Rejoice in Your Wife
Topic: English Passage: Proverbs 5:15-23
Read Passage: PROVERBS 5:15-23
Last week, we began a study from Proverbs chapter 5, which is a father’s instruction to his son about sexuality. And when it’s time to discuss that topic, the primary emphasis is not biology. It is to show the son God’s design for this component of life.
As a father, one of the distinctions I need to make to my children is the difference between a toy and a tool. Toys are primarily designed for fun, for enjoyment. But tools are designed for a specific task. They accomplish something.
That’s not to say using tools isn’t fun. Lots of tools are fun to use. But if you’re using a tool properly, then it will be accomplishing a purpose. It will be being used for the purpose for which it was designed.
Some tools, like chainsaws [sierra de cadena] or power drills [taladro] are dangerous enough on their own. But the level of danger increases substantially once you begin to use it outside of what is was designed to do.
So, for example, my kids know that when I drive a car or use the stove, that’s not dad playing with a toy. That’s dad using a tool. And before the day comes when they get to use those things for themselves, they need some training. They need to be taught.
The same is true for sexuality. Before this young man leaves his father’s home and begins a family of his own, he needs to be instructed. He needs to be taught.
Our culture treats sexual activity like a game or a toy. They think it is intended primarily for fun, with little or no rules applied to it. Every person and group and society gets to come up with its own rules.
That’s not what this dad wants for his son. True love, true godly love doesn’t simply let someone go off into the world and discover things for themselves. It teaches someone the truth about God’s design, and God’s justice and salvation, and it lovingly calls them to faith in Jesus Christ.
Truly loving someone means making them aware that they will have desires that don’t honor God. And if they pursue those desires, they will face eternal judgment. To make your own rules for life is to rebel against the God who created this world. And it brings serious consequences.
But salvation comes, first of all, by recognizing that Jesus Christ is the Creator this world and that He alone has the power and authority to forgive sin. And if you will repent of sin and trust in Him and surrender your life to Him, He will forgive you. He will guide you on the path to blessedness. And I said it last week, this path isn’t easy, but it is blessed in this life and eternally.
Following Jesus means learning more and more from Him and about Him in the Scriptures. And it means obeying what He teaches us about life.
Sexuality is one of the most important components of life. I say that, not just because of how often it’s mentioned and emphasized in the Bible, but also because of its potential for disaster, for destruction. A chainsaw has the potential to do a lot of good, if it’s used the right way. But used the wrong way, and the results can be disastrous. The same is true with sex.
That’s what the first half of chapter 5 is aimed at. The dad is warning his son of the dangers of sexual immorality. And if you remember, sexual immorality is sex used outside of the purposes for which God created it.
Notice, the dad isn’t saying his son needs to stay away from sex. He’s saying to stay away from sex when it’s outside of its intended purpose. And so, while the first half of chapter 5 instructs us to stay far away from the improper use of sex, the second half of the chapter prompts us toward its proper use. This is why sex was created—to joyfully unite a man and his wife. To bring them together, physically and spiritually.
Back in Genesis 2, God intentionally created a longing in Adam—a longing for a matching partner. God paraded all the animals before him, and all of them had a mate, but Adam was all alone. And most of you know the story. God put Adam to sleep, and took a piece of his side and fashioned it into a woman.
And when she was brought to Adam, he was amazed, and pledged himself to her. “This is bone of my bone, flesh of my flesh.” That means: We are family. We’re connected. And the result was a joyful and fulfilling union.
That was God’s design—that a man and a woman be joined together as committed partners in this life. And that’s the design this father wants his son to know about and follow. And so there are some lessons he wants him to know about.
These are lesson we need to learn, but also lessons that we need to pass on to our kids and the next generation. The first lesson here is about the privacy of intimacy. [La privacidad de la intimidad]. This father wants his son to know about the privacy of intimacy.
This was the point of the first half of chapter 5. Stay away from the foreign woman. But the positive side of that is this: be joined to your wife. Keep it between the two of you VERSE 15
The instruction here isn’t to drink. The instruction is about where he is drinking from. In this context, the cistern and the well are private property.
A household could dig deep enough to access underground streams of water. And if that wasn’t possible, you could use a cistern. That’s giant container carved out of the rock that was used to catch and store rainwater. Whatever the source was, a well or a cistern, the point is that these were private property.
