The wisdom of God saves us from men who would have us abandon God and fall into sin, and from the adulterous woman or wife who entices us with lust. The saving feature of God’s wisdom is the operative term in this next set of verses of Proverbs 2:12-19.
12 Wisdom will save you from the ways of wicked men, from men whose words are perverse, … 16 Wisdom will save you also from the adulterous woman, from the wayward woman with her seductive words,Pro 2:12, 16 (NIV)
The saving feature of wisdom encompasses the totality of our lives. We are confronted from all sides with temptation to sin. This temptation isn’t exclusive to men for woman face the same temptation to sin as men. I think Solomon’s aim, however, in framing how wisdom will save is to highlight the totality of our lives. That is, all around us we face temptations to sin and in all circumstances we need God’s wisdom to avoid sin. This helps punctuate the idea that who we are exposed to and influenced by determines the degree of exposure to temptation to sin.
THE WAYS OF WICKED MEN
- Perverse words
- Perverse words that are not only devoid of God’s truth but have twisted God’s words to make things appears good and right when in fact they are evil. Sometimes, men don’t attempt to hide their wickedness and their shame. Sometimes, men spew lies and deceit without hesitation; lies that are on their face perverse , wicked and shameful.
- Other times, however, perverse words are devious, cunning and deceptive. Consider the serpent in Gen 3:1-4. In just two sentences, the serpent managed to undo the straight truth of God’s words that eventually led to Adam and Eve’s fall and our subsequent inheritance of sin.
- Leave straight paths
- Jesus said, “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. 14 But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it. [Mat 7:13-14 NIV].
- Straight paths is imagery for the the simplicity of God’s truth. That is, we do not need to jump through hoops to discern the meaning of God; we are not a quest of something mysterious and lofty. Though there are things mysterious about God’s ways (Isa 55:9), and though God is high and lifted up (Isa 57:15), the truth of God is plain (John 3:21, 2 Cor 4:2) and simple that even children can understand (Matt 18:3).
- Walk in dark ways
- Walking in dark ways is the direct consequence of leaving straight paths. The moment we twist God’s words, we immediately enter darkness and folly. We can do this in a few ways: We add to, subtract from or altogether ignore God’s words. Even further, anywhere where God is not is rightly understood is itself darkness.
- In Genesis 1:3, God spoke light out of the dark. Wherever God speaks, there is the light of truth and whoever lives by the truth, comes in the light (John 3:21). The further we walk in darkness, the further we walk and live in ignorance (Pro 4:19).
- Rejoice in the perverseness of evil
- This is the epitome of total hatred of God, his ways and his people. To rejoice in the perverseness of evil is two fold: (1) The perversion of God’s way and, (2) The evil itself. The person who rejoices in this fashion is not merely twisting God’s word, but is purposely twisting God’s. This is a person who is not merely purposely twisting it, he is doing so with joy in his heart. His aim is to not merely destroy the God’s words, though that is substantial and significant. Indeed, the one who rejoices in the perverseness of evil aims to destroy your life. It brings to them joy when you are down and when you are in darkness. They delight in your destruction.
- Paths are crooked
- Crooked paths is the inevitable reality of those who’ve left straight paths and entered dark ways. This is Solomon’s imagery of a poetic contrast depicting dark realities. God’s way is straight – the devil’s ways are crooked. God’s ways are full of light and goodness; the devil’s paths are full of darkness and evil.
- Devious in their way
- The persistent motivation of the ways of evil men: Deviousness. They contrive of ways to make you stumble, they manipulate the truth of God because they are devious. The persistent way of evil is to deviate from the truth of God. At all turns, at all corners, the ways of evil men will always deviate from God’s way. What is God’s way on any matter – the evil man will intentionally deviate from it and delight in doing so, hoping to destroy your life along the way.
These descriptions all work together. They are the summation of the man who mirrors what the serpent did in the Garden of Eden in Gen 3:1-4. They manipulate God’s words to make them mean something they were never intended to mean.
The ways of evil men fit into a pattern. The pattern is consistently dark and crooked; full of perversion of and deviance from God’s word. And in the end, evil men enjoy it when God’s people have fallen.Tweet
GOD’S WISDOM SAVES YOU FROM WICKED MEN
This is what God’s wisdom will save you from. God’s wisdom will save you from all these wicked ways; from all these dark ways; from men who want your downfall; from men who twist, manipulate God’s truth so as to make you stumble in darkness. God’s wisdom saves you from this.
