This sermon was preached at Peace Hill Christian Fellowship on June 20th, 2004. There is no audio available for this sermon.
PROVERBS 7 — LOOKING AT LUST WITH THE NEW EYES OF GRACE
SEE THE STORY OF LUST WITH NEW EYES.
The story of lust and falling into sexual intrigue is a very familiar one. Most often, those who fall into sexual sin do so without recognizing the danger signs. They find themselves in situations, in the face of temptation that seems unavoidable. They don’t know how it happened – it just happened.
This is the mindset that the Father wants to address. Sexual sin has a pattern and is the result of willful behavior, if we are just willing to see it. The Father wants to retell the story of a young man’s fall, giving us a new way to see and understand it.
The Young Man Without Judgment is a Wanders Off: “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…” These few sentences are full of images. First the Father relates how he watched in secret – out his window, through the lattice. He is expressing the fact that he is seeing something that others do not notice – he is seeing what they do not see. He is telling us, in a sense, that he is seeing beneath the surface of this situation – secretly, he has seen something with Wisdom that most others missed. What does he see?
1) The man who lacks judgment is going near the house of the adulteress – “He was going down the street near her corner, walking along in the direction of her house…” The Father has already sternly warned the son of this – “Keep a path far from her, do not go near the door of her house…” (Pr.5:8) – because the consequences of wandering near her house are horrible. The point – adultery, lust, sexual sin have a very definite beginning – wandering thoughtlessly. Sin can be avoided, if you tie a noose around your neck to keep yourself from wandering (6:21), if you engrave this truth on your heart – that wandering is dangerous (7:3).
The picture of wandering, however, is one in which the man is open – not guarded – to any experience of pleasure – of course such unguarded behavior will wander into trouble – he is looking for it, guided by his desires and discontent – not by wisdom.
2) The man who lacks judgment wanders off at twilight – “…at twilight, as the day was fading, as the dark of night set in.” In the story the man wanders off at twilight – into cover of darkness. The image of the two men taking a journey – one at twilight and one at dawn comes to mind (Pr.4:18-19).
This picture expresses this idea of the man being led by his senses –without the light of wisdom. He does not know what makes him stumble (4:19), everything is just experience and reaction – like an animal he is living by pure instinct – and like an animal he will be caught and killed.
The Adulteress is Actually a Wild Animal Lying in Wait: The young man finds just what he was looking for, even thought he is not aware that he was looking. The adulterous wife here is a study in preparation. She is pictured like a beast, lying in wait…
(1) She is dressed to kill – showing the crafty intent of her heart.
(2) She is loud and defiant – bold, like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.
(3) She has been wandering looking for her prey – lurking in every corner.
The Adulteress Drags Her Quarry Away: having Described the Adulteress as a stalking animal, the Father now describes how she drags her quarry away…
(1) She takes hold of him – pounces on him like an animal – and kisses him – depending on whose point of view we see this from, the image is at once desirable – from the young man’s point of view, but horrible from the Father’s – who sees her as a wild animal seizing him by the throat..
(2) She is hard and Merciless – her face is brazen.
(3) She is not satisfied with taking his life – she is also going to destroy the young man’s soul. Now as she begins to speak, her true nature comes out. She has made fertility offerings to pagan gods – probably baal – and must complete the offerings through intercourse.
(4) She has disguised her lair in order to bring the young man – like an ignorant animal – into her trap. The spices blind his sense of smell to danger – the colored sheets dazzle his eyes.
(5) She offers herself as the bait – promising what the young man desires, but what will destroy him.
(6) She lures him with a false sense of safety – of anonymity. Her husband is gone for a long time, so that he can safely sleep with her.
(7) She is a patient stalker, persuading and seducing until finally he falls completely to her.
The three descriptions or her character, followed by the seven actions of violence paint a picture of the complete huntress. She is the prefect predator.
Be Warned and Be Wise – See The Nature of Lust With New Eyes.
