Two Paths – Part 1

For a man’s ways are before the eyes of the Lord, and He ponders all his paths

Before we begin, I need to say that this was not an easy lesson for me to write nor is it an easy lesson to receive.  But please know that it was composed from a heavy heart, with much thought and much prayer.

Throughout our study in Proverbs, we have seen that there are two opposing voices continuously at work in the heart of man: the voice of Wisdom and the voice of the fool.  Each voice will take us down a path; one path leads to joy and life, the other to suffering and destruction. It is our choice which voice and which path we will follow.

In our lesson from Proverbs, Chapters 5 and 7, we are going to look at the journey  and the resulting consequences we can expect from the choice we make.

These chapters deal directly with the sin of adultery.  In 1 Corinthians 6:13-18 Paul writes:

 “Food is meant for the stomach and the stomach for food”—and God will destroy both one and the other. The body is not meant for sexual immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body.  And God raised the Lord and will also raise us up by his power. Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Shall I then take the members of Christ and make them members of a prostitute? Never!  Or do you not know that he who is joined to a prostitute becomes one body with her? For, as it is written, “The two will become one flesh.” But he who is joined to the Lord becomes one spirit with him. Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body.

While all sin is an offence against God, as we can see from Paul’s words, sexual sin is especially destructive to ones own body and soul and to others whose lives are affected by the adulterers sin. Solomon describes the ramifications of such sin in the final verses of Proverbs chapter 6.

He who commits adultery lacks sense; he who does it destroys himself.  He will get wounds and dishonor, and his disgrace will not be wiped away.  For jealousy makes a man furious, and he will not spare when he takes revenge.  He will accept no compensation; he will refuse though you multiply gifts.

As we consider the sin of adultery, maybe you’re saying “not me”.  But, the Bible tells us, in pretty strong terms, that there is another type of adultery – spiritual adultery.

Spiritual adultery can take several forms.

The sin of worldliness.  Jesus taught that “no man can serve two masters”. When we measure what’s right by what the world says rather than what God says, or when we compromise what we know to be truth for the sake of being accepted, isn’t that what we’re doing?

You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. Or do you suppose it is to no purpose that the Scripture says, “He yearns jealously over the spirit that he has made to dwell in us”? (James 4:4-5)

The sin of idolatry.  From His own words we know that God is a jealous God (for you shall worship no other god, for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God Exodus 34:14)While we may not bow down before little images, we must be careful that we don’t let the things of this life become more important to us than the things of God. 

then those of you who escape will remember me among the nations where they are carried captive, how I have been broken over their whoring heart that has departed from me and over their eyes that go whoring after their idols.  And they will be loathsome in their own sight for the evils that they have committed, for all their abominations. (Ezekiel 6:9)

The sin of lust.  Jesus said: You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery ’But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” 

Our enemy, the devil, is cunning.  Peter warns us Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” (1 Peter 5:8)

And James tells us why it is critical to be watchful as he describes just how easily our desires can become the sin of lust.

But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death. (James 1:14-15)

Do you find that when life is going really good you tend to grow distant from God?  It seems that when the “highway of life” is smooth, we get the idea that we can manage just fine on our own. A dear friend gave me a wonderful coffee mug with this quote: “if you only pray when you’re in trouble, you’re in trouble”.  That is so true. When we think we’ve got it all together, that’s when we don’t and it is in those times that we can be most susceptible to temptations.  I love what Paul says in Romans 12:12: Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.

These chapters are so rich in wisdom that I couldn’t find a way to cover it all in one lesson.  Therefore, we will continue in these same next week.


THIS WEEK:

Have you known someone who was involved in the sin of adultery? (either as the adulterer or the victim of).  List the destructive results you witnessed as a result of that sin.

Review the sins of spiritual adultery discussed in this week’s lesson.  Are there any areas  in your life that you have never considered to be spiritual adultery but now recognize as such?

I made the point that sometimes we are more distant from God when things are going good for us.  Can you remember a time when that was your experience?  If so, try to recall the circumstances and what happened that brought you back into intimacy with God.

 

NEXT WEEK:

Your reading this week will be a little different.  Please read and meditate Proverbs 7 according to the reading plan below.

  • Day 1:  Verses 1-5
  • Day 2:  Verses 6-9
  • Day 3:  Verses 10-20
  • Day 4:  Verses 21-23
  • Day 5:  Verses 24-27

 

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