In the Neighborhood

In Proverbs 7, we meet a man described as young and simple, lacking sense. If Proverbs is about learning to be wise instead of being a fool, he should read it twice. In this chapter, we see him going out into the streets in a bad section of town around twilight. He’s either naive to the point of stupidity, or he’s looking for trouble! An adulteress comes out to meet him, tempting him with a suggestive description of her bed covered with fine linen and spices–she’s bold and crafty–she makes him feel like he’s the only man in the world. The young man follows her, falling for her enticements about love and delight–the grand illusion of lust.

But the Proverb paints a vivid description of his quite-opposite fate . . .

An ox gone to slaughter.
A deer in a noose.
A bird in a snare.

The choice will cost him dearly.

“Many are her victims. Her slain are a mighty throng.”

This chapter is certainly about the specific sin of sexual immorality, but I’m reminded that sometimes it’s best to just stay out of the neighborhood of any sinful temptations; it’s clear that if this young man had not been on this street, he wouldn’t have even been around when this brazen woman came to the corner. And so I must ask myself–how often do I try to flirt with temptation way beyond the point of reason, either with conversations, media, thought patterns or even the company I keep? It’s not as innocent as just going out for a little evening walk.

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