Lest you give your honor to others, And your years to the cruel one; Lest aliens be filled with your wealth, And your labors go to the house of a foreigner; And you mourn at last, When your flesh and your body are consumed, And say: “How I have hated instruction, And my heart despised correction! I have not obeyed the voice of my teachers, Nor inclined my ear to those who instructed me! I was on the verge of total ruin, In the midst of the assembly and congregation.” Proverbs 5:9-14 (NKJV)
Nobody ever wakes up one morning and says, “Today I think I’ll ruin my life and destroy my family.” They don’t plan to catch diseases. They don’t plan to do massive harm to their spouse and children. They never plan to get caught. The reason they don’t plan for these things is because deep down everyone thinks that stuff happens to someone else.
They got caught because they didn’t know how to work the system.
They destroyed their families because they took it further than I ever will.
The reality though is that one way or another everyone gets caught. Either they get caught in this life and it causes a massive blowup at home, or they get caught in eternity and are surprised by the things God says to them.
The last thing Solomon wants his son to do is see what will happen to his life if he gives in to this temptation. He wants him to see the long term consequences of his actions, not just the short term pleasures. He is saying to him; don’t just look at the instant gratification of committing adultery. Consider the consequences of these actions.
I really do believe this is one of the keys to resisting temptation of any sort. One thing temptation does is take our minds off of anything long term and put it on the immediate. It takes our minds off of any long term consequences of our actions and puts them on what is offered to us right now. One of the basic principles of being faithful is to be realistic about the consequences of our actions. In our text Solomon gives several earthly consequences of adultery.
Destroy your reputation. Those caught in adultery lose their honor. We don’t have to think long about people we know who were caught in adultery to see that this is true. The term “televangelist” has a negative connotation largely because of the sexual immorality of men who carried that title. Once someone gets the reputation as being unfaithful to their spouse, or being the immoral man/woman, it is hard to overcome. I think one way this would play out in a marriage is the loss of trust. Once you’ve destroyed your reputation as being trustworthy with your spouse, it’s really hard to get back.
Lose your wealth. This could come several different ways. One way is through blackmail. Some people get caught in adultery and have to pay big bucks to keep that a secret.
Another is through divorce. Divorce is costly business. Lawyer fees, court costs, alimony, and child support. When Donald Trump was caught in an adulterous affair with Marla Maples and was divorced by Ivana the agreement reached was that she got, “…a $10 million certified check, $350,000 in alimony a year to continue until “she dies, remarries… or cohabits with another man,” custody of the three Trump children, $300,000 a year in child support, an all-expenses-paid vacation each March to Mar-a-Lago, and the right to keep jewelry and other gifts from Trump, including his Mercedes. There was also a 45-room ocean-front mansion in Greenwich, Conn., and their two-bedroom condo in Trump Plaza, plus $50,000 a year toward her basic personal staff — a chef, a housekeeper, a houseman and two Irish …” It probably wouldn’t cost a normal person that much, but it’s still pretty costly.
Possible disease. We know this to be true today more than any other day. With AIDS and other diseases rampant in our world an affair could very well cost us our lives.
Waste your life. Not only waste our lives but we will also have regrets. At some point we will come to our senses, look back on all the time we wasted and think, “Why did I do that?” These are regrets that we can’t erase. We cannot get that time back. There is no rewind/erase button on life that will allow us to go back and start over. It’s just time wasted. I wonder how many moms/dads look back on the time in their children’s lives that they missed because of sin and wish they could take back that time.
When all of this happens you have pretty much ruined your life and humiliated yourself publicly.
The point of this passage is to make sure we know the consequences for the actions we choose. The truth is, each of us has a choice about whether to be faithful to our spouses or not. So before we give in to this temptation let’s be realistic about the consequences of our actions.
For further study read Proverbs 6:30-35.
What is the difference between steeling and adultery?
What does someone who commits adultery lack? What do they do?
What awaits someone who commits adultery?
Does anything “make it better” when we’ve committed adultery?