All Your Paths
Monday, March 06, 2017
For a man’s ways are before the eyes of the Lord, and he ponders all his paths. The iniquities of the wicked ensnare him, and he is held fast in the cords of his sin. He dies for lack of discipline, and because of his great folly he is led astray.
Even fairly casual readers of Proverbs will notice that Solomon has a lot to say about sexual temptation and sexual sin. Let me count the ways—Proverbs 2:16-19; Proverbs 6:20-35; Proverbs 7:1-27; and here, Proverbs, chapter 5, and other proverbs here and there. Skeptics might suggest that all this talk about sex is a symptom of puritanical hang-ups, Victorian moralism, or some Freudian defense mechanism like reaction formation (where people condemn what they fear).
Solomon is none of the above. He simply recognizes a simple truth. Sex is a precious gift and a powerful force. Human life depends on it—from your own existence to the population of the planet! But it can ruin your life as well; and families, and nations. In a classic sentence at the end of his classic study, British anthropologist J. D. Unwin, wrote: “Any human society is free to choose to display either great energy or to enjoy sexual freedom; the evidence is that it cannot do both for more than one generation” (Sex and Culture, p. 412). So Solomon harps on sexual sin for the simple reason that it is the single most destructive sin we know. (Read 1 Corinthians 6:18.)
But all sin is destructive. So here in Proverbs 5, Solomon warns, strenuously, about sexual sin; but then, without a breath, he extends the warning to all of life: For a man’s ways are before the eyes of the Lord, and he ponders all his paths. Note those all-important words, all his paths. Sexual sin has terrifying power. It can destroy all that you hold dear in one thoughtless moment. But the Lord ponders all your paths—because in the long run, everyday pin-prick sins may work just as well as adultery to ruin your life. Hikers fall from cliffs and die; but last year a hiker died in Phoenix, stung by a thousand bees.
Welcome to Christ Church this Lord’s Day. Make me to know your ways, O Lord; teach me your paths. Psalm 25:4
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