It was a Saturday night and she was getting ready. She had made her phone calls, made her plans, made up her mind about the clothes she would wear, the look she wanted, and the things she wanted to do. Now she was ready to head out to the mall where it all would all happen.
He had talked to his buddies on the phone and they had decided what time they would meet. They had been waiting all week for the weekend and now it was finally here. While he was on the phone with his buddies they talked about the game on Friday night, the girls they hoped would be at the mall on Saturday night, and what they were going to do.
On a Saturday night the guys and girls converge on the local mall like football fans at the stadium on a Saturday afternoon. They didn?t go there to meet anyone in particular, but they knew there would be lots of cute guys and girls at the mall?there always are on a Saturday night. When their paths crossed she saw him and knew that he would be the one. He was a good-looking kid. He was young, just a junior in high school, and he didn?t know too much about guys and girls, but he knew a pretty girl when he saw one.
She was pretty?and lonely. She had recently broken up with her boyfriend and it had devastated her. They had talked about getting married some day. She had practiced writing her first name with his last name. She had laid in bed at night and thought about what their kids would look like. Then the day came when they broke up and it broke her up. She hated him. She felt betrayed. She told lies about him all over school, but at night she cried because her heart had been broken. She hoped that he would be at the mall on Saturday night so that she could get back at him, make him jealous, and hurt him the way he had hurt her.
When she got to the mall she was hanging out in the food court where so many of the kids congregate like church goers on a Sunday morning. She saw the young guy from school who she knew liked her and she set her sights on him. She positioned herself so that his path would cross hers. He was walking along with his buddies when he noticed her. She smiled one of those smiles and tossed her hair over her shoulder. She knew the right things to say and the right look to cast a young guy?s way to catch his attention.
Suddenly he forgot all about his buddies and he was drawn like a moth to a flame to the young girl. They talked and laughed. His was nervous laughter. She was so pretty and had never given him the time of day?now she was really acting interested and he couldn?t believe it. She leaned into him, put her hands on his face, and said, ?You are so cute.? He was enjoying every minute of it, but in his mind he was wondering ?what-in-the-world-is-going-on!? Had he suddenly become Brad Pitt or one of the studs of a romance novel? Was this his ?break out? night? The night when all of the beautiful girls at the mall would discover that he really is so good-looking, and with a great personality to go along with it?
Before the night was over they slipped out of the mall and into the night and she had accomplished her goal. He was trapped like a rat and didn?t even know it. He went to the mall a fun-loving junior in high school. He left the mall that night strutting like a Peacock, he felt like Hugh Hefner, but he didn?t realize that he was heading straight to ?Heartbreak Hill??and he didn?t even know it.
Today, we are going to take a look at Solomon?s eleventh ?life-lesson? offered to his son. I pray that the Lord will etch this lesson on our hearts and minds as we study this section of Scripture today. Last week we studied the power of influence in each of our lives. We didn?t even touch on the specific danger that Solomon pointed out for his son, the danger of sex without boundaries. The reason we didn?t deal with Proverbs 6:24-35 is because I wanted to wait until this morning so that we could examine the topic of sexual sin in our study of Proverbs 7.
This is such an important study for you and me today because regardless of whether you are a young student or an adult?you can?t miss the sexual messages and enticements that are thrown at you each and every day. Scripture is very clear that apart from godly wisdom you and I have no defense against the tantalizing tactics of the Enemy. You can?t watch prime time television without seductive men and women reaching into your home. You can?t walk down the halls of your school without your senses being stimulated by half dressed girls and Casanova guys with their smooth words. You can?t go to work with your defenses down and expect to leave work unscathed. Sexual sin will do you in. The offers and advances of the beautiful and seductive may look like an offer you can?t refuse, but let me assure you?it is an offer you and I must refuse. Let?s take a look at our Scripture for today found in Proverbs 7.
