Proverbs 5:1-3, “My son, attend unto my wisdom, and bow thine ear to my understanding: That thou mayest regard discretion, and that thy lips may keep knowledge. For the lips of a strange woman drop as an honeycomb, and her mouth is smoother than oil:…”
In Proverbs chapter 5 we read Solomon’s instruction and warnings concerning the “strange woman.” Within context, and the historical setting, it is widely accepted that Solomon is warning his son in this chapter and exhorting him to be faithful to God and the wife with whom the Lord has blessed him. But in a broader sense, the chapter is often interpreted in a spiritual context, comparing the “strange woman” to the false religions which have been manufactured by the men of this world. It is in this way that I ask the reader to consider the chapter for a few moments as we contrast the two.
Solomon well understood the temptations a young man, or young thinker, would encounter while living in this world. In this chapter he shares his experience, that the young man may think like an older experienced man when facing the challenges of being faithful. The Bible calls on the children of God to be faithful to the truth, the right way. But oh how we face many challenges. The false way is on every corner (Proverbs 7:12). There is, in today’s world, so many ways that one may be tempted away from the right way that it would be impossible to name them all in a one hour sermon. But there’s only one way to be right. The Bible is sufficient in teaching the seeking soul how to be right. 2 Timothy 3:16 is a verse that comes to mind often when declaring this fact. The Word of God teaches us what’s right, what’s wrong, how to get right when we are wrong and how to stay right when we are right. With this truth in mind, let us consider the ways of the “strange woman in Proverbs chapter 5:
(1) Consider the deception (Proverbs 5:3, her lips “drop as honeycomb, and her mouth is smoother than oil”)! She promises so much to the hearer. The grass is better on this side of the pasture. Just as Jezebel “painted her face” to be beautiful in Jehu’s sight in 2 Kings 9:30, the false ways paint themselves up as being such a wonderful and delightful path. Using the deception that the big crowds cannot be wrong or we offer so much for certain age groups. The false ways appear at the beginning to be so great, but the end of her ways are not what she promised.
(2) Consider her end (Proverbs 5:4, “her end is as wormwood, sharp as a two edged sword”)! After an immature thinker (one not studied in God’s Word) enters her paths, they will soon see that she is not able to deliver on her promises. I recently had a conversation with a precious father in the ministry about a Church in Georgia that at one time flourished with joy and members young and old. The building the Church met in was beautiful and would often struggle housing the congregations that would meet. As the years passed, false teachers seduced the hearers into paths foreign to the Word of God, and today the Church has two living members. I’m sure the men who introduced the false ways to them promised a booming future, but the end is just the opposite.
(3) Consider her direction (Proverbs 5:5, “her feet go down to death”)! Too often, when we speak to one who has been deceived by the false ways, we learn a foundation of Bible truth is lacking. The direction of the false ways is not toward God and His truth, but just the opposite. I was once in a discussion with a man who had already fallen prey to the false ways of the world. I asked him for a Bible verse for what he was introducing to the congregation he labored to pastor. His answer? Is there a Bible verse against it? Brothers and Sisters in Christ, we should never be consumed pondering what the Bible does not say, but what the Bible does say. The Bible will teach us the right way. The Holy Spirit will always lead the child of grace in the right way of truth. If the direction is not in and toward truth, we should, as Proverbs 4:15 says, “Avoid it, pass not by it, turn from it, and pass away.”
(4) Consider her instability (Proverbs 5:6, “her ways are movable that thou canst not know them”) The false ways are never stable. The false ways are shifty, and will always change when called on the carpet. One of the best ways to expose the false ways is with simple questions. I recently discussed some Bible topics with a brother who disagreed with salvation by grace, and grace alone. The brother believed it required an action or some doing on the recipients part in order for them to become born again. I asked a simple question: What about the infants who die in the womb, or those mentally challenged who cannot with their abilities do what you are saying is required? His answer, well those receive special graces. My response? Well, it was a simple “What?” The truth? Every eternally saved person has received special grace. The grace came from the same place and everyone saved for heaven is saved the same way. Nothing shifty about it. Jesus said in John 3:8, “The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and wither it goeth; so is every one that is born of the Spirit.” Of course this is just one example of the shiftiness of the false ways, but this should suffice to prove the point.
(5) Consider what you give up and the waste (Proverbs 5:9-10, “give thine honour unto others, and thy years unto the cruel: Lest strangers be filled with thy wealth;…”)! Just as the Prodigal son of Luke chapter 15, by his own choices, gave up and wasted the wealth his father gave him, many are deceived by the false ways and give up the testimony of truth and the joy we are able to experience while in fellowship with the Lord and fellow believers of the truth. The false ways will take, take and take until she can take no more, and then seek another victim. She may labor to entertain the mind, but she offers no sustenance of spiritual food to feed the soul. In the end, the one deceived thereby will look back and see the wasted years of their lives. I don’t know how many times I’ve heard people say, ‘I should have been more faithful to the Lord’s Church” Truly, we only have one life to live. May God bless us to take advantage of the time (Ephesians 5:16, “Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.”). May God help us to be an example to those around us and not waste our lives in the hog pens of this world (see Luke 15:15-16).
(6) Consider the sadness and embarrassment of the day you come to yourself and realize, I’ve chosen the wrong path (Proverbs 5:11-13, “mourn at the last”)! Solomon says a day will come when the person who chose the wrong path will say “How have I hated instruction, and my heart despised reproof: And have not obeyed the voice of my teachers, not inclined mine ear to them that instructed me!” The Prodigal son, in Luke 15:17, “came to himself.” There was a day it all dawned on him that he had chosen the false ways of this world. He looked at himself and remembered what he had once enjoyed. I’m sure he was embarrassed.
Brothers and Sisters in Christ, the Bible does not leave the Prodigal son in the mess with the pigs. When he “came to himself,” he then made a choice to repent and fix what he had done wrong. He “arose” and returned to his father. Luke 15:20-22 teaches us that his father received him home with joy. The Bible is so beautiful. It warns us of the false ways, yes (I pray the truth of God’s Word will enlightened those who are tempted that they may turn from the false ways). The Bible also teaches us about the path of repentance, and about the loving and merciful Father we have in heaven. If any of us are ever tempted by the false ways, may we search the Bible to be warned. But if we fall, and long to return, let us be comforted by the truth the Bible which teaches us of God’s love and mercy. God is good, all of the time. And His mercy endureth forever (Psalm 136). He loves His little children, and has an abundance of blessings one may enjoy by walking close to Him.