Monday, June 15, 2009

Proverbs 5: 15-23

Today's Thought Questions:
  1. Reread verses 21-23. What is your initial reaction to these words? What are the connections between discipline, wisdom and sin?
  2. Within the boundaries of God's sovereignty, He has allowed us to make choices. Recognizing our sin nature and the temptations that exist in this world, how prepared do you feel daily to resist the enticement of sin? Read I Corinthians 10:13. Claim this promise as you pursue the "path of righteousness."
Whoa! Wasn't expecting this shift of emphasis in the middle of chapter 5. Solomon changes the focus from the adulteress to one's wife! These verses are all about the commitment of a husband to his relationship with his wife.

The language is very poetic here. [It sounds like Song of Solomon, which Solomon also wrote.] I'm also finding the parallel between "wellspring" and all of the water metaphors Solomon uses very intriguing and powerful. The " the wellspring of life" (4:23, NIV), and the truth within that passage extends to include the intimacy between a man and his wife. If we come to our marital relationship with ungodly intentions, we have tainted the "water" that comes from our spring, and thus the relationship and ourselves. (Kelli, we could easily add in your points about Jesus and the woman at the well here!)

Solomon urges purity in the marital relationship (vs 15). A private cistern was generally found to be safer than a public cistern, which was available to many and easily contaminated. A relationship with an adulteress would obviously contaminate a marriage. When a husband is faithfully committed to a monogamous relationship with his wife, his "fountain"--meaning his "wellspring or wisdom"--will be blessed (vs 18). [Strong's]

The wife should be a husband's source of fresh water. Verse 18 says "Rejoice in the wife of your youth," meaning "be brightened up by, be cheered by." And verse 19, "be exhilarated always with her love." Very high standing, indeed! This is what God intended when He created marriage. What Genesis describes as "helper" is now much more personal, but the intent is still the same. Wives fulfill that which their husbands truly need, and when that relationship and its intent is honored, their blessings point back to the blessings of wisdom.

By the end of the study passage, the verses veer back toward talking about the sin of adultery, verse 21 summing it up: "For the ways of a man are before the eyes of the LORD." Adultery is the subject of many a pop song. When you recall the lyrics, was anybody out in the open about what they were doing? If somebody did figure out what was up with "Me and Mrs. Jones," believe me, they wouldn't be meeting at "the same cafe"!!

God sees through secret, hidden sins like adultery as surely as he hears us taking His name in vain. We're told in verse 22 that our sin will be uncovered. I find the wording particularly strong: "...He will be held with the cords of his sin." Do you remember Ecclesiastes 4:12b? "A cord of three strands is not quickly broken." (NIV) Where a friendship is formed in love and comes together with a tight bond, the cords of the sin of adultery might well break off into three separate strands: man, wife and adulteress/adulterer.

We close with the reminder that Godly wisdom isn't something to be taken lightly. Yesterday's reading said we would approach our last days with extreme regret, not taking wisdom into account. Verse 23 shuts the door on any discussion: "He will die for lack of instruction."

No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it."

--I Corinthians 10: 13

In light of our reading this past week, how prepared do I feel in escaping the enticements of sin? Well.... Let's just say that there's a lot of depth that I hadn't considered before I started reading this book. Even chapters that don't seem applicable are proving to be extremely thought-provoking. I see how quickly sin happens and I feel like I'm becoming more and more aware of the tendency to turn my foot in that direction.

I am not praying for His intervention in my life nearly enough nor soon enough. Even though I have a much better understanding of what His wisdom truly entails, I have hardly grasped it.

This I Corinthians passage comes in a new way, put up against what we have read in Proverbs. And although I believe that I have been "commonly" tempted, I don't believe that I have taken the steps necessary to see the way of escape. Perhaps I have missed claiming the part of the verse that says, "God is faithful...."

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Tomorrow's Scripture Focus and Thought Questions:

Proverbs 6: 1-11
  1. If we have sinned against someone in word or deed, what do verses 3-5 direct us to do?
  2. Ants!! What understanding do you gain in reading about the ant?

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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).


Carmen said...

Is it possible that even sex before marriage could be considered a form of adultery? I know that when you marry someone and share your pure and unscathed intimacy with them, there's a depth and a beauty to that intimacy that you're both robbed of when it's been given to someone else. I guess that relates a bit to yesterdays post as well. Anyway, I love your comparison with Ecclesiastes on the three fold cord! Good insight!!

Sue J. said...

I would have to agree with you. Keeping in mind the biggest possible view of all this, if we are "friends with the world," disregarding the ways of God in any form, then we have committed "adultery."

It does dovetail into yesterday--pearls before swing and all....