As Bitter As Wormwood

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When you think of temptation, what comes to mind?

Figurative language, sometimes called picture language, is common in the Bible. It gives us something to visualize, but may represent something much different.

King Solomon, considered the wisest man in the world in his time, was familiar with temptation—he had hundreds of wives and concubines. But not all temptation is the same. So, what tempts you?

Scripture

My son, pay attention to my wisdom. Open your ears to my understanding so that you may act with foresight and speak with insight.

The lips of an adulterous woman drip with honey. Her kiss is smoother than oil, but in the end she is as bitter as wormwood, as sharp as a two-edged sword.

Her feet descend to death. Her steps lead straight to hell. She doesn’t even think about the path of life. Her steps wander, and she doesn’t realize it.

  (Proverbs 5:1-6 GW) [Context– Proverbs Chap 5:1-14]

Key phrase

...but in the end she is as bitter as wormwood

Digging Deeper...

  1. What is the fatherly advice given in these verses? How does the first encouragement relate to the exhortation that follows?
  2. What two pictures (or figures) are used in the encouragement and exhortation? What do you think they represent?
  3. What contrast is given regarding the first figure of speech? What is the end consequence of the second picture given?
  4. Looking beyond the obvious picture—How is this a general warning? What does the whole picture represent?

Make it personal...

What things in life seem to seduce you? What draws your attention or easily distracts you?

Are there times when you've regretted doing or saying something? Do you see what led up to the situation?

Are you able to see how certain situations could have been prevented? Have you learned from these things?

Are you willing to accept and endure self-discipline now, in order to prevent what will later be bitter and unpleasant?

Reflection...

The only way to avoid the bitter end of temptation is prevention. How can we prevent ourselves from being seduced by things (or people) that tempt us? When truth and wisdom from God are internalized and acted upon. How? We develop godly self-disciplines that keep us from being driven by unhealthy desire.