Proverbs 6:27-29

Proverbs 6:27-29 "Can a man take fire in his bosom, and his clothes not be burned? Can one go upon hot coals, and his feet not be burned? So he that goeth in to his neighbour's wife; whosoever toucheth her shall not be innocent."
Christian Church Buffalo NY
Solomon was a father who was well acquainted with himself.  He knew his strengths and he knew his weaknesses well.  He knew his thoughts and feelings well.  He also knew his genetic background and his family history well.  He was very familiar with the weakness that the men in his family shared when it came to women.  Solomon had a hard time saying “no” to himself when presented with beautiful women, even if he already had six hundred wives.  His brother, Amnon had a hard time saying “no” to himself when presented with beautiful women, even if that beautiful woman was his half-sister.  His other brother, Absalom had a hard time saying “no” to himself when presented with beautiful women, even if those beautiful women were his father’s concubines.  His father, David had a hard time saying “no” to himself when presented with beautiful women, even if that beautiful woman was another man’s wife.

While he knew that most men share a particular weakness with beauty, Solomon knew his family would be especially vulnerable to beautiful women given their royal status as well as their own beauty.  Despite his military accomplishments and reputation, David was a “pretty boy.”  The Bible describes him being “of a beautiful countenance and goodly to look to” (1 Sam. 16:12).  When Goliath saw him, he mocked him for being a “pretty boy,” seeing he was “of a fair countenance” (1 Sam. 17:42).  The good-looking David attracted and married good-looking women.  According to 1 Samuel 25:3, his wife, Abigail was a “woman of a beautiful countenance.”  According to 2 Samuel 11:2, his wife, Bathsheba was “very beautiful to look upon.”  Good-looking couples produce even better-looking children.  2 Samuel 13:1 tells us that David’s daughter, Tamar was “fair,” meaning she was beautiful.  2 Samuel 14:25 tells us that “in all Israel there was none to be so praised as Absalom for his beauty.”  Solomon and all of his siblings were good-looking people.  Good-looking men with money and status attract good-looking women.  Men who have a weakness to beautiful women are in grave danger when proposed with the opportunity to be with beautiful women who aren’t their wives.  This was the plight of Solomon’s family.

Knowing himself and knowing his family history as well as he did, Solomon knew his son would share the same weakness and the same danger.  He saw his brothers in his son.  He saw his father in his son.  He saw himself in his son.  It was who he saw in his son that prompted such pointed instruction throughout the early chapters of Proverbs.

In verses 27-29, Solomon confronts the deception in Rehoboam’s own heart.  Knowing himself, his family history and the human heart in general, he knew that Rehoboam would be tempted to think that he could get away with sexual sin.  He knew that people think that they keep sexual sin secret sin.  This is perhaps the darkest component of sexual sin – because it is a sin that done in private, we convince ourselves that it will stay private.  Men and women alike convince themselves that no one will ever know about their fornication.  Husbands and wives alike persuade themselves that their spouses will never discover their adultery.  This self-deception empowers our investigation and consideration of sexual sin.  We open the door and flirt with sexual sin because of the secret nature of sexual sin.  Knowing this, Solomon chose bold language and vivid imagery:
“Can a man take fire in his bosom, and his clothes NOT BE BURNED?”
“Can one go upon hot coals, and his feet NOT BE BURNED?” 

Given the imagery provided by this wise and experienced father, Solomon tells his son that the act of adultery can be private but the effects of adultery will be public.  He tells his young inexperienced son that the act of fornication can be private in a dark secluded room but the effects of sexual sin will eventually be very public and quite visible.  Fire burns whether touched in private or in public.  If touched in private, the burns and scars will eventually be seen in public.  Charred clothes impact the way you look and scarred feet impact the way you walk.  Sexual sin in private will eventually impact the way you look and the way you walk.  There is no escaping the effects of sexual sin. There is no escaping the burn of sexual sin.  There is no escaping the guilt of sexual sin.  
“So he that goeth in to his neighbour's wife; whosoever toucheth her shall not be innocent.”

Solomon wrote with a blended tone of sorrow and conviction.  He wrote these words with the powerful combination of inspiration and observation.  These words ring true to the whole of Scripture and to the spiritual laws of God.  Numbers 32:23, “Be sure your sin will find you out.”  Galatians 6:7, “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.”  Furthermore, these words flow off the pen of Solomon with a deeply personal connection.  Solomon was a man of keen observation.  In Proverbs 24, he spoke about the lessons he learned from observing the field of the slothful.  In Proverbs 7, he spoke about the lessons learned from observing a young man on the street corner in the middle of the night.  The Book of Ecclesiastes was written based on Solomon’s observations as indicated by the opening words, “I have seen all the works that are done under the sun.”  Solomon knew by inspiration that you can’t escape sexual sin but he also knew by observing the family history that you can’t escape sexual sin.
Solomon’s brother, Amnon committed sexual sin in private but the smoke filtered out into the public. He couldn’t contain the fire to one room and as a result, he was found guilty and eventually punished by an enraged brother.  Solomon’s beloved father, David committed sexual sin in private but the flames escaped that royal room and made their way into public air.  David tried to cover his affair up with an elaborate scheme.  He went to great lengths to retrieve Bathsheba’s husband from the battle field and have him return to his wife’s bedroom.  When that didn’t work, he went to shameful lengths to eliminate his loyal warrior so as to take his wife as his own.  Solomon knew the self-deception that rests in the human heart when it came to sexual sin.  He knew the self-deception that rested in his father’s heart and he didn’t want his son to repeat the same mistake.

Fornication and adultery start with lust, which is why Solomon told Rehoboam to “LUST NOT” in verse 25.  In verses 26-29, Solomon told his son to “TOUCH NOT” because sexual sin doesn’t end with a private touch.  Sexual sin burns like fire and it leaves scars that can be seen and scents that can be smelled.  Fornication and adultery don’t stay private and secret.

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