood”.
  • Wormwood is a word describing a type of plant associated with other plants that are poison.
  • The same Hebrew word is translated “hemlock” in Amos 6:12.

sharp as a twoedged sword.

  • Her end is also described as a twoedged sword.
  • In the Hebrew it is better translated as a “sword mouth” or a mouth full of swords.
  • It is a vivid contrast.  Her mouth is not honey and oil. It is poison and razors.
  • The father is pleading with his son, warning him that the reality of pursuing this kind of woman doesn’t match the temptation. It looks like honey and oil, but it’s actual poison and swords.

(5)  Her feet go down to death; her steps take hold on hell.

  • Where she takes you is not good.  She takes you on a path to death and hell.  (v.5)

(6)  Lest thou shouldest ponder the path of life, her ways are moveable, that thou canst not know them.

  • Her path does not even consider the way of wisdom, way of life, or way of justice.  Her ways are unstable.  The way of wisdom is not clear to her in any way.  (v.6)
  • The father is wisely letting his son know where the traps are.  She looks good but her end is death.
  • If we are going to defeat sexual temptation in our lives we have to look at the reality of sex outside of marriage.
  • Sex is like fire. In the fireplace it is pleasant, helpful, and even necessary. If it gets out of the fireplace it can burn your house down.

Strategy #2- Rely on Removal. V. 7-14.

(7) Hear me now therefore, O ye children, and depart not from the words of my mouth.

  • Now that the framework for thinking about this kind of extra-marital sexual activity has been laid, the father, speaking to his kids, pleads for his children to listen and obey what he is about to say in verses 8 and following.
  • Notice what he says:

(8)  Remove thy way far from her, and come not nigh the door of her house:

  • Is this a biblical law saying that it is breaking God’s law just to be near a sexually promiscuous person, or to go even in their yard?
    • If that was the intent and we were to follow it to the letter of the law we would need a background check on every neighbor before we bought a house.
    • We would have to be very careful about going “door to door” and hanging invitations to church on people’s houses because we could be in the yard of a promiscuous person. No, this is not the intention.
  • The key word in this verse is remove.
    • It means don’t even get close.
    • It means if you are already close, get far, far away.
    • It means run!
  • The scripture is so clear when it talks about a proper response to sexual temptation.  Look at what the Holy Spirit wrote through Paul in 1 Corinthians.

Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body.

1 Corinthians 6:18

  • Wisdom suggests not to mess around with sexual sin.
  • Run!  Flee! Avoid even getting near a place where you can be tempted?  Why?  The end is death.
  • The idea that the father is proposing is the idea illustrated by guardrails.
    • Guardrails are on highways and roads simply because running into them would cause less damage than going beyond the guardrail into the ditch, ravine, or other potential hazard that lays beyond it.
    • The father is pleading with his children to decide beforehand to not even go near the temptation that this kind of person represents because the hazards that lay beyond are too great.

 

Application:

  • In application it doesn’t mean that we cannot be nice to or have compassion for those who are sinning in this area of life.
  • The idea is that wisdom can be found in avoiding tempting scenarios that would cause us to be tempted.
  • We should decide before the temptation comes that we will avoid certain scenarios.
  • In my case, I am never alone with a woman other than my wife.
  • I don’t go out to eat with another woman.
  • We don’t ride in the same car. It is a guardrail.  The potential risk is not worth it.

Response:

  • It is wise for us to think about how and where we consume media, who we meet with and why, and how we conduct relationships with others.
  • What guardrails do you need in your life?
  • Are there any relationships you need to change or even end?
  • So the key response to the strange woman is to know the reality about her, and to remove yourself from her.
  • The father goes on to state why we should remove ourselves from her.
  • What is the outcome when you give yourself over to the “strange woman”?  What is the probability that will occur when a young person gives themselves over to sexual immorality?
  • Here the father continues to talk about this idea and he gives four specific losses that are incurred.
  • A loss of honor. (v9) “Lest thou give thine honour unto others…”. The word here for honour is a word that is also translated glory, majesty, beauty, and comeliness.  The idea is that your giving the best of yourself to a person that you don’t really love for the sheer pleasure of a moment.
  • A loss of time. (v9) “and thy years unto the cruel…”.  As is common in Hebrew poetry, there is a parallelism to the previous phrase about honour.  The idea is that the sexually immoral young person can give the best of their years physically to those who are cruel.  For example, many have experienced both a loss of honor and a loss of time in dealing with the physical consequences of sexually transmitted diseases
  • A loss of wealth.  (v.10) “lest strangers be filled with thy wealth, and thy labours be in the house of a stranger…”.  Again, the probability that this kind of behavior will cost you financially is high.  People pay a high price because of sexual infidelity.  Think of words like “child support”, “alimony”, “court costs”, “lawyers fees”, “doctors fees” and the like.  Not everyone will always have all of these issues, but almost no one that participates in adultery plans to pay these costs, yet many do.
  • A loss of joy.  (v.11) “and thou mourn at the last, when thy flesh and thy body are consumed…”. The physical, relational, temporal, and spiritual cost often leads to an emotional cost.  Many people have dealt with the high cost of the loss of joy as a result of just a few moments of physical pleasure.
  • It is because of these losses that the father in this passage is warning his son.
  • If you find yourself thinking “this seems a little over the top.  Not everyone who has a little fling has all of these problems”, I want to warn you.  Everyone who has ever participated in these kinds of behaviors and suffered these kinds of losses thought some version of that idea.  “That won’t happen to me.”  “No one will know.”  These are the kinds of lies that we tell ourselves.  These are the thoughts of scoffers who often must deal with the consequences that they never thought they would see.
  • There is a high price to low living. We must decide to live lives of integrity now before the temptation is in front of us.
  • This is why Solomon goes on to say that regret is probable for those who do not remove themselves from the strange woman.

