Sexual temptation is something that requires diligence, wisdom and perseverance. These are qualities that the proverbs excel in providing. In Proverbs 7:22-23 the author uses vivid imagery to describe falling to sexual temptation. If we consider it carefully, the language provides a stark warning to us, and can be a helpful tool to motivate us to avoid sin.
Lets walk through Proverbs 7:22 to see how this works:
All at once he follows her,
as an ox goes to the slaughter,
or as a stag is caught fast
“All at once…” – he deliberates and suddenly he gives in. She has been talking to him from verse 14 through to 20. He has been contemplating her words, resisting valiantly, but now suddenly his resistance collapses and he follows her. Was it something she said? Perhaps the straw that broke the camels back?
“he follows her…” – As a man he is supposed to lead, not follow. He gives up his post as leader – family leader, husband, independent thinker and believes the lie the temptation cannot exist without. God does not call husbands to follow women – much less a woman who is not his wife. Men are called to be leaders in the home (1 Cor 11:3), and are intended to be the pillar of strength in the home (1 Peter 3:7) giving security and safety to his family. But this man has suddenly abandoned his post, relinquishing his leadership role cheaply to a foreign woman.
“as an ox goes to the slaughter…” – Death follows (Prov 7:23,27). His life will dramatically change. All respect his wife had for him is gone. His children will look at him in wonder, anger and disappointment, wondering why he abandoned their mother. He is now no better than a dumb witless animal. What strength is easily brought down. His fall is compared to that of an ox that has no idea it is about to have its life taken. By one act of folly, his life is taken away.
Samson was a classic example of falling for this sin. The strongest, mightiest and most powerful are destroyed by a lack of self-control and the foolish belief in the lies of a woman who promises short term pleasure.
A Simple Strategy
Passages like this can be part of a strategy against sexual temptation.
- Take verses like this one and memorize it.
- Meditate on it and draw out its riches so that it affects your thought life.
- Write out what you find and review it regularly.
- Pray that in our moments of weakness, the Lord protects us from sexual temptation.
- Be intentional and disciplined in your pursuit of holiness.
As you let the richness of the words paint the picture in your mind, the shocking nature of sin can become more vivid, more compelling and purifying. Praise the Lord for the richness of His word.