May 2006

Are you ready for some steamy truths of a sexual nature? I assure you I'm not talking about the findings of an article from a risqué national magazine such as Maxim or Cosmopolitan. I'm referring to the writings of King Solomon in Proverbs.

Solomon is candid, direct and often blunt about sexual issues. He gives us exactly what we need for navigating safely through today's sensuality-crazed generation.

Much of his writings deal implicitly with four topics: (1) sexual immorality; (2) the personal price of infidelity; (3) the joys of married life and love; (4) the consequences of promiscuity. His advice, although given centuries ago, is still relative today.

Scattered throughout Proverbs 5 is a plethora of advice and admonition. Especially clear are the signs of sexual temptation.

Notice verse 3: "The lips of an immoral woman are as sweet as honey, and her mouth is smoother than oil" (NLT).

The Hebrew word for "lips" is saphah, which is a direct reference to language. The lips refer to speech, words and conversation. Sexual temptation begins with sweet words.

Notice also Solomon's comparison between the immoral woman's words and the pleasurable taste of honey.

In ancient Israel, honey was the sweetest substance known. The idea is this: Attraction to another person is sweet and smooth, so guard your conversation with an individual of the opposite sex.

Solomon goes on to cover a gamut of consequences for sexual immorality in Proverbs 5:9-12.

In verse 9 he states that it causes you to lose your honor among your peers and subject yourself to years of scorn and rejection. He goes on to mentions the possible loss of wealth and money (v. 10), the chance of contracting a sexually transmitted disease (v. 11), mental anguish (v. 12), and, finally, that it subjects one to disgrace before others (vv. 13-14). Simply put, immorality doesn't pay!

However, no such list would be complete without addressing the joy of sexual intimacy within marriage.

Solomon challenges his readers never to exchange the lasting intimacy of marriage for the fleeting pleasure of an immoral affair (see vv. 15-20). He is especially clear when he addresses men: "Let your wife be a fountain of blessing ... Rejoice in the wife of your youth" (v. 18).

Are King Solomon's writings steamy yet straightforward? Yes. Outdated? Of course not. Honest and to the point? Absolutely.

Therefore, it would be wise to forego the advice in Maxim or Cosmopolitan and take firm hold of the Bible's eternal wisdom.

John Chasteen is associate dean at Southwestern Christian University in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

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