Have you noticed how this small section from verses 1-6 he refers to our lips or our speech three times? Straight away he is saying our lips will speak in a way that show we have knowledge of the Scriptures and what we have been taught.
And then in verse three he starts to speak of the adulteress, the forbidden woman. Solomon here refers to the seducer in the feminine tense, but as we all know, women as well as men fall into immorality and impurity.
Not Just for the Married
Who is this person? You may be reading this thinking: Well this blog just applies to people who are married so I can just switch off for now. But it does apply to you if you are single because you may well be tempted and seduced by a man who is already married.
And if you are married, this is referring to anyone who is not your husband. But this also applies to all sinful relationships and casual sex. Purity is more than not having sex and sex is more than the act itself. There is the temptation of pornography and masturbation. And when Jesus speaks about adultery in the sermon on the mount in Matthew 5:28, he speaks about it at the level of the heart. “Anyone who looks at another woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”
Let’s get back to the lips, and actually I’m going to mention the eyes as well because in the previous chapter, Proverbs 4:24-25, speaks about both. “Put away perversity from your mouth . . . let your eyes look straight ahead.”
Lips and Eyes
Shabba recently wrote a blog called ‘What’s Influencing You’ and it she refers to this very thing: “One feeds our heart (our eyes) and the other reveals our heart (our lips).” It’s with our eyes and our lips that we need to be careful if we are facing temptation from wrong people or places. A guy will use both his eyes and his speech to lure you. And you will do the same to lure a guy who doesn’t belong to you.
In the last few years, there’s been an explosion in the beauty industry in treatments for our lips and our eyes. Isn’t that interesting? Now I’m not saying that we should all go around without make up, wearing high necklines, skirts to our ankles and other gaudy clothes so we don’t draw attention to ourselves. But you just need to walk through any shopping centre, and you will find booths for getting your eyes and lips done. Most people are looking for bigger lips, tints, eyebrow shaping, eyelash dying, filling them out, etc.
What’s important here is that we know there is a big difference between being frumpy and attractive, and between being attractive and being seductive. You know that. I know that . . . and let me tell you: so do men.
Let’s look again at Proverbs 5:3, “For the lips of a forbidden woman drip honey, and her speech is smoother than oil.”
Notice the word ‘forbidden’ in the ESV. It’s with our lips we produce words, words that have come from our hearts first, and it’s with our eyes that we make contact with someone when we speak.
You’ve all heard the phrase, he’s a smooth talker. Well here it is in the book of Proverbs. Sweet as honey and smooth as oil. Someone trying to seduce you or, if you are trying to seduce someone, will use speech that is smooth, flattering, comforting, offering you something better, making promises, and so on. Are you hearing the alarm bells ringing? You need to go back to verse two and remember to maintain discretion, train yourself in what is godly conversation, see through this, and resist it.
Now let’s go on to verse four—we know what has happened in-between. You have succumbed to the temptation of pornography or masturbation for the first time or yet again, a small fling that you thought was harmless, an affair that was ‘just emotional’, or a full-blown affair and now there is the train wreck to deal with. Look at the stark contrast from sweet honey and smooth oil to bitter gall and the sharpness of a double-edged sword.
The pleasure is short lived, isn’t it? It doesn’t satisfy. And it leaves a bitter taste. It doesn’t go from sweetness to blandness, like honey to marmalade! No. It goes from sweetness to poison. It goes from the smoothness of oil to the deadly piercing of a double-edged sword.
You are left with regret, flashbacks, remorse, horrible memories that won’t go away. Drew Holcomb has a song called ‘You want what you can’t have’ and one of the lines says: “We want the spark, but we don’t want the burn, we want the love but we don’t want the hurt.”
And then there is the shame when you are found out. So often, sexual sins are done in secret, at night, in the dark when you think no one will see you or find you out. There is so much lying and covering up. You do know that once you start lying you will do anything; you lie to yourself and to others.
You thought no one would find out? Have you forgotten the omnipresence of God? Psalm 139 “Where can I flee from your presence?” Nowhere. He can see into the deep recesses of your heart.
And look at verse five to the journey it takes you on—ruined health. Yes, we know how living a life full of lies and deceit produces stress that can ruin our health, a guilty conscience tormented by the past. Her feet lead straight to the grave – the wages of sin is death. There is no exaggeration here.
See James 1:14-15…each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.
That doesn’t mean there is no way back from sexual sin. It’s not the unforgivable sin. But while you are in this sin, you are away from God. And to get right with God you need to cut off that sin completely. Proverbs 28:13: “Whoever conceals their sins does not prosper, but the one who confesses and renounces them finds mercy.”And renounces is a crucial part of this verse. It’s not just saying sorry like a child who knows he’s done wrong because he remembers it’s his birthday tomorrow, so he’d better say sorry to his granny for being rude to her or he won’t get his present.
And it’s not enough to clean up your act on the outside. It needs to be dealt with internally too. Jesus said blessed are the pure in heart. What is your heart, where is it? That inner secret place known to God, and it’s that dirty soddy heart that needs to be purified. And once that happens you will have no doubt in your mind that you need to follow that up by showing the fruit of repentance.
Some of you may know it was while listening to a sermon on Mark 9:43-48 that I became a Christian. It talks about how you need to cut things off in your life to follow Christ. It was only very recently I noticed these same verses are in Matthew 5 in the section on the sermon on the mount where Jesus speaks about what … adultery! These verses speak about how you need to cut off whatever it is that is causing you to sin—what you are watching with your eyes, where you are going with your feet, what you are doing with your hands (scrolling!), the wrong friendships or relationships you are in.
This is part two in a series on Proverbs and how wise women maintain purity. You can read part one here.