When I opened up Proverbs 5 this morning, it was a topic-so I thought- that I was dreading- the fallen woman. I almost turned back, saying, "I'll need even more prayer to do this one right"; not noticing the fallen women has not been a strong suit for me, I'll admit. But as I prepared to walk away, it struck me- there is a deeper meaning to this. And as the Spirit explained to me, while the passage is true about adultery, lust, and its effects, the deeper meaning is, the 'fallen woman' is SIN. And we can draw three lessons about sin itself from this chapter. Where we apply them is up to God and ourselves.
Verses 1-6 give us the Nature of sin. First off, it is described TEMPORARILY as "dripping honey", and "smooth as oil". Maybe, in today's terms, we could call this, 'the advertising of sin'. Second comes the aftereffects: bitter as wormwood, sharp as a sword. The sword, you get; wormwood, though is a bit more fascinating. It translates roughly to the plant we call hemlock, and the poison in hemlock has several fascinating effects that are eerily similar to sin.
-It effects breathing by paralyzing the muscular system that controls the lungs. You do realize that the translation of 'Spirit' is breath; sin chokes off our ability to work with the Holy Spirit.
-It can damage the fetus in cows that eat even small amounts; sin warps, any fruits we might bear.
-Hemlock effects the receptors that addict us to nicotine- in other words, it becomes a powerful, if very short term, addiction.
-It can cause hypothermia; in other words, you grow cold...
- It can increase your heart rate to a fatal extent; like this, sin is exciting, drawing you ever farther for that same 'buzz'.
- It will eventually cause kidney failure; consider that the Hebrews considered the kidneys as we consider the heart, the core of the person. Sin will SHUT YOU DOWN.
- From the website of Healthline: To date, there is no antidote for hemlock poisoning. We can only treat the symptoms.
Let us call this part, 'the product of sin.'
Finally, comes a verse that is very similar to another we just heard:
Pro 5:6 she does not ponder the path of life; her ways wander, and she does not know it.
We can call this, "Your results will NOT vary."
Then in verses 7-14, we look at it from another angle: Where you end up. Solomon begs Rehoboam to listen here, as he gives not only a list of things that WILL happen, but how he will feel about it in the end. The list:
- You lose honor
-You waste the years of your life
-All your strength is dissipated to others (think: your drug dealer, your extortioner, your somewhat shady lawyer)
- All your work is wasted
And how he will feel:
Pro 5:11 and at the end of your life you groan, when your flesh and body are consumed,
Pro 5:12 and you say, "How I hated discipline, and my heart despised reproof!
Pro 5:13 I did not listen to the voice of my teachers or incline my ear to my instructors.
Pro 5:14 I am at the brink of utter ruin in the assembled congregation."
In other words, this is the SAME LESSON Solomon has been teaching all along- gaining wisdom and knowledge, and the results of doing or not doing it.
The rest of the chapter contrasts the two paths: You have a choice of the right path (described here as 'being intoxicated by the wife of your youth'; think Jesus's admonition to the Church of Ephesus in Revelation 2: "But I have this against you; you have lost your first love."), and the wrong path (first described as the 'forbidden woman', the adulteress'). But is that bad path REALLY just about the fallen woman? Look here, right after that description:
Pro 5:20 Why should you be intoxicated, my son, with a forbidden woman and embrace the bosom of an adulteress?
Pro 5:21 For a man's ways are before the eyes of the LORD, and he ponders all his paths.
Pro 5:22 The iniquities of the wicked ensnare him, and he is held fast in the cords of his sin.
Pro 5:23 He dies for lack of discipline, and because of his great folly he is led astray.
Wicked. Lack of discipline. Folly. The whole thing isn't JUST about sexual sin. It's about EVERY sin, and this is just one more angle that Solomon used to try and get across the folly of rejecting the search for True Wisdom.