“I have decked my bed with coverings of tapestry, with carved works, with fine linen of Egypt. I have perfumed my bed with myrrh, aloes, and cinnamon.”
Proverbs 7 immerses the reader in the imagery of temptation, but with a clear focus on seduction. This has already been described as a spider weaving a web and trapping unsuspecting prey. Seduction could be compared with the mythological sirens of the ancient world luring seafarers to shipwreck and inevitable death. But seduction begins in many ways, not necessarily with the enchanting song of a siren. Is there any difference between temptation, attraction, chemistry, or however else we try to excuse our failure to resist? For many it will not be a prostitute in a bar or on a street corner, but a colleague at work, possibly even a fellow worshipper at church.
It may begin in innocence. A little voice inside says “I like this person” or “here is someone who understands me.” The Christian movie Fireproof demonstrates the process perfectly as the wife of the fire chief finds herself increasingly drawn to a doctor colleague at the hospital where she works.
Seduction should be obvious. The trouble is that something breaks in the human mind when seduction comes along, and the capacity to think logically disappears. Seduction robs us of our natural ability to avoid danger, and the song of the sirens draws us closer and closer to the rocks. The closer you get to the rocks, the more inevitable the shipwreck becomes. The trouble is that dangerous rocks are often shrouded in mist and difficult to see.
I played on the rocks as a child. But further offshore there were hidden reefs where vessels bound for the English Channel periodically ran aground. These were rocks where seafarers lost their lives. A few years later when serving at sea myself I dreaded the thought of putting a ship aground, but thought nothing of the dangers of the dockside bars when going ashore.
You may never have entered a dockside bar. You may never have been tempted by attraction to a co-worker in your daily life, or at church. You may think that the words of Proverbs 7 are an exaggeration, and that this part of God’s Word does not apply in your case. But it does. Every word of Scripture is there for a reason. If you don’t need to draw on this wisdom now, you may need to do so in the future. If you remember nothing else remember that failure to listen to God will lead to shipwreck. Almost all shipwrecks are caused by human error. Innocence is not an excuse. The rocks are charted. You are equipped to avoid them. Go too close and you will go aground.