Proverbs 5:3 “For the lips of a forbidden woman drip honey, and her speech is smoother than oil”
As we saw in the sermon yesterday, Proverbs 5 is what we might call a “strong meat” passage. Solomon doesn’t mince words with his son. Since the subject matter impacts the eternal state of his son’s soul, he spares nothing. He is bold and plain in his speech.
In our politically correct day – the tendency to be overly polite has crept even into the Church, so that our words are often “defanged” in an all-costs effort not to offend anyone. Offending people has taken on the character of being the only real cardinal sin of our age. You can say anything, as long as in reality it says nothing that can bother anyone else.
The Bible treats people as more valuable than that. It assumes that what is most loving, is what is actually best for people not what may or may not make them feel best. It respects us as being able to grapple with the truth, and not needing to live in a fantasy world where all is lilies and puffy clouds. God is a God of truth. And as made in His image, humankind is to be a race of truth – hard as some truths may be.
Let me remind you briefly of two things which appear in the text above, and which were amplified in the rest of this chapter.
1. Useful for our studying the rest of Proverbs (as well as other passages of Scripture) is to bear in mind that the idea of a “forbidden woman” is not ONLY an appeal to dealing with sexual sin for men – but a picture of all temptation to sin, for men, women and children alike.
All temptation – no matter what the object, calls us to partake of the forbidden, what God for whatever reason(s) has put off limits to us. As forbidden, it is some thing (or some one) we have no right to.
With that, comes a promise of certain “sweetness” – a seductive good implied in what is being proposed. This is accompanied by arguments in the heart and mind to smooth out any objections to pursuing the proposed good our consciences, God’s Word or anyone else might propose to us. The power of which resides in the fact that our own hearts are self-deceptive: Jeremiah 17:9 “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?”
2. The unmasking of sin is one of our greatest weapons in overcoming it. Seeing it for what it really is. Stripping away the illusion. It is a constant battle, and a tactic which cannot be overestimated. We desperately need to see things as they are from God’s perspective. What Francis Schaeffer used to call “real reality.”
Our culture has decided to not call sin sin anymore. We concoct an entire glossary of terms to avoid it. Alternative lifestyle. Parsing facts. Polyamory. The “disease” model for drunkenness = alcoholism. Positive self-image. Addictive behaviors. Creative or un-orthodox accounting practices. Any way of describing things so as to denude them of any moral content. So we paint sin in the best possible light. We give it a pretty, or at least a non-offensive mask to hide behind. We excuse it in others so that we can excuse it in ourselves if need be. And more than anything, we avoid connecting it with the out-pouring of God’s wrath on Christ in our stead at Calvary.
Solomon wanted to make sin as repulsive to his son as he possibly could. A tactic we need to employ for ourselves. One which should bring us back to contemplate the horror of the cross again and again.