A Study of the Immoral Woman from Proverbs
Do you want be wise? I sure do. In my study of Proverbs this month, I have been reminded of three things to avoid in order to be a wise woman. When I'm wise, I will also then fulfill the law that Jesus said was most important: love.
I'm participating in a Facebook group study on Proverbs, and my 11-yr-old son and I happened to read Proverbs 7:1-12, 21-23 the same morning he started his first purity talks in our church's middle school program. His father has of course already begun talking to him about this important topic, but Proverbs 7 seemed so appropriate and timely. Don't you love the Lord's timing?
But this chapter and these verses about purity in the book of Proverbs are not just for young men. We women can also learn several things from reading these wise sayings from the wisest man that ever lived (besides Jesus), King Solomon.
I love how the Holy Spirit will take two or three seemingly unrelated messages and tie them together for me. This happened when I read about the promiscuous woman in Proverbs 23:27-28. The light bulb finally went off when I was reading my other Bible Study about 1 John (I Am Loved by Wendy Blight).
She reminds us that in Matthew 22:37-40, Jesus declares that all the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments:
1- Love the LORD your God with all your heart, and
2- Love your neighbor as yourself.
The reason the promiscuous woman in Proverbs 7 is "eager to make more men unfaithful" (NLT), comes from selfishness. She is thinking of herself, not loving them.
In fact, all these sins mentioned in Proverbs are because of a lack of love. If we love our children, we will chasten them (v. 13-14); if we love the poor, we'll be generous to them (22:9); if we love our neighbors, we won't cheat them (v. 10); if we love people (v. 1-3, 6-8), then we won't be out for what they can give to us. Etc, etc. It all comes down to LOVE.
If we want to be wise, we will need to guard our minds, emotions, and desires. And then using our wisdom, we will be able to love others as we love ourselves.
Proverbs 7:4-5 plainly tells us that wisdom and insight will protect us from an affair. If we love and cherish wisdom like we would a sister or close family member, it will show us what to avoid.
Proverbs 7:10-13 is a good reminder to us women what kind of behavior to avoid so we aren't the ones leading the men to slaughter like an ox (v. 22) or to the grave (v. 26): we are to avoid dressing seductively, being brash, being rebellious, we are to be content to stay at home, avoid brazen looks, etc.
I'm going to summarize these with three things to avoid so that we can love our brothers and sisters in Christ in the area of morality.
1. Avoid Dressing Seductively
Modesty is an overlooked virtue. I want to address this topic further in its own post, but for now, I will just say that I am not advocating a specific, legalistic measurement of modesty. I am not saying that skirts and shorts must cover the knee or that off-the-shoulder tops are inappropriate in all places.
All I will say right now is:
look to your own life.
look at your motive.
I'm not advocating judging other people's attire; everyone should first look at themselves and deal with the log in their own eye before they try to pluck out the small mote in someone else's eye (Matt. 7:3-5). (By the way, this text is very misunderstood. The Scripture doesn't say we shouldn't pluck out their mote; it just says we should deal with our logs first.)
I came from a very legalistic background that basically implied that if you wore a skirt that showed your knees, you were out of fellowship with the Lord and not a good Christian. And we weren't even allowed to wear pants at all. I won't go into all that here.
My main caution is for us to evaluate our motives. What is the purpose for wearing that mini-skirt or that low-cut top that shows cleavage? Is it to attract attention from men? Or one guy in particular? Is it to keep from being a stumbling-block to our brothers in Christ?
If you're really just wanting to look cute for the other girls (it's said that most girls actually dress for other girls, to fit in), and you don't even think about how guys will react to that outfit, then I would challenge you to take an extra minute getting dressed tomorrow to ask the Lord a few questions:
“Jesus, is this outfit loving for others? Will it cause a brother to stumble into lust? Will it cause a sister to stumble into envy? Will it help my brothers and sisters in Christ to focus on you and the light You shine through me? Is it a good example to those younger than me who are watching me?”
Then just listen to His leading. The Holy Spirit will convict and guide you where you need it. The rest is between you and Him.
2. Avoid brash and rebellious attitudes.
Our attitude is important: it can lead not only to our sin but to others' destruction. Brazen looks are bold glances to capture and entice a potential customer. The entire attitude of this type of woman lacks concern for social norms, for authority, for other people.
She doesn't care about anyone but herself and getting pleasure. She doesn't care what the consequences could be for anyone else: her husband, her children, her family's reputation, or her potential mate's destruction.
Maybe it's time we pause and check our attitudes. Are we really caring for others, especially for those in our spiritual family? How can we best help the younger generation grow up into godly, virtuous, wise young men and women? How can we best respect the older generations' needs and glean wisdom from those who have come before?
It begins with our attitude. We need to avoid selfishness and desiring comfort and pleasure for ourselves, instead deliberately cultivating attitudes of thoughtfulness and consideration and generosity.
3. Avoid wandering in public.
We are to be content to stay at home. This is another unpopular topic, but I'm going to open this can of worms. The immoral woman is “often in the streets and markets, soliciting at every corner.” Nowadays any online site could be a potential place to solicit. Be careful where you go in body and where you go in mind.
This is not to say we can never go to the grocery store or work outside the home or that we must never leave the house. :)
However, Solomon, the wisest king ever, mentions that the promiscuous woman wanders while the wise woman opens her own house in hospitality. Proverbs 31, though not written by Solomon, was also inspired to mention a lot of good deeds a virtuous woman does: she is not idle but industrious, entrepreneurial, helpful, generous, and holy. But if you'll notice, it's almost all done in and around her own home. She makes her home her base of operations. We would do well to take heed and imitate her.
Conclusion: We need to avoid these three things to avoid so that we can love our brothers and sisters in Christ in the area of morality. If we avoid dressing seductively, avoid brash and rebellious attitudes, and avoid wandering in public but instead dress modestly and appropriately, cultivate respectful and considerate attitudes, and make our base of operations and hospitality our home, we will be godly and wise. This is what I want to be. How about you?
Join the conversation: Do you struggle with one of these areas more than the others? I struggle most with wanting to dress for the girls without always considering how it might affect the guys. Do you have another tip of something to avoid? Please share!
(P.S. If you're looking for some modest clothing, you might find it at Madison and Moriah, a company by two young sisters sewing modest clothing for women. I applaud their vision and their entrepreneurial spirit. You can find them at https://www.madisonandmoriah.com/.)