Prepared for Seduction

October 14, 2018 Preacher: Luis A. Cardenas Series: Proverbs

Topic: English Passage: Proverbs 7:1-27


Through no planning or intention of my own, I had the opportunity this week to watch most of Walt Disney’s Bambi with my family. I had a general understanding of the movie, but I had never really seen it for myself.

If you’ve never seen the movie, the general assumption is that it’s about a young, little deer. But about two-thirds into the movie, once a new spring emerges, Bambi is all grown up, along with Thumber the rabbit, and Flower the skunk.

As they reunite after winter, they notice a couple of birds joyfully and playfully swirling around them. And Bambi’s friends ask, “What’s the matter with them? Why are they acting that way?”

And the old, wise owl answers: “Why don’t you know? They’re twitterpated. Nearly everybody gets twitterpated in the spring time.” And then he adds, “For example, you’re walking along, minding your own business. You’re looking neither to the left, nor to the right, when all of a sudden, you run smack into a pretty face.

“You begin to get weak in the knees. Your head’s in a whirl. And then you feel light as a feather. And before you know it, you’re walking on air. And then you know what? You’re knocked for a loop. And you completely lose your head… And that ain’t all,” he continues. “It can happen to anybody. So you’d better be careful.

That’s not just talking about animals in the spring time, that’s talking about virtually every little boy or little girl that begins to grow into maturity. The spring time will come, when our children will no longer look at the girls or the boys in the same way. That’s part of life. We can’t stop that.

A lot of parents live hoping that day will come as late as possible. And maybe subconsciously they think that by ignoring that reality, they can make it go away. But it won’t. Our kids are going to grow up. And our goal as parents is not to try and stall that process; it is to prepare them for it. Our goal is to teach them and train them so that they are ready.

I’ve heard and seen it many times. People say, “Kids don’t come with an instruction manual.” Well, that’s just not true. We have a book that tells us how to raise our kids. It’s called the Bible. and more specifically in the Bible, we have the book of Proverbs.

Proverbs, as many of you know, is a book about wisdom. It’s a book written by a father in order to teach his son and his son’s son, how to fear God and invite His blessing into your life. And it is a tremendously practical book.

Proverbs, in a way, is the parenting manual of the Bible. It teaches us WHAT topics to cover with our children, and it also models HOW we are to teach them.

And if we’re honest with ourselves, the lessons we teach our children aren’t just for them. They help us as parents too. Because we’re also sinners. We never outgrow the principles of God and the need to put them to practice.

I’d like you to keep that in mind as we go into our passage for today. We all need to take it as a lesson, first of all, for ourselves, and then secondly, as a message we must pass on to our children.

I’ve said it before: Proverbs is a message from our heavenly Father, so that fathers and mothers today would learn it and then pass it on to their children.

One of the key components of teaching children is repetition. One of the key components of teaching children is repetition. That being said, the topic for today is not a new one. It’s a topic Proverbs has already mentioned several times before, which is romance and intimacy and purity.

The repetition tells us that no kids is ever supposed to get “the talk.” It’s not supposed to be like that. It’s supposed to be talks, plural. This is a major topic.

And as appropriate as we think it might be for our lives today, it’s interesting to know that it’s always been an important lesson. That’s why God included it for us.

At his heart, the father of Proverbs isn’t just trying to get his kids to behave. He wants them to enjoy a life blessed by God. He wants them to be spared some of the more disastrous consequences of sin and foolishness. And sexual purity is a big deal. That’s why it gets repeated so much in Proverbs.

You parents need to be talking with your children about sexuality. From the earliest age, we need to be laying that foundation.

God created Adam and Eve. It was one man and one woman. That was the design. And the very last verse of Genesis 2 says, “And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed.”

God joyfully blessed them and gave the man and his wife a special blessed intimacy. And if you want to learn more about that, you can go back into our series on Proverbs and see the previous messages from chapters 5 and 6. Intimacy was God’s idea, for the purpose of drawing a man and his wife together, physically and spiritually.

