Welcome to the father?s fireside chat. This is the eighth lesson that Solomon has offered to his son in the first five chapters of Proverbs. As I have worked my way through these five chapters I have imagined Solomon, not Solomon the King or Solomon the wisest man who ever lived, but Solomon the daddy sitting with his son and talking about life. I have pictured that in my mind over and over again as I have read these powerful and practical verses of wisdom. It?s so interesting what this father, filled with passion and intensity, talked about to his boy. Have you noticed that they?ve not had one talk about the NFL or the upcoming college football season? Have you heard a word about the stock market or how his Microsoft stock was performing? I?m sure Solomon and his son, like any normal father and son, talked about small talk, current events, and the things they enjoyed, but when it came time to have a serious heart-to-heart talk about life?those things were not on the priority list.
The problem that many of us dads have is that we can talk so easily about many of the things that Solomon did not address with his son in Proverbs, but when it comes to the matters of the heart and the issues that will make or break our sons and daughters over the long haul?we are silent. We don?t know what to say. We are left speechless. Men, it is time for us to read up, study up, pray up, and speak up. If the reason for our silence is a lack of information then we need to get in God?s Word and allow the Lord to teach us the things that we need to pass on to our sons and daughters. If the reason for our silence is our own moral failure in some of these matters, then we need to repent, allow the forgiveness of our gracious God to assure us of His cleansing and forgiveness, and then, with dogged determination, teach our children how to live according to God?s Word.
Solomon loved his son. He wanted him to avoid the traps that had already been set for him in life. He greatly desired for his son to live in the freedom that only comes to those who diligently walk according to God?s way of living life. In the lessons that Solomon has shared with his son so far we?ve heard about how important it is to seek godly wisdom above else. We?ve read how God?s wisdom, coupled with godly discipline, can curb the passions that will lead him into destruction and total ruin. We?ve also read how God?s wisdom will enable his son to avoid those people in society who are more than willing to bring him down.
In Solomon?s eighth lesson we are going to hear him speak to his son about sex. Specifically, Solomon is warning his son to stay away from loose women and to be faithful to his wife. Solomon has already touched upon the topic of this conversation in Proverbs 2:16-19, but in Proverbs 5 he goes into much greater detail. Review with me for a minute by turning to Proverbs 2:16-19. Let?s read together.
16 It will save you also from the adulteress, from the wayward wife with her seductive words, 17 who has left the partner of her youth and ignored the covenant she made before God. 18 For her house leads down to death and her paths to the spirits of the dead. 19 None who go to her return or attain the paths of life. (Proverbs 2:16-19 NIV)
What Solomon speaks about in four verses in Proverbs 2, he will now delve into much more deeply. If you will turn with me to Proverbs 5:1-23 we will read what Solomon had to say. As we read the Scripture I want us to notice how the Scripture breaks into three different parts: In verses 1-6 we have the introduction. In verses 7-20 we read Solomon?s lessons concerning the topics of purity and faithfulness. Last of all, in verses 21-23 we have Solomon?s conclusion on the topic.