Her Bedroom is Actually a Slaughterhouse: “All at once he followed her, like an ox going to the slaughter…” What the Father sees is that her bedroom, although perfumed and beautiful, is a slaughterhouse, filled with blood. The young man’s innocence and purity are going to be killed, his freedom and joy desecrated. Her bedroom is not beautiful, but horrible. Be warned, recognize the adulteress for the predator she is.
Her Charms are Actually a Noose: “like a deer stepping into a noose…” In the same way, while the young man sees this exchange as an act of his own personal freedom – unbinding – the Father recognizes that it will have a controlling effect on the young man’s life. He has chosen the collar of lust rather than the collar of wisdom (6:21). He will be led by lust like an animal on a leash. Be warned and do not hand over your life to lust and adultery.
She is After Your Heart: “Do not let your heart turn to her ways or stray into her paths.” The greatest danger of the adulteress is that she will get hold of your heart. Adultery twists and kills the heart – it pollutes the well-spring of the heart with enticements – setting up an appetite that is forever desiring and never satisfied. Be warned! Protect your heart from her enticements or from wandering.
She Wants You as One of Her Trophies: Adultery and lust have brought down “a mighty throng”. Adultery is no respecter of persons – it destroys the life of those who dabble with it – as does lust. Again, Be warned! Recognize the danger! The Father has given us a new way look at lust and adultery, and is warning us not to become one more of her trophies.
She Wants to Lead us to Death: Finally, be warned and recognize that she is a destroyer, that her house is a highway to death – many people fall this way and never recover.
LET GRACE OPEN YOUR EYES AND BRING WISDOM TO LIFE.
We can be shown truth – this teaching is clear – but the problem is that without grace, we are blind. Without grace, this eye-opening teaching is just words. Unless, like the blind man, Jesus creates new eyes in us, we will not be able to see this truth. We will not be jolted and alarmed by these images. We will not recognize our guilt. We will not run to the Father.
Grace Changes What We See – Gives Us New Eyes: “guard my teachings as the apple of your eye.” There are at least two ways to look at this image…
- The apple, or iris, of the eye, is what regulates the light that enters into our eyes. Consequently, when we have the new eyes of grace, these teachings regulate how we understand and what we see – they become an interpretive grid – the way we interpret what we see, as good or evil, pleasurable or horrible. The Father has given us a new way of seeing and new eyes to see with – to regulate and interpret what we see by wisdom.
- The apple of the eye is an expression of that which is most beloved. Through grace, these teachings become, not just teachings, but life to us. Grace enables us to love this wisdom.
Grace Changes How We Handle: “Bind them on your fingers” Through grace, these teachings of the Father are bound on our fingers – a covering for our fingers that come between our finger-tips and what we touch – like a glove. Consequently, as we touch and handle things, we are reminded of the teachings of the Father.
This is a picture of the renewed conscience that God gives us. We are never at home or comfortable with sin again because when we handle it we are reminded of the truths of Scripture and who we belong to.
Grace Changes Our Hearts: “Write them on the tablet of your heart.” Ancient writing was done on clay tablets – where an instrument was used to engrave or cut letters and symbols into the clay. The OT picture is one of painfully engraving, cutting these teachings into our hearts, wounding and scarring ourselves so that we will remember and keep them.
But in the NT, God changes our hearts, through grace, from hearts of stone to soft hearts of flesh, and then engraves his wisdom on our hearts – giving us a sensitivity and desire to do what is wise and good.
Grace Has Brought Us into God’s Family: “Say to wisdom, ‘You are my sister’ and call understanding your kinsman…” Grace has changed our companions. We are now surrounded by the people of God who are our family Wisdom is to be like a sister to us (the noun “wisdom” is feminine in gender), advising us. A loving sister, concerned for us, giving us an inside look at the type of woman we ought to avoid. By his grace, God has created a family of people who have grace in common – redeemed consciences and minds and eyes to see, and who desire to attach themselves to and live by wisdom. The family of God through Christ.