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In Pursuit of Wisdom

Proverbs Podcasts 2020, #7

Warren E. Berkley

This is Podcasts #7 in this series, derived from the book of Proverbs. Let’s talk about something we may find challenging or sensitive. In chapter 5, chapter 6 and again in chapter 7 – Warnings about sexual temptation.

There are at least two challenges we may face as we read and study this part of Proverbs. One is, we may think this is so simple, so obvious, we don’t need it. Christians know all about fornication and adultery. We know this is wrong. So, we may just skip these passages. I think skipping passages due to familiarity is always a mistake.

Two, some readers may find this section to be too graphic, too descriptive, too much information. So again, we just pass by it quickly. I’ll explain why I think that is a mistake too.

Parents may not take enough time to warn their children about this. Fathers, for instance, may have that little talk with their sons and find it so uncomfortable – they just issue a very brief warning and avoid any extended discussion, like what is here in Proverbs. Fathers may say to their sons, “Son, don’t do this.” Mothers may say to their daughters, “just don’t have sex before marriage … that’s all.”

Would you consider please – all this detail, this extended narration in Proverbs may imply – parents need to slow down and spend a little more time with the various levels of this temptation. Perhaps more needs to be said, than just a quick sentence or two.


Something else I want to say, before I read these opening verses in chapter five.

This specific narrative is not about every woman, or every young man, though all are warned.

This is about “the forbidden woman” and the “foolish man,” who leaves the wife of his youth. And in chapter seven, the foolish young man who goes to the wrong place at the wrong time – finds the wrong woman and throws his life in the wrong direction.

So, listen now to these opening verses in Proverbs 5.

My son, be attentive to my wisdom;
   incline your ear to my understanding, that you may keep discretion,
    and your lips may guard knowledge.
For the lips of a forbidden woman drip honey,
    and her speech is smoother than oil,
but in the end she is bitter as wormwood,
    sharp as a two-edged sword. 

Her feet go down to death;
    her steps follow the path to Sheol;
she does not ponder the path of life;
    her ways wander, and she does not know it.

There is an important key word: “Discretion.” That word is about knowing the difference between right and wrong – and using that knowledge to embrace what is right and refrain from what is wrong.

We are obligated to teach our young people discretion. And discretion is a value produced in people when they love God, love His Word, follow Christ and follow through – discerning between right and wrong.

One more thing – the warnings in this section of Proverbs should not be limited to teenagers or young folks. Who put this teaching together? Who did God use to write this for us? Solomon, who in his life illustrated the ruin of sexual immorality.

Let’s all take heed to this. And make this real in our lives and teach our children well. Paul said, “flee sexual immorality.” More about this in the next podcasts. Thank you for listening.

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