Proverbs 5:15-21

Proverbs 5:15-21 "Drink waters out of thine own cistern, and running waters out of thine own well. Let thy fountains be dispersed abroad, and rivers of waters in the streets. Let them be only thine own, and not strangers' with thee. Let thy fountain be blessed: and rejoice with the wife of thy youth. Let her be as the loving hind and pleasant roe; let her breasts satisfy thee at all times; and be thou ravished always with her love.  And why wilt thou, my son, be ravished with a strange woman, and embrace the bosom of a stranger? For the ways of man are before the eyes of the LORD, and he pondereth all his goings."
Church East Aurora, NY
It is easy for parents to focus on all of the things that threaten their child’s wellbeing.  From the moment a woman gets pregnant for the first time, maternal instincts kick in and she begins to baby-proof her home.  Before their first child is born, both father and mother begin to protect their unborn child from all of the dangers that await them.  From car seats to cribs to outlet plugs, parents do those things that are necessary to protect their little bundle of joy.  Parenthood changes one’s outlook and perspective.  The man walking on the street suddenly looks suspicious.  The stairs begin to look too steep.  The husband’s driving seems reckless all of sudden.

As our children grow, we begin to tell them what they CAN’T do –
“Don’t touch.”
“Don’t go up there.”
“Don’t do that.”
“Don’t go over there.”
“Don’t take that.”
“Watch out - you’ll get burned.”
“Watch out - you’ll get hurt.”
“Watch out - you’ll fall.”

The older our children get, the higher the stakes and so we continue to focus on what they CAN’T or shouldn’t do –
“You can’t watch that.”
“You can’t listen to that.”
“You can’t go there.”
“You can’t do that.”
“You can’t talk to her.”
“You can’t see him.”
“You can’t go there.”

Instruction, teaching and child-rearing requires restriction and it certainly requires exposing the dangers of life.  Solomon clearly did his fair share of this.  That being said, he didn’t focus exclusively on the negative.  Proverbs 5 is a good example of balancing both the negative and the positive; of balancing the dangers of life with the opportunities in life.  In warning Rehoboam of what he shouldn’t do, Solomon didn’t leave out what he could do.  In exposing the curses of this life, he didn’t leave out the blessings of this life.  In fact, Solomon did what every parent should do – he taught the blessing of life as the remedy and escape to the curse of life.  Verses 15-21 teach what Paul taught in 1 Corinthians 7 when he wrote, “to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband.”  Solomon was warning his young readers about the dangers of wrong romantic relationships and offering the right romantic relationship as a solution.  Furthermore, by following up a warning about the dangers of inappropriate romance with the opportunity for appropriate romance, he wasn’t at all restricting the natural desire for romance and sex.  

It is common for a parent, out of love for their child, to focus so much on the dangers of inappropriate romance that they give their child the wrong impression that romance and sex are bad.  This confuses a growing child who has natural God-given desires.  In addition to the confusion, a young person focuses on what they “can’t have” instead of on what they “can have.”  God has given our race romance, love and sex for our good pleasure.  These are things that God wants us to enjoy.  A parent needs to help his or her children understand that these are good things but that they are to be pursued within God’s framework of marriage.  Rather than telling a child “NO” all the time for everything, good parenting includes offering the right alternative for which a child can instead choose.  Simply put, Solomon did more than tell his children they can’t have romance, love and sex with a bad person – he told them to focus on finding romance, love and sex with the right person within the right parameters.  By taking this approach, Solomon was appealing to his young reader’s natural God-given desires.  

In verse 15, he uses some literary genius to demonstrate how appropriate romance and sex are.  By referring to the benefits of holy matrimony as “waters” and “running waters,” he is showing his readers how appropriate, healthy and even necessary their desire for romantic intimacy is.  There is nothing impure, unhealthy or inappropriate about drinking water.  He could have written about marriage in alcoholic terms, such as wine or strong drink, but he didn’t.  Water is both refreshing and innocent.  On the contrary, although wine may be enjoyable, it comes with risk and danger.  As a desire for water is both pure and healthy, a desire for romantic and sexual intimacy is pure and healthy.  For this desire to stay pure and healthy, it is to be shared with the right person within the right parameters – MARRIAGE.  Solomon tells his son to drink those right desires with his wife and only his wife, who is referred to as “his own cistern” and “his own well.”  What wise parental posture!  By adding this counsel to his pointed warning of the wrong romantic relationships, Solomon doesn’t leave his son’s appropriate desires wanting.  He gives his son an opportunity to direct his appropriate desires in the appropriate direction – to “his own cistern” or his own spouse.

