Continuing on our current track, we’re once again looking little more closely at the 4 main benefits Solomon told his son could expect from following the 7 steps of vss. 1-4:
1 (5-8) “Then you will understand the Fear of The Lord”.
2. (9-15) “Then you will understand righteousness, and justice and equity, and every good work.”
3. (16-19) “So you will be delivered from the forbidden woman” (i.e. temptation).
4. (20) “So you will walk in righteousness.”
The third benefit he lists is “So you will be delivered from the forbidden woman.”
As a father speaking frankly to his own son, Solomon pulls no punches. He knows two things are true in regard to our fallen condition; a. Everyone is subject to temptation. The areas of temptation may differ from person to person – but no one is without them. b. Young men are especially prone to sexual temptation. There is no sense trying to dodge it, nor is it profitable to shift the blame to women. Every young man struggles with what to do with his burgeoning sexuality. Period. And every man – regardless of age is called to learn to manage his sexuality righteously. There is a pure and holy context (within monogamous, heterosexual marriage) and there is a defiling context – the “forbidden” woman. The woman who is not his wife. In person, in print, in pixels, on-line, on the phone or in the imagination. If she is not yours by marriage, she is forbidden.
Because Proverbs is primarily written from a father to his son, the metaphor for temptation is couched in terms of what will be most common to a young man. But it takes no imagination to see how that metaphor could be modified to the peculiar temptations of young ladies, older men or older women. The issue is temptation more than the particular kind of temptation. The text could just as easily used some different picture. But in this context, it is spot on.
Once again, it is the “fear of the Lord” – created through devoting oneself to seeking out, treasuring, inclining the heart to, pursuing God’s Word that is insisted upon.
The Word meets this need in a host of ways – only a few of which are:
It informs us we are made for higher things than to be given over to mere sexual lust – having been created in the image of God. (Gen. 1:27)
It shows us how sexual lust is the first sign of our fallen condition. (Rom. 1:18-25)
It instructs us in marriage and the right relationship between the sexes – where God blesses sexual love as a high and holy type of intimacy between Christ and the Church. (Heb. 13:4, Eph. 5:22-32)
The Word is replete with various ways to detect how our own hearts are drawn away and provides myriads of “techniques” or ways to overcome. (Rom. 6, Rom. 8:13, 2 Tim. 2:22, Gal. 5:16 – etc. )
The Bible is a mirror to show us what is really going on in our hearts so that we do walk in self-deception. (James 1:22-25)
It shows us how we are not alone in temptation and how God is on our side in facing it. (1 Cor. 10:13)
We are exposed to nature of God’s judgment upon sexual sin. (Eph. 5:3-5)
We are told how it defiles not just ourselves, but others. (1 Cor. 6:15-20)
And it tells us how to depend upon the indwelling Spirit of Christ in gaining the holy skill of dying to sin’s cries and arguments. (Rm. 8:13)
Because sexual temptation is so pervasive, and because it is one of the most glaring realities of our own age and culture – nothing can be more useful in discussing all temptation under this umbrella.
Would YOU be delivered from whatever the “forbidden woman” is in your life? Seek out the fear of the Lord.
1 Corinthians 10:13 No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.