TEXTS AND APPLICATION: These proverbs cover several issues, but one theme is that we are to listen to the good instruction of a father, guarding it for life (Prov. 4:1-4, 13, 20-21). The reminders are recurrent: “don’t abandon my teaching” (4:2); “hold on to instruction; don’t let it go” (4:13); “don’t lose sight of them; keep them in your heart” (4:21); “listen to me, and don’t turn away from the words of my mouth” (5:7).
More specifically — with particular attention to adultery — the writer of Proverbs teaches us that if we commit sin, there will be punishment:
Prov. 6:27-29 Can a man embrace fire and his clothes not be burned? Can a man walk on burning coals without scorching his feet? So it is with the one who sleeps with another man’s wife; no one who touches her will go unpunished.
God forbid that any of us would choose to commit adultery. The temptations to pleasure, though, are strong — which means that any of us could be so tempted. It’s then that we must remember these words. You cannot embrace fire without being burned; you cannot walk on hot coals without being scorched. Whatever temporary pleasure sin brings is likely to bring pain. Hence, we must think beyond the immediate lure of sin to see the anguish that it will bring. A general rule of Christian living is this: a long-term view that recognizes potential consequences of sin is much wiser than a short-term view that sees only pleasure.
TOMORROW’S READING: Proverbs 7-9