Proverbs 5:22-23

Proverbs 5:22-23 "His own iniquities shall take the wicked himself, and he shall be holden with the cords of his sins.  He shall die without instruction; and in the greatness of his folly he shall go astray."
Church East Aurora NY
Proverbs 5 ends with a piercing truth that most of us don’t want to accept.  In a chapter dealing with seduction and intense romantic temptations, Solomon finishes his parental counsel by addressing SIN.  Sin is destructive.  Sin is consuming.  As is said in verse 22, sin “TAKES” us.  It takes our innocence.  It takes our purity.  It takes our happiness.  It takes our peace.  It takes our potential.  It takes our freedom.  It takes our time.  It takes our future.  It takes our life.  Someone once said, “Sin wouldn’t be so attractive if the wages were paid immediately.” 
 
Solomon describes the consequences of sin through the imagery of being bound or “holden” with “cords.”  Sin may be enjoyable for a season but during that brief pleasure, sin grows stronger and begins to wrap its destructive rope around us.  Sin is addictive and for this reason, it gets more and more control over us as we choose it.  Regardless of which expression of sin we choose, sin breeds sin.  Gambling breeds more gambling.  Drinking breeds more drinking.  Pornography breeds more pornography.  Lying breeds more lying.  Gossip breeds more gossip.  Pride breeds more pride.  Theft breeds more theft.  Violence breeds more violence.  Fornication breeds more fornication.  Cursing breeds more cursing.  This is the danger of dabbling in sin.  

Sin will captivate us and ultimately, make us captive to it.  This is the tragic consequence of sin and this is why Solomon is urging his son to avoid the sin of inappropriate romantic relationships and the inappropriate sexual activity that comes with them.  Wrong romance breeds wrong romance.  Fornication breeds fornication.  Adultery breeds adultery.  Surely God inspired the language of these final statements as it points to the greatest Biblical example of the addictive and destructive nature of sin.  The Book of Judges tells us about a man whose life was taken from him because of his sin.  It tells us about a man whose future was taken from him because of inappropriate romance.  It tells us about a man whose potential was taken from him because of an addiction to women.  It tells us about a man who was “holden with the cords of his sin.”  Solomon knew full well the tragic story of Samson and the language he chose points us to the strongest man in the human history becoming a victim of his own sin.  Samson loved “strange” women - those women who were not Jewish and frankly, godly.  First, he chose a Philistine woman to love and marry.  After that marriage didn’t work out, the Bible records him turning to a prostitute in Gaza of the Philistines.  Addicted to inappropriate romance and inappropriate sexual relations, Samson turned to a woman named Delilah, presumably an ungodly Philistine.  He gave her his heart and his body while she eventually gave his enemies his secret.

The story of Samson perfectly illustrates the most important truth of these final verses in Proverbs 5.  Delilah is widely seen as an evil woman and indeed she was.  She was as seductive as the woman described in Proverbs 5.  She was as untrustworthy and selfish as the woman described in Proverbs 5.  She was as manipulative and destructive as the woman described in Proverbs 5.  She is the perfect person to use as an example of who and what Solomon wanted his son to avoid.  But as bad as Delilah was, she wasn’t the reason for Samson’s demise.  But as wrong as Delilah was in betraying Samson for money, she wasn’t the reason Samson was eventually “holden” in fetters of brass in a Philistine prison.  Samson was solely responsible for his demise.  It was his sin that cost him his future and his life.  It was his sin that took from his potential and his power.  It was his sin that took from his happiness and peace.  It was his sin that handicapped him.  It was his sin that bound him.  He was not taken in Delilah’s iniquities; he was “taken in his own iniquities.”  

Within the context of romantic and sexual sin, Solomon is pointing out whose sin is the problem.  Where there is a seducer, a tempter and a leading participant, Solomon highlights whose sin is the real problem.  He doesn’t blame the seducer for the destruction that comes from an inappropriate romantic relationship.  He doesn’t blame the instigator for the pain that comes from an inappropriate romantic relationship.  He blames the individual who chooses an inappropriate romantic relationship.  If we choose to sin, no matter why, when, where or with who, we have to accept the responsibility of the pain we bring to ourselves.  We choose what emotions to have.  We choose love.  We choose romance.  We choose who we sleep with.  We choose who we fool around with.  We choose our reactions to the behavior of people.  We choose our responses to the actions of others.  

At the end of some intense counsel regarding romance, Solomon finishes with some pointed observations.  He wants his readers to know that no one should be blamed for our decisions.  We like to blame everyone else for our pain.  We like to blame “the other person” for our sorrow.  We like to blame our parents for our decisions.  We like to blame our co-workers or our friends for our choices.  It makes us feel better about our poor decisions.  This is a part of human nature as seen in Genesis 3.  Adam blamed his seducer, Eve while she blamed her seducer, Satan.  Indeed, Eve played a negative role in Adam’s sin but it was still his decision.  Ultimately, he was taken with “his own iniquities.”  Without question, Satan played a negative role in Eve’s sin but it was still her decision.  Ultimately, she was taken with “her own iniquities.” 

When it comes to sin, we need to look in the mirror and accept full responsibility instead of blaming everyone else.  When it comes to romantic sin, we need to look in the mirror and accept full responsibility.  Even though she may have seduced you, she didn’t steal your free-will.  Even though he may have manipulated you, he didn’t rob you of your free-will.  When it comes to bitterness, we need to look in the mirror and accept full responsibility.  Even though he may have hurt you, he didn’t steal your free-will.  Even though she may have betrayed you, she didn’t force you to be bitter.  The Devil can’t make us do anything nor can any person make us do anything.  We choose our actions and therefore, we choose our consequences.
 
It is important that we learn to look in the mirror and acknowledge the responsibility we carry so we don’t fall prey to our own sin.  If we choose sin, it will get a hold of us.  If our sin gets a hold of us, we will go astray in the greatness of our folly.  If we go astray in the greatness of our folly, we will die without instruction.  People won’t offer us instruction because they know we won’t follow it.  So many are hopeless in this world because they’ve become enslaved to their sin.  So many are without hope because they’re “holden with the cords of their sins.”  They have no answers to their problems and no instruction on how to get out of their problems.  This is the tragic end of sin.  What looks so good in the beginning will eventually look so bad in the end.  Sin is so accurately pictured by drug addiction – one little curious experiment can grip you and take everything from you.  How many young souls have foolishly chosen to succumb to a seducing dealer or “friend,” only to have everything taken from them by drug addiction?  How many young souls have died without answers, without hope and without instruction because they did something foolish in the heat of the moment?  This is the nature of sin no matter the manifestation of sin.

Within the context of romantic and sexual relationships, sin will take from you much good.  More specifically, your sin will take from you much good.  Look in the mirror and assume full responsibility for your decisions.  Choose wisely for what you choose will either be your eventual delight or your eventual demise. 

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