Another idea behind the imagery is that water satisfies thirst. Most people, once they get old enough, understand the pull of sexual desire. It’s intense. It’s like a thirst seeking to be satisfied. And this dad isn’t saying to his son: “Don’t drink any water.” He’s saying: “When the time comes, drink only from your private supply.” And that obviously means his wife.
Again, that’s God’s design. A husband and a wife mutually serve and satisfy one another as a celebration and expression of—and as a way to enhance—their unity.
Now, contrasting with the private supply of water, verse 16 introduces the public supply. And it does it with a rhetorical question. VERSE 16
Just to restate this idea maybe in a more modern analogy, consider this question: Would you rather be refreshed in your own private swimming pool, or in a public pool that’s the same size? What do you prefer?
All things being equal, I think we’d pick the private one. Because I don’t want to be in a pool that’s filled with everyone else’s sweat and sunblock and germs floating around in the water. And I don’t want to go outside and see some stranger swimming in my pool. You get the idea. This is private property. It’s not public.
That’s the dad’s question to his son: Do you want your source of satisfaction to be “scattered abroad” “in the streets” [por las calles/plazas]? Is that really something you want to share with others?
This question could picture either a prostitute or an adulteress who is cheating on her husband with the son. Or it may even hint at his own wife sneaking off with other men. Is that what you want? Don’t do that. This isn’t meant to be public. That’s not God’s design. VERSE 17.
The Hebrew wording says it even stronger: “Let them be for you—for you alone [Sean para ti—para ti mismo].”
Besides the obvious application of faithfulness in marriage, one of the important ways that privacy is protected is by modesty. There are parts of you that God intended to be desirable—not to impress others, or to attract them to you—but to save as a gift for your spouse. (And we’ll see that on our next point.) But allowing others to enjoy even the sight of them is to take intimacy outside of its designed privacy. Keep it private. Keep it hidden and covered.
God created sexual intimacy to be a private matter [asunto privado]. Song of Solomon refers to it as a locked and private garden, a private fountain.
But that privacy doesn’t mean that it’s intended to be boring. And this brings us to lesson number 2—This dad doesn’t just want his son to know about the privacy of intimacy. He also wants him to learn about the pleasure of intimacy. The pleasure of intimacy. [El placer de la intimidad]
We live in an age where if something is good enough, then you’re supposed to share it with others. If a meal looks good, take a picture of it. If you look good, take a selfie and share it. We sometimes assume that if something is of exceptional quality, then it must be shared. And so, by extension, we think that if something isn't talked about or shared, then it’s must not be all that good.
But that’s not a valid argument. And it’s especially not the case with sex.
Sex is intended to be hidden. To be intimate. To be only between a man and his wife. And yet, God also designed it to be pleasurable and delightful and fun and satisfying. That’s a biblical truth. Sex is pleasurable. And it’s fun. Let’s look at VERSE 18.
Again, the metaphor connects the man’s source of satisfaction to water. So the “fountain” here refers to his wife. She is to be blessed. She is to be happy. She is to be pleased and satisfied. And the man is called to rejoice in her.
Incidentally, she’s called “the wife of his youth.” The norm back then was to be married young—typically between 14 and 18. And while we might say those ages represent immaturity, in that culture those ages represented fun and youthful energy.
God’s command is enjoy one another. Enjoy young love—in the context of marriage. I’ll be frank here: I never really understand why I hear Christian parents say that they wish their son or daughter wouldn’t get married until they were 30, or something like that. Because that misses the joy of youthfulness in marriage. I want to prepare my children so that they are mature enough to be married earlier in life.
I understand that there are some practical things that have to be settled before there’s a marriage, but prolonging singleness is a dangerous thing. Because God has given you youthful energy and sexual desire in order to move you toward marriage.
And you young guys especially, if you’re dragging your feet, it’s only going to make things worse. Use the energy God gave you to move toward getting married and providing for a family. Don’t just be a big kid. And don’t just move toward the freedom of independence (which is what culture says to value). Biblical manhood doesn’t mean being unaccountable and free. It means loving and providing and cherishing those in your home. And that’s what God will bless.
One of those blessings is the pleasure of intimacy. Author and blogger Tim Challies, has said it like this (Sexual Detox):
“[God] could easily have decreed that sex be an integral part of every marriage and then made it inherently unpleasurable. He did not. Instead He made sex almost transcendent in its pleasure. At its best, sex really transcends most of life’s other pleasure in its uniqueness, in its joy, in its freedom and vulnerability. And in these things, sex draws a husband and wife together in a completely unique and unparalleled way… God gives sexual desire, sexual appetite, because he wants [a husband and a wife to have sex]."