In verses 16-18, he tells his son what comes after the FUN in marriage – a FAMILY.  Sticking with the metaphor, Solomon refers to his son’s offspring as “rivers of waters.”  This language isn’t unique to Solomon as it is used elsewhere in Scripture.  Moses spoke of the offspring of Israel in Deuteronomy 33:28 as the “fountain of Jacob.”  David spoke about the nation of Israel, or the children of Israel in Psalm 68:26 as the “fountain of Israel.”  After telling Rehoboam to watch out for the wrong romantic relationship, he tells him to have a great romantic relationship with the right woman and to have a family with her.  This wise father is painting an attractive picture for his son, one intended to get his attention and ultimately, his direction.  He then adds in verse 17, “let them (his children) be only thine own, and not strangers’ with thee.”  By this he is referring to illegitimate children.  A family is a blessing and a pleasure when sharing it with the spouse you are married to.  A family becomes a burden and difficult to enjoy when sharing it with someone you are not married to.  In painting a beautiful picture of what romance can offer a young man, Solomon included important details that fornicators and adulterers don’t think about until after mistakes are made.  Broken families are burdensome families.  This is precisely why Solomon added verse 18.  For a man’s family, or “fountain” to be BLESSED, he needs to start and maintain his family within the holy parameters of marriage.

In verses 19-21, Solomon urges his son to avoid the wrong romantic relationship outside of marriage by focusing on the right romantic relationship within marriage.  Given the context of the passage, Solomon narrowed in on what would most appeal to a young person – physical intimacy.  In these final verses, a young man is given the two greatest weapons for which to wage battle against the sexual temptations in our wicked world.  These two weapons are relationship-based.  In the left hand, a man should wage war against sexual temptation by focusing on his relationship with his wife.  In the right hand, a man must fight sexual temptation by focusing on his relationship with his God.  As has already been mentioned, 1 Corinthians 7:2 teaches that a man’s healthy romantic relationship with his wife will keep him from seductive women and compromising temptations.  This truth applies to both men and women; to both husbands and wives.  Natural appropriate desires are best kept appropriate by appropriate fulfillment of those desires.  When these appropriate desires are not met in an appropriate relationship, they can quickly become inappropriate desires and worse, be fulfilled in an inappropriate relationship.  Satan is very engaged in this area of our lives.  Consider the sobering reality of what Paul would go on to say in 1 Corinthians 7 when he wrote, “Defraud ye not one the other, except it be with consent for a time, that ye may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again, that Satan tempt you not for your incontinency” (verse 5).
Parents, take note of Solomon’s leadership in his home.  He was not afraid to talk about sex.  In fact, he intentionally talked about it in order to help protect his son.  Not only was he comfortable broaching the topic, he spoke to his son about a woman’s body in detail recognizing that it was his son’s good God-given desire.  Solomon urged his son to find a woman that he would love and cherish on every level, including sexually.  While there is certainly much more to the topic, Solomon knew that a sound sexual relationship within a marriage would be a sound remedy for romantic temptation outside marriage.  It within this context that he suggested that Rehoboam let his wife be “as the loving hind and pleasant roe.”  These animals are similar to our deer.  These animals were intentional chosen because they are attractive and graceful animals.  When we see deer, we want to get closer to them and investigate them.  They intrigue us.  This is how Solomon wanted Rehoboam to see and approach his wife.  He instructed his son to let his wife intrigue him.  He was to study her, investigate her, know her and get as close to her as he could, including sexually.

On the topic of sound sexual relationships, Solomon would surely refer his children to another work of his, “The Song of Solomon.”  We do our children a great disservice when we avoid such a critical topic.  Sex is discussed everywhere in our world except in our churches and in our Christian homes.  This leaves our children and their future unprepared and vulnerable.  Sex should not be treated like a bad word in our churches and in our Christian homes.

In verses 20-21, this father finished his counsel by reminding his son of God’s watchful eye upon him.  Regardless of the state of his marriage, God expected him to be faithful.  Regardless of the behavior or state of his wife, Rehoboam had a responsibility before God to be faithful.  While a sound marriage is the best remedy for extramarital temptation, the fear of the God is the ultimate remedy for inappropriate romantic temptation.  Proverbs 16:6, “By the fear of the LORD men depart from evil.”

There is more to parenting than just protecting our children – we must PREPARE our children.  We need to do more than just warn them of the bad things in life – we need to direct them to the good things in life.  Instead of only focusing on the curses of this world, we need to direct our children to the blessings of this world.  When it comes to love, romance and sex, we need to talk to our children about what they could have if they wisely put God first.  This will give them something wholesome to pursue while keeping them out of the wrong romantic relationship.





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