Proverbs 5:18-23

In Proverbs 5:18-23 Solomon continues his guidance about avoiding sexual immorality.  He challenges married people to enjoy that union and be filled with the goodness that comes from it.  “Let your fountain be blessed, and rejoice in the wife of your youth, a lovely deer, a graceful doe. Let her breasts fill you at all times with delight; be intoxicated always in her love”. Solomon alluded to God’s plan for marriage, even if he did not follow it himself. God’s best for humanity is for a man to marry a wife in his youth and for him to rejoice with her for the rest of his days. Life circumstances mean there will be many different ways this is lived out, but when a man does marry a woman in his youth, God’s best is for him to rejoice in her until death parts them.

Since God has a perfect plan, why would we choose to do it differently?  In a word – sin! The exhortation to rejoice with the wife of your youth means there is an element of choice involved. There are times when a husband (or wife) needs to choose to rejoice in their spouse. Our affections are much more affected by where we choose to focus them than we want to admit. God intends us to choose to love our spouse, not use the ‘we grew apart and I don’t love him/her anymore’ excuse.  Love is a choice.  Sin is a choice.  We must choose wisely. “Why should you be intoxicated, my son, with a forbidden woman and embrace the bosom of an adulteress”? Solomon just described how God provided for a husband’s sexual needs in marriage.  We need to choose to live God’s way.

Does it matter?  It does to God.  He is certainly paying attention.  “For a man’s ways are before the eyes of the Lord, and he ponders all his paths”. This is an important reminder for any man dealing with the temptation of an immoral woman. It is human nature to think that such a sin may be excused if it is never made public. We often think sin can be excused if it is undiscovered, and many have been exceptionally tempted by what they think is a “risk free” opportunity. Solomon rightly reminds us that God sees all our ways, and before Him no sin is hidden.  There are no secrets from God.  He sees all our choices, and with each, comes an outcome based on our obedience to His will and His ways.

The iniquities of the wicked ensnare him, and he is held fast in the cords of his sin”. Sexual sin – especially the violation of the marriage covenant – is a sin that entraps and destroys. It brings death, not life.  It gives a very temporary feeling of joy, but it is fleeting and will not last.  The price of living in sin is steep.  The wages of sin are death.  Solomon said it this way: “He dies for lack of discipline, and because of his great folly he is led astray”. If the young man is not captivated by his wife but becomes captivated with a stranger in sinful acts, then his own sin will capture him; and he will be destroyed!

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