1Dear friend, do what I tell you; treasure my careful instructions. 2Do what I say and you?ll live well. My teaching is as precious as your eyesight?guard it! 3Write it out on the back of your hands; etch it on the chambers of your heart. 4Talk to Wisdom as to a sister. Treat Insight as your companion. 5They?ll be with you to fend off the Temptress?that smooth-talking, honey-tongued Seductress. 6As I stood at the window of my house looking out through the shutters, 7Watching the mindless crowd stroll by, I spotted a young man without any sense 8Arriving at the corner of the street where she lived, then turning up the path to her house. 9It was dusk, the evening coming on, the darkness thickening into night. 10Just then, a woman met him?she?d been lying in wait for him, dressed to seduce him. 11Brazen and brash she was, restless and roaming, never at home, 12Walking the streets, loitering in the mall, hanging out at every corner in town. 13She threw her arms around him and kissed him, boldly took his arm and said, 14?I?ve got all the makings for a feast?today I made my offerings, my vows are all paid, 15So now I?ve come to find you, hoping to catch sight of your face?and here you are! 16I?ve spread fresh, clean sheets on my bed, colorful imported linens. 17My bed is aromatic with spices and exotic fragrances. 18Come, let?s make love all night, spend the night in ecstatic lovemaking! 19-20My husband?s not home; he?s away on business, and he won?t be back for a month.? 21Soon she has him eating out of her hand, bewitched by her honeyed speech. 22Before you know it, he?s trotting behind her, like a calf led to the butcher shop, Like a stag lured into ambush 23and then shot with an arrow, Like a bird flying into a net not knowing that its flying life is over. 24So, friends, listen to me, take these words of mine most seriously. 25Don?t fool around with a woman like that; don?t even stroll through her neighborhood. 26Countless victims come under her spell; she?s the death of many a poor man. 27She runs a halfway house to hell, fits you out with a shroud and a coffin. (Proverbs 7:1-27 NIV)
As we begin our study for today I want you to notice that this Scripture is divided into three different parts. In verses 1-5 we find Solomon once again urging his son to cling to godly wisdom. The reason for Solomon?s urgent plea is found in verse 5 where he writes, 5 ?They?ll be with you to fend off the Temptress?that smooth-talking, honey-tongued Seductress.? As we have been studying Proverbs during these many weeks we have seen Solomon pointing his son in the direction of God?s Word as the primary and sole source of wisdom, guidance, correction, and counsel for living life. Solomon?s insistence that godly wisdom holds importance for every facet of life reminds me of Paul?s words to Timothy when he wrote,
7Have nothing to do with godless myths and old wives? tales; rather, train yourself to be godly. 8For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come. (1 Timothy 4:7-8 NIV)
You can?t go wrong if you make your aim to live a godly life, a life lived in accordance with God?s Word and His will.
Once Solomon makes his plea to his son to pursue godly wisdom above all else, he then addresses a particular situation that his son will face. This morning we hear Solomon counsel his son to stay away from the seductress and the adulteress.
In verses 6-23 he lays out for his son how the seductress and adulteress goes about their business. He discusses the way she dresses, her hours of operation, how she plots and plans her attack, and what she is trying to accomplish.
Solomon learned from observation?he was watching out his window as the sun was going down and the night was covering the earth when he saw a young man who was ?simple minded.? Young men we really need to heed this lesson. We must ask the Lord to reveal to us if we are ?simple minded? men? Before we do that, we first need to know what it means to be ?simple minded.? The Hebrew word for ?simple minded? means, ?simplicity, na?ve, foolish, or open-minded.? To be ?simple minded? means that we are easily influenced. We are open to anything and everything. It is the ?I?ll-try-anything-once? mentality.
Because we don?t really know where we are going we are vulnerable to be led wherever others want to lead us. Because we don?t live life intentionally, we unintentionally find ourselves in trouble over and over again. We see how this happened in the life of Samson. He was a huge, strong man, and yet because he lived life randomly he was led into disaster by Delilah?s beauty and deceit. Men, are you simple-minded? I can?t answer that question for you, but I can tell you that if you do not stand for the things of God then you will fall for anything.
