Skip to content ↓

When the Forbidden Woman Is in Your Home

When the Forbidden Woman Is in Your Home

The early chapters of Proverbs provide a vivid description of an encounter between a pathetic, foolish young man and a wily, adulterous woman. “At the window of my house I have looked out through my lattice, and I have seen among the simple, I have perceived among the youths, a young man lacking sense, passing along the street near her corner, taking the road to her house in the twilight, in the evening, at the time of night and darkness.” First this young man encounters her, then he is led astray by her, then he becomes captive to her, then he is utterly destroyed by her. “With much seductive speech she persuades him; with her smooth talk she compels him. All at once he follows her, as an ox goes to the slaughter, or as a stag is caught fast till an arrow pierces its liver; as a bird rushes into a snare; he does not know that it will cost him his life.”

This foolish young man follows that woman to his own destruction. It’s key to understanding the passage, and the very nature of temptation, to note that the young man is no victim here. Nothing has happened that is against his will or opposed to his desires. As far as Proverbs is concerned, this young man is fully morally culpable. He wanted to be caught! We wanted to be caught because he wanted to indulge.

What did he do that was so evil and so unwise? It was not just falling for the wiles of this woman, but for being near her in the first place. Here is how a concerned father warns his sons about falling for that same sin: “O sons, listen to me, and do not depart from the words of my mouth. Keep your way far from her, and do not go near the door of her house.” He pleads with young men that they flee this wanton woman, that they refuse to go near her, that they exercise life-preserving, soul-saving wisdom—the wisdom to stay far away from situations or circumstances in which they will knowingly and culpably face such severe temptation.

This proverb describes truth that is universal and timeless. Yet it has often struck me that here in the twenty-first century, the context for such temptation has changed substantially. This man was caught and destroyed because he left the place he should have been to go to a place he should not have been. Instead of being home he was away. Instead of staying where he would safely avoid the opportunity to sin, he went where he would knowingly encounter the opportunity to sin. The father’s solution is both wise and simple: “Keep your way far from her, and do not go near the door of her house.”

Today that forbidden woman is always available in the home through our new technologies.

That man could avoid sexual temptation by staying home. But today most men who struggle with sexual temptation struggle more within their home than outside of it. It is not a woman on the streets who calls for them, but a woman on a website. For every man who ends up sinning in a brothel, millions more sin by the glare of a screen. The place that once represented safety now represents danger. Today that forbidden woman is always available in the home through our new technologies.

But though the context has changed, the wisdom of Proverbs remains valid. The battle is the same—the battle for sexual purity. The heart is the same—the heart that will so easily fool itself into insisting that it can flirt with temptation but remain resistant. The war is fought in the same way—by assessing the context in which temptation will come and then deliberately, doggedly avoiding it. Solomon’s young man bore all the blame because he refused to take the actions that would keep him far from temptation. Today’s young men bear the blame when they refuse to take actions that will keep them from falling once again for the very same temptations.

  • A La Carte Collection cover image

    Weekend A La Carte (April 13)

    A La Carte: The pain of being single; the love that holds me fast / The Christian response to cultural catastrophe / The reduction of public Bible reading / All Things (a new song) / Why should I go to church? / and more.

  • Free Stuff Fridays (Moody Publishers)

    This giveaway is sponsored by Moody Publishers, who also sponsored the blog last week with Overflowing Mercies. Attention all Bible scholars, believers in the power of faith, and lovers of the Word! Learn about God’s divine mercy and compassion with our exclusive Bible Study Giveaway. Win the ultimate bible study library including Overflowing Mercies by…

  • How Should We Then Die

    How Should We Then Die?

    Euthanasia makes a lot of sense. At least in our culture at this time, it makes intuitive sense that those who are ill without hope for a cure or those who are in pain without likelihood of relief ought to be able to choose to end their own lives. Our culture assumes there are few…

  • A La Carte Friday 2

    A La Carte (April 12)

    A La Carte: Is God always pleased with Christians? / Southern Baptists debate designation of women in ministry / Good growth / Planted and rooted / Both worm and worthy / Scotland’s destiny and the rewriting of history / and more.

  • A La Carte Thursday 1

    A La Carte (April 11)

    A La Carte: 4 reasons why the Bible does not support transgenderism / Your elders will fail you / 25 questions a Christian woman should ask herself when a man starts to show interest / The same person in every room / Is the story of Job historical? / Book and Kindle deals / and…

  • The Sun Is Blotted from the Sky

    The Sun Is Blotted from the Sky

    Men of great physical strength have sometimes carried outrageously heavy burdens—six hundred pounds, seven hundred pounds, eight hundred. And even then they have said, “I still have not been fully tested. Put on some more weight! Load me up!” With confidence they have gripped the bar and with great straining and groaning they have lifted…