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The Danger and Devastation of Sexual Sin from Proverbs 7




The Danger and Devastation of Sexual Sin from Proverbs 7


By Robbie Symons


The search for pornography is now the most popular search term on the Internet, and second place is not even close.1 There is no time in history when access to such sin has been so great. The sin of lust is devastating lives and destroying hearts, particularly men. Recent studies reveal that 43 percent of American men report watching pornography in the past week. Furthermore, 24 percent of men report their last porn usage as “today” or “yesterday.” These stats include both unmarried and married men.2


The sin of lust is a plague among men, marriages, and families. Without question, we are called to battle in this arena and urgently called to wisdom. Proverbs 7, written 3,000 years ago, provides us with extraordinary relevance and application of this matter today.


The context of Proverbs 7 is a father exhorting his son towards wisdom. For several chapters, the father has demonstrated how earnest he is to see his son take hold of true wisdom. The father knows what is at stake; therefore, he is direct, passionate, and determined for his son to take heed. Proverbs 7 is exceptional because the entire chapter deals with warnings regarding the dangers of sinful sexual behavior. All of Proverbs 5, half of Proverbs 6, and all of Proverbs 7 deal with this subject exclusively. This should get our attention. The Bible is giving significant real estate to this particular issue that has wreaked havoc on many lives over many centuries.


Four Wisdom Principles from Proverbs 7 to Fight Sinful Lust


1. I Must Treasure the Word and Wisdom (Prov. 7:1-4)


The father begins by strongly appealing to his son to value wisdom using verbs such as keep, treasure, bind, write, say, and call. These imperatives deal directly with the Word of God and the wisdom found within. The father pleads with his son to value God’s “words” and “commandments” as the very protection of his heart and soul, and that is why he also instructs his son to “bind them on his fingers” and “write them on the tablets of his heart.” It is essential for this young man to treasure God’s truth internally if any fruit is to be seen externally.


Matt Papa said, “We worship our way into sin, and we worship our way out of sin.” In other words, whatever truly has our hearts will determine the direction of our lives. If we stand any chance of winning the battle of lust in our lives, it starts with the state and health of our hearts. Too many men seek to change the external without any attention to the internal. That will never work. This is why the Psalmist said, “I have stored up your word in my heart that I might not sin against you” (Ps. 119:11). Those men who are devastated by the sin of lust are also the men who have neglected the power of God’s Word and wisdom in their lives. It is that simple. Notice I did not say easy, but it is that simple. The heart that is healthy and filled with God’s Word and wisdom is the heart that is significantly strengthened in the battle for purity.


2. I Must Watch Out for Weakness (Prov. 7:6-9)


After the father has laid down the foundation for the purity of the heart, he warns his son of weakness by telling a story of a young man who lacks sense. We learn three things regarding this young man: He was stupid. He placed himself in the wrong place at the wrong time. He was foolish and allowed himself to be situated where the temptation was the greatest.


Secondly, he was idle. Idleness is a great danger. Boredom is very often the recipe for creative sin. Consider the example of King David. It was the “time when kings go out to war” (2 Sam. 11:1), and David remained at home walking about his palace roof. He neglected his primary duty and found himself looking for ways to pass the time. In his idleness, he wandered into the biggest mistake of his life, resulting in grave consequences for his life and his family. Isaac Watts correctly said, “Satan finds some mischief still for idle hands to do.” We must never underestimate the value of hard work, and be fruitful and productive daily. The scores of young men (and older) currently prone to idleness and sloth are alarming. This alone has led many men into the trap of sin and injury.


Thirdly, this young man was vulnerable. He was out at night by the street of the prostitute. What a fool! This man seeks to convince himself that he can linger around sinful temptation, but somehow, he will not succumb to it. It is the man who stays up late by himself with multiple ways to access the Internet. It is the young man who refuses to delete the social media app that has ruined his heart for years. It is the man who continues to pursue the relationship that repeatedly results in sexual sin and has been the greatest factor in his loss of true love for Jesus Christ.


This is when we must take sin as seriously as Jesus did, admit to our great vulnerability, and apply practical wisdom to our lives. Jesus said, “If your right eye causes you to sin, pluck it out” (Mark 9:47). Notice the severity of Jesus’ instructions regarding the dangers of sin in our lives. Jesus’ words seem harsh and over-the-top, yet this is exactly how Jesus commands us to respond to the sin that seeks to destroy us. We must take drastic action to protect ourselves from vulnerability to sin that has destroyed so many men, marriages, and families. I implore you to set boundaries and fences throughout your life. I fully understand that boundaries and fences do not change the heart, but they are practical steps of wisdom that often give the heart a chance to become stronger in Christ.


3. I Must Wake Up and Get Serious (Prov. 7:10-20)


These somewhat shocking verses detail an aggressive pursuit of sin by the adulteress toward the young man, but notice the clarity the Holy Spirit provides as to the intention of sexual sin in our lives.