But sin rips that intimacy out of its context. Sin wants to remove the pleasure from the privacy of marriage. Sin elevates personal satisfaction above the glory of God and the beauty of His design. And all of us must battle against it.

Well, with the hopes of preparing his son for the life to come, the father of Proverbs, here in chapter 7 has 4 qualities he wants to cultivate in his children. And they are four qualities our heavenly Father wants to cultivate in our hearts to. And we, individually and as a spiritual family, have a part to play in that.

The first quality we’re after is a heart inclined to instruction. We want, for ourselves, and for our children, a heart inclined to instruction. This comes out of Proverbs 7:1-4.

1 My son, keep my words and treasure up my commandments with you; keep my commandments and live; keep my teaching as the apple of your eye; bind them on your fingers; write them on the tablet of your heart. Say to wisdom, “You are my sister,” and call insight your intimate friend,

Its starts off with that familiar phrase, “My son,” which indicates not just that this is a new lesson, but that this lesson demands our attention. “Son, listen to me. This is important.”

And the commands that follow point to an attitude of dependency on what is being taught. These words, these commandments need to be guarded. This teaching needs to be kept.

Today, very few people give instructions anymore. All you need is an address, and then people will just use their navigation to find it. But a long, long time ago, people used paper maps. Or people gave you directions. And if you lost the directions, you couldn’t get there on your own. You needed to keep that piece of paper. You needed to guard it.

I think our cell phone culture today has contributed to an attitude that doesn’t value what we’re learning. I don’t have to listen to you tell me something because I can just look it up later on my own. That’s what Google does sometimes. It fosters an independence from others. It fosters a kind of self-direction. “I’ll figure it out myself.”

Maybe the most aggravating thing for a parent to hear from thier child is the familiar, "I know. I know." 

But that is the exact opposite of what this father wants for his son. He wants a son who treasures what he’s being told. He values it.

Verse 2 says these commandments give life. So they should be protected like the apple of your eye. What does that mean? Well, the apple of your eye is the circle in the middle. That’s your pupil. Do you ever protect your pupil? All the time! That’s why you blink when some thing comes flying at you.

At a very early age, your body learns, almost automatically, to protect its eyes, because they are so sensitive—and especially, the pupil. It needs to be protected. It needs to be guarded.

That’s what this father wants from his son. A son who protects and defends the instruction he receives from his father, and ultimately, from God.

Verse 3 says, Bind them on your fingers, write them on the tablet your heart. That’s a very graphic image. Writing on a tablet, back then, meant etching it in. You carved it in. “Well,” says this dad, “do that to your heart.”

Keep repeating these truths to yourself, over and over again, until it’s carved into who you are. Embrace these principles, verse 4 says, like a sister, like an intimate friend. Don’t let them leave your side.

Growing up, my sister annoyed me. And maybe that’s true for a lot of you. But in the Hebrew culture family was especially important. They were your best friends. They were the people you could hug in public. They were by your side. And that’s the kind of relationship this dad wants between his son and the instruction he’s giving him. That is a heart inclined to instruction.

And the specific blessing the dad has in mind here is verse 5. Incline your heart to instruction…

5 to keep you from the forbidden woman, from the adulteress with her smooth words.

This is the danger we need to be warned about. We know that there are men out there who prey on women. The Bible talks about them. But there are also women out there in this world, real or digital, who will ruin a man’s life.

This is the forbidden woman. The outsider. She’s not the partner God has for you because she’s not your wife. And yet, she seeks to entice. She flatters [lisonjea]. We talked about this back in chapter 5 of Proverbs. She is smooth. She is enticing.

And in order to draw this lesson out, this father gives his son a story. This draws him in. This is not theoretical. This is real life stuff.

And as we move into this story, we’ll see the second quality this father wants for his son. First of all he wants a heart inclined to instruction. Secondly, he wants a heart deliberate in protection. Deliberate in protection.