1 My son, pay attention to my wisdom, listen well to my words of insight, 2 that you may maintain discretion and your lips may preserve knowledge. 3 For the lips of an adulteress drip honey, and her speech is smoother than oil; 4 but in the end she is bitter as gall, sharp as a double-edged sword. 5 Her feet go down to death; her steps lead straight to the grave. 6 She gives no thought to the way of life; her paths are crooked, but she knows it not. 7 Now then, my sons, listen to me; do not turn aside from what I say. 8 Keep to a path far from her, do not go near the door of her house, 9 lest you give your best strength to others and your years to one who is cruel, 10 lest strangers feast on your wealth and your toil enrich another man?s house. 11 At the end of your life you will groan, when your flesh and body are spent. 12 You will say, ?How I hated discipline! How my heart spurned correction! 13 I would not obey my teachers or listen to my instructors. 14 I have come to the brink of utter ruin in the midst of the whole assembly.? 15 Drink water from your own cistern, running water from your own well. 16 Should your springs overflow in the streets, your streams of water in the public squares? 17 Let them be yours alone, never to be shared with strangers. 18 May your fountain be blessed, and may you rejoice in the wife of your youth. 19 A loving doe, a graceful deer?may her breasts satisfy you always, may you ever be captivated by her love. 20 Why be captivated, my son, by an adulteress? Why embrace the bosom of another man?s wife? 21 For a man?s ways are in full view of the LORD, and he examines all his paths. 22 The evil deeds of a wicked man ensnare him; the cords of his sin hold him fast. 23 He will die for lack of discipline, led astray by his own great folly. (Proverbs 5:1-23 NIV)
In verses 1-6 Solomon introduces his son to the topic by once again urging him to recognize the importance of the subject and to pay attention to the wisdom he is about to offer regarding how to preserve his life. Solomon tells his son that if he will listen and obey his wise counsel then he will be able to maintain discretion. The Hebrew word for ?discretion? means, ?purpose, discretion, device, or plot.? The word can be used in both a positive and negative way. Positively, the word is used to describe those who walk in godly wisdom and as a result they preserve their lives, are led by God?s counsel, and avoid getting off track and following those who devise evil plans. Negatively the word is used to describe those who come up with all kinds of plans to get ahead, to take advantage of others, and to do whatever they want to do regardless of what God desires. Let me show you a couple of the positive uses of the word found in the book of Proverbs. First of all, turn with me to Proverbs 2:10-11.
10 For wisdom will enter your heart, and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul. 11 Discretion will protect you, and understanding will guard you. (Proverbs 2:10-11 NIV)
In Proverbs 2:21-24 we see another occurrence of the word and once again we see how godly discretion will protect those who are led by its wisdom and counsel.
21 My son, preserve sound judgment and discernment, do not let them out of your sight; 22 they will be life for you, an ornament to grace your neck. 23 Then you will go on your way in safety, and your foot will not stumble; 24 when you lie down, you will not be afraid; when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet. (Proverbs 3:21-24 NIV)
When it comes to our topic for today, the importance of godly wisdom and discretion can?t be overstated. There is not a week that goes by that we don?t see how the lack of wisdom and godly discretion has led countless men and women into total ruin. These are not dumb men and women. These are not folks who do not know better. These are men and women who succumb to temptation knowing that there will be consequences and yet they plunge headlong onto the road of destruction. How can this be? How can this happen? The answer to this question is really quite simple. Take a look at Proverbs 5:3 with me.
3 For the lips of an adulteress drip honey, and her speech is smoother than oil; (Proverbs 5:3 NIV)
How powerful is speech? The power of words can?t be overstated. Just ask a wife, who never gets noticed at home, how it feels when she walks into her office and is told by one of her co-workers, ?You sure look nice today.? Just ask a man who is constantly criticized and can never do enough at home how it felt when the woman in the cubicle next to him praised him for a job well done. Just ask a school girl, who feels like an ugly duckling, how she felt the first time a boy told her that she was the most beautiful girl in school. A kind word can unlock the heart. Words are powerful. Wilfred Peterson once wrote,
Soft words sung in a lullaby will put a babe to sleep. Excited words will stir a mob to violence. Eloquent words will send armies marching into the face of death. Encouraging words will fan to flame the genius of a Rembrandt or a Lincoln. Powerful words will mold the public mind as the sculptor molds his clay. Words, spoken or written, are a dynamic force. (Wilfred Peterson)
Words can be used to bless or curse, incite, invite, encourage, crush, or condemn. Words can also be used to seduce and there is no more powerful tool to unlock the passions of a man or woman?s soul than seductive words dripping with honey. The only problem is that these seductive, sweeter-than-honey words are full of poison. The words are being spoken by a woman who is not the wife of the man. This same lesson can be applied to the wife who buys into the sweeter-than-honey sounding words of the man who is not her husband.
