Summary: A study of Proverbs 7, and the danger of sexual immorality.
“My son, keep my words
and treasure up my commandments with you;
keep my commandments and live;
keep my teaching as the apple of your eye;
bind them on your fingers;
write them on the tablet of your heart.
Say to wisdom, ‘You are my sister,’
and call insight your intimate friend,
to keep you from the forbidden woman,
from the adulteress with her smooth words.”
ctions have consequences. This must surely be one of the most difficult lessons young people will be forced to learn. Tragically, some people appear never to have learned this lesson. Our young men grow to adulthood with a plethora of participation ribbons, but they are seldom challenged to excel. And if some do excel, few are ever taught that there are few ribbons for participating in life. A minimum wage law does not guarantee that they will have opportunity to learn how to work. Sheltering them from the consequences of their bad choices until they are eighteen, at which time they are thrown into a judicial system that wonders what is wrong with them does not prepare them for life.
I am deeply concerned that those for whom I have received appointment as a teacher and a pastor should learn this lesson. I am working hard to equip those whom God has placed under my oversight. My deep longing is described by the Apostle Paul when he wrote, “I feel a divine jealousy for you, since I betrothed you to one husband, to present you as a pure virgin to Christ” [2 CORINTHIANS 11:2].
I know that youth are growing to adulthood in a world that is hostile to righteousness. Youth are growing up within a society that depreciates godliness, pressures the young to engage in or approve of immorality and celebrates wickedness. I understand that sin has always been a part of life since the fall of our first parents; however, the transformation of society during the past fifty years is breath-taking. My observation leads me to conclude that churches have failed miserably in providing instruction in righteousness, substituting what has been accurately described as moralistic, therapeutic deism. Families have bought into the lie that it is more important to ensure that youth feel good about themselves than it is for them to be good.
If we imagine that youth attending our church are immune to the seduction of this fallen world, we are deluded. If we imagine that youth are sheltered from the allure of sin, we have deceived ourselves. While I believe that temptations for young women to turn from the path of righteousness are ubiquitous, my focus today is on young men. I do this for two reasons. First, it is Fathers’ Day; thus, it is appropriate to speak to men and those who are growing toward manhood. Again, the text chosen for this day specifically addresses the danger facing young men when they succumb to temptation and turn from the path of righteousness.
The text before us warns young men against gratuitous sex. I’m well aware that people believe the churches should be silent concerning sexual immorality, leaving the training of our youth to experts. My credentials include the fact that I left home when I was seventeen—I knew it all. It never ceases to amaze me how much my dad learned in the ensuing five years. In those five years after I had left home, I had served in the United States Marines Corps, travelled across most of the United States on my own, honed my skills in heavy construction trades and married. I lived a rough life and saw more than a little of the seamy side of life. I am reasonably certain that testosterone was as potent for young men during those years as it is today. However, we lived in a society that helped a young man hold impulses in check.
I believe I am watching fulfilment of the prophecy Daniel received as he wrote the book bearing his name: “There is going to be a lot of frantic running around, trying to figure out what’s going on” [DANIEL 12:4a THE MESSAGE]. Four currents ensured the transformation of society into what we witness today, a social structure that is still changing. Though we cannot accurately predict what the final society will look like, it is reasonably certain that it will be unlike anything any of us could imagine—and that may not be a good thing.
I lived through the sixties. The events that marked that tumultuous decade set in motion a social revolution unprecedented in modern history, perhaps unparalleled in all recorded history. My first research was supervised by a woman who had been part of the team that developed the first birth control pill, a development that set in motion a transformation of western society that disoriented successive generations. My children grew up in a world that was already significantly different from that in which I had grown up. Their children are being raised in a family vastly different from that in which my children were raised. The rapid pace of moral and social change causes many to wonder if human beings are capable of absorbing this level of change in any healthy way. Evidence to date leads many social scientists and observers to conclude that the answer is “no.”