This lesson doesn’t come directly. It comes from the negative example of someone else. What this dad is about to do is give his son an example of a person who will not be deliberate in protecting himself and walking in the paths of righteousness. Let’s see what it says in verses 6-9.

For at the window of my house I have looked out through my lattice, and I have seen among the simple, I have perceived among the youths, a young man lacking sense, passing along the street near her corner, taking the road to her house in the twilight, in the evening, at the time of night and darkness.

A lattice is just a simple overlapping design of wood. And it was used back then to cover a window. So you’ve got a dad here, saying: “Son, after you went to bed one night, I was looking out the window, through the blinds. And let me tell you what I saw..”

This young man is described in verse 7 as simple, lacking sense. The NASB says he is naïve. The idea is he doesn’t know any better. And that’s not to his credit. That’s in order to highlight his foolishness. He is a fool. Why?

Because, verse 8 tells us, he decides to pass by the house of this enticing woman, and verse 9 says, it’s the middle of the night.

Do you know what that means? It means he’s close to danger and far from help. Close to danger and far from help. This is the exact opposite of being deliberate in protection. He is close to danger and far from help.

He has isolated himself in the middle of the night. That’s a very dangerous place, folks. Very dangerous. There is a much higher probability of sin and foolishness when you’re flirting with sin in the middle of the night all by yourself.

Romans 13:14 gives us this instruction: “Put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh to gratify its desires.”

This is what Christian maturity looks like. Some people think that being a strong Christian means you can fight off the greatest temptation. Sometimes it might mean that if you didn’t expect the temptation. But being strong in your faith also means staying away from sin at the earliest possible time.

Don’t open the door for that kind of opportunity. What might happen if you’re by yourself in the dark with someone else? Or with your phone? Or with your computer? Is there a danger present?

Only the simple fool would say, “No. Doesn’t make a difference.” That’s this guy right here. He might be saying: “It’s a warm night, so I think I’ll go for a walk. And I haven’t been down this street before, so let’s see what happens.”

You have to understand this. He’s not deliberately planning to sin. But he’s not deliberately protecting himself from it either. And that’s the stupidity. We are to proceed with caution, in every area of life, but especially when we’re dealing with the possibility of dishonoring God’s design for romance and intimacy.

Ladies and gentlemen, and especially you younger ones, if someone is not your husband or your wife, be very careful about the situations you put yourself in. Be proactive. Be deliberate in protecting yourself.

The Apostle Paul said it like this repeatedly. Flee. Abstain. Stay away. Flee immorality. Flee youthful lusts and pursue righteousness.

I know there are situations or times that can’t be completely avoided. Sometimes, like Joseph, we can get blindsided with an opportunity to sin. But many more times, I would say, we experience temptation because we have put ourselves in a situation that allows for it.

If you’re tempted with gluttony, you don’t stop at a buffet by yourself, right? And you don’t stash all the fast-food coupons in your car. You do whatever you need to do, to stay away from danger.

What does this principle mean for your relationship with guys or girls? I’m not going to answer it for you, but think about that. What changes do you need to make? What self-imposed rules can you ask others to help you follow? What does it mean for the way you think about or use your phone? What does it mean for the kind of apps you use?

Youtube, Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter, Pinterest, Netflix—whatever it is. You know the kind of influence it has on you. You know where it takes your mind and your heart. And if it’s not healthy for your soul, then make whatever changes you need to make.

We don’t want to get legalistic, because we’re all different. But the question you should be asking yourself is: What steps can I take to deliberately protect myself from the stupidity and foolishness and sin? Whether that be digitally or personally. How do I keep myself safe. Don’t be this guy. Don’t be that naïve.

And parents, help your kids. Talk honestly with them about the ways they can protect themselves and guard their hearts. If all you do is give them rules to follow, then once their out of your home, they might choose to stop. But if you explain why some freedoms are laid down, and what the dangers are, then they will at least be able to think through it for themselves. Teach them the importance of being deliberate in self-protection.

Let’s move on to lesson number 3. Third characteristic. We as parents want our children to have hearts that are prepared for seduction. We want a heart prepared for seduction.