At first the words sound so good. It?s been such a long time since someone appreciated us, noticed us, made us feel desirable, intelligent, interesting, and of some value. These kind of folks know the right words to say at the right time, but Solomon tells his son,
4 but in the end she is bitter as gall, sharp as a double-edged sword. (Proverbs 5:4 NIV)
It has been said that love is blind. Because we love someone we will overlook their little idiosyncrasies and personality quirks and focus on the bigger, more important aspects of the love we share with them. On the other hand, lust blinds: illicit love blinds us to the future consequences of making decisions based upon the heat of passion or living out some Danielle Steele romance novel.
In the heart of Solomon?s lesson, verses 7-20, we see the consequences of biting at the bait and the blessing of remaining faithful to one?s own wife. Let?s take a look at the consequences described for us in verses 7-14. Solomon writes,
7 Now then, my sons, listen to me; do not turn aside from what I say. 8 Keep to a path far from her, do not go near the door of her house, 9 lest you give your best strength to others and your years to one who is cruel, 10 lest strangers feast on your wealth and your toil enrich another man?s house. 11 At the end of your life you will groan, when your flesh and body are spent. 12 You will say, ?How I hated discipline! How my heart spurned correction! 13 I would not obey my teachers or listen to my instructors. 14 I have come to the brink of utter ruin in the midst of the whole assembly.? (Proverbs 5:7-14 NIV)
Solomon lists two consequences in this section of his discussion with his son: Financial and social consequences. Let?s take a look at the financial consequences. Don?t give yourself to her or ?strangers will feast on your wealth? and ?your toil will enrich another man?s house.? Most often divorce accompanies illicit, extra-marital affairs. When divorce comes the husband and wife never dream of the financial hardships that will follow. I was reading this past week about a couple of high profile divorces that have happened during the past few years and the financial fall-out of their divorces. Let me share them with you.
The first case I want us to look at is the divorce of Jack and Jane Welch. Jack Welch was the highly regarded CEO of General Electric. What he did for the company was truly remarkable and he was rewarded handsomely. An article in The Observer chronicles the high cost Jack paid for his divorce after having an affair with the editor of the Harvard Business Review. The article states,
After two decades of uninterrupted fawning, the American media have declared open season on him (Jack Welch). They have plenty of material to work with: his second wife, Jane, filed for divorce last week; his new girlfriend has been forced to resign from her job at one of the most prestigious business magazines in the country; and his once impregnable reputation as the greatest CEO of the post-war era is coming under review?Last autumn the Harvard Business Review, a dry but influential magazine which operates under the umbrella of Harvard Business School, asked Welch for an interview. The request came from Suzy Wetlaufer, the magazine’s editor?As news of Jane Welch’s divorce petition leaked out it also emerged that the couple’s pre-nuptial agreement had expired automatically some years ago, leaving Jack Welch facing a settlement equal to half of his total worth of $900 million. ‘$450 million,’ said New York based lawyer Raoul Felder, who specializes in celebrity divorces. ‘That’s a lot of money for a little dalliance.’ (Neutron Jack and his electric affair. The Observer, Sunday March 17, 2002.)
Now you may be thinking that Jane Welch made out like a bandit. Who would dare say that she is suffering financially because of her divorce? Not me, but the reality for most ordinary couples is that both suffer tremendous financial hardships. The largest demographic in our country who live below the poverty level are single women with children?many of those women are divorced and trying make ends meet on much less than they were accustomed to while they were married.
The second case I want us to look at is probably much more familiar to us who live in Oklahoma since it involves one of our native sons. Garth Brooks and his wife, Sandy, divorced a few years ago after Garth had confessed that he had been unfaithful to his wife. Sandy took him back, tried to reconcile, but eventually they filed for divorce. An article from The Buzzle.com reported the break-up.
