With much seductive speech she persuades him; with her smooth talk she compels him…Her house is the way to Sheol, going down to the chambers of death. (Proverbs 7:21, 27 ESV)
The dangerous woman these verses are referring to is the adulteress – a married woman luring another man into a sexual relationship. Most of Proverbs 7 warns against succumbing to such a woman. But on closer inspection, I find the chapter focuses on temptation itself rather than the act of adultery.
The accompanying circumstances of temptation to sin are provided for us in the chapter:
- in the twilight, in the evening, at the time of night and darkness (Proverbs 7:9 ESV)
- now in the street, now in the market, and at every corner she lies in wait (Proverbs 7:12 ESV)
- with much seductive speech she persuades…with her smooth talk she compels…(Proverbs 7:21 ESV)
- let not your heart turn aside to her ways; do not stray into her paths…(Proverbs 7:25 ESV)
The appeal to stray from the Lord’s commands usually comes when we turn aside – from home, from the sight of those to whom we are accountable, from gratitude or contentment. Darkness can refer to anytime we are hidden from the sight of others. At those times our heart more easily turns aside to the ways of sin.
I hear the words of the adulteress – the one who lures me away from God – in my own mind. In my case, temptations arise mainly in the form of idleness and gluttony. I give into these temptations when I’m alone – spending hours watching movies or streaming shows, returning again and again to the ice cream container.
These sins are not the same as sexual immorality, nevertheless, sin is sin. And the consequences of sin are suffering and death.
For many a victim has she laid low, and all her slain are a mighty throng. (Proverbs 7:26 ESV)
However our battle with the flesh is not hopeless. The words of Jesus Christ fill our heart and overcome the smooth talk of sin. The victory is ours, if we choose to receive it. We have been given the armor of God and the sword of the Spirit.
Keep my commandments and live. (Proverbs 7:2 ESV)
When the voice of the adulteress whispers in our ears, we have the strength of God to resist and steer clear of her paths.
How do you avoid the adulteress?