Only the most naïve parent would believe that their child can’t be seduced. Everyone can get seduced. Everyone has a pull within them toward something that’s sinful.

James 1 says that temptations come when we’re carried away and enticed, not by the world, but by our own lust. Our own desires. Ultimately, we are susceptible to seduction because we have sinful desires. And the things in this world appeal to those desires.

Well, as this dad’s story continues, the woman comes out to meet him. And what we get are the details about how she entices him. This is basically a lesson in seduction. Look at verses 10-21.

And behold, the woman meets him, dressed as a prostitute, wily of heart. She is loud and wayward; her feet do not stay at home; now in the street, now in the market, and at every corner she lies in wait. She seizes him and kisses him, and with bold face she says to him, “I had to offer sacrifices, and today I have paid my vows; so now I have come out to meet you, to seek you eagerly, and I have found you. I have spread my couch with coverings, colored linens from Egyptian linen; I have perfumed my bed with myrrh, aloes, and cinnamon. Come, let us take our fill of love till morning; let us delight ourselves with love. For my husband is not at home; he has gone on a long journey; he took a bag of money with him; at full moon he will come home.” With much seductive speech she persuades him; with her smooth talk she compels him.

I remember a pastor once telling me, “Look, there are two lessons every wife can learn from a prostitute. She is always available, and she’s never critical.” That can go a long way in a relationship.

I say that because as we go through this section, I want to make it clear that the seduction in itself isn’t sinful. Remember, God created intimacy and romance. It was His idea. But He created to be kept within the confines of marriage as a picture of the faithfulness between God and His people.

So sexual intimacy and allure isn’t sinful by itself. The sin is when it’s taken out of the context of marriage.

There’s a woman named Carolyn Mahaney who has contributed a chapter to 3 different books. And the chapter she wrote is entitled “Sex, Romance, and the Glory of God: What Every Wife Needs to Know.”

In that chapter, she discusses how intimacy is a gift of God but it can be perverted by sin, and then she has a section entitled “Five Principles of ‘Grade A’ Passion.” Five Principles of “Grade A” Passion.

And just to summarize them, here’s what she says. “Grade A” Passion, she says, means you need to be attractive, be available, be anticipatory, be aggressive, and be adventurous. Be attractive, be available, be anticipatory, be aggressive, and be adventurous. And she unpacks those principles with passages from Song of Solomon, which is appropriate.

Well, in the passage here, you’ll notice that all those principles are here. They’re clearly present. But in this case, it’s sinful. Because it is no longer within the privacy and intimacy and commitment of marriage. Let’s look at this seduction a little more closely.

Verse 10 starts by saying: “And behold, she meets him!” Surprise, surprise. Look who bumped into each other—the simple fool and the forbidden woman.

This is the match made in hell. But the guy has no clue because it’s all so enticing. She is, verse 10 says dressed as a prostitute and wily of heart. So, what’s true on the inside is visible on the outside.

You might find it interesting to know that prostitutes back then were much more covered up than the average girl today. Prostitutes would have worn makeup and jewelry. And Isaiah 3 describes anklets that would jingle to make them more noticeable.

But what this woman looks like, is really just an expression of her heart. There’s a lesson here. The enticement of a women cannot simply be reduced to what she’s wearing. It will also be connected to a certain type of attitude.

Ladies, and you younger ladies, especially, you need to guard yourselves against immodesty. And not just immodesty in what you’re wearing, but in how you present yourself. You can be completely covered up and still be immodest in your thinking and your behavior.

In First Timothy 2, when Paul is talking about modesty, the specific circumstance he’s addressing isn’t how much skin the women were showing; it was their hair. Because women were using their hairstyles to get attention and to showcase their status.

That’s the heart behind immodesty. It’s a desire to get the attention of others, rather than seeking to draw attention to Jesus Christ. So when you think, “That’s a cute dress, or a pretty blouse, or a cool bathing suit, or a great pair of jeans,” the criteria you might be using, maybe even unknowingly, is how much other people will like it. You want to be noticed.