You can see God’s heart for joy in Deuteronomy 24. This is an instruction to the Israelites: “When a man is newly married, he shall not go out with the army or be liable for any other public duty. He shall be free at home one year to be happy with his wife.” Another possibility is that it says he must stay “to make happy his wife.” Either way, God wanted them to enjoy that first year.
There’s also an instance in Genesis 26, when Isaac went to live in the land of the Philistines. And because his wife Rebekah was so beautiful, he lied and said she was his sister. Because he didn’t want to be killed. But one day, the Philistine king looks out his window and sees them “laughing.” Other translations say “caressing,” but the idea is they were giggling or playing around.” And whatever game it was they were playing, made it evidently clear that they were not siblings. They were married. That was a marriage giggle. Because marriage is fun.
And speaking to his son about the joy the pleasure of intimacy, we come to VERSE 19.
The animals listed there are the female terms for a deer or an ibex—somewhat elusive and mysterious in that setting. But they were symbols of beauty, known for bright eyes, graceful limbs, and soft hair. The image moves us into romance. And when it comes to romance, this dad isn’t shy. I think you can see that clearly in this verse.
The verb that gets translated as either “fill with delight” or “satisfy” literally means “to give water until no more can be taken.” Physically, we know what it’s like to be full, to be satisfied. “I’m good. Don’t’ give me anymore.” But in this case, it’s not the satisfaction of a newborn with being fed by his mother. This is speaking of the satisfaction of a man delighting in the body and in the beauty of his wife.
And specifically the mention is made of her breasts. [sus caricias (RVR). Una mejor traducción sería sus senos]. By the way, the anatomical term used here is a little more graphic or specific than the word we have in our English translation. Which is an indication to me that this dad is not shy about telling his son about the pleasure of intimacy. And God’s not shy about it either.
The entire book of Song of Solomon testifies to that. There, the young couple delights in one another’s bodies. In chapter 4, the man admires her eyes, her hair, her teeth, her lips, her cheeks, her neck, and her breasts. In chapter 7 he talks about her feet, her hips, her belly button, her breasts, her neck, her eyes, and her nose.
The woman does the same thing in chapter 5 for her husband. She admires his face, his hair, his eyes, his cheeks, his lips, his arms, his body, his legs, and his mouth… They are enjoying one another. And not just physically, but with loving words. They’re flirting. Because they’re married.
Again, it’s such a difference from culture. Our culture equates flirting with dating, and it stops once you’re married. But in the Bible, flirting is part of the joy of marriage. It’s one of those private pleasures.
Those of you who are married understand that that romance waxes and wanes, but no matter what season someone is in, we should be seeking to serve and delight our partner. If you want to look at this a little better, some books that I think could be of some help to you are:
- Sex and the Supremacy of Christ, edited by John Piper and Justin Taylor
- This Momentary Marriage, by John Piper [chapters on sex]
- The Exemplary Husband by Stuart Scott or The Excellent Wife by Martha Peace [a chapter on sex]
- Sexual Detox by Tim Challies and False Messages by his wife Aileen Challies.
- Sex, Romance, and the Glory of God by C.J. Mahaney and his wife Carolyn.
Some of those books are even available as a free download, so feel free to talk to me after if you want more information about that. These books all point to the reality that sex is pleasurable and they help move us to celebrating it within the context of marriage.
It’s delightful. It’s satisfying. Not just physically, but emotionally and spiritually as well. That’s why the final line in verse 19 speaks of her love. Her love. It’s not just the body that the man delights in. It’s in her love. That’s a much broader term that includes the physical and also the emotional.
Sex is not just a physical act. It’s the giving and uniting of a person to someone else. And this was what God designed it to be. Don’t let the pleasure of sex fool you into thinking it’s wrong.
First Timothy 4 says the joys of marriage are to be received with thanksgiving. What God designed for Adam and his wife, he has designed for every man and his wife. All of us married people should keep that in mind. Marriage is supposed to be a delight.
Let me read you a love poem. This is a poem that recounts the story of Adam finding his wife and then extends it to every marriage today. It’s a little lengthy but bear with me.
