Proverbs 6:20-35 - All Inclusive Sin
Adultery wreaks havoc over every dimension of life. Stop it before it starts.
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Read Proverbs 6:20-35
20 My son, keep your father’s command
and do not forsake your mother’s teaching.
21 Bind them always on your heart;
fasten them around your neck.
22 When you walk, they will guide you;
when you sleep, they will watch over you;
when you awake, they will speak to you.
23 For this command is a lamp,
this teaching is a light,
and correction and instruction
are the way to life,
24 keeping you from your neighbor’s wife,
from the smooth talk of