We don’t read many sermons or Bible studies on Proverbs 5. If you are reading this reflection then you have already read the Proverb, so you probably understand why. I don’t know many pastors that are excited to give reflection on one of the more salacious of the Proverbs. On the surface, this Proverb is about the dangers of sexual misbehavior and the need to avoid placing yourself in situations where temptation is difficult to overcome. And while we might not hear many sermons on the topic, I know from experience as a pastor that lots of people who claim the name of Jesus could stand to hear a few more lessons on sexual morality! But that is another reflection for another day.
As I said, on the surface level this is a Proverb about sexuality. But if you reflect on the point the father is making to his son, then you realize that this word of Wisdom is really about desire! The young man in Proverbs 5 is being told to pursue Wisdom because in doing so he will be able to properly order the desires of his heart! This Sunday in my sermon, I speak about how important it is to properly order our desires, in particular if we want to live in a way that opens us up to the life that God desires for us to live. For the young man in this Proverb, he is being told to pursue Wisdom over sexual desire. For others who read this Proverb, you need to be told that your desire for wealth and financial success is something that will cause you to groan at the end of your life (v. 11). As you reflect on this content of this Proverb, I want to ask you a simple question, “What do you desire more than anything else?”. If you can answer that question, then you are able to read this Proverb in a way that is larger than sexuality.
Side note for my reflection. While this Proverb is written from a father to a son, the lessons contained therein apply equally to men and women. The first time I read this text, as a father of three daughters, I was a little miffed that only the woman is painted in such a negative light! But remember the context in which this Proverb was written, in a far different culture and a far different place. The lessons and the wisdom it contains equally applies to men and women, young and old!
As you make your way through the day, continue to ask yourself, “What do I desire more than anything else?” If the answer is anything other than Jesus Christ, then ask God to help you realign your desires and get back on the path to Wisdom.