This “talk” has emphasized loving the truths of heaven to resist lying lusts that lead to hell. You’ve heard that God’s protection from immorality is faithfully obeying God’s Word (1–5) and seen the foolishness of immorality in a tragic illustration (6–23). You must guard your heart and mind from the temptations to immorality (24–25a). You must mentally keep away from immorality. You must guard the steps of your life from going to the places where immorality presents itself (25b). Literally keep away from immorality. You must take the long look—seeing where immorality leads, death and hell (26–27). It looks good on the surface but underneath there is an evil, life-taking monster (26). Immorality’s home is all decked out, appealing in every way (16–17) but it is the doorway to death and hell (27). The only way you’ll see it for what it really is if you fear the Lord, reverently believing in the God of the Bible, exclusively loving, obeying, and worshiping the One you will give an account to.
1. Why doesn’t immorality show its true colors?
2. Sexual immorality is a lie, promising life and excitement that it never delivers on. What will it do to your soul? To your marriage and family?
3. What practically can you do to mentally keep away from immorality?
4. What practically can you do to literally keep away from immorality?
When it comes to sexual immorality, biblical wisdom commands you to love the truths of heaven to resist lying lusts that lead to hell (7:1–27). Faithfully obeying God’s Word (1–5) protects you from the foolishness of immorality (6–23). Sometimes a clear example is needed, so one is provided here, first by describing a foolish young person (6–9). (Remember that in the Bible a “fool” is an unbeliever, who doesn’t fear the Lord.) This person is with the wrong people (7a “among the simple”), doesn’t have godly wisdom (7b), rushes toward instead of away from evil (8), and wanders aimlessly at a time and around a location he shouldn’t be at (9). Next, the immoral person is described (10–20). This person is “dressed to kill,” her appearance matches her heart (10). There isn’t a smidgen of godly character or lifestyle (11–12), and has a hardened, won’t-take-no-for-an-answer pursuit of immorality (13–20). This pursuit uses shock treatment (13), hypocritical religious talk to soothe the conscience (14), flattery (15, “you” 3x), enticing, sensual appeal (16–18), and assurances that no one will know or find out (19–20). The last part of this illustration describes the foolish youth’s fall (21–23). He yields to the flattery, deceit, and seduction (21). He doesn’t think, ignores the danger, and lives in the moment (22). He is completely ignorant of any danger until its too late (23). What a sad, tragic, yet all too common tale. It is so common that this is something seen “from the window of my house.”
1. What the world calls “love” (18) is really lust. Matthew Henry (1662–1714) said, “true love is from heaven; this is from hell.”
2. How could this young person have avoided this sad end? Think through every step described here when answering this.
3. Some foolishly think viewing pornography doesn’t hurt anyone. How does it train your mind and heart? Would that make you “riper” or more resistant to this situation?
4. The world sees nothing wrong with this story. In fact, they’d make millions from a movie of it. This is how fools mock at sin (Prov 14:9). How do you view this, like Prov 1:7a, or Prov 1:7b?
These fatherly “talks” provide the “glasses” that give you wisdom’s essential facts and principles for understanding the proverbs of chapters 10–11. This next “talk” teaches you to love the truths of heaven to resist lying lusts that lead to hell (7:1-27). It has three parts:
1. God’s protection from immorality, 1-5
2. The foolishness of immorality, 6-23
3. The end of immorality, 24-27
What does God’s protection from immorality involve (1-5)? First, you must faithfully obey God’s Word (1-2). Merely knowing and having God’s Word isn’t enough—you must “keep” and “treasure” them (1). Your eye is the most delicate part of your body, so you guard it when something gets in it. That’s how sensitive you must be to keeping God’s Word, for in it God makes clear the path of life and death. Second, you must be wholly controlled by God’s Word (3). God’s Word must control and change you on the outside (“fingers”) and on the inside (“heart”) of your life. Third, you must exclusively love God’s Word (4-5). Calling wisdom “sister” is an OT expression of affection. To have this close affection with and for wisdom you must cultivate that kind of relationship with God’s Word. You do this by listening, consulting, being close with, loving. That is your only hope of protection not only from immorality, but any sin.
1. Think about the illustration of these “talks” as “glasses.” Have you ever looked through dirty or blurry glasses? How clearly can you “see” God’s wisdom?
2. Are you diligently keeping God’s Word as closely and carefully as you guard your eyes?
3. Does God’s Word control you on the inside and the outside of life?
4. How do you feel about God’s Word? Is it the dearest thing to you? Think about your days through the week. What kind of relationship does the time and attention you give the Lord Jesus Christ show?