So we see in verses 6-23 that the seductress and adulteress has a plan and she executes it to perfection. She knows to execute her plan under the cover of night because she thinks that anonymity is her friend. She knows the right clothes to wear, the right perfume that she needs to lure her victim, and the right things to say so that she might entice him into her web of sin and destruction. She lures her victims into her house?a house that has been prepared to excite the senses and seduce any man who enters it.
Many weeks ago we learned that ?Wisdom? is oftentimes personified as a woman in the book of Proverbs. This past week I went back and read all of the places where ?Lady Wisdom? makes her plea so that I could compare it with the plea of the wayward woman. Turn with me to Proverbs 1 and let?s take a look at Lady Wisdom.
20Lady Wisdom goes out in the street and shouts. At the town center she makes her speech. 21In the middle of the traffic she takes her stand. At the busiest corner she calls out: (Proverbs 1:20-21 The Message)
When you compare Lady Wisdom and the seductress you see that one does her business under the cover of night where she won?t be found out while the other does her business in broad daylight, in the town square. Lady Wisdom has nothing to hide. She is seeking to bless folks, not use them.
I want you to notice another difference between the two women. The seductress will lead you down a road to death and destruction. Solomon writes in Proverbs 7
25Don?t fool around with a woman like that; don?t even stroll through her neighborhood. 26Countless victims come under her spell; she?s the death of many a poor man. 27She runs a halfway house to hell, fits you out with a shroud and a coffin. (Proverbs 7:25-27 The Message)
Where does Lady Wisdom lead us? Let?s turn to Proverbs 3:13-18 to find the answer.
13You?re blessed when you meet Lady Wisdom, when you make friends with Madame Insight. 14She?s worth far more than money in the bank; her friendship is better than a big salary. 15Her value exceeds all the trappings of wealth; nothing you could wish for holds a candle to her. 16With one hand she gives long life, with the other she confers recognition. 17Her manner is beautiful, her life wonderfully complete. 18She?s the very Tree of Life to those who embrace her. Hold her tight?and be blessed! (Proverbs 3:13-18 The Message)
? You?re blessed when you meet Lady Wisdom!? Enough said. If you pursue wisdom you will be blessed, your life will be full, and wisdom will be worth more to you than all of the money in the bank. Is it any wonder that Solomon urges us to pursue wisdom instead of the experiences and sensations that the world entices, invites, and urges us to pursue!
The last section of Proverbs 7 leads us back to the call to pursue godly wisdom with all of our hearts. Solomon says, ?You must take my words seriously.? Solomon tells his son that the seductress and adulteress will lead him to destruction and that he must allow godly wisdom to keep him from these kinds of women.
I mentioned to you earlier that this is a much needed lesson for those of us who live in America today. Solomon is addressing a specific kind of sexual sin, adultery, as he teaches his son. We, men and women, need constant reminders of the devastating effects of being unfaithful to our husband or wife. We need to be reminded that the price to be paid by those who go outside of their marriage for sexual fulfillment is too high of a price to be paid. This is not just a lesson for those of us who are married, it is also for those of you who are young and not married yet. I have been praying that you will have ears to really hear this message this morning.
The Enemy comes at you from every angle, but one of his most successful and destructive tools is sexual sin. If Satan can lead you to compromise your sexual purity then he can open all kinds of doors of destruction in your life. In our day his arsenal has mushroomed. The music you listen to is loaded with sexual references. The videos that get the most play are filled with scantily clad women and seductive men. The movies that are popular among young people is filled with sexual innuendo and images. The magazines that are marketed towards the young are full of articles about how to look sexy, be sexy, how to attract the opposite, and much more. The computers you use to do your homework are just one click away from disgusting, sexually explicit websites.
