Proverbs 7:8-10

Proverbs 7:8-10 "Passing through the street near her corner; and he went the way to her house, In the twilight, in the evening, in the black and dark night:  And, behold, there met him a woman..."
Buffalo NY Church
Solomon was a man of passion.  When he did something, he went “all in.”  There was nothing about Solomon’s life that was average. There is nothing in his biblical biography that would indicate he was a casual character.  He was a passionate person.  He was passionate about writing, which is why he wrote 3,000 proverbs and over 1,000 songs (1 Kings 4:32).  He was passionate about building, which is why he built multiple walled cities, multiple royal palaces and the magnificent Temple of God (1 Kings 9:15-19).  He was passionate about financial security, which is why he built a navy of ships to secure precious metals, premium lumber and exotic animals (1 Kings 10:23).  He was passionate about romance, which is why he had 700 wives and 300 concubines (1 Kings 11:3). Solomon was a man of passion.

Passion can be very good but it can also lead to very bad things.  Solomon’s story in Proverbs 7 teaches how passion can be a bad thing and it ultimately teaches us that passion shouldn’t drive our lives.  Proverbs 7 is the perfect story to illustrate one of Scripture’s greatest passages –

James 1:14-16 “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. Do not err, my beloved brethren.”

James teaches us that we get into spiritual trouble when we are “drawn away of our own lust,” meaning that we get into spiritual trouble when we allow our passions to drive our lives.  Based on James 1, temptation doesn’t come out of nowhere.  Based on James 1, we’re not tempted to sin unless we first display a desire to sin.  For practical example, we’re not tempted to eat food until we’re hungry for food.  We are tempted to sneak a piece of chocolate pie before dinner because we’re hungry.  After being stuffed with dinner and dessert, a piece of chocolate pie is no longer tempting.  It is our desire, or “lust” that creates an opportunity for temptation.  It is our lack of control over our own desires and passions that gives our spiritual adversaries opportunities to tempt us to make bad moral decisions.  When we are “drawn away” by our passions, we become vulnerable to temptation.  When we let our passions drive us, we give Satan something to work with.  When we let our passions drive our lives like the wind drives a sailboat, we willingly welcome great risk into our lives.
 
This is precisely what Solomon observed in a young man one dark night.  This young man was just “passing through the street” with no obvious purpose.  Solomon didn’t see a shopping list in his hand or a shopping bag around his arm.  Given the hour of night anyways, it was clear that he wasn’t out to get a gallon of milk or a loaf of bread.  Solomon didn’t see him dressed up with a resume in his hand.  Given the hour of the night anyways, it was clear that he wasn’t out to get a job.  Solomon didn’t see him limping or holding his head so it was clear that he wasn’t out to get medical assistance.  What was he doing out at this hour of the night “passing through the street?”  Being no stranger to passion and to “youthful lusts,” Solomon wisely understood what this young man was doing on the street at this late hour – he was letting the wind of his youthful passion drive him to a place of curiosity.  He was curious as to what women he might see.  He was curious as to what women he might talk to.  He was curious as to what he might run into.  His passions simply drove him out of his lonely house and into a world of potential at an hour that may give him an opportunity to fulfill his passions.
 
In order to truly understand this particular lesson in Solomon’s story, it is important to note the young man’s lack of intention.  He was not going to hire a prostitute.  He was not going to find a married woman with whom he planned on having an affair with.  This young man did not have a plan – he lacked purpose on this tragic night.  We know that his midnight stroll lacked intention because of what happened in verse 10.  Solomon tells us that a disguised woman “met him,” which is very different than him “finding her.”  This woman is described as a predator in verse 12 –
“Now is she without, now in the streets, and lieth in wait at every corner.”
Solomon describes the woman as predator and the young man as prey, which would infer that he was not out this particular night looking for this woman.  What happened next convinces us that the young man had no intention to find this particular woman and commit adultery with her –
13 So she caught him, and kissed him, and with an impudent face said unto him,
14 I have peace offerings with me; this day have I payed my vows.
15 Therefore came I forth to meet thee, diligently to seek thy face, and I have found thee.
16 I have decked my bed with coverings of tapestry, with carved works, with fine linen of Egypt.
17 I have perfumed my bed with myrrh, aloes, and cinnamon.
18 Come, let us take our fill of love until the morning: let us solace ourselves with loves.
19 For the goodman is not at home, he is gone a long journey:
20 He hath taken a bag of money with him, and will come home at the day appointed.
21 With her much fair speech she caused him to yield, with the flattering of her lips she forced him.