Here are reasons to adhere to God’s Word , namely, to avoid adultery’s horrors. You must train your desires and affections (25); such training doesn’t happen immediately, it is continual, everyday. Be controlled by the fear of the Lord, by Scripture, not by sinful passions. When you are you’ll see temptations for what they are (24-25) to avoid their perils (26-35). The first temptation to adultery is silky smooth speech (24). “Flattery” is false praise offered for selfish reasons. It is the language of lust, not love; of adultery, not marriage. It comes from one who doesn’t know, love, or obey the Lord (“evil”). The second temptation is heart-snaring, eye-catching, alluring appearance (25) that entices to sin through physical appearance. When you adhere to God’s Word you’ll see through flattery and not be deceived by appearances. Beware the perils of adultery (26-35)! The first peril is you will get “burned” (27-29). Adultery always has harmful effects and consequences. The danger is you’re not thinking about the effects and consequences when you’re being lured in by flattering speech and alluring appearance; you’re only thinking about the moment, about yourself. The second peril is you will lose everything (26, 30-35). Most understand the starving thief’s motivation (he needs to eat), but he still has to pay the price. When it comes to adultery and sexual immorality, there is no “legitimate” reason and there are tremendous consequences. What will happen? You will lose your soul (32), your honor/testimony (33), and possibly your life (26, 34-35). Adhere to God’s Word to avoid adultery’s horrors!
1. How does a healthy fear of the Lord help avoid adultery’s temptations and consequences?
2. Did God give us desires for close intimacy? When has he said is it right to experience such? How should that control you?
3. Does culture and society have this view of adultery and sexual promiscuity? Is your heart and mind taught more by that or God’s Word?
4. In the “heat of the moment” do you always think straight? How would having your mind and heart “pre-programmed” with God’s Word help?
5. Check out Job 31:1; Matt 5:28; 15:19; Rom 13:14.
This next “talk” (6:20-35) gives wisdom’s protection from adultery: adhere to God’s Word avoids adultery’s horrors. Your responsibility is to faithfully obey God’s Word (20-21). Verse 21 vividly illustrates verse 20—you secure what you don’t want to lose (“bind, tie”). This isn’t rote memory, it is in the core of your being, essential to life (“heart, neck”). There are three results of faithfully obeying God’s Word describing the protection it gives from immorality’s continual bombardment (22). (1) You will always be shepherded, v. 22a; (2) you will always be protected, v. 22b; (3) you will always be taught, v. 22c. There are definite reasons for faithful obedience (23-24). God’s Word is a lamp to your feet and a light to your path (v. 23; Ps 19:4; 119:105). Do you like walking in dark, dangerous areas? Would you go through a mine field without a detector? Don’t live life like that! You don’t have to be in the dark! Be wise, not foolish! God’s Word shows you where to go and what to avoid. The practical importance of this is seen in verse 24, which tells of a temptation to immorality (“the flattering tongue”) that is interpreted two different ways. The fool is impressed, but the wise are alarmed. This doesn’t happen automatically or naturally. It requires knowing, believing, and being disciplined by God’s Word (20-21; Heb 5:14). Practically fearing the Lord is seen by adhering to God’s Word to avoid adultery’s horrors!
1. What are some things you do that are just boring, mundane, daily chores that you do without thinking? Is that what is meant by vv. 20-21? What’s the difference practically?
2. How are you “tying down” God’s Word in your heart (21)?
3. How can your “grip” on God’s Word be loosened?
4. Do you remember what it means to fear the Lord?
The sixth “talk” teaching the skillful application of God’s Word (“wisdom”) is an exhortation: stay away from bad debt, laziness, and troublemakers (6:1–19). This section (16-19) gives more detail to the wicked person’s portrait from verses 12-15 (same body parts and actions are described). The phrase “six…seven” gives a sampling, not a complete list (16). The proud (16a) don’t give a thought about God and so look down on everyone else; the complete opposite of a Christian outlook (Phil 2:1-8). As a liar (16b, 19a) he doesn’t live or promote truth but changes things around for evil ends. This kind of person has no heart for others but is quickly violent and destructive (17c). There’s no hesitation, he’s quick and enthusiastic to join in mayhem, destruction, and mischief (18b). From “head to toe” the wicked person is totally corrupted by sin. The path of wisdom—practically living out the fear of the Lord—is to love what God loves and hate what he hates. Christ saves sinners to be like him (Rom 8:29). Who you are, what you do, and the kind of people you associate with affects you. Stay away from the wicked!
1. Invest some serious time comparing and contrasting the character and actions of the wicked with the Lord Jesus Christ.
