Today's Thought Questions:
- What are the consequences of committing adultery according to verses 9-14?
- How does one protect against falling into this particular sin?
Warning! Danger alert!! Can you see a modern-day Solomon pulling out the big yellow signs, with accompanying sirens and buzzers, to alert us to the dangers of the "adulteress"? Keep in mind as we read today about the expanded definition (adulteress meaning, "friend of the world"). It is as if we see her coming in verse 8, when Solomon says, "Keep your way far from her and do not go near the door of her house."
"Turn your foot from evil." (4:15 and 4:27) "Stay on the narrow path." Now five chapters in, do you see how Solomon continues to hammer the same points over and over. He is teaching! And good instruction means repetition, using the same and different words, until the student masters the concept, not just the rote repetition of a thought.
What happens if we continue to engage in adultery? Multiple things--all bad! We will lose vigor (to others, no less) and years (vs 9); strangers will receive our strength (vs 10); our "hard-earned goods" will go to strangers (vs 10); and we will be filled with regret as our body is consumed (vs 10-14).
Exploring a word, vigor is used in the NASB in verse 9, meaning "a force of healthy growth and strength" and at its root meaning "to thrive." The King James uses 'honour,' but the translation from the Hebrew is more like "splendor or majesty." Our sinful ways will not just rob us of our honor but will hand over our honor, our excellence, our beauty to another. And if we still think that we as church-going Christians are somehow immune, verse 14 paints a vivid image.
"I was almost in utter ruin in the midst of the assembly and congregation.""Utter ruin" or "evil" (KJV, meaning calamity, distress, misery, injury) happens while one is the the midst of the assembly and congregation, not apart from it. Brings to mind the Casting Crowns' song, "Stained-glass Masquerade":
"Is there anyone that fails
Is there anyone that falls
Am I the only one in church today feelin' so small
Cause when I take a look around
Everybody seems so strong
I know they'll soon discover
That I don't belong
So I tuck it all away, like everything's okay
If I make them all believe it, maybe I'll believe it too
So with a painted grin, I play the part again
So everyone will see me the way that I see them
Are we happy plastic people
Under shiny plastic steeples
With walls around our weakness
And smiles to hide our pain
But if the invitation's open
To every heart that has been broken
Maybe then we close the curtain
On our stained glass masquerade."
If the church isn't for sinners, then we truly do have things messed up. Proverbs tells us that the sinners are there, right in our midst--and they be us, too!
Tomorrow's Scripture Focus and Thought Questions:
Proverbs 5: 15-23
- Reread verses 21-23. What is your initial reaction to these words? What are the connections between discipline, wisdom and sin?
- 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."
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).