Proverbs 5-6: Sexual & Marital Wisdom
"They die for lack of discipline, and because of their great folly they are lost" (Pr. 5:23)
It's possible to be wise in so many ways, it's also possible to be foolish in many ways. But why does it seem so easy to be foolish when it comes to our sexuality? Why do so many people find themselves full of sexual shame - wishing they could take back things they've done. And deeper still - is it possible to enjoy a fully sexual life that is not prudish - not scared - not repressed - but fully lived out in a deep and meaningful lifelong commitment to a spouse?
It's odd and kind of funny...King Solomon wrote these words, yet the Bible tells us that he had 700 wives and 300 concubines. And while we know that some of those marriages were political alliances, it's pretty safe to say that Solomon had his choice of who to shack up with on a nightly basis.
It's also true that King Solomon wrote Song of Solomon, which is also a book of Wisdom in the Bible. It is a graphic and erotic work that makes the the most liberal-minded of us blush. In it he writes of his true love - in essence, it seems that though Solomon had endless sexual relationships, he also knew what it was to deeply love one partner.
Maybe it's because of all of this that Proverbs 5-6 have a feeling of shame when looking back at one's own life. Perhaps it's because of Solomon's experiences that we are able to learn from his mistakes. The Bible is clear that when our hearts reach out to many sexual partners, it leads us away from God. As Solomon puts it - when the young men he's teaching go this route they follow a woman whose "...feet go down to death; her steps follow the path to Sheol (the land of the dead in Old Testament thinking). She does not keep straight to the path of life; her ways wander, and she does not know it." (5:5-6) Later he says "...at the end of your life you will groan...and you will say, "Oh how I hated discipline..." (5:11-12) Later, at the end of chapter 6 there are more warnings against sleeping with the spouse of another; "the wife of another stalks a man's very life." (6:26)
Though these words are clearly written from a man to young men, do not let those ancient realities get in the way - this text can easily apply as wisdom to women as well. There are both men and women who it is best if we do not entertain even the thought of. And yet we must be real and honest in recognizing that sexual temptation is a reality for just about every human on the planet. Our bodies were made with sexual drives, and our desires often don't line up with what the Bible says is Wise in this area.
There is so much more to say about this, but I'll try to keep this post short. Here is my modern-day wisdom for whoever may need it. I hope it helps...
Most of us who have experienced sexual shame or regret about things we've done need a way to move forward into healthy living and wise future choices. The words of Solomon in these chapters are absolutely true. Greener pastures in this realm are never actually greener. Solomon knows this and is warning us in this regard. Sexual shame can and will "stalk" a person to the grave if left unchecked.
If you've come to the point in your life where you recognize the trap of living according to your way sexually instead of God's way and you're wanting to start afresh, let me assure you that at the foot of Jesus' cross there is forgiveness and restoration for everyone. Jesus will not shame you. He will forgive you if you're sincere and honest about your weaknesses. Confess to Him, and accept His love and forgiveness, and then reject the voice that tells you to feel ashamed. If you've given it to God and accepted his freedom and grace, then you can know that voice of shame comes not from God - they are lies intended to keep you in a loop of shame and sin. Most likely you will need a friend or partner who you can talk to honestly and openly, without shame - someone who understands and is willing to hold you to a high standard.
There is too much more to say, but I hope that this helps someone out there! You are not alone! So many people continue to live sexually foolish lives because they can't imagine that others would understand. Don't believe that lie! As Solomon says - when you learn to live in freedom and in love, you are learning to live a wise life.
What did you hear in these chapters? Was there a verse that stuck out to you? Why not post a response and share with a friend.