2. What can happen if you willingly put yourself with those who have these characteristics and actions?
3. Are there certain things about this kind of person you appreciate? Enjoy? Get a kick out of? Laugh at? How do your feelings match up with God’s feelings (v. 16)?
4. Evaluate your life and actions by the descriptions in vv. 12-19.
Proverbs gives needed discernment (1:4) what not to be like and who to avoid. The person described in 6:12–15 is “worthless” and “wicked” (12). The Hebrew phrase behind “worthless” is “son of Belial,” or Satan; this kind of person demonstrates Satanic characteristics and conduct (cf. John 8:44; 2 Cor 6:15). Eli’s sons (1 Sam 2:12) and Ahab’s two witnesses against Naboth (1 Kings 21:10) were described this way. This kind of person lives to turn life upside down and corrupt everything. He rejects rules, calling evil good, and good evil. He communicates nothing but trouble to those who are with him and his cause (12b–13). The “heart” (14) is the control center of life, and this person’s control center is characterized by and works out perversity and evil. He’s always arguing, picking a fight, and causing trouble. Though he sounds proud and powerful, his end will be sudden and irreversible (15). The way of wisdom and the fear of the Lord is to stay far away from this kind of person so that you don’t end up like him and with him.
1. The path of wisdom is to love what God loves and hate what God hates.
2. Christian, what did God save you to be like (Rom 8:29)? Do you live that way? Look like that? Love that?
3. Can the people you associate and “hang out” with affect you? Note 1 Cor 15:33.
4. What is this person’s “food”? What was Christ’s “food” (John 4:34)? What is yours? Whose table are you eating at?
5. What will God do to the wicked? What does God command the wicked to do?
A second life-ruin is poverty, and to stay away from that you must avoid bad work habits (6–11). When applied to work, wisdom and the fear of the Lord involves hard work, not laziness and sloth. You should learn how to work from the ants (6–8). The “sluggard” is one who’s in the habit of being lazy, a couch-potato, a loafer, a do-nothing. If this describes you, “go…consider…be wise” (6). Ants work hard (7–8)—they never sit around doing nothing. No one needs to get them going. They do their work when and how they’re supposed to, so their needs are met. You must not only learn this positive example, you must stay away from its opposite: look out for laziness (9–11). Sluggards love to lounge around (9–10), avoid as much work as possible to enjoy a longer nap. This is living for rest and relaxation. Rest is substituted for work and made one’s occupation, career, and calling. The more you give in to and feed sloth, the more habitual it becomes. Eventually, however, sluggards will starve (11). Laziness brings poverty, but sadly sluggards learn this lesson too late. Poverty rarely happens in an instant; usually it is the result of a pile of “just a little.” The point of v. 11 isn’t the suddenness of poverty but the position you put yourself in because of your laziness. Be wise and avoid poverty by working hard and watching out for laziness!
1. Are ants made in the image of God? Who is? How is learning from ants how to work an embarrassing rebuke? Why do we need to learn this?
2. Who does the sluggard live for? How does that match up with living in the fear of the Lord? What do you live for?
3. What drives and controls the sluggard’s life decisions? How does that match up with biblical wisdom? What controls your life decisions?
4. This doesn’t mean rest is bad. When it comes to “R&R,” what’s the difference between the proper time and the present time?
5. Think about your work habits—do they show the fear of the Lord and biblical wisdom?
The sixth “talk” teaching the skillful application of God’s Word (“wisdom”) is an exhortation: stay away from bad debt, laziness, and troublemakers (6:1–19). A sure way to ruin is to be responsible for someone else’s debt (1–5). The situation (1–2, 5) describes the danger of becoming a cosigner—being legally responsible for paying another’s debt should the borrow fail to pay (cf. 11:15; 17:18; 22:26–27; 27:12–13). The danger of cosigning (“snare, caught, fowler’s hand”) isn’t obvious—it seems like a good thing to do, helping a needy friend who’s unable to get into debt on his own. What’s dangerous is that you completely surrender control of your life and finances to someone else. The solution (3–4) is to get out of that position as soon as possible. “Deliver yourself” (3, 5) means tear yourself away from the situation—“go…humble yourself…plead.” Do whatever it takes, don’t put it off, do it ASAP. Verse 4 emphasizes this—don’t wait until tomorrow, do it today! Being responsible for someone else’s debt is a foolish thing to do because (1) You’re committing yourself to something you don’t know and can’t control; (2) You lose your security—your future is now given to someone who is in debt and who could just walk away without caring what happens to you; (3) You’re putting everything that that you’ve carefully saved into the power of someone who probably hasn’t been careful. That’s foolish!
1. Is this saying be stingy? What is it saying?
2. If you want to help someone in need, is taking responsibility for their debt the only option? You could either loan it to them (without interest, 28:8) or just give what is needed (19:17).