Sinful lust wants to ambush you (vv. 10-12). The adulteress is dressed to kill, attack, and promote sexual thought through fantasy. She is loud, aggressive, and bold. The text says, “She does not stay at home.” She is not a homemaker but a homewrecker. She is in the street, the market, “and at every corner, she lies in wait.” Do you see what sin does? Sin lies in waiting, in ambush. The sin of lust, in particular, lies ready and waiting to pounce on its next victim. This sin is ubiquitous in our day. Every billboard, commercial, and social media platform is seemingly filled with the attack of lust. We must wake up to this reality. We cannot be lulled to sleep; we must be ready for the ambush of sin.


Sinful lust wants to seize you (vv. 13-20). I strongly encourage you to read through Proverbs 7 several times, but in these verses, notice the deception of the adulteress. Notice how seductive her words are and her cleverness in seeking to lure the young man into her trap of death. She compliments, lies, and seduces him as she appeals to his desires and even tries to present herself as spiritual. Satan is brutally clever in disguising himself with deception. We must always remember the goal of sin is to destroy us 100 percent of the time.


Sinful lust wants to kill you (vv. 22-23). This battle is one of life and death. If you consider that extreme, you must reread these verses. Notice the Bible says, “All at once he follows her.” It is a snap decision and a choice that will lead to his death. These verses provide three images of an animal led toward certain death. This is the reality of the danger of the young man who decides to walk the path of the adulteress. Again, notice the ignorance and stupidity of the young man, “He does not know that it will cost him his life.” The goal of sinful lust, according to Proverbs 7, is death. That is sobering.


A preacher once said, “A moment of pleasure can lead to a lifetime of regret.” This is profound wisdom to consider. Think about what sinful lust produces. It is a moment of lustful pleasure that will most often lead to instant regret and very often serious and long-term consequences. Again, the goal of sinful lust in your life is death: death to your marriage, your family, and your relationship with the Lord. Is that moment of pleasure worth the sacrifice of all that is most precious to you? John Owen said, “Be killing sin, or sin will be killing you.” Therefore, it is powerful to see the “adulteress” before you, who represents lust, and to say to her, “You desire to destroy me, but in Jesus’ name I destroy you!” How many men have their affections for Christ hijacked by this sin? But the Bible invites us to repentance, restoration, and renewal.


4. I Must Listen Up to Live (Prov. 7:24-27)


The father ends this section of Scripture by pleading with his son one last time to listen to him so that he might live. The father pleads for his son’s heart not to go the way of the adulteress but to stay on the path of wisdom that leads to life. He reiterates that the adulteress has secured many victims and has slain many men. We, however, are called to be different by following Christ to purity through the power of the Holy Spirit. We are called to put to death such sin. However, we must listen up if we are to live.


In reality, a significant portion of men reading this right now are dangerously caught up in the sin of lust, and all men will battle this temptation in one way or another. Proverbs 7 is a powerful unpacking of this battle, which leads to a great conviction, but let us end with the hope of the Gospel for us all. Regardless of where you find yourself or how deep in the muck you think you are, the unchanging Gospel of Jesus Christ can set you free. The Bible provides extraordinary wisdom regarding the sin of lust in Proverbs 7. The wise man will take heed; the wise man can and will see victory.


How Jesus Takes Us from Failure to Freedom


In our guilt, Jesus gives us grace. No man is too far gone, too awful, or too sinful. Jesus offers inexhaustible grace again today. “God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom. 5:8).


In our filth, Jesus gives us favor. It is only by the Gospel of Jesus Christ that our filthy robes are exchanged for righteousness in Christ (Zech. 3:4).


In our failure, Jesus grants forgiveness. Jesus said, “I came not to call the righteous, but sinners” (Mark 2:17). Jesus Christ lived, died, and rose again so that we might receive total forgiveness of any and all sin. Believe that right now.


In our restlessness, Jesus gives rest. Very often, the sin of lust is the result of a lack of contentment, peace, and rest. Jesus Christ said, “Come to me all who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matt. 11:28). Ultimately, this means rest from the burden, weight, and destruction of sin.

 

In our slavery, Jesus sets us free! Jesus said, “So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed” (John 8:36). Only Jesus Christ can grant true and eternal freedom.



Robbie Symons is the founding Pastor of Hope Bible Church in Oakville, Ontario. Hope Oakville began with a Bible study of 18 people in 2003, and with over 4,000 people today, it has been used to see the birth of several vibrant churches across Canada. Robbie’s radio ministry through Hope Bible Church, Live in the Light, can be heard daily throughout Southern Ontario, Western New York, and the Atlantic Provinces. He is the author of Passion Cry and serves as On-Air Bible Teacher at 100 Huntley Street. Robbie, his wife Gillian, and their four children live in Burlington, Ontario.



ENDNOTES


1. Josh Hawley, Manhood: The Masculine Virtues America Needs (Washington, D.C.: Regnery Publishing, 2023), 73.


2. Ibid.



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