Good morning to you all!
It’s Thursday morning for me – writing/editing my Proverbs 5 post for you all (which I began studying and preparing for 3 weeks ago) and I just want to sit in this moment for a bit.
I just finished reading Kacia’s words on Proverbs 4 from yesterday, and the many thoughtful, wise comments from you all. They’re great. And, I’ll be honest: I’m surprised.
I don’t know what I expected. I do know that Proverbs intimidates me – always has. I wasn’t sure how this study would go or how we would tackle long chapters or even seemingly disjointed themes. There are chapters that are so full of goodness that they can be overwhelming because you hardly know where to bite down. I wondered if this study might lose people.
I wondered out loud to Jessi and Kacia just a couple of weeks ago if it would lose me.
How’s that for truth?
But it didn’t. And it hasn’t. And I’m reminded again that trusting the Lord to guide our steps is always the right choice.
I know to some people, Proverbs can feel like a big string of fortune cookie wisdom or even a redundant hammering-in of certain themes over and over again. And taking in one full chapter each day leaves you wondering what one thing you can take with you to hold on to.
But what I’ve learned in the weeks leading up to this study – and in these four days since this study began: apart from all of the specific advice and invaluable wisdom and instruction, Proverbs as a whole paints a picture of the Christian life. It is, as my pastor has told us countless times,
a long obedience in the same direction.
It’s not a new thought or idea or challenge every morning – it’s a continuous walk drawing us closer and closer to Christ.
It’s a whole life-long obedience in One Direction – every day seeking Him, daily asking Him for wisdom and discernment. Returning every evening to say that we didn’t do it all perfectly and knowing that His grace covers us completely.
And Proverbs illustrates that in a way that no other book of the Bible does.
So, while Chapter 5 is a warning against adultery, it’s ultimately pointing us to obedience and fear of the Lord just the same way as Chapters 1-4.
It’s pointing us to Christ.
So, let’s tackle Chapter 5 together today, shall we?
Day 5 | Proverbs 5
So yes, adultery. No pressure, Raechel. Not an uncomfortable or touchy subject at all, right?
Do you have any idea how many different answers you can find if you search for a definition of adultery on the internet? Let’s just say the world has widely varying views on this matter. And, rather than the internet, let’s look to the Lord for that answer.
I encourage you to take a moment to pray before you read this passage, friends.
Ask the Holy Spirit to focus your mind first on Christ’s holiness, and second, at your own heart. Keep your second thoughts introspective in this area – allow this passage to speak to you about you, not to you about another person.
Let’s all approach Proverbs 5 with a contrite, humble heart this morning.
Because the truth is? While we are tempted to read this and go the direction of drawing a line in the sand of physical adulterers and non, we are all adulterous – against spouses AND God.
Because adultery goes beyond physical acts.
But, Proverbs 5 does seem to be mainly talking about physical acts of adultery with another person, and the associated temptations and consequences. So, let’s go there for a moment, shall we?
And truly, this seems simple, no?
Pretty black and white – don’t be intimate (emotionally or physically) with a person with whom you are not married. That’s the letter of the law. But this chapter in Proverbs gives good wisdom and sound advice for protecting yourself from temptation.
I love verse 8 from the ESV, “Keep your way far from her, and do not go near the door of her house“. The passage doesn’t say, “do not commit adultery”. No no – it warns against walking on the same side of the street as the person or thing that tempts you.
My pastor told us a story once about growing up in his mother’s home. It was the 1960s, and she had those nifty plastic covers on her sofas to keep the [groovy] upholstery nice.
Mmm… nothing says “sit down and get cozy” like stiff and sticky plastic on your thighs.
The point of his story was that the furniture was really important and valuable to his Mom. She was committed to keeping it pure and untarnished. So, rather than merely asking folks not to eat in the living room or to keep their shoes off the furniture, she didn’t mess around – she covered them in a water-and-dirt-proof covering – nothing was going to dirty her precious davenports.
How do we protect the things that are valuable to us and to the Lord? How do we keep our bodies (and our hearts and minds) pure? Do we casually balance a tall glass of red wine on the arm of our white sofa, playing with fire and hoping it doesn’t accidentally get bumped? Or do we demonstrate a sincere commitment to the covenants we have made with the Lord and our [future] spouses, taking extreme measures to protect what the Lord has given?
“Absolutely stay out of her neighborhood”
(v. 5, The Message)
So, that “long obedience in the same direction”? It works here, too. It works as we focus our sights on the holiness of Christ, and the promise of Eternity. As our only desire is to be more like Christ and to bring Him glory. Our long obedience keep us from diverting from the Path. And that same Path remains, even when we do not.
Let’s take this commandment from the Lord seriously and cover our marriages and relationships in a well-fitting plastic slipcover, lest it be stained by impure thoughts or deeds (or potty accidents in the case of my house this week!)
A few more questions for study:
- Based on verses 9-14, what will become of a person who commits adultery?
- What is Solomon getting at with his figures of speech in verses 15-17?
- Where else is physical adultery mentioned in the New Testament? Try reading these in The Message translation: John 8:1-11, John 4, Matthew 5:27-28 & Ephesians 4:17-19
Have a sweet weekend, friends! Blessings!