Tag Archives: temptation

Expect Danger

 Proverbs 9:18

“But he knoweth not that the dead are there; and that her guests are in the depths of hell.”

The Monsters are Out

Believe it or not, (as of this writing) October 31st is still over three months away, but Halloween merchandise is already on the shelves. Unbelievable.

Just yesterday my wife and girls and I dined at a local restaurant called Cracker Barrel. As soon as we walked in the door the first thing that caught my eye was a plate covered in eye balls. How disgusting! Now, for the next three months any time I go for breakfast, lunch, or supper, I can count on being welcomed by witches, monsters, spiders, black cats, and dismembered body parts. Well, at least I will know what to expect.

Knowing What to Expect

Speaking of knowing what to expect, have you ever watched a scary movie? Why is it that some people can go to a movie that clearly promises slimy creatures will leap off the 3-D screen into their lap, only to scream bloody murder when it happens? Didn’t they know it was going to happen?

And what about the typical victims in horror films? Have they never seen a monster movie? As movie-goers, we know what to expect, so why don’t the actors?  In every movie there is always someone who is stupid enough to ask for a cup of sugar from the shadowy neighbor in the dark, bat-infested mansion.

Here’s a suggestion: the next time you hear a strange noise in your house, don’t pick up a shoe and walk blindly into the dark saying, “Is anyone there?” Of course someone’s there! Would you expect the monster in the dark to respond by saying, “Yes, I am here…hiding in the corner on your left…waiting to attack you?”

When you hear a bump in the night, don’t assume it is Santa Claus coming early – expect danger!

Unaware of the Danger

But here’s this poor, naive traveler who, like a fool, is falling prey to temptation. What is he thinking? Doesn’t he know what lies waiting for him just inside the door? Evidently not.

Unlike a house that looks like it should be on the cover of Dracula’s Home and Mortuaries, Miss Folly’s crypt could pass for Cinderella’s castle, or at least Aunt Bea’s house on The Andy Griffith Show. In order to draw the naive traveler from the “right way,” the house of the temptress will usually appear completely innocent, much like a Venus Flytrap does to a fly.

But unaware of the danger; unaware that just inside are the remains of many men; unaware that some are languishing in torment just beneath the floor;  the traveler can think of nothing but the promise of pleasure. He doesn’t know what to expect, but he should. That’s why Solomon wrote this chapter.

A Prayer

Dear God, open our eyes to the wiles of the Devil! Help us warn the naive travelers down as they try to travel down the “right way.” Then protect us, Heavenly Spirit, from the veiled and alluring traps set before us. As we travel through the valley of the shadow of death, may your rod and staff keep us on the right path.

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Sin, Sweet Sin

 Proverbs 9:16-17

“Whoso is simple, let him turn in hither: and as for him that wanteth understanding, she saith to him, Stolen waters are sweet, and bread eaten in secret is pleasant.”

In previous verses we have read about foolish young men who got into trouble simply because they wandered into the wrong part of town. In this case, however, what we are looking at is the baiting of a righteous man.

The Prey

In verse 15 we read that the foolish woman calls out to “passengers who go right on their way.” In other words, these are men who are “minding their own business” (NLT), or “going straight on their way” (ESV). They are the picture of travelers who have no intention of falling into sin, but are intent on following the “right way.”

Let there be no misunderstanding, those who want to stay on the right path of life are always going to be under attack. They are always going to be considered prey. Like a fisherman seeking a trophy catch, the foolish woman longs to mount the virtuous, the pure, the right-walking man on her wall.

I have personally seen and heard both men and women brag of their hellish plans. Men say, “If you really love me, you’ll give it up.” Women say, “I know he’s married, but I’ll make him give in.” Professors say, “This semester I will break your faith in God.”

The Problem

Sadly, so many that have been taught to live pure lives, who have tried to walk in the “right way,” have no idea what is out to get them. They assume that good and bad is obvious: good things are sweet; bad things are sour. They are unaware of poisons like automotive engine coolant, the sweet fluid that has killed many a wayward pet.

It is not to the stupid that the foolish woman calls, but to the naive. Because they have not been exposed to or stained by the evils of the world, the “simple” can be easily tempted. They are essentially “fresh meat” for the temptress.

Therefore, it is so important, when we “train up a child in the way that he should go,” that we speak truthfully about sin. Children need to know why sin is tempting. They need to know it can taste really sweet. They need to believe we’re not depriving them, but preparing them.

The Pan

The reason sexual/sensual sin is so dangerous is because it initially fulfills what it promises. There is a rush that comes from drinking stolen water. The thrill of eating bread in secret is hard to compare. Therefore, the temptress is not lying when she throws out the bait. What she is saying is true, so the one being tempted starts to think, “What’s so wrong with it?”

But just like a baited hook, there is a line attached to every sweet temptation. Once the hook is set, one rarely gets free, but ends up either in hot water, or the frying pan.

A Prayer

Lord, give us wisdom and discernment. Help us to avoid temptation, especially when the bait looks so sweet, so promising. Give us holy x-ray vision so that we may see the hidden hooks.


