She is loud and wayward; her feet do not stay at home; now in the street, now in the market, and at every corner she lies in wait.Proverbs 7:11-12
Once again, we’ve come to a father-to-son warning against falling for an adulterous woman. It paints a picture of a seductive woman who presses on her target and gives him little space to think of anything but the temptation she offers.
Of course, there’s a plain meaning to this text – a warning to sons not to even stray close to this sticky spider’s web. Could be, there’s an implied warning to us ladies not to put up some false religious pretense (v 14) while allowing our thoughts to stray from devotion to our husbands lest our actions soon follow.
But I also see a third thing here: an indictment against adultery with the world.
You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.James 4:4
Maybe I’m reading too much into it. Still, I can see in this wayward woman who is now in the market, now on the streets; who presses herself on this unfortunate young man, who fills his ears with chatter so that he cannot think clearly – in this picture, I can see the busy-ness, the cares and worries and pleasures of our world.
They, too, stalk the marketplaces and streets. So many pleasures are arrayed for our purchase, tempting us to live beyond our means. They are on every screen and on billboards all around us. They tempt us with discontent – with bigger, better, and more stuff. With grander vacations.
The worries plague us, too, from the debt we’ve buried ourselves in to the fears and diseases and constant evil reported in nonchalant terms in the news. The social media frenzy of reactionary fury and the babble of a million voices all distracting from the problem and never addressing it at its root.
All the while, we imagine our God is on some trip far away and not noticing our little infidelities. We offer him some pittance of agreement at church on Sunday and fail to honor Him in our secret thoughts, as we choose our entertainment, or as we speak (or type) to others throughout our days.
In short, we wrap our arms around the world and laugh it up, and we turn our backs on the Source of eternal peace. We trade in deep and abiding joy for mere momentary happiness. We commit spiritual adultery.
Let’s not anymore. Let’s keep as far away as we need to so the world cannot seduce us any further. Then, let’s dive deep into the Fount of Living Water, and taste and see that He really is good!
Father God, forgive our spiritual adultery. Whatever boundaries we need to build between ourselves and the part of the world that tempts us most, we ask You to show us and help us to build it. Keep us close by Your side and prick our hearts when we stray, for we confess we are a people prone to wander. But oh, how we need You, Lord; never so much as now! Teach our hearts to long for You more and more, amen.