It seems that the Proverbs have a lot to say about wayward women. There seem to be plenty of warnings to young men. The ultimate teaching is not a warning but a blessing, to rejoice in the wife of your youth.
We could just say that women seldom held positions of prominence in Old Testament times, but that would not be accurate. The Proverbs conclude with an account of the virtuous or the strong or the noble or the capable woman. Getting through the other 30 chapters may take a little patience as there are more warnings about certain woman not of noble character yet to come.
The volume of discourse on the subject of women to watch out for should not be a surprise. Consider the second creation account that we find in Genesis. After both Adam and Eve have eaten fruit from the one and only tree they were told not to, Adam plays the blame game.
The woman that you gave to be with me gave me the apple.
You have to love Adam. He finally knows good and evil and his first major decision was to blame his wife or as men like to say these days, “Good call.”
This is surely another BOLO message of wisdom. Be on the lookout for the wrong sort of woman. These are surely wise words. God built us with this reproductive drive. We have been told previously in the Proverbs to rejoice in the wife of our youth. Paul says to married couples, satisfy each other.
Excellent counsel but we are people prone to mistakes and we rejoice that we have a God that tells us to forgive. We can pick up broken pieces and let Jesus put broken relationships back together. But there is a larger message that has been presented to us since we began studying the proverbs. To understand it, let us go to the New Testament and one of the stories or parables that Jesus told.
The story or parable of the Lost Son used two young men to explain to us that God loves us because we are his children. You remember the story. One son took his inheritance and wasted it all on unhealthy living. He felt that he could not go home to his father. He had sinned against his father and against God. At best he might go back and work as a hired hand on his father’s estate.
He came home to a celebration.
The second son worked all his life and never asked for anything. He considered himself and his relationship to his father as that of a hired hand, a servant.
But the message of the story is that the father loved both sons. They took different paths. Surely the first son lived a life that wasn’t pleasing to his father, but he would always be his father’s son. His father had surely counseled his son against all the things that he experienced in the world; yet he went and did them anyway. But the father still loved him.
The second son worked like a slave and never asked his father for anything. One day it should be his. He would earn it and receive it on his father’s death. In the course of this older son’s life, he would never experience the fullness of his father’s love because he thought he had to earn his father’s love.
There were two distinct paths for these sons but one father with love for both, regardless of the path each took.
Turn back the pages to the Proverbs. There is a story being told about two women, or perhaps through two women.
One, you are called to embrace. The other you are called to steer clear of whenever you see her.
One equips you for right living. The other strips your righteousness and your life away.
One is introduced to you properly. The other you stumble upon as one walking into an ambush.
One has been around since creation. The other has a union card for the oldest profession in the world.
One leads you to the joy of marriage and the marriage bed. The other leads you straight to bed with no preliminaries.
There is a distinct dichotomy presented between Lady Wisdom and the Wayward Woman. Jesus proffered a similar dichotomy.
Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it.
Consider the words of our Master in the words of The Message.
Don’t look for shortcuts to God. The market is flooded with surefire, easygoing formulas for a successful life that can be practiced in your spare time. Don’t fall for that stuff, even though crowds of people do. The way to life—to God!—is vigorous and requires total attention.
We also should consider the very direct message of these passages. They speak to the human condition.
Men and women have hormones and a reproductive drive that lasts 20, 30, 50 years. If you want it to last longer, well today there are some apps for that.
It is meant to be satisfied within the boundaries of marriage.
Here’s the rub. Nobody can push your buttons like your husband or your wife. There is no other person in the world that knows how to set you off. In two becoming one we have revealed our most vulnerable areas to each other and sometimes we take advantage of each other.
The apostle Paul counsels us, not to sin while we are angry or let the sun go down on our anger. The young man who seems to be at the mercy of his libido is vulnerable but the married couple has an ongoing refuge and should seek shelter there frequently.
The young man must heed the words of his father and know that his desires will be satisfied in the wife of his youth, at whatever age that will happen.
The married couple must understand that whatever buttons the couple may have pushed in each other, they need to reconcile quickly so as not to be tempted outside the bounds of marriage.
That is the direct counsel, but we should consider the larger story being told. Two women are vying for our attention. They don’t give up easily. One would have us live a life of wisdom and righteousness that is surely pleasing to God. The other is offering forbidden fruit with the promise that it will be ever so sweet and God won’t really care.
The choice is wisdom over wickedness. This should be a no brainer. That’s the problem. We sometimes don’t think with our brain. Our anger, our hormones, our very human drives seem to set aside our thinking.
For those who call Jesus our Lord and Savior, we are called to choose only wisdom. We are reminded that we have a Lord and are not entitled to satisfy only ourselves. We have forgiveness and grace that we never deserved. So how will we respond to this grace?
Let us choose wisely in response to the grace we know through Christ Jesus.
Let us choose wisdom.