1 My son, pay attention to my wisdom,
turn your ear to my words of insight,
2 that you may maintain discretion
and your lips may preserve knowledge.
3 For the lips of the adulterous woman drip honey,
and her speech is smoother than oil;
4 but in the end she is bitter as gall,
sharp as a double-edged sword.
5 Her feet go down to death;
her steps lead straight to the grave.
6 She gives no thought to the way of life;
her paths wander aimlessly, but she does not know it.
7 Now then, my sons, listen to me;
do not turn aside from what I say.
8 Keep to a path far from her,
do not go near the door of her house,
9 lest you lose your honor to others
and your dignity[a] to one who is cruel,
10 lest strangers feast on your wealth
and your toil enrich the house of another.
11 At the end of your life you will groan,
when your flesh and body are spent.
12 You will say, “How I hated discipline!
How my heart spurned correction!
13 I would not obey my teachers
or turn my ear to my instructors.
14 And I was soon in serious trouble
in the assembly of God’s people.”
15 Drink water from your own cistern,
running water from your own well.
16 Should your springs overflow in the streets,
your streams of water in the public squares?
17 Let them be yours alone,
never to be shared with strangers.
18 May your fountain be blessed,
and may you rejoice in the wife of your youth.
19 A loving doe, a graceful deer—
may her breasts satisfy you always,
may you ever be intoxicated with her love.
20 Why, my son, be intoxicated with another man’s wife?
Why embrace the bosom of a wayward woman?
21 For your ways are in full view of the Lord,
and he examines all your paths.
22 The evil deeds of the wicked ensnare them;
the cords of their sins hold them fast.
23 For lack of discipline they will die,
led astray by their own great folly.
It felt like quicksand would be a bigger problem in day-to-day life.
Everything from movies, to books, to school, made it seem like the knowledge to keep still and wait for help rather than thrashing around in a pit of sinking sand was going to come in handy a few times a year. We can’t account for everyone reading this, but at least around here, we have yet to put this valuable survival skill into practice.
Interestingly, though, while we seemed to have all been trained at one point or another in escaping a slow and gritty demise, very few of us could identify quicksand if we stumbled upon it. All these years later, we have to ask, wouldn’t teaching us to avoid it be just as important as escaping it?
In the first four Proverbs, we were introduced to wisdom personified through Lady Wisdom, a walking, talking, personification of the beauty and guidance God offers us through His freely available understanding. Proverbs 5 introduces a new character in the story. Foolishness arrives on the scene, coupled with a warning: Keep a path far from her.
You see, Foolishness is out to destroy you. Like the enemy, she is constantly on the prowl working to seduce you away from the things of God, from Wisdom, and much like the quicksand traps of our cinematic childhood, you can get stuck before you even know it.
Look at verses 8-9, a dire warning against any proximity to this adulterous woman. Just wandering close to her door due to curiosity or intrigue can cause you to forsake your dignity and lose all that God has meant for you.
The lie is that we can dip our toes into ruin and somehow stop ourselves from drowning in it.
Avoiding the quicksand of temptation is critical. It requires us to walk with our eyes up and to be attentive to what is happening around us, lest a lack of discipline leads us down the path of destruction.
If you find yourself at the door of Foolishness today, remember back to Proverbs one and rejoice. Let today be a reminder to turn from that wicked door and run towards Wisdom. All God is asking of you is to repent, acknowledge your sin, and ask forgiveness, and then He will pour out His blessed thoughts upon you and make His ways your ways. The cost is too great to wait lest you walk even one more step towards the snares of wickedness.
Lord, today we remember the times we have grown curious of sin and wandered close to the door of temptation, of the times we walked through that door. We ask for Your forgiveness and purification that Your thoughts and ways would transform our own.