“For the lips of a forbidden woman drip honey, and her speech is smoother than oil, but in the end she is bitter as wormwood, sharp as a two-edged sword. Her feet go down to death; her steps follow the path to Sheol; she does not ponder the path of life; her ways wander, and she does not know it. And now, O sons, listen to me, and do not depart from the words of my mouth. Keep your way far from her, and do not go near the door of her house, lest you give your honor to others and your years to the merciless, lest strangers take their fill of your strength, and your labors go to the house of a foreigner, and at the end of your life you groan, when your flesh and body are consumed, and you say, “How I hated discipline, and my heart despised reproof! I did not listen to the voice of my teachers or incline my ear to my instructors. I am at the brink of utter ruin in the assembled congregation.” Drink water from your own cistern, flowing water from your own well. Should your springs be scattered abroad, streams of water in the streets? Let them be for yourself alone, and not for strangers with you. Let your fountain be blessed, and rejoice in the wife of your youth, a lovely deer, a graceful doe. Let her breasts fill you at all times with delight; be intoxicated always in her love. Why should you be intoxicated, my son, with a forbidden woman and embrace the bosom of an adulteress?” Prov. 5:3-20
After years of indulging his selfish lusts with women–after sorting through his life with 1000 continual sex partners, Solomon has learned a lesson to share. His wisdom comes from experience and exposure. He is the expert in many things and because of his familiarity with the results of sinful pleasure, he offers us a fair warning. In the end, “all that glitters is not gold.”
He begins with the lips of a forbidden woman. Every man knows the alluring lips of women. The shape is different from that of man. Women also know the sex appeal–hence Botox! Why is that men do not inject Botox into their lips? Because it is the woman who has been endowed with sensual lip anatomy. Advertising is also aware of this appeal—have you ever seen a Twizzlers commercial?
But, more than the outward beauty of women’s lips, Solomon is referring more to her speech. Often, women are not intentionally trying to allure men with their speech. But, I think this word “forbidden” is very important. To a man with lustful passions, he often just wants what he can’t have. The fact that she is “forbidden” makes her very appealing. He longs for her. He fantasizes of her. The porn industry has capitalized on this. When a woman is forbidden, her words can become enhanced in a man’s brain. Man will misread every word she says as a signal that she wants more. Her words become like honey to him and as smooth as oil. A man’s crush on a woman practically turns her into a goddess in his mind. She can do no wrong. Everything she says is perfection.
I do not believe that men and women can be close friends if there is any level of attraction between them (watch the video below to see what I mean). The woman may be fine with it and think it possible, but the man just cannot do it. He WILL develop feelings for her. She will be naive to it.
When a man is allured by the forbidden woman of his lustful desire, Solomon says it will only lead to bitterness and death.
Solomon’s advice is to stay far away from her and to not go anywhere near her. Avoid her like the plague. If we don’t, it is most likely that we will be pulled by our lust into something we will wish we never would have. Solomon says the sure result of adultery is to be forced to “give your honor to others and your years to the merciless”, to have “strangers take their fill of your strength”, to have “your labors go to the house of a foreigner”, and at the end of your life to “groan, when your flesh and body are consumed”. I have never committed adultery with another woman (except in my mind) so I cannot fully speak to this but I would imagine anyone who ever has will confirm Solomon’s words here. Adultery may seems sweet like honey and smooth like oil at first, but it is destructive and long-lasting in it’s painful results.
My adultery through porn addiction is what I can speak to. It has taken away my honor and I have been a slave to merciless demons. It sapped me of all strength and relish for life. I had no ambition, no energy, and little interest in anything else but porn (I’m still dealing with those lasting effects). It became all consuming. The shame and guilt and powerlessness were overwhelmingly looming in my conscience at all times. It has stolen so many valuable years of my life. The foreigner, Satan, has stolen my labor and energy and I have wasted it all in endless hours of lustful indulgence only to be left depressed, lonely, hurt, and destroyed. Although I have not come to the end of my life yet (I don’t think), I understand the groaning pain Solomon is talking about. I feel like my flesh and body have been consumed.
I am learning to take Solomon’s advice very seriously because I do not want to suffer the results of untamed lust and passion. When I’m on the internet, I use safesearch. I stay away from sites I know could have something tempting (stay far away). If I find myself nearing some content that is alluring, I back up and run away. I remind myself that it’s not worth even getting near it. When I’m around girls who are tempting to me, I am learning to be very standoffish for my own sake. I’m not being rude, I’m just backing away. I’m not allowing myself to develop relationships with attractive girls because desire can easily rise up in my heart. Girls I’ve already developed crushes on are a big “no, no”. I have to stay very clear of them if at all possible. When I do have to be around them, I keep it very kosher. At school, there are all kinds of beautiful girls around on the campus. I’m still struggling with this one, but I’m trying to figure out ways to guard my eyes from the temptation. I’ll keep you posted.
Solomon offers an additional solution to the lust problem. In addition to avoiding women who you are tempted by, you should also direct your affections to your wife. Paul says, “because of the temptation to sexual immorality, each man should have his own wife and each woman her own husband… For it is better to marry than to burn with passion.” 1 Cor. 7:2, 9. Marriage is a God-given escape from the temptation of lust. But, we have to be willing to take advantage of that. We are to rejoice in our wives and to be intoxicated in her love. If we never give her any attention that isn’t going to happen. We need to go to her and make her the object of our desire. We need to lavish upon her the same attention we would lavish upon the “forbidden” woman. We need to give her the hours we would give to porn. In this way, our focus will change.
I see two very practical and wise directions in Solomon’s teaching here. We can either decide to apply what he has offered, or we can assume the same attitude that got him where he was. “How I hated discipline, and my heart despised reproof! I did not listen to the voice of my teachers or incline my ear to my instructors.” I think it’s important to be very cautious with our fragile hearts–even more so for those of us who are more tender in these areas. So, may we keep far away from those who tempt us and draw very near to our faithful wives. That’s some wise counsel from a very wise man!