Summary: #3 in Proverbs & Parables Series Proverbs 6 God has built the firewall of marriage around sexual intimacy for our protection
Fire in his lap
SCRIPTURE READING: Proverbs 6: 27-33
Our new house has a fireplace, so I’m learning how to build good hearty fires. You want one that burns brightly and puts out at least some heat without sending out smoke into the room. I’m learning that keeping a fire going involves using a fire poker to turn and move logs so they will burn better. But I also learned that if you aren’t careful you can literally send a log rolling out of the fireplace and right into your lap. That potential for catastrophe gave me a new sense of meaning when I read Proverbs 6:27: Can a man scoop fire into his lap without his clothes being burned? You might ask, who on earth would be dumb enough to think he can scoop fire into his lap and not get burned? Well, unfortunately, it happens all the time. Every person who commits sexual sin is scooping fire into his lap. And sooner or later they ALL get burned.
That’s why God has built a FIREWALL around sexual intimacy. That FIREWALL is called MARRIAGE. And anything outside that protective wall will burn its victim. The 7th Commandment out of the 10 Commandments says, You shall not commit adultery. But you’re not going to hear that verse quoted a lot.
Instead, you’ll hear There’s nothing wrong with any kind of sex between consenting partners. After all, How can it be wrong if it feels right? Love is always good as long as no one gets hurt. In movies and TV and books, sex is presented as recreation. One contemporary writer put is this way: Nothing spoils a game more than those who take it seriously. So people jump in and out of the fireplace. And by the time they wise up, they have been horribly scorched and scared.
Chapter 7 of Proverbs tells the story of one young man who walked too close to the flames. The warning is given to a man, but it applies to men or women who are tempted to sin. The wise writer is looking out his window. Listen to what he sees:
1. Walking near fire Proverbs 7:6-9
At the window of my house I looked out through the lattice. I saw among the simple, I noticed among the young men, a youth who lacked judgment. He was going down the street near her corner, walking along in the direction of her house at twilight, as the day was fading, as the dark of night set in.
This young man has already made a big mistake. He’s walking near the fire. He’s walking TOWARD temptation. He’s either incredibly stupid or incredibly proud … or more likely both. He thinks he can flirt with the fire but not get burned. Notice that he’s walking into the darkness … He’s intentionally going to the wrong place at the wrong time.
Every person I’ve known who fell into sexual sin started with this step. They walked near the fire. They pretend that stroll is innocent. The little office flirtation didn’t mean anything – they don’t know how it got out of hand.
After all, there’s nothing wrong with having lunch together, is there? Lonely people need a friend to talk to about their troubles, don’t they? If that friend is of the opposite gender, well… what’s wrong with that?
People can’t just sit at home can they? Everyone needs to get out and party a little. And if there’s some drinking or drugs, well … people have to relax now and then, don’t they?
That’s the kind of thinking this young man in Proverbs had. Let’s see what happened to him. The next thing he knew, he was PLAYING WITH FIRE.
2. Playing with fire Proverbs 7:10-20
Then out came a woman to meet him, dressed like a prostitute and with crafty intent. (She is loud and defiant, her feet never stay at home; now in the street, now in the squares, at every corner she lurks.) She took hold of him and kissed him and with a brazen face she said: … Proverbs 7:10-13
This foolish young man probably never knew what hit him. He started by walking near the fire. Now he’s about to jump right into the fireplace and scoop the fire in his lap. The woman’s invitation contains the kind of deceit that draws any foolish person into sexual sin.
"I have fellowship offerings at home; today I fulfilled my vows. So I came out to meet you; I looked for you and have found you! I have covered my bed with colored linens from Egypt. I have perfumed my bed with myrrh, aloes and cinnamon. … Proverbs 7:14-17
She couches her invitation in religious terms. The fellowship offerings were offerings to the gods. She wants the affair to look respectable. Surely God will understand. Doesn’t God want us to be happy?