Welcome to BibleBum where we are exploring the entire Bible in one year to better learn how to follow God’s instructions and discover the purpose for our lives. The BibleBum blog uses The One Year Chronological Bible, the New Living Translation version. At the end of each day’s reading, Rob, a cultural history aficionado and seminary graduate, answers questions from Leigh An, the blogger host, about the daily scripture. To start from the beginning, click on “Index” and select Day 1.
Questions & Observations
Q. (Proverbs 5): When I read this passage, I think of the ultimate temptress in Revelation that I have heard about in sermons. I know temptation for sex is very strong, especially for men (I only know that because of all the self-help books I have seen). We may have talked about this before in our readings, but I don’t recall. Did we talk about if sexual temptation is one of God’s ways to test believers? And, why is it stronger with men?
A. I do not personally fall into the camp that says God puts “tests” directly into our paths. But in a fallen world, the temptations are there if you desire to see them. For men (who are generally more wired to be “turned on” by the sight of women than women are for men), one of these temptations is to seek sexual conquest with women who are not their wives. This can also include a man (whether married or not) sleeping with another man’s wife, which, as the writer points out, is extremely dangerous. Note that the passage is talking about a particular temptation: a women who DESIRES to sleep with a married man for her own gain. So in addition to being a warning about the temptations and dangers of adultery, it is also a warning TO AVOID such seductive women all together! A woman who does not honor a man’s wife and married relationship is dangerous and poisonous to that marriage.
As to why women are not tempted in this way, I think the answer is related to what I wrote above. Women tend to be tempted, in relationships anyway, by power and wealth- which would go a long way in explaining why the woman who attempts to seduce a married man in the first place. She would see the man’s influence, or great wealth, and desire to have it, by having HIM. The seduction by power or wealth certainly explains the women’s side of many affairs (Summit’s included, I’m sad to say): where a man sees sexual fulfillment in the arms of another woman (especially if he is not fulfilled at home, though I don’t want to make that sound like it excuses the affair, it doesn’t!), a woman sees security in the arms of the man, and is willing to violate the sacred marriage to get it.
Q. (Proverbs 6): God certainly pounds in the virtue of staying loyal to your wife. I guess it’s the whole trust issue. Breaking wedding vows — trust — hurts so many people. The damage is almost irreparable. How hard is it to be saved after committing adultery?
A. God can redeem any sin, including adultery, but I would be very understanding of a man or woman who had no desire to continue the relationship after an affair. The reason? The trust is gone, and there is no simple way to get it back. It must be rebuilt over a long period of time, and I can see why a person who had been wounded in such a way would have no desire to invest the time required to rebuild that trust. So it really comes down to whether the participants in the marriage desire to rebuild the relationship, which would just be speculation on my part.
Now having said that, I feel that scripture is clear that God desires for marriages to honor Him, and God ALWAYS desires the path of reconciliation, even when it is difficult. God is clear when He says that He hates divorce (Malachi 2:16): it destroys lives, especially the lives of children involved. So as we tend to come back around too often, we find some real distance between human desire (to gain closure through divorce) and Godly desire (that the participants honor their vows by staying together). If you want a great read on how to honor God in marriage (it also has the great reminder that marriage is about God—not you), check out Sacred Marriage by Gary Thomas. I can’t recommend it highly enough. The chapter on divorce is worth the cost of the book just by itself.