People are bombarded with lewd and crude, sexually saturated messages at every turn and all of us need to guard against Satan?s attacks. My heart especially goes out to the young among us because most of you are ?simple minded? for the most part. I don?t mean that as a criticism so please don?t tune me out. It is just that I remember being in my teens and twenties and trying to figure out who I was and how I was going to live my life. I was open to a lot of things and many of those things caused me, and others, great heartache.
Sexual promiscuity, sexual sin, is ravaging the lives of so many young people today and in so many ways. Let me give you an example of what I am talking about. The Center for Disease Control reports,
Among teens each year there are about 3 million cases of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), and approximately 1 million pregnancies. Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection is the sixth leading cause of death among persons aged 15-24 years in the United States. (Source, Centers for Disease Control, Atlanta, GA)
According to a report in USA Today in February of 2004, 50% of young people will contract a venereal disease before reaching the age of 25. Among reported communicable diseases in the U.S. venereal disease now ranks first. The number of reported cases each year is greater than the combined total of measles, mumps, tuberculosis, strep throat and scarlet fever.
The American Social Health Association website reports some astoundingly disturbing information that should get our attention. Let me share some of it with you.
? The estimated total number of people living in the US with an incurable sexually transmitted disease is over 65 million. Every year, there are approximately 15 million new cases of STDs, only a few of which are curable.
? Two-thirds of all STDs occur in people 25 years of age or younger.
? Cervical cancer in women is linked to high-risk types of HPV
? Of the STDs that are diagnosed, only four–gonorrhea, syphilis, chlamydia and hepatitis B–are required to be reported to state health departments and the CDC for statistical purposes. Hepatitis B is recent addition to that list.
? Hepatitis B is 100 times more infectious than HIV.
? STDs, other than HIV, cost more than $8 billion each year to diagnose and treat, both the disease and their complications
? It is estimated that as many as one in four Americans have genital herpes, yet at least 80 percent of those with herpes are unaware they have it.
? At least one in four Americans will contract an STD at some point in their lives.
? Overall, herpes is the most common STD in the United States, with more than 45 million individuals having this lifelong virus. In a given year, however, it is estimated that more people will become infected with HPV than with herpes. More than 1 million people acquire herpes each year and over 5 million people acquire HPV each year. (American Social Health Association. http://www.ashastd.org/stdfaqs/statistics.html)
This past week Connie and I were talking about this Scripture when she said, ?You know the seductress isn?t born a seductress and neither is the adulteress born an adulteress.? I asked Connie what she meant and she said, ?Well, girls learn that they can use their looks to get what they want. They place all of their value in their looks and they dress so that others will notice them.? She said, ?we women put much more energy into developing our outer appearance than we do in developing our inner beauty.? That, my friends, is why Connie is my pastor!
Girls, women, my sisters in Christ, don?t get sucked into this deadly and destructive mindset. Your value is not in your outer beauty regardless of what society, the boys at school, or Madison Avenue tells you. Your beauty is found in who you are?your character, your integrity, your purity, your gentleness, your graciousness, your godly femininity. God made you a woman, a young woman or an adult woman, not to flaunt your body, but flourish as a woman of God.
