What advice would parents give to a grown son? Some of the best advice in the world is found in this second part of Proverbs 6. (If you missed the first part, you can access it here.)
First, the son is reminded to keep his father and mother’s commandments. Every child should know to obey his mother and father. They are a protection for him. Although this son is obviously an adult, he’s admonished to heed his mother and father’s wise advice.
Proverbs 6:20-23 says, My son, keep thy father’s commandment, and forsake not the law of thy mother: Bind them continually upon thine heart, and tie them about thy neck. When thou goest, it shall lead thee; when thou sleepest, it shall keep thee; and when thou awakest, it shall talk with thee. For the commandment is a lamp; and the law is light; and reproofs of instruction are the way of life:
The sentence hasn’t ended. Good parental advice continues: To keep thee from the evil woman, from the flattery of the tongue of a strange woman. Lust not after her beauty in thine heart; neither let her take thee with her eyelids (verses 24-25). I think this is such an accurate picture! She flatters. “Hey, Handsome. Love your muscles. You are such a wonderful man.” Or whatever. She appeals to him with her words. Plus, she’s pretty. This woman bats her eyes and knows how to use body language to her advantage. Her aim? To entrap. Notice she’s called evil and strange—which is biblical code language for promiscuous.
If anyone was in doubt about her character, it’s explicit in the next verse: For by means of a whorish woman a man is brought to a piece of bread: and the adulteress will hunt for the precious life (26).
The next section addresses the way fornication affects the man. There are some profound teachings here, and I believe it’s important to understand the consequences of “playing around.” First two rhetorical questions: Can a man take fire in his bosom, and his clothes not be burned? (27) Can one go upon hot coals, and his feet not be burned? (28) The answer to both, of course, is no.
Application time: So he that goeth in to his neighbour’s wife; whosoever toucheth her shall not be innocent (29). This goes for women, too, by the way. I read on social media a sign that says, “Ladies, God will never send you another woman’s husband.” The sin of adultery isn’t innocent.
The next statement needs to be taken in its context. It is not teaching that it’s quite okay to steal if you’re hungry. We know from the Ten Commandments; Thou shalt not steal couldn’t be clearer. This is in the context of “stolen bread” as in adultery. Notice that for the thief, there are serious—sevenfold—consequences. Men do not despise a thief, if he steal to satisfy his soul when he is hungry; But if he be found, he shall restore sevenfold; he shall give all the substance of his house (30-31).
Now, the consequences of adultery are spelled out. The person who does it:
- lacks understanding (32)
- destroys his own soul (32)
- will be wounded and dishonored (33)
- His reproach shall not be wiped away (33)
- He might become the brunt of the wronged husband’s anger, vengeance, etc. (34)
- There’s no way the adulterer could pay the wronged husband (35).
Maybe you wouldn’t be tempted by an adulterous person. I have no idea, but the Bible advises all of us to be wary. It doesn’t matter how old you are or if you’re a man or a woman, you can be tempted in this way given the right circumstances. Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall (1 Corinthians 10:12).
When I was a teen, I was working in a summer camp. One of the co-directors was a drop dead handsome young man a few years older than I. He said he was a Christian, and he smoked. I didn’t. I never had any desire to smoke and never even gave it a thought.
One evening, the counselors were sitting around after the campers were in bed, and some of the counselors were smoking. This good-looking man offered me a cigarette. Now remember, I had never even entertained a thought towards smoking. None. But, for a split second, when this gorgeous guy was offering me the cigarette, I was tempted to take it … to fit in … to impress. Thankfully, the temptation was momentary, and I said no, thank you.
That experience taught me a valuable lesson. Though I thought I would never have any inclination to smoke, I did entertain the idea for a moment.
Though you might think you will never be tempted to commit fornication or adultery, take heed. You might.
When the time comes—and it probably will—remember that the Scripture guarantees that one’s reproach shall not be wiped away. Once a sexual sin is committed, it has already happened. Its reproach and destruction are present. Can a man (or woman) take fire in his bosom, and his clothes not be burned? No.
Listen to wise advice. For the commandment is a lamp; and the law is light; and reproofs of instruction are the way of life.