Everybody likes to be liked, right? And it’s frustrating when some other guy or some other girl is getting the attention we want. Well, the way we combat that in the world, is not by trying to make ourselves more attractive. It’s by recognizing that the One who is truly worthy of our attention is Jesus Christ who created the world and redeems His people. He is far more glorious than us. He is far more worthy of attention.

But that immodest heart, and that desire for attention at any cost, is what’s driving this interaction. She’s after the attention. And this naïve, young man is thrilled with the girl. They’re each singing the same song (and our sinful hearts sing it too): “I want you to want me. I need you to need me. I’d love you to love me. I’m beggin’ you to beg me.”

That’s the heart that seduction goes after. That’s why, as verses 11 and 12 say, she doesn’t stay at home. She’s not content in the situation God has given her. She wants more. And she comes directly at this young man. Verse 13—

She seizes him and kisses him, and with bold face she says to him, “I had to offer sacrifices, and today I have paid my vows; so now I have come out to meet you, to seek you eagerly, and I have found you.

She’s initiating. She’s aggressive. She’s appealing to his desire to be liked. And besides the kisses, and the prolonged hug, she gives another enticement. She says, “I offered sacrifices today.” What does that mean?

Well, for starters, it means she’s a religious girl. She’s saying: “Look, don’t think I’m some kind of pagan prostitute. I believe in God. I go to church.” And this foolish boy is now thinking, “Oh! Good to know.”

Secondly, giving offerings also means that she’s ceremonially clean and that she’s got a house filled with good food. Because when you give peace offerings, you take a lot of the meat home, and you have to eat it pretty soon. And again, this fool, is now thinking, “Oh well, I wouldn’t all that good food to go to waste. It would be rude of me to refuse the offer.”

So she’s reeling him in with all his appetites. And now that she knows she’s got him, she goes straight to business. This is where it’s all headed. To the bedroom. Verse 16-18.

I have spread my couch with coverings, colored linens from Egyptian linen; I have perfumed my bed with myrrh, aloes, and cinnamon. Come, let us take our fill of love till morning; let us delight ourselves with love.

I’ve got the finest, most luxurious sheets. This is like a fancy hotel today.

I’ve got the best smelling perfume to set the mood. And we can be all alone for the rest of the night. We can drink of our love ‘til the sun rises.

Very appealing. Very seductive. And then, as an added incentive, she anticipates his hesitancy. “What if we get caught? What if your husband sees us?” “Nope,” she says. Verses 19 and 20.

For my husband is not at home; he has gone on a long journey; he took a bag of money with him; at full moon he will come home.

The full moon comes out every 4 weeks. And verse 9 says it’s a dark night, so maybe it’s halfway between them, which is the New Moon, when no moon is visible. If that’s the case then, her husband is out for two weeks. That’s why he took a bag of money with him. He is not returning anytime soon.

Verse 21 says, With much seductive speech she persuades him; with her smooth talk she compels him.

This is a woman enticing a man who is not her husband. And this is a foolish young man who’s not ready for it.

Now, why would a dad tell this story to his son? Why include all the details about the seduction? Because he wants his son to know how the game works. He wants him to be prepared ahead of time.

This is the lesson Samson never understood. He could fight off an army by himself, but he couldn’t get past one woman.

I think a lot of young men move forward into sexual sin, especially around the time of puberty, and they were never told how enticing it would be. They were told it was wrong. They were told it was dangerous. But they weren’t ever told, it feels good. You’ll want to sin.

Well, God is telling us all today. Pursuing intimacy outside of marriage is enticing. It’s seductive. And so you need to be ready for it.

Parents, teach your children the wisdom and instruction of God. And then show them how to take deliberate steps that will protect them. But do not ever give them the impression that sin is not alluring. Because it is.

It’s fun when that guy or that girl looks at you a certain way. Or you start playing pat-a-cake. Or they sit right next to you in class. It’s all fun and exciting. You feel all tingly. That’s what sin does. It appeals to your desires.

