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Let’s Talk About Sex

September 21, 2012

[5:1] My son, be attentive to my wisdom;
incline your ear to my understanding,
[2] that you may keep discretion,
and your lips may guard knowledge.
[3] For the lips of a forbidden woman drip honey,
and her speech is smoother than oil,
[4] but in the end she is bitter as wormwood,
sharp as a two-edged sword.
[5] Her feet go down to death;
her steps follow the path to Sheol;
[6] she does not ponder the path of life;
her ways wander, and she does not know it.
[7] And now, O sons, listen to me,
and do not depart from the words of my mouth.
[8] Keep your way far from her,
and do not go near the door of her house,
[9] lest you give your honor to others
and your years to the merciless,
[10] lest strangers take their fill of your strength,
and your labors go to the house of a foreigner,
[11] and at the end of your life you groan,
when your flesh and body are consumed,
[12] and you say, “How I hated discipline,
and my heart despised reproof!
[13] I did not listen to the voice of my teachers
or incline my ear to my instructors.
[14] I am at the brink of utter ruin
in the assembled congregation.”
[15] Drink water from your own cistern,
flowing water from your own well.
[16] Should your springs be scattered abroad,
streams of water in the streets?
[17] Let them be for yourself alone,
and not for strangers with you.
[18] Let your fountain be blessed,
and rejoice in the wife of your youth,
[19] a lovely deer, a graceful doe.
Let her breasts fill you at all times with delight;
be intoxicated always in her love.
[20] Why should you be intoxicated, my son, with a forbidden woman
and embrace the bosom of an adulteress?
[21] For a man’s ways are before the eyes of the LORD,
and he ponders all his paths.
[22] The iniquities of the wicked ensnare him,
and he is held fast in the cords of his sin.
[23] He dies for lack of discipline,
and because of his great folly he is led astray.
(Proverbs 5 ESV)

This chapter of Proverbs breaks down nicely into three sections, which Ray Ortlund nicely describes as:

  • 1-6 – Son, it’s time we had a talk.
  • 7-19 – Here is what I want you to know.
  • 20-23 – Now you have a decision to make.

Let’s not skirt around the issue when we talk about sex and the Bible. The Bible is explicitly pro sex. However, many of us are too scared to admit it. Maybe mistakes of the past, abuse, or other negative experiences have tainted sex for you. However, Proverbs 5 paints a wonderful if not erotic picture of what sex is supposed to be. Let’s take a closer look.

It is important to note the father’s warning to his son in vv. 1-6. Essentially, he is saying that sex is like fire. If you keep it in the fireplace, it is a glorious thing. Outside the fireplace it can burn the house down. Proverbs 5 is saying, “Keep it in the fireplace and stoke that puppy as hot as you can get it.” Notice that in verse 3 the woman is described as “honey” and in verse 4 as “bitter.” There is nothing further from bitterness than honey. It is perhaps the sweetest thing on earth in its purest form. However, it is as if satan is fishing with bait without showing the hook. Perverse sexuality may have the allure of something sweet at first, but in the end will only have bitter consequences.

Verses 7-11 highlight this woman even further and the “bitter” consequences of associating with her. You may think you can dabble in sin, but its consequences will find you. Your heart will be hardened towards the Lord by sexual sin. You will face social, financial, emotional, and marital consequences. Martin Lloyd Jones sums this up by saying, “Be careful how you treat God…You may say, ‘I can sin against God and then, of course, I can repent and go back and find God whenever I want him.’ You try it. And you will sometimes find that not only can you not find God but that you do not even want to. You will be aware of a terrible hardness in your heart.”

Verses 12-14 show that the only way out of the pit of sexual sin is humility and repentance. Admitting to your sexual failure is the first step towards healing. Running to the Lord for help is the only method. There is no sidestepping this with “10 practical steps for avoiding sexual guilt.” The Lord alone can heal a hurt and hardened heart.

Verses 15-17 tell of the cure for sexual temptation. The cure is sex itself. Imagine that, the very thing satan uses to destroy us is the very thing God is redeeming to the glory of himself. He is thrilled when sex is enjoyed in manifold ways within the marriage bed. I must say a word to those of you who are single at this point, longing to be married. Your situation is not an easy one, but the discipline to wait for the only proper context for sex is the ultimate fulfillment of this good gift from God. Don’t let anyone confuse you with the “God is your husband” rhetoric. That is hurtful and a gross distortion of what God calls marriage. God will always be your Lord no matter if you are married or not. However, a relationship with the Lord never was intended to and never will cure your desire to be married this side of heaven.

Verses 18-23 gives us a picture of sex that will make even the most aged blush. A few things are of note here. Wives, you are called to be attractive towards your husband. The deer is used here to signify strength, beauty, and grace. Most of us will go through the aging process which will steal from our youthful appearance, but you will always be the wife of your husband’s youth if you are mindful that you are to work hard to be attractive towards him. Your husband is a visual person and will be thrilled by even the smallest efforts you make towards being visually appealing towards him. For a man, let your wife’s breasts intoxicate you. There is literally no limit to the pleasure you can derive from your wife. In essence, by using the word “intoxicating,” the writer is saying, “Go for it…in quality and quantity. Make it fun and frequent!” The Bible calls us to be head over heels in love with our spouse and erotic love is one of the main thoroughfares of the marriage relationship. So…for those of you who have put on the sterilized gloves when dealing with sex in your marriage, take them off! Try to have sex the way the Bible prescribes, with a carefree, playful, and even erotic twist to it.

The passage finishes up with a call to choose. The way you will choose is before you everyday. You will either be faithful to the Lord and to your spouse or you will choose the path of destruction. There is not a third option. It is death or life, freedom or enslavement, satan or Christ. Choose wisely and live beautifully enjoying sex the way God created it.

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