You need to know that our generation is not the first generation to experience the pressure of trying to live an Abercrombie & Fitch or Brittany Spears lifestyle. Your generation is not the first to have to deal with sexual pressure and the temptation to have the right look even though you are probably the first generation turning to Med Clinic Cosmetic Surgery to obtain the right look. Did you know that 11,000 teenage girls received breast implants just last year? (YM Magazine, August 2004) Women, throughout the generations, have had to battle the temptation to use their bodies to get what they want. Let me give you an example. In Isaiah 3:16-23 God spoke up about His daughters who were living their lives like the pagan women of the world. Here is what He had to say,
16 God says, ?Zion women are stuck-up, prancing around in their high heels, Making eyes at all the men in the street, swinging their hips, Tossing their hair, gaudy and garish in cheap jewelry.? 17The Master will fix it so those Zion women will all turn bald?Scabby, bald-headed women. The Master will do it. 18The time is coming when the Master will strip them of their fancy baubles? 19the dangling earrings, anklets and bracelets, 20combs and mirrors and silk scarves, diamond brooches and pearl necklaces, 21the rings on their fingers and the rings on their toes, 22the latest fashions in hats, exotic perfumes and aphrodisiacs, gowns and capes, 23all the world?s finest in fabrics and design. 24Instead of wearing seductive scents, these women are going to smell like rotting cabbages; Instead of modeling flowing gowns, they?ll be sporting rags; Instead of their stylish hairdos, scruffy heads; Instead of beauty marks, scabs and scars. (Isaiah 3:16-23 The Message)
Sounds like our day huh? The reason God is so harsh with the women of Isaiah?s day is because He created them for more than this?much more than this. Yet we do not learn. The fashions continue to become more and more seductive and there is no difference between the women of the world and the women of God. We think, ?Well, if I don?t dress like the other girls at school then everyone will think I?m a loser.? They will think what they will, but your Father in Heaven will radiate with pride because you are dressing for His approval rather than the approval of some pimply-faced 15 year old. Grown women, with kids in school and Clairol in the medicine cabinet, say, ?Hey, I still look good so I want to show it off while I?ve got it.? I?ve got news for you?you are old! Growing old isn?t a bad thing. Hopefully as the years pile up so does the wisdom and insight. God intends for us to use that wisdom and insight to encourage and bless those who lack the years and wisdom. Use your years as a blessing–not as an opportunity to embarrass yourself.
Share with the young girls of our church the wisdom of the Apostle Paul when he wrote to women of Ephesus. Turn to 1 Timothy 2:8-10 with me.
8Since prayer is at the bottom of all this, what I want mostly is for men to pray?not shaking angry fists at enemies but raising holy hands to God. 9And I want women to get in there with the men in humility before God, not primping before a mirror or chasing the latest fashions 10but doing something beautiful for God and becoming beautiful doing it. (1 Timothy 2:8-10 The Message)
Share with the young girls and young women of our church the wisdom of Peter when he wrote these words,
3Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. 4Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God?s sight. 5For this is the way the holy women of the past who put their hope in God used to make themselves beautiful. (1 Peter 3:3-5 NIV)
All of us are encouraged to flee immorality in 1 Corinthians 6:18-20. When you are enticed to dress provocatively to draw attention to yourself then run from those thoughts, those stores, those temptations. Here?s a word of caution. We have some beautiful young girls in our congregation. You could dress in a pair of overalls and the young guys would notice you. When you go to buy your clothes or get dressed in the morning don?t ask, ?Is this provocative or sexy?? That?s the wrong question. What you think doesn?t really matter. Ask this question instead. ?Knowing that the boys in my school are raging with hormones, will they be more drawn to my personality and character, the things that really make me who I am, or will they be drawn to how I look?? When you are in a situation where you know that you can use your looks to get what you want then flee that temptation and trust God to give you what you need. When you are tempted to give in to sexual advances and the enticements of seduction then run like Joseph ran when he was seduced by Potiphar?s wife.
Young men and young women, all of us regardless of what age we are, we must work together in this. There should be no greater place for a young man to learn how to conduct his life in regards to his interaction with the opposite sex than in church, within the Body of Christ. The Church should be a great place for young men to see young women for who they are, not what they look like, but young women have to help out by not dressing the part of the women of the world. For older men and women, the church should be the place where my family feels safe, without a worry of guy making a rude or lewd comment to my wife or some woman hitting on somebody?s husband. Yet, I know that in some places these things are not taking place.
I mentioned to you earlier that apart from godly wisdom we have no defenses against the tactics of the Enemy in this area. The reason for this is because we are drawn to what we want, what feels good, and God created sex as a beautiful thing for a husband and wife to enjoy. If you removed it from that context then it will destroy you and others around you. Make no mistake about it. I want to urge you this morning to allow the Lord to search your hearts, your thoughts, and see if there is any ungodliness going on with you. If you have never accepted Jesus as Lord of your life then I would urge you to rush into His arms this very morning.