1 My son, pay attention to my wisdom.
Bend your ear to what I know,
2 so you might remain discreet,
and your lips might guard knowledge.
3 The lips of a mysterious woman drip honey,
and her tongue is smoother than oil,
4 but in the end she is bitter as gall,
sharp as a double-edged sword.
5 Her feet go down to death;
her steps lead to the grave.
6 She doesn’t stay on the way of life.
Her paths wander, but she doesn’t know it.
7 Now children, listen to me,
and don’t deviate from the words of my mouth.
8 Stay on a path that is far from her;
don’t approach the entrance to her house.
9 Otherwise, you will give your strength to others,
your years to a cruel person.
10 Otherwise, strangers will sap your strength,
and your hard work will end up in a foreigner’s house.
11 You will groan at the end
when your body and flesh are exhausted,
12 and you say, “How I hated instruction!
How my heart despised correction!
13 I didn’t listen to the voice of my instructor.
I didn’t obey my teacher.
14 I’m on the brink of utter ruin
in the assembled community.”
15 Drink water from your own cistern,
gushing water from your own well.
16 Should your fountains flood outside,
streams of water in the public squares?
17 They are yours alone,
not for you as well as strangers.
18 May your spring be blessed.
Rejoice in the wife of your youth.
This reading is part of a longer section at the start of Proverbs which personified “wisdom” as an informed parent speaking to a child. Chapter 5 warned an archetypal “son” about the danger posed by a “mysterious” (or “strange”) woman, and stressed the importance of not letting her draw him into her way of life. “The strangeness of this woman is seen in her willingness to operate outside the bounds of moral, legal and customary restraints.”*
Dear God, infuse my life with your wisdom. Help me to live a wise, pure life myself, and to transmit your wisdom to younger people I can help to shape. Amen.
* HarperCollins Christian Publishing. NIV, Cultural Backgrounds Study Bible, eBook: Bringing to Life the Ancient World of Scripture (Kindle Location 140643). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.
Sometimes our temptations can arise from our own thoughts but today's verse talks about how to respond to those temptations that come from others.Part of today's scripture reads
"The lips of a mysterious woman drip honey,
and her tongue is smoother than oil..."
I think this phrase perfectly captures the sneaky allure of sin and immorality. Everyday life can be routine and predictable and when something or someone comes along that promises novelty, excitement or maybe a little danger it catches our attention. Instead of running the other direction maybe we find ourselves dwelling on thoughts that are drawing us closer to acting on our desires. The mother in today's reading says don't.
"Stay on a path that is far from her;
don’t approach the entrance to her house."
Nothing good can come from fantasizing about doing something wrong. Continuing to indulge these thoughts make it too easy to get pulled into something that you will live to regret. Thinking about the negative consequences of your actions can be a good deterrent. Ask for God's help in strengthening your resolve to refocus your thoughts and avoid temptation. You will never regret avoiding acting on immoral thoughts.
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