He watched them march before him
Amidst that fertile garden
Creatures made by God Himself
And it was he that named them
Struck by pow'r and splendor
And the wonder of creation
But still he felt alone
Amidst this creature nation
Such facets of God's splendor
But still he could not find
The perfect suitor for his task
He was the only of his kind
Overcome with weariness
He laid down in the grass
Perhaps the rest would comfort him
Perhaps the loneliness would pass
The perfect Surgeon simply waited
Once the anesthesia was applied
Then He sculpted out a masterpiece
From a part of that man's side
God proudly showed her to him
His brand-new friend in life
And with new joy and pleasure
He made them man and wife
At last he had a partner
Made from his bone and flesh
She would be his perfect helper
And their two lives would mesh
What God achieved that day
He's done again for me
He's given me the greatest gift
That I will ever see
You're tailor-made and custom-fit
Made especially for me
You're my perfect pair in life
Whom I'll love eternally
Gentlemen, every single one of us needs to remember that. Our wives are gifts from God. And we’re called to delight in them and to bless them. To give ourselves sacrificially for them.
Wives and husbands, you need to realize that you are the only person in this entire world that your spouse can truly and fully, with the blessing of God, enjoy and be satisfied with. No one else can do that. Only you can unashamedly, without a hint of regret, and with God’s full blessing, bring your spouse satisfaction. That’s the pleasure and privilege of marriage.
The final line of verse 19 has a number of ways it’s translated. It might say “be intoxicated” or “be exhilarated,” “be lost,” “be captivated.” [recréate, embriagate, sea cautivado, pierdate].
Th idea behind the Hebrew word is to stagger or to go astray. When someone isn’t thinking straight, they stumble around, right? They’re out of touch with reality. So this word was used for someone who was drunk or intoxicated. But in this sense, it’s a man who’s lost in the ecstasy [el éxtasis] of marriage. He’s swooning [se esta desmayándose]. That’s a good thing in marriage.
Now, in addition to the privacy of intimacy, and the pleasure of intimacy, there’s a third lesson the father wants to teach his son. And it flows right out of the previous one. Thirdly, the father wants to teach his son about the protection of intimacy. The protection of intimacy.
Here’s the connection. If you’re delighting in your spouse, then that satisfaction will serve as a protection in the marriage. That’s the point of the question in VERSE 20.
The same verb used in verse 19, now gets used in a negative sense. Get lost in the love of your wife, not in the love of an adulteress. And if you’re satisfied with your wife, then the pull of the other woman will be diminished.
Hold your place here for a moment and go with me to First Corinthians chapter 7. First Corinthians 7.
It seems like, in response to the sinful culture, some groups in Corinth had apparently stopped having sex. For some that was good, because they weren’t married. But for the married couples, it was not a good thing. So Paul responds. 1 COR 7:1-5.
I’m not going to expand a lot on this passage, but you should at least see that Paul is saying that sex within marriage helps reduce the temptation to immorality. So he’s basically commanding them to have sex. Don’t deprive your spouse, because your body belongs to that other person.
This is just another application of Philippians 2: Consider the other person as more important than yourself. Look to the interests of others. Sometimes that means letting them sleep. But at other times it means staying awake with them and serving them in this way.
Again, verse 5 says: “Don’t deprive one another sexually” unless it’s something you’ve both agreed to for a limited time, for the purpose of focusing on prayer. But make sure you come together again, because Satan is a tempter. You can go back to Proverbs now.
I remember a day, not that long ago, when our family had already finished dinner. And maybe about an hour after dinner, we gave the kids their evening snack. And normally, that evening snack is more like dessert. They get a waffle or a pastry or something like that. And after the kids enjoyed their snack, we brought our a board game. It’s like a cooperative game that we all can play together. And it’s a game the kids really like.
So we’re sitting at the table around this board game, and all of a sudden, around 7 o’clock at night. I hear the familiar melody of the ice-cream truck. And I was getting ready to say NO. And the music got louder and louder, until eventually it stopped, right across the street from our house.
I didn’t want to react, but as I looked at the kids, I realized that their bellies were full of whatever they had eaten, and they were enjoying the time with our family, that they didn’t even respond. They didn’t even lift their heads. And I thought: “what a great example for that upcoming sermon on sex.” These kids were so content that even the sound of the ice-cream man didn’t appeal to them. It lost its allure.