Whoever this young man and whoever this disguised woman were, he had no intention of sleeping with her.  She FOUND him, she FLATTERED him and she FORCED him.  If he had intentions of sexual immorality, then she wouldn’t have had to convince him to join her in bed.  If he had intentions of spiritual disobedience, then she wouldn’t have had to dress or speak seductively.  Unfortunately, his passions proved too strong to deny when presented with this enticing opportunity.

This young man’s primary flaw was what he was first described as being – “void of understanding” (verse 7).  There was nothing wrong with his DESIRE for romance.  There was nothing wrong with his PASSION for romance with a woman.  God gave this young man his passion for romance with a member of the opposite sex.  His mistake was in NOT UNDERSTANDING the need to direct that passion with purpose.  He was full of passion but void of understanding on how to manage that passion.  He was driven by passion instead of being driven by purpose.  He was consumed with his youthful desires, which led him to being “drawn away” into the night curious about what opportunities may avail themselves.  Without purpose that night, he let his passion drive him like the wind.  Full of passion but empty of godly purpose, a predator saw an easy opportunity.  Because passion was driving him, he was no match for her seduction and enticement.  Temptation is very difficult to resist when passion is in the driving seat.  His passion wasn’t wrong but what it led to was wrong.  His passion wasn’t sinful but following it without purpose was the mistake that led to sin.  

No matter our age and no matter our particular passion, we must learn from this sad story.  A passion-driven life is a dangerous life that attracts spiritual predators.  A passion-driven life is a risky life that puts you in vulnerable situations where it will be very hard to resist temptation.  Our passions must be bridled by holy purpose.  Passion without purpose leads to excess.  Passion without purpose leads to extremes.  Passion without holy purpose leads to heresy.  Passion without holy purpose leads to hypocrisy.  Passion without holy purpose leads to compromise.  Passion without holy purpose leads to temptation.

People are passionate about different things and for different reasons.  Some people are passionate about politics while others are passionate about romance.  Some people are passionate about technology while others are passionate about sports.  Some people are passionate about ministry while others are passionate about family.  For any passion, including noble passions, holy purpose must precede the passion.  Otherwise, those passions will lead to excess, imbalance and temptation to do something spiritually unhealthy.  Whatever it is you’re passionate about, ask yourself the following questions:
“Why am I doing what I’m doing?”
“What is it that I intend to accomplish?”
“What is the purpose behind fulfilling my passions?”


Once you answer those questions, you should then ask yourself the following more important questions:
“Is what I’m doing what God wants me to do?”
“Is what I’m doing helping me accomplish my true purpose in life – pleasing God?”


For far too many believers, especially young believers, there is a lack of purpose.  People wake up and do what they enjoy doing.  They go through their day and make decisions based on what makes them happy.  They go where their passions take them.  They surf the web with no holy purpose – they surf websites and social media based on their passions.  They watch television and listen to radio with no holy purpose – they consume media based on their passions.  They go where their passions lead them.  These are passion-driven lives.  These lives are those that are full of unexpected temptations.  Passion-driven lives are those lives that have spiritual predators on every corner. Like Solomon’s story, these spiritual predators are disguised in very enticing attire that attract you based on your passions and ultimately tempt you to make terrible decisions.

Christian, vet your passions.  Most of our passions are appropriate and are even God-given.  That being said, bridle your passions.  No matter the passion, bridle your passion by holy purpose.  Holy Purpose will keep you from getting carried away by your passion and unnecessarily going in a direction that will lead to spiritual predators on every corner.  Good passions can lead to very bad decisions.  Tragically, Solomon’s passion for romance would eventually become unbridled and his 1,000 wives would turn his heart from God.  Don’t live a Passion-Driven Life.  

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