Sex is such an enduring subject on all sides of the moral and ethical agenda. Whether people are making a squillion from selling it or people are spending money and effort addressing the social issues that propagate from it, to everything in between, sex simply is big business and of interest to basically everyone. And it features highly in the early going in Proverbs--it is no taboo matter, biblically.
Proverbs 5 uses the metaphor of water to produce in us an understanding of how we’re to conduct ourselves sexually:
“Drink water from your own cistern,
running water from your own well.
“Should your springs overflow in the streets,
your streams of water in the public squares?
“Let them be yours alone,
never to be shared with strangers.
“May your fountain be blessed,
and may you rejoice in the wife of your youth” –Proverbs 5:15-18 (TNIV).
I love the rich imagery. We picture a cistern, a well, a spring, a stream, a fountain. We’re to keep our waters (our sexual purity/fidelity) to ourselves and our life partner. No one else should ever share in this; and this is not simply a physical matter--our minds and hearts too should remain pure.
When we look lustfully or fantasise about another person (who’s not our partner) we’re potentially both abusing them and worshipping them; we also commit adultery at the heart/mind level (Matthew 5:28). This is abhorrent behaviour, though we’re all tempted to do it. When we understand the preciousness of the other person, and how dangerous a look can be, we don’t do it anymore.
Affairs occur all the time and for all sorts of reasons. But it is sure to be our biggest mistake. It can be hardest when we might fall for someone we think we love or we have allowed ourselves to fall in love, and/or vice versa. At various levels compromising decisions have been made--these are never good.
Biblically and practically, the consequences for falling for the harlot are catastrophic. The language used throughout is stark and it does not understate the gravity of the situation. Sexual infidelity is about as serious a matter as there can be, because it is so relationally confronting and shocking. It strikes at the moral heart of every human being.
The most blessed can rejoice in their mate of their youth. The most cursed can say, almost certainly, to go the harlot’s path was their ruination. The ripple effect is lasting!
POST SCRIPT: If we’ve fallen into adultery and we still suffer the guilt and shame of that, we can call upon Jesus in our distress--he saves everyone who is genuinely sorry and wishes to follow him, no exceptions. We can be cleansed of our sin and have our burdens lifted from us unto new life--a life of thrilling restitution in the name of God’s grace and love.
Copyright © 2009, S. J. Wickham. All Rights Reserved.