Proverbs 5:7-8

Proverbs 5:7-8 "Hear me now therefore, O ye children, and depart not from the words of my mouth. Remove thy way far from her, and come not nigh the door of her house:"
Christian Church Buffalo NY
Success in life has a lot to do with being in the right place at the right time.  Recently, a pair of salesmen came to the church looking to see if we needed any of the products they offer.  After telling them we just placed a large order with another company for those particular products, they closed their eyes and groaned in disappointment over the lost opportunity.  They were but hours and days too late.  The best photographers know more than how to use a camera; they know where to be and when to be there to get the best shots.  The best hunters know more than how to use a weapon; they know where to be and when to be there to get the best opportunity for a meal.  The best athletes know more than how to throw or catch a ball; they know where to be and when to be there to have the best opportunity to score.

Success in life has a lot to do with being in the right place at the right time.  The failure to know where to be could easily and quickly jeopardize success.  In these verses, Solomon is telling his children and his readers where to be in life, or more specifically, where not to be – “far from her” and far from the door of her house.  If his young readers were to have any hope of success in life, they needed to stay far away from evil people.  Solomon wasn’t telling his audience that their success hinged on outlasting smooth talkers or that it hinged on outmaneuvering attractive deceivers.  In this counsel, he wasn’t warning young people to watch out for predators or to fight off attackers.  In these verses, Solomon is teaching one of Scripture’s greatest truths and that is that our success hinges on what we do and where we go instead of on the person or thing that may cause us to fail.  The young man who tastes failure because of a foolish relationship with an evil woman has only himself to blame because he first made the choice to be with her.  Nowhere in the passage does Solomon describe this “strange woman” as a predator or as an aggressor.  Her seduction comes only in the form of looking and sounding attractive.  The warning is not to fight off her advances but instead, to stay away from her and to not go to the door of her house.

We like to blame our problems for our failure in life.  If we have a problem with food, we like to blame food or our spouse instead of blaming ourselves.  If we have a problem with addictive substances, we tend to blame our circumstances or the producers of those substances instead of blaming ourselves.  If we have a problem with relationships, we typically blame the people in those relationships instead of blaming ourselves.  Solomon is not putting the responsibility of our failure on the shoulders of the “strange woman” – he is putting it on the shoulders of those of us who go to the “strange woman.”  In this case, Solomon wants his young readers to realize that they are alone responsible for their moral success or failure.  So as to avoid failure, they need to stay far away from any threat to their success.  The person who goes to a place where failure could be the outcome, that person – not the place – is to be blamed.  The man who goes to a woman from whom personal failure would be the result, that man – not the woman – is to be blamed.  The person who claims that the “devil made them do it” hasn’t yet accepted the fact that they put themselves in a position to even entertain the devil.  The battleground for success takes place well before engaging the devil.  

When someone gets burned as the result of playing with fire, that person is to be blamed – not the fire.  When someone loses their life as a result of playing with wild animals, that person is to be blamed – not the wild animal.  When someone falls to their death as a result of standing too close to the edge of the cliff, that person is to be blamed – not gravity or the canyon.  This is exactly why Solomon tells his children to remove their way FAR FROM the “strange woman” and to come not NIGH the door of her house.  If we succumb to the seduction of a man or woman, we have to assume the responsibility of first being too close to the wrong person.  If we give in to peer pressure, we have to accept the responsibility of first being too close to the wrong crowd.  If we get into bed with someone outside of marriage, we have to first accept the responsibility of foolishly going to that person’s door.

We have to stay far away from those things that threaten our moral success.  The “strange woman” of the passage can’t make a man do anything he doesn’t want to do.  She sits in her home and awaits his knock on the door.  She doesn’t force him to come to her door let alone into her home.  To secure success, a man simply needs to stay away from her, FAR AWAY FROM her.  While this may be easier said than done, this is the key to success.  If you don’t want to fall off the cliff, stay FAR AWAY FROM the cliff.  If you don’t want to bit by the snake, stay FAR AWAY FROM the snake.  If you don’t want to become a drunk, stay FAR AWAY FROM the booze.  If you don’t want to lose your purity, stay FAR AWAY FROM the temptation.

The door of temptation is very hard to deny.  Once it has your attention, it is extremely difficult to walk away from.  Once we see the door of temptation, we crave what’s behind it.  When it has our eye, we long to grab the knob and open it.  Therefore, come not nigh the door of her house.”   Solomon was teaching what James would teach in the first chapter of his epistle.  James 1:13-15, “Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man:  But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.”  The real problem behind temptation is not what God allows or what the Devil initiates.  The real problem with temptation is not what we see or what we hear or what we feel.  The real problem with temptation is not the seductive and deceptive world around us.  The real problem with temptation is us.  We are tempted WHEN we are drawn away of our OWN lust.”  We are tempted WHEN we leave the path we’re supposed to be on.  It is when we can’t get our mind off of the “strange woman” that we go to the door of her house “just to look at it.”  It is then when we are tempted to open the door and see the “strange woman.”  When we open the door, see her and foolishly choose her, we then want to blame her for our demise.  In reality however, our demise started WHEN we were draw away from the right path by our OWN desires.  This is why James finished his teaching by saying, “do not err or wander from the right path (verse 16).

It is not the way of the evil woman we should blame nor are her actions the ones we should give our attention to.  Proverbs 4:23 and 26, “Keep THY heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.  Ponder the path of THY feet, and let all THY ways be established.”  Success in life has a lot to do with being in the right place at the right time.  It’s not about what others do or don’t do to us that matters – it’s about what we do or don’t do that matters.  Put yourself in the right place and stay far away from the place that could jeopardize your success.

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