Saturday, June 13, 2009

Proverbs 5: 1-6

Today's Thought Questions:
  1. Do you believe we all have the potential to fall in this area? Read Romans 3:23, 24.
  2. Do you think that we should stay away from an adulterer/adulteress? Why or why not?
As we begin chapter 5, we are reminded of words Solomon gave us in the middle of chapter 2 about the adulteress. This chapter is very specific and rather in-your-face in describing the "pitfalls," as my chapter title says in the NASB.

Our thought question authors give us an interesting first question: "Do we all believe we can fall in this area?" Of course, we can fall in any area at any time. You may read this and say, "What? Me? Adultery? I don't think so...." And, in the sense of how we understand the word today, perhaps the likelihood of you sinning through adultery is more remote. But, what if we expanded on the definition of adultery to get to what the Bible is also talking about.

"You lust and do not have; so you commit murder. You are envious and cannot obtain; so you fight and quarrel. You do not have because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your pleasures. You adulteresses, do you not know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.

--James 4: 2-4, emphasis mine

God timed my hearing of our church's sermon series on James to coincide with this post. Is James addressing those who commit adultery here? No, not specifically. But look at the definition that he gives us for adultery: "friendship with the world." If we now look back at Proverbs 5, and look at the adulteress as one who is a friend of the world, following in worldly ways, not following God's Word with one's full heart, do you still believe you can't fall in this area?

"...for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus...."

--Romans 3: 23 & 24

When we are enticed into sin, is it with challenging words of reasoning? Or with lips of honey? (And we wonder where the expression 'sweet talk' comes from?) What begins as a sweet invitation turns sour, however. "Bitter as wormwood"--wormwood being an aromatic yet bitter plant that we may have in our yards (artemisia), some forms of which are used to make vermouth. Here, it means "poisonous or accursed." [Strong's]

"Sharp as a two-edged sword," continues verse 4. This was very interesting to read in this description, as I know this phrase from a very different verse. Hebrews 4:12 says, "For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart." The sword of the adulteress brings death (vs 5 echoes this), yet God's Word, sharper than any two-edged sword, brings life, as it can cut away that which leads us to death without removing the life from us.

Our passage today concludes with a verse reminiscent of Proverbs 4:19b, "They do not know over what they stumble." As we blindly follow the crooked path in whatever sin we are entangled, we do not see that we are headed for much worse than that which ensnares us. "Sheol," the pit, the abyss--call it what you will, but the path doesn't lead to light. In fact, as the beginning of verse 6 says, the path of life is not even pondered! The ways of the adulteress are wavering and unsteady.

Praise God when we "incline our ear" to His understanding. He is the solid rock upon whom we may securely stand.

"As for God, his way is perfect; the word of the LORD is flawless. He is a shield for all who take refuge in him. For who is God besides the LORD? And who is the Rock except our God? It is God who arms me with strength and makes my way perfect."

--II Samuel 22: 31-33


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Tomorrow's Scripture Focus and Thought Questions:

Proverbs 5: 7-14
  1. What are the consequences of committing adultery according to verses 9-14?
  2. How does one protect against falling into this particular sin?

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Note: I read from the New American Standard Bible translation, specifically, The MacArthur Study Bible (NASB). I will quote other sources if used in a post.
I also use Strong's Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible (with notes from the King James Version).

1 comment:

Carmen said...

Sometimes our views are very narrow. It's beneficial to look into the meaning of a word, even when we think we know what it means.

It's so true that often we don't see what's coming. We learned earlier that all it takes is one step in the wrong direction, and like a waterfall, we get washed away into the depths.

It's amazing that God loved us so much, that He left us a manual to help us through this life. All we have to do is listen and apply. =)