And say, How have I hated instruction, and my heart despised reproof;  (13)  And have not obeyed the voice of my teachers, nor inclined mine ear to them that instructed me!  (14)  I was almost in all evil in the midst of the congregation and assembly. Proverbs 5:12-14

Explanation:

  • The father further elaborates to his son the loss that will come from adultery and sexual immorality.
  • In these two verses he says that regret will characterize his life toward the end.
  • The probability of his life being characterized by disdain for wisdom and instruction beyond the issue of sexual behavior goes up.
  • The restraint of fellowship with God’s people and habitual public worship is in danger of being ineffective for the person that is sexually immoral. This is dangerous because of the deadening effect it has the conscience. Hypocrisy is bound to reign.

Application:

  • Regret is part of the price of the unrestrained, unwise path of the adulterous. If you want a life that avoids regret we must allow God’s wisdom and God’s Spirit to guide us down a wiser and different path.

Response:

  • Have you recently found yourself despising wisdom, teach or instruction? Regret may soon follow. Repent and go a different direction!

 

Strategy #3- Pursue the Remedy. V.15-18.

Drink waters out of thine own cistern, and running waters out of thine own well.  (16)  Let thy fountains be dispersed abroad, and rivers of waters in the streets.  (17)  Let them be only thine own, and not strangers’ with thee.  (18)  Let thy fountain be blessed: and rejoice with the wife of thy youth.  Proverbs 5:15-18

 

Explanation:

  • The passage has dealt with the danger of sexual immorality.
  • There is a danger in thinking that God and wisdom is against all sexual activity.
  • We must remember that God designed human beings to enjoy sexual intercourse.
  • This is His idea.  He designed it to be pleasurable and intimate.
  • Sex is not a bad thing.  Between a husband and wife in a lifelong monogamous relationship it is a very good thing!

Drink waters out of thine own cistern, and running waters out of thine own well.

  • The father tells his son in this passage to “drink waters out of thine own cistern”.
  • This metaphor of the quenching of thirst is speaking to the natural satisfaction of sexual urges being appeased in one’s own spouse.
  • He is telling his son to love his wife and to satisfy his sexual appetite through intimate and loving sexual intercourse with his wife.
  • The metaphor continues of water running in the streets, speaking of the offspring that comes from the sexual union.

(16)  Let thy fountains be dispersed abroad, and rivers of waters in the streets.  (17)  Let them be only thine own, and not strangers’ with thee.

  • He is telling his son in verse 16 and 17 that his offspring ought to be the fruit of his own marriage relationship.
  • There is a much pain that can come from there being questions about maternity and paternity.

(18)  Let thy fountain be blessed: and rejoice with the wife of thy youth.  Proverbs 5:15-18

  • Verse 18 declares it simply.  If you want sexual satisfaction without all of these dangerous and undesired outcomes, follow God’s plan and design for marriage and family.
  • Commit yourself as one man and one woman for one lifetime, and enjoy the family life that comes as the blessed result.

Application:

  • The biblical language is clear and vivid, but is never crass.
  • Think of the joy that can come from the physical, emotional, and spiritual intimacy that can happen between a committed husband and wife.
  • The man who avoids the strange woman, and finds his satisfaction and intimacy in his wife alone, will have blessing and joy from a lifelong relationship with her and his offspring.

Response:

  • For the married, what is a way that you can invest in your spouse and love them well today?
  • For the unmarried, what do you need to do to invest in your future relationships?

Conclusion:

We live in a world that is saturated with sexual temptation. If we want to defeat sexual temptation in our lives we have to have a strategy.

We can employ three strategies to defeat sexual temptation in our lives.

Keyword: Strategy

Strategy #1- Know the Reality. V. 3- 6.

  • Adulterous sexual temptation is not honey and oil. It’s poison and swords.

Strategy #2- Rely on Removal. V. 7-14.

  • The right response is to remove yourself. Run!

Strategy #3- Pursue after the Remedy. V.15-18.

  • Put attention towards your spouse! Love your wife or husband!

Session 5 Passage Map

 

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