God’s wisdom not only saves you from these wicked men but it saves from becoming like these wicked men. God’s wisdom enables you to rejoice with the truth and enjoy the light of Christ, and actually be ashamed when you sin so you can cling to Christ, his words and his forgiveness rather then hiding your shame, covering it with more evil and perversion.
THE WAYS OF THE UNFAITHFUL WOMAN / WIFE
- Waywardness (Vs16)
- Seductive words (Vs 16)
- Unfaithfulness (Vs 17)
- Covenant breaking (Vs 17)
Further imagery of Solomon paints the picture of the man who gives into a very specific kind of sin: sexual sin. Sexual lust may be the most pernicious form of temptation, particularly when the offering appears so very pleasant to the eyes (Gen 3:6). The aim of sexual sin indulgence is to know something that, by all appearances, only seems possible through this indulgence.
A man indulges the flesh of sexual sin because he cannot imagine enjoying God or his truth in a way that quenches his soul beyond his current sensibilities. When a wayward woman entices him, he foregoes what is good to enjoy sin not realizing he is enjoying their hatred of him.Tweet
This is perhaps the pleasure factor of the wicked man’s delight in their perversion of evil…to see you delight in sin. To see you destroyed on those crooked paths, bathing in false-truths where you’ve compromised light for darkness; straight simplicity of God’s truth for the object of deviant ways.
GOD’S WISDOM SAVES YOU UNFAITHFUL WOMAN
The wisdom of God saves you from this sort of tempter. It saves you from being enticed in sexual deviancy to enjoy pleasures that, in the end, are really no pleasures at all. For once you’ve had your taste, you will immediately find yourself in darkness, on crooked paths far from God’s ways.
God’s wisdom saves you from opportunities to partake in a perverse form of sexual enjoyment. Indeed, there are unfaithful and wayward woman who have entrapped others by and through their covenant breaking efforts. There are unfaithful, covenant breaking wives who wish for you to delight in them. In the same way Delilah enticed Samson, so will the simple man who gives way to a wayward wife’s seductive words.
A CORE CONSEQUENCE OF SEXUAL DEVIANCE
A core consequence of sexual deviance is two-fold: (1) Death (2) A ruined life.
Solomon gives a simple and straightforward warning about where these crooked paths lead, especially the path of the wayward woman; that is, down to death. This may not happen immediately, which is partly why so many arrogant and simple-minded men continue in their sin. They don’t experience the consequence immediately. But, in the end, they will die; they will lose their life.
A ruined life is the life attained on the crooked path. You cannot undo your sin and you cannot return to what you had prior to your sinful deviation. Your life as it stands in the wake of sin is now your life apart from a dramatic intervention and intersession by God himself. For only God can rescue from death and only God can grant life.
Therefor, not all is lost necessarily. The path of life is Jesus and it is possible to have new life; to enter on the narrow way and be saved from death but you cannot enjoy your sin and be saved by Christ at the same time.
If you continue in your sin, on the pathway to death, not even Christ will save you for you enjoyed your sin more than righteousness. You delighted in evil more than the pleasantries of the soul-satisfying wisdom of God.Tweet
A LARGER PICTURE
More than this, the unfaithful wife is a mere picture of our deviance when you and I sin. As God’s people who are in covenant fellowship with him, purchased and sealed by the blood of Christ, we are the unfaithful wife, we are the wicked men whom God rescued. This is what God’s wisdom saves us from…from being the very thing that destroys us; from being the very thing God’s word plainly warns will destroy us.
In the wisdom of gospel, there is a hope that saves us from these dark and crooked ways; the ways of wicked and evil men, and unfaithful wives, who entice with sexual deviancy.
The wisdom of the gospel is the highest form of wisdom imaginable. The wisdom of the gospel not only enables us to rightly name sin for what it is but provides a simple and everlasting hope for us from that sin in the person and work of Jesus Christ.
The wisdom of the gospel establishes righteous boundaries that are firm and sure. The wisdom of the gospel sets up our security by providing wisdom that leads us in the way of the light of Christ; maintaining straight paths, satisfying the soul beyond measure.
Pay close attention to your heart.
- How are you tempted to sin?
- How are you tempted to twist God’s words?
- What crooked paths seem most enticing to you?
- What sort of waywardness of God ways brings you delight?
Ask God to help you. Ask God to have his wisdom to guard and protect you. Ask God to make his wisdom save you from these sinful ways so you can enjoy God as he meant to be enjoyed. Ask God to have his wisdom detect when your heart is being tempted so that you can turn from wicked ways and toward straight paths.