Related to Wisdom

Proverbs 7:4-5

“Say unto wisdom, Thou art my sister; and call understanding thy kinswoman: That they may keep thee from the strange woman, from the stranger which flattereth with her words.”

Related to Wisdom?

If you are struggling with the point Solomon is trying to make through Proverbs, here it is plain as day:

The Wisdom of God is very, very, very, very, very important!

It is so important, we are told in today’s passage that wisdom should be considered our sister and understanding our close relative.

In almost every family, it is they who know “you” best. Whether it is your parents, your siblings, or your wife, only your best friend might know you better (which is why it is good for your spouse to be your best friend).

What God Says About You

God has several things to say about you:

God created you and knows you better than anyone else in all of Creation. God also has your back:

There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.
1 Corinthians 10:13

God’s wisdom and understanding is so great that it can save us from any temptation – whether it is a woman, a man, food, entertainment, drugs, alcohol, etcetera – because God knows what we can handle, what we are unable to handle, and the best way for us to escape when our own stupidity leads us into whatever confronts us.

Heavenly Father, grant us your wisdom and understanding that we may escape temptation. Give us the wisdom to live righteously and the understanding to know when we are tempted. Show us the way out when we become trapped by our own desires. Above all, may we be used to bring glory to Your Name!


Reduced to Nothing

Proverbs 6:26

“For by means of a whorish woman a man is brought to a piece of bread: and the adulteress will hunt for the precious life.”

I started attending church at the age of 15, and I was given an NIV Bible. The NIV puts this verse this way:

for the prostitute reduces you to a loaf of bread, and the adulteress preys upon your very life.

For a while it confused me, because I read it as “the prostitute gradually turns you into a loaf of bread.” Before I saw another translation, I figured it out!

Broke and Worthless

As has been discussed for the past several days, the lure of the prostitute and foolishness leads to bad things. Not only is it dangerous because of diseases you might receive, you can find yourself practically penniless from spending so much on this habit. Not only might you lose all of your money, you may find your health in decline.

Do you know what happens to you when you can barely afford to buy a loaf of bread? You starve and either die or debase yourself publicly to get by.

You could also get caught doing something illegal (which prostitution is in most areas), and then you find you are in jail/prison.

Broken and Lost

On a purely spiritual level, beware of false preachers and teachers; beware of twisted and false teachings.

Prosperity gospel-, “Name-It-and-Claim-It”-, and Personality-centered messages/churches generally convince you to spend all of your money and/or give all of your money to the one speaking.

There are churches, denominations, and other organizations with teachings that sound great and biblical; yet, if you pay attention, you would find they are taken out of context (biblically and/or spiritually … there can be a difference) or, worse, twisted to serve an ungodly purpose.

If you do not end up broke and worthless in this life, the ultimate result may very well be that you have lost everlasting life.

Do not give your soul – your life – to another. Steer clear of the prostitutes, on the streets or in religion, by knowing the dangers they pose. Seek God and His path in all things.

Dear Lord, help us to stay away from the allure of the prostitute and adulteress. Help us keep our hearts, minds, and souls safe and pure. Reveal your love and grace to us all the more, that anything and anyone else is not as desirable.


A Wicked Heart

Proverbs 6:18a

“These six things doth the LORD hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him: A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations…”

Personal Wickedness

When I was younger, way back in high school and before going to church, I heard stories of fantastic crimes, near-perfect crimes, and comic book villians. It inspired me to devise all manner of crimes (sneaking a candy bar from the store, sneaking small amounts of change from my mom’s purse, sneaking a can or two of soda pop from my teacher’s stash under his desk, etcetera) to test my mettle and intelligence.

Hollywood Wickedness

Movies seem to have caught that itch, as well. War movies to come out of Hollywood used to hide much of the true horror of battles. In the past few decades war movies have gotten progressively more gory, and now we also have movies such as the Saw series, the Hostel series, and all manner of violently gory horror and action films.

There is also a rise in movies in which the villain is the “hero” of the movie. They are written in such a way that we, the audience, sympathize with and even cheer for people committing crimes and being all-around bad (though sometimes with endearing moments).

We were warned … a lot …

Paul warned Timothy, and therefore us, that this would happen:

1 But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. 2 People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3 without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, 4 treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— 5 having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with them.

6 They are the kind who worm their way into homes and gain control over weak-willed women, who are loaded down with sins and are swayed by all kinds of evil desires, 7 always learning but never able to acknowledge the truth. 8 Just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so also these men oppose the truth—men of depraved minds,who, as far as the faith is concerned, are rejected.
2 Timothy 3:1-8, NIV

In other words, society will decide to do their own thing and call good things bad and bad things good, and we will glorify sin and desire all things ungodly (sound at all familiar to anyone?).

And we were warned in Isaiah:

Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!
Isaiah 5:20

Lord, give us the wisdom to see past deception and a desire for truth and goodness. Help us to not focus on our own desires, selfishness, and violence. Help us to focus on Your will, Your love, Your grace, and You. Be our light and our life.