3. What is the difference between loaning and becoming responsible for a loan?
4. What could happen to your family if you put yourself in this situation?
This last word of wisdom makes the point that the Lord sees sin and judges it. This is an essential part of “the fear of the Lord,” reverently believing the God of the Bible, exclusively loving, obeying, and worshiping the One you will give an account to. He sees everything you do (21), so be controlled by the fear of the Lord, not exciting feelings and situations. God. Is. Watching. The punishments of verses 22–23 are not bad luck but certain events for those who reject the Lord. You may think you hide your tracks from everyone else, but your ways and paths are deeply rooted wagon tracks clearly seen by the Lord. Not only does the Lord see what you do, he judges sin (22–23). God very rarely judges sin with the lightning bolt; most often he lets sinners go their chosen way, and the path and way of sin is death. What a sobering thought that God judges sinners by letting them go their way. Love your spouse and no one else; God sees all—avoid a fall!
1. When does God get tired? What in all creation does God miss or forget? With this in mind, think and meditate on v. 21.
2. A practical help might be to write v. 21 on cards and put them in different places to remind you of that truth. Regularly move them around.
3. If you’re not passionately controlled by your spouse’s love (v. 19), what will you be controlled by (v. 22)?
The last aspect of avoiding immorality and loving your spouse (5:1–23) is love your spouse and no one else (5:15–20). To avoid the pit of death that adultery leads to you must be faithful to and love your spouse. Listen to three solid reasons why you must love your spouse and no one else. First, marital faithfulness is better than promiscuity (15–18). God provides marriage as the only “arena” to know and enjoy the blessings of physical intimacy (15). Don’t bring your love and desire to anyone else other than your spouse (16–17). Second, martial faithfulness provides great delight (18–19). The husband and wife fill and refresh each other (18). Marriage involves mutual joy and fulfillment. Be “addicted” to your spouse’s love—that is God-given protection from illicit, unlawful passion (19). There is never a time or circumstance when you should look for physical intimacy with anyone other than your spouse. Third, marital faithfulness protects from infidelity (20). The road leading to adultery looks good at the turn, but its end is corruption and death (cf. vv. 4–5, 9–14). Why would you be your own worst enemy, preferring poisoned and stolen puddle-water instead of the pure living waters of your own well?
- Slowly read through this section, and think about this: Which is put on public display and which is enjoyed privately, promiscuity/immorality or marriage? Evaluate what you see and hear in the world today by this.
- Where does God say is true enjoyment of intimacy? Why don’t more people believe this?
- Note that verse 19 commands what you are to be satisfied, enraptured, intoxicated, ravished, and exhilarated with. Who created marriage? Does God know what is best?
- When both spouses have this commitment, what kind of relationship will they have? Contrast this with the situation in verse 20—what kind of relationship will that be?
- Where—and with whom—do you enjoy intimacy? Are you in line with God’s will and gracious provision?
- What changes do you need to make in your relationship with your spouse so you both enjoy this gift and protection from God?
God’s will stated in this talk is avoid immorality and love your spouse (5:1–23). There are three essential aspects of this, the first is be saturated with biblical wisdom for protection from sexual seduction (5:1–6). The second given here is to stay away from immorality before its too late (7–14). You must hear and heed God’s Word, being controlled by Scripture rather than fleshly senses (7). To disobey God’s commands is to “depart” from his Word. Your life must be characterized by obedience to God’s written Word—bring your desires and affections in line with it! God’s written will is to stay far from immorality (8), there is no debating this. If God’s clearly given, written will is ignored there will be tragic effects: loss of life (9–11) and too-late-regret (12–14). When you live by sense rather than Scripture you lose the best years of your life. You can’t judge life by immediate appearances; take the long look, keep the “end” in view (ask, “Where will this lead?”). The regret in vv. 12–14 is “too late” because the end it points to is final and eternal.
1. If you don’t know God’s will as given in the Bible, are you “off the hook” for your ignorance? Why?
2. Compare verse 8 with 1 Cor 6:18; Eph 5:3; 1 Thess 4:3–8; 2 Tim 2:22; and Heb 13:4.
3. What specific items are mentioned in verses 9–11?
4. Why is the warning about sexual immorality addressed to young people?
5. What are some practical ways of implementing Matt 5:28–29 and Rom 13:14 regarding sexual immorality?
6. Hating and spurning God’s Word is to depart from the faith. Check out Num 15:31; 2 Sam 12:9; 2 Chr 36:16; Ps 107:11; Prov 1:25, 30; 12:1; 13:13; 15:5; Isa 5:24.