Thursday, October 7, 2010

Proverbs 7 – Avoiding the Pain of Folly

“... keep my commandments and live, keep my teachings as the apple of your eye; bind them on your fingers, write them on the tablet of your heart.”

~Proverbs 7:2-3 (NRSV).

Even though the core of the message to Proverbs chapters 5–7 finds its source in temptations to sexual infidelity there is a broader lesson... one we’re scarcely benefited in missing.

We’re seduced to many more things in life than merely those of the sexual nature.

However, the imagery of being swept off into the glistening myrrh-filled bedroom of the seductress is perfectly adequate for all issuances of temptation. Seduction is the central idea.

“Lead Us Not Into Temptation...”

There is no coincidence in the fact of Jesus modelling this aspect of prayer in his Lord’s Prayer.

Proverbs 7 profiles the seduction of a young man allured into the clutches of the “adulteress,” and even though he’s kissed and is promised much—the invitation seeming so inviting—he’s led like an ox off to slaughter (verse 22). The imagery of the young man’s demise at the fate of one decision, i.e. to go with her, is compelling. Destruction is soon to be his.

The parent’s “commandments,” stored for life, will ward the young man against this very temptation. He is to detect and run, not hesitating for a second. (Of course, there similar issues here for young females and I wrote an article to that end called, Keeping Girls Safe in a Twisted World – Thoughts for Parents.)

Essentially, the parent is invoking this part of the Lord’s Prayer over their child, requesting that they actually live it out. Wherever temptation exists we’re to discern its presence and quickly run the other way warning those in our path of the impending danger.

Eye Witness Warning

It is most interesting that the parent’s warning this time is an eye witness account of just how easily and routinely the young man finds his way following the Seductress to her chamber.

The power of the eye witness account is undeniable; besides it makes for salient imagery in the telling of the story.

Broad Scale Deceit – We All Fall – Then We Must Pick Ourselves Up

The innate deceptiveness of her wisdom mixed with his lust and naivety sees the whole thing go down written in the language of blood—his blood.

The warning is basic, for there are truly very many temptations in this life. Think of drugs or gambling or success or any number of substitutes. The Tempter is suggestive and allures us to a demise we don’t see until it’s often too late. The allure is all too mystifying.

We’ve all been there. Deceit to gain is laid before us as the lust of our desires is tempted to be met. Rarely, if ever, however, are they satisfied, and certainly not like this.

The most fundamental shift here is our move away from the things of God, for the Tempter will have achieved the evil objective to dilute our cause and get us running away from God, as well as snaring us beyond hope. It is folly to do this, just as folly takes us there.


“Say to wisdom, ‘You are my sister,’

and call insight your intimate friend.”

~Proverbs 7:4 (NRSV).

These alone will keep us from the Seductress in any form she chooses to deceive us.

© 2010 S. J. Wickham.

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