Proverbs 2:16-19 So you will be delivered from the forbidden woman, from the adulteress with her smooth words, who forsakes the companion of her youth and forgets the covenant of her God; for her house sinks down to death, and her paths to the departed; none who go to her come back, nor do they regain the paths of life.
After using pretty generic speech such as evil, crooked, perverted, and devious, Solomon gives the first clear description of a crooked path. The forbidden woman. Solomon communicates the bold reality of what an affair leads to. A forsaking of vows to a spouse, forsaking of a covenant with God, a dark and doomed end to the path.
Not all crooked paths seem crooked. I have never met anyone who has walked the path of adultery that wasn’t somehow enticed to believe the path would be better than their previous path. Along crooked paths are moments of pleasure, passion and fun. If crooked paths were labeled crooked, dark, depraved, deadly and doomed, far less people would wander on to them. Yet the adulterer’s path starts with an idea that it is a better path. So a few things I think I can walk away from the passage with today.
- I can’t forget the vows I made to the wife of my youth. Almost 18 years ago I made vows to my wife in front of a couple hundred people. Those vows were to love her in sickness and health, to love and to cherish, to remain faithful and committed to her from that day forward until death do us part. When I remember my vows, I recognize that I have already made my choice. My path for companionship, intimacy, pleasure has already been chosen. And after all these years I still have a lot of the path to walk with my wife. We haven’t arrived at the end of our path. Therefore I don’t have the right to look up from my current path to find one that might seem easier or more fulfilling.
- I can’t forget the covenant I made with God. I not only vowed things to my wife but I entered a covenant with the God of all creation. I recognized my wife as a gift from Him and He joined us together and sealed us with His promise. “What God has joined together, let not man separate.” In the days when it is difficult to love my wife, when marriage is everything but fun and enjoyable, I must remember my commitment was not only to her, but more importantly, it was to Him.
- When I am vulnerable to the voice of the other paths I must remember their promises are empty. All married people have vulnerable moments. Seasons of relational drought, times when we just don’t “click”. Days and even weeks when we don’t seem to be on the same page or even reading the same book. Times when our love languages aren’t being spoken and our love “tanks” are on empty. Times in which we allow the busyness of life to crowd out our intimacy. It is in those times when the compliment from the stranger can take our eyes of our path on onto another. When our minds can call us to dream of what could have been on another path. When explicit images on a TV or computer screen seem to be an easy fix to the lack of pleasure we are experiencing in marriage. When the old friend from the past requests us on Facebook or sends us a private message to check in on how we are doing. No one who takes the crooked path, in those moments, does so knowing their destination. People who wander off aren’t doing so because they want destruction and death. Death of their marriage, family, intimacy, trust, and emotional and spiritual health. They wander off because the alternate path makes promises. Promises that things will be better, happier, easier, more pleasurable. And in the moment, they take the first step and for many it is a devastating mistake. We must recognize that the promises that the adulterer/adulteress make, they can’t keep. They are empty, hollow and void of the love and joy we experience in our relationship with God and in His intentions for our marriages. Instead of being swayed by the seductive voice, I need to looks past and see the end of the path, the destination. It ain’t all its cracked up to be.
Father thank you for the wisdom today in the importance of steering clear of intimacy outside of my marriage. It never leads anyplace worth even one step off the path you have for me. Thank you for grace and for your voice that speaks louder than the voices of those calling for me to leave the straight path of your plan for my life and marriage.