Can you imagine if I took a branding iron [hierro de marcar], and let it sit in a fire until the end was glowing red. And then I walked up to you aiming it at you. What would you do? You’d run away, right?

But guess who doesn’t run away? My 1-year old. She thinks: “Ooh. How pretty! I want to touch that. Come here.”

And as parents, we say “No! I know you think it’s pretty. I know you want to touch it. But it will seriously hurt you.”

You see? We recognize that the desire is there. We don’t ignore it. We don’t even blame them at times for feeling something. But we teach them the danger of proceeding.

And this is our final lesson for today. This is what we want for ourselves and what parents want in their kids. A heart inclined to instruction. A heart deliberate in protection. A heart prepared for seduction. And last of all. a heart aware of destruction. Aware of destruction.

Just like with the branding iron analogy, we want our children to know that the consequences can be devastating. And this father does it here in a very vivid way. Look at verses 22-27.

All at once he follows her, as an ox goes to the slaughter, or as a stag is caught fast till an arrow pierces its liver; as a bird rushes into a snare; he does not know that it will cost him his life.

Those are hunting analogies. There’s a small debate on what the end of verse 22 says, but I prefer the ESV because it keeps in line with the hunting imagery. But it’s not that big a deal.

The main point is that this decision will cost him his life. Verse 22 says, “all of a sudden.” Something changed. All the enticements fulfilled their goal, and he’s now walking with this woman back to her house.

It’s like a fish opening its mouth for a juicy worm wrapped around a hook. He has no idea where this is going. He doesn’t have a clue what the consequences will be. He’s just a stupid fish.

That’s how the story ends. And then dad wraps it up with the lesson. Verse 24.

And now, O sons, listen to me, and be attentive to the words of my mouth. Let not your heart turn aside to her ways; do not stray into her paths, for many a victim has she laid low, and all her slain are a mighty throng. Her house is the way to Sheol, going down to the chambers of death.

Pay attention to me. Don’t get sucked in by this kind of attraction. It’s going to pull at you. You’ll feel the seduction. You’ll like the seduction. But recognize that the end is death. The end is destruction. This will ruin your life.

The point here is that it’s all a fake. It’s all an empty promise. This girl who seemed so into you—she doesn’t care about you. Back in verse 15, she says, “Oh, I came out looking for you. You’re one of a kind.” But now, look at what the dad says in verse 26. She has many victims. She has taken down an army.

When it comes to a spiritual and moral battle, she’s an expert. She knows what she’s doing. She leads men to death.

Son, you are not the first, and you will not be the last. Her house leads to Sheol. That is a reference to the place of the dead. It’s just another way of saying what the end of verse 27 says “the chambers of death."

Those are the closing words. That’s the image this dad leaves his son with. That house, her house, is not a house of pleasure. It is a house of death. Don’t go there. Don’t cross that line.

Many years later, after Solomon wrote these words, we know Jesus came onto the scene. And while many, many Pharisees prided themselves in obeying God's commands, Jesus said to them, "If you look at a woman with lust, you have committed adultery in the heart. You are guilty of the judgment of God."

Those were striking words. It meants that God wasn't just looking at our external activity. He's looking at our inner life as well. And this levels the palying field. All of us need to take this message to heart.

We can't read Proverbs 7 and say, "Oh, well I've never done that!" We're stained by sin. And even fantasizing about sin makes us guilty. And so, how does that get fixed? Or what do you do if you've already stepped past the line?

The only solution is found in Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ was and is aboslutlely sinless. everything He ever did and said and thought was perfeclty holy. He never dishonored God. And yet, He was put to death by the Father. He entered into the chambers of death. Why? To take the place of sinners. And as a testament to waht He had done, He rose from the dead on the third day.

And now, if you will repent of your sin and believe in Him, you will be forgiven. You will be saved. And the Spirit of God will come into your life. And He will empower you to live for God and to be used by Him to encourage those around you in holiness and to train up the next generation with God's truth.

Let's pray.

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