Reason for the Warning

Proverbs 5:10-14

[10] Lest strangers be filled with thy wealth; and thy labours be in the house of a stranger; [11] And thou mourn at the last, when thy flesh and thy body are consumed, [12] And say, How have I hated instruction, and my heart despised reproof; [13] And have not obeyed the voice of my teachers, nor inclined mine ear to them that instructed me! [14] I was almost in all evil in the midst of the congregation and assembly.”

Another’s Spouse

How many times have we heard about a man or a woman pursuing a married person saying “We are so in love, and he/she is going to leave his/her wife/husband”? Most of the time, we later hear that, no, they did not leave their spouses. The adulterous spouse received gifts and favors, and now those gifts and the fruit of the jilted lovers’ labors are enjoyed by the one who was supposed to be out the door.

In other words, strangers are filled with your wealth, and your work helps another household. You feel betrayed and hurt … even though you were the one causing betrayal and hurt.

Everyone said it was a bad idea. Everyone told you that what you were doing was wrong. Now you wonder “Why wouldn’t I listen? I feel like I have wasted my life!”

Working Hard for the Money

Imagine for a moment (or think for a moment, if this is true for you) that you are a woman with a husband and three children. You go to work five or six days a week, eight to ten hours a day to get a decent pay check. Then your husband announces one morning he is leaving and going to live with another woman. All of a sudden, your world comes crashing down as you realize that this person will no longer be there to help with the kids, and will your paycheck be enough, anymore?

(For the record, this happened to a co-worker of mine just this week. Please pray for her, her children, her husband, and anyone else who may be involved!)

This is the effect adultery has. It does not just affect two or three people. It hits families, friends, and coworkers, too. It is just like looking at your family and God and saying “You are dead to me.” It is like putting all of your money on black and having it come up red.

You end up with no one and nothing.

God does not tell us to avoid adultery and to listen to advice to toy with us. God cares enough about us to want to keep us from going through this living hell I just described.

Cheating on God

We do the same thing with God when we call on His name and then yell at the cashier. We do the same thing with God when say, “Lord, I love you,” and then never pick up the Bible or pay attention during a church service. We do the same thing with God when we say, “He is my Savior,” and live exactly the same way as everyone else in the world who denies God.

Gracious God, forgive us when we forget You; grant us Your grace and mercy when You use Your name in vain by living contrary to Your word and nature. Protect us from the adulterous people who will lead us astray. Give us the wisdom to turn to You in all things.


Run Away! Run Away!

Proverbs 5:7-9

7 Hear me now therefore, O ye children, and depart not from the words of my mouth. 8 Remove thy way far from her, and come not nigh the door of her house: 9 Lest thou give thine honour unto others, and thy years unto the cruel.”

Mean Cat

My grandmother used to have a mean cat. This cat was an absolutely anti-social, psychotic, frenetic feline. One couldn’t get near her without getting hissed at, and that just made us want to aggravate it more.

I know it probably wasn’t the smartest thing to do when we were young, but we would love to try to tease the cat without getting bit. Fortunately, the monster had been declawed; however, her piercing fangs remained. If we got too close she could leave a couple of bloody reminders that she still had a mouth. Playing with her was playing with danger. That’s why it was fun.

Temptation

It’s really all about temptation, isn’t it? Solomon knew that if you play with sin, or get too close, you will get bit, and it will hurt.

Jesus knew something about temptation, also. He said, “the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak” (Matt. 26:41). Maybe that’s why the Apostle Paul warned Timothy to “flee” from “youthful lusts” (2 Tim. 2:22). Lust tends to make us buy things we can’t afford.

“But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.” – James 1:14-15

Flirting

Many times we like to get just close enough to the forbidden fruit that we can smell it. No, we know we shouldn’t take a bite, but the aroma gives us a little thrill. Flirting with the wrong woman is nothing more than trying to sin a little. But a little sin is still a sin.

In reality, if we know where temptation lives, why would we want to drive by? Do we secretly long for what we know will harm us? If we have lust in our hearts, then the answer is “yes.” As James said, we are only tempted when we are drawn away by our own lusts. Flirting is dangerous.

Giving it Away

The consequences of sin are never worth the temporary fun. In this case, Solomon warns that the price is one’s honor and freedom. When a young man enters the “strange” woman’s door, the result is usually shame that rarely goes away.

On top of that, there’s the wasted time – time that could have been spent building a loving relationship. Instead, all your energy, your emotions, your wealth, and your health is squandered on a user of men.

“Do not let sin control the way you live; do not give in to sinful desires. Do not let any part of your body become an instrument of evil to serve sin. Instead, give yourselves completely to God, for you were dead, but now you have new life. So use your whole body as an instrument to do what is right for the glory of God.” – Rom. 6:12-13 NLT

Final Thought

My son, the next time you feel drawn to a “strange” woman, remember the words of King Arthur in Monty Python and the Holy Grail….

“RUN AWAY! RUN AWAY!”