We find contrasting thoughts used throughout the Book of Proverbs. These are often expressed in figurative speech like— the foolish and the wise, the poor and the rich, evil and good.
They are posited as choices or as possible directions in life. The result or consequence of a certain choice or direction is the point of the contrast.
And so, discipline is the counter to temptation, as wisdom is to foolishness. The end result depends on what someone chooses, either by default or decision.
From a window in my house I looked through my screen. I was looking at gullible people when I saw a young man without much sense among youths. He was crossing a street near her corner and walking toward her house in the twilight, in the evening, in the dark hours of the night. [vss 6-9]
With all her seductive charms, she persuades him. With her smooth lips, she makes him give in. He immediately follows her like a steer on its way to be slaughtered, like a ram hobbling into captivity until an arrow pierces his heart, like a bird darting into a trap. He does not realize that it will cost him his life. [vss 21-23]
Now, sons, listen to me. Pay attention to the words from my mouth. Do not let your heart be turned to her ways. Do not wander onto her paths, because she has brought down many victims, and she has killed all too many. Her home is the way to hell and leads to the darkest vaults of death. [vss 24-27]
(Proverbs 7:6-9; 21-27 GW) [Context– Proverbs 7:1-27]
He does not realize that it will cost him his life.
- What is the picture given of the young man in this story? In the larger context of the complete story—what is the progression of events?
- How is the young man characterized, as he follows this seductive woman? What does this tell us about the pull of temptation and lust?
- What are the exhortations given by the father to his sons? What is said about the consequences of following her path?
- Why do you think these exhortations are given in such strong terms? How do they connect with the opening exhortations at the beginning of this chapter (Proverbs 7:1-5)?
Make it personal...
Have you had experiences with wrong choices or choosing a wrong direction in life? What were the consequences?
Have you experienced the progressive pull of temptation or deception? If so, do you remember how strong it was, and how difficult it was to resist it?
What are ways you could have resisted this pull? How can you prevent similar situations in the future?
What are you doing now—in your daily life—to protect yourself from deception and temptation? How are you incorporating God's wisdom in your daily life?
Exhortations and warnings need to be in strong words or we tend to ignore or dismiss them. One reason the pull of seduction and temptation are so powerful is because they don't require immediate, major decisions of a person. As the young man in this story, he "crosses the street" and wanders into the twilight. The pull is subtle and smooth.
The exhortations and contrasts are stark and sudden. They are intended to jolt a person back to their senses rather than wander in a fog of ignorance. Ignorance is not bliss. The end result of ignorance and wandering into seduction and deception is the opposite of bliss—it could cost us our very life.