That’s what a satisfying marriage can help do. It removes the allure of the seductress. Listen to Proverbs 27:7— One who is full loathes honey, but to one who is hungry everything bitter is sweet. [El hombre saciado desprecia el panal de miel; Pero al hambriento todo lo amargo es dulce.]. That can happen in a marriage. If a couple doesn’t enjoy the delight and satisfaction and pleasure of intimacy, they might start looking elsewhere. But if both partners are full, or satisfied, the temptation is reduced.
There’s another protection that this father wants his son to know about. And that is the eternal protector of marriage and intimacy—God Himself. VERSE 21.
Everything you do, God sees. You can erase your internet browsing history. You can delete any kind of accounts or emails, but nothing is lost from God. The day will come when the flaming eyes of Jesus Christ will uncover every thought, every word, and every deed.
God is watching every step. He is the protector of intimacy. And God cares about sexual purity.
Maybe some of you have heard instances of rape or abuse, or even of seduction and a false accusation, where someone got away with an evil act. That’s heartbreaking, isn’t it? That someone would sin against another person sexaully. What do we do with that? How does justice get served?
It may not be served in this life, but God sees everything. And He will bring perfect justice.
Listen to the words of 1 Thessalonians chapter 4—This is the will of God, your sanctification, that you abstain from sexual immorality, [and]… that no one transgress and wrong his brother in the matter, because the Lord is an avenger in all these things, as we told you beforehand and solemnly warned you. For God has not called us for impurity, but in holiness. Therefore whoever disregards this, disregards not man but God, who gives his Holy Spirit to you.
[ésta es la voluntad de Dios: su santificación; es decir, que se abstengan de inmoralidad sexual; [y] … Que nadie peque ni defraude a su hermano en este asunto, porque el Señor es el vengador en todas estas cosas, como también antes les dijimos y advertimos solemnemente. Porque Dios no nos ha llamado a impureza, sino a santificación. Por tanto, el que rechaza esto no rechaza a un hombre, sino al Dios que les da a ustedes Su Espíritu Santo.]
No one else may see what you’re doing all by yourself, on your phone, or in a car, or in a bedroom. But God sees. He sees it all [observa todo]. He sees your heart.
Hebrews 13:4 says this— Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous. [Todos ustedes deben honrar su matrimonio, y ser fieles a sus cónyuges; pero a los libertinos y a los adúlteros los juzgará Dios.]
And with that understanding, we come to our final lesson for today. The dad wants his son to know about the privacy of intimacy, the pleasure of intimacy, the protection and the protector of intimacy, and lastly, he wants his son to know the peril [peligro] of immorality. The peril of immorality. Look at VERSES 22-23.
Aside from the eternal consequences with God the Judge, there are the practical consequences of this life. Do not go near the door of her house! Keep your way far from her!
Why? Because God will judge you and because sexual sin is a snare. It’s a trap. It’s a black hole that will suck you deeper and deeper into it.
Sex is powerful. And like a car or a chainsaw, it will do a great deal of good when used in the proper context. But used in the wrong way, it will enslave you. It will hold you in its grip. And it will never let you go. It will sink its teeth into you and it will never let you go.
Sexual sin never satisfies. It’s like a drug. It just wants more and more and more. I say this with the authority of Scripture and with the testimony of my own life. And there are many, many other men who will say the same thing. Don’t start down that road. Stay on the path of holiness.
As the final line of these verses say, great folly will lead you astray. That’s the same verb from verses 19 and 20. You will stagger like a drunk man. Stray off the words of life, and you will wander into death.
But, there is hope, isn’t there? If sin has dug its teeth into you, if sin has gripped you in its power, can you be freed? Can you break the power of sin in your life? Not on your own. But it can be done in Jesus Christ.
Come to him in faith. Your old self will be crucified with Him. And you will no longer be a slave to sin. The battle continues, but sin is no longer your master. And as you walk with Jesus in humble obedience, having been freed from the penalty of sin (that’s justification), He will begin to free you from the power of sin (that’s justification).
It’s a package deal. Justification and sanctification are a package deal. And they are yours in you repent of sin and trust in Jesus Christ.
We’re going to do something a little bit different today. Instead of closing in a final song, I want to invite anyone who is married to come forward for prayer if they’d like. And after a passage like today’s, I want to focus a little bit on you. The unmarried people are important too, but I’d like just married right now.
Let's pray for us, and then we'll pray for the single people as well.