Garth Brooks and his wife of 14 years have publicly announced that they have agreed to part ways and file for a formal divorce?Adding spice to the country break-up story is the rumored settlement figure of over $125 million that has been mentioned by sources close to the couple. That would represent nearly half of Garth?s total worth at this time?At the heart of the divorce are the Brooks? three children, Taylor, 8, August, 6, and Allie 4. During the interview in which Garth initially broke the divorce news, he mentioned that the children were the primary concern of he and his wife and that they were still trying to determine the best course of action for them. Let?s hope that they can keep the children out of the rumor mill as much as possible. (Buzzle.com 10/24/2000)
The $125 million hit that Garth took doesn?t catch my attention nearly as much as the last sentence: ?Let?s hope that they can keep the children out of the rumor mill as much as possible.? Solomon talks about the financial consequences and the social consequences of infidelity, but he never touches on the heartache, shame, and hurt suffered by the kids. He doesn?t talk about weekend visitation, every other holiday rights, or nasty family court sessions to try and get the parents to work together. He doesn?t mention spurned wives and moms spilling their guts to their kids who get way too much information. He doesn?t mention husbands and fathers who feel like they?ve been gutted and then they have to deal with a court system that almost always sides with putting the kids with their mom regardless if she was the one who had the affair.
When you see the seductress slinking into the room and sauntering alongside of you to lather you in her smooth honey-sounding syllables you need the godly wisdom of discretion to be able to see the devastation that awaits you on the horizon. When you see the smooth, suave Casanova come alongside of you to caress you with his charm and draw you into his arms you need discretion to be able to see the train wreck that is waiting just around the bend.
I know, I know, you won?t get caught. Those other folks were just stupid. They didn?t cover their tracks like you would cover yours. You are smarter than that. Yeah, right! Folks a lot smarter than you and me have been found out. The only solution to not being found out is to stay out?stay out of situations that might lead you to compromise the commitment you made before God concerning your marriage.
The #1 single in America this week is called, Confessions 2 by Usher. In the song he?s making his confession because he has been unfaithful and he never gave a thought to being caught. Now that he?s gotten the news that he?s going to be a daddy, but with the wrong woman, he?s sick. Let me read you the lyrics to the song.[Chorus]
These are my confessions
Just when I thought I said all I can say
My chick on the side said she got one on the
These are my confessions
Man I’m throwed and I don?t know what to do
I guess I gotta give you part 2 of my
If I’m gonna tell it then I gotta tell it
Damn near cried when I got that phone call
I’m so throwed and I don’t know what to do
But to give you part 2 of my confessions
Now this gon’ be the hardest thing I think I ever had to do
Got me talkin’ to myself askin’ how I’m gon’ tell you
’bout that chick on part 1 I told ya’ll I was creepin’ with, creepin’ with
Said she’s 3 months pregnant and she’s
The first thing that came to mind was you
Second thing was how do I know if it’s mine
and is it true
Third thing was me wishin’ that I never did what
How I ain’t ready for no kid and bye bye to our
See when this stuff goes through be tryna
When, what, and how I’mma let this come out
of my mouth
Said it ain’t gon’ be easy
But I need to stop thinkin’, contemplatin’
Be a man and get it over with (over with)
I’m ridin’ in my whip
Racin’ to her place
Talkin’ to myself
Preparin’ to tell her to her face
open up the door and didn’t want to come
I said why? baby?
Please hear me
This by far is the hardest thing I think I’ve ever
had to do
To tell you, the woman I love that I’m having a
baby by a woman that I barely even know
I hope you can accept the fact that I’m man
enough to tell you this
And hopefully you’ll give me another chance
This ain’t about my career
This ain’t about my life
It’s about us. Please (Usher, Confessions 2)
I watched the video to Usher?s song this past week and I noticed that at the end of the video, while he is singing the last verse, he is singing into a huge mirror. He?s rehearsing his plea to his girl and when he gets to the last phrases, ?This ain?t about my career. This ain?t about my life. It?s about us. Please.? As soon as ?please? comes out of his mouth the huge mirror shatters and in slow motion crumbles to the ground. And so it is with the lives of those who are drawn into the abyss by the allure and attraction of that which looks good, sounds good, but is poison that kills.
In Proverbs 5:15-19 Solomon speaks to his son euphemistically by saying, ?Drink water from your own cistern.? Every Hebrew home had their own water source and they knew not to go to the neighbor?s house to get their water. Neither were they to go to the neighbor?s house to meet their need for intimacy.
