“To keep thee from the evil woman, from the flattery of the tongue of a strange woman. Lust not after her beauty in thine heart; neither let her take thee with her eyelids. For by means of a whorish woman a man is brought to a piece of bread: and the adultress will hunt for the precious life.” Proverbs 6:24-26 (KJV)
“Why should I do what’s right?”
This is a question I get a lot from my youth kids.
After this, the conversation often goes into how if one disobeys God’s laws they often will experience the natural consequences of breaking those laws. For instance if I steal, I am going to feel guilty and recognize what I have stolen was not worth the jail time I am now serving.
Some might apply Proverbs 6:24-26 in the same way: as a warning that unfaithfulness and promiscuity will bring about ruin to ones self. That’s the reason to be sexually pure. To not get an STD or get someone pregnant and have to drop out of school to do some blue-collar job for the rest of my life. And that may very well be the writer’s intent. But from a homiletical perspective, I see another application.
In this Proverb I see something even more intense. If all we have is the latter, we have merely selfish selflessness. Doing the right thing for one’s self.
Solomon says that the person the adulteress sleeps with is like a “piece of bread.” Who also does bread symbolize in the Bible? Jesus. (John 6:35)
You see, often people who are promiscuous are not merely trying to satisfy a sexual appetite, but a spiritual appetite (i.e. the woman at the well [John 4]).
The woman in John 4 had many men in her life, but Jesus saw that she was truly seeking for a connection with Him. This is why I believe Solomon said that the adulteress “will hunt for the precious life.”
Sin (especially sexual sin) shouldn’t be avoided “because it’s not what the good kids do.” It shouldn’t be avoided because it is religiously unclean. It shouldn’t even be avoided merely because it hurts you.
It should be avoided because it hurts those around us. It keeps them from what they were really made for: being selfless, others-centered and personal, and having eternal, perfect love.