In verse 19 Solomon says, ??May you always be captivated by her.? The word ?captivated? conveys the idea of being ?blown away, out of your mind.? The same Hebrew word is translated, ?intoxicated? in other places. Men and women, as an alcoholic desires the bottle we are to desire our mate. We are not to lose the love God put in our hearts for our mates. The love that caused us initially to write them love notes, comment positively on their appearance, and make them feel special.
know what is really interesting? Let me make this clear, it is not the honey sweet words that are wrong. It is who is speaking those words and the ears, heart, and soul that are receptive to those words. Words that are sweeter than honey are to be spoken by husbands and wives one to another. When was the last time you told your wife how much you love and appreciate her? When was the last time you told her that she is beautiful? Wives, when was the last time that you told your husband that you are crazy about him? When was the last time that you told him that looks like Tom Cruise or Denzel Washington? You may laugh, but the fact of the matter is that we men want to know that we are your Prince Charming.
Song of Songs we read about the relationship of a husband and wife. What is interesting is that in chapter 4 we read about the sweet words that are spoken by the husband to his wife. Read along with me.
1 How beautiful you are, my darling! Oh, how beautiful! Your eyes behind your veil are doves. Your hair is like a flock of goats descending from Mount Gilead. 2 Your teeth are like a flock of sheep just shorn, coming up from the washing. Each has its twin; not one of them is alone. 3 Your lips are like a scarlet ribbon; your mouth is lovely. Your temples behind your veil are like the halves of a pomegranate. 4 Your neck is like the tower of David, built with elegance; on it hang a thousand shields, all of them shields of warriors. 5 Your two breasts are like two fawns, like twin fawns of a gazelle that browse among the lilies. 6 Until the day breaks and the shadows flee, I will go to the mountain of myrrh and to the hill of incense. 7 All beautiful you are, my darling; there is no flaw in you. (Song of Songs 4:1-7 NIV)
Now you may not want to tell your wife that her hair is like ?a flock of goats descending from Mount Gilead,? but you get the picture. He is blessing his wife with words that are sweeter than honey?words that will not go bad or turn to bitter gall because they are in a committed marriage and she is the apple of his eye.
In the last section of our Scripture for today Solomon writes to his son and reminds him that he is living life in full view of the Lord. Look at Proverbs 5:21-23 with me.
21 For a man?s ways are in full view of the LORD, and he examines all his paths. 22 The evil deeds of a wicked man ensnare him; the cords of his sin hold him fast. 23 He will die for lack of discipline, led astray by his own great folly. (Proverbs 5:21-23 NIV)
What a great restraint for those who are being tempted this morning to go outside of their marriage to find fulfillment and excitement in intimacy. We are living our lives in full view of the Lord. I believe with all of my heart that I will stand in front of the Lord one day and He will ask me, ?Mike, what did you do with that beautiful blond I gave you to care for, love, forgive, nurture, and encourage?? I want to be able to stand tall and say, ?Lord, I was faithful. I made many mistakes. I didn?t always treat her like the treasure she is to You, but Lord I was faithful to her.?
There are those of you here this morning who hear those words and they weigh heavy on your hearts either because you were married to someone who was unfaithful to you or because you were unfaithful to someone you were married to in the past. Where does that leave you? Have you blown it? My friends I am not here to judge anyone, but I am here this morning to let you know that you can be forgiven for your sins of the past. Your sin has a price attached to it, but you can?t pay that price?Jesus paid it for you. I would also encourage you this morning with one final word. If you are married then stay faithful to the wife or husband the Lord has given you. I know there will be hard times. I know there will be times when you can?t stand your husband or wife, there will be times when they can?t stand you either, but press on, cry out to the Lord, pray that He will allow you to reconcile with one another, and stay faithful. Marriage is hard enough even when two people are faithful to one another. Don?t complicate matters even more by going outside of the covenant you made with your spouse.
Once again we will end where we always end. The kind of purity and faithfulness that we have been talking about this morning is an impossibility outside of you relinquishing control of your life to Jesus Christ. The key is not to make a commitment to having a good marriage. The key is to surrender your heart to Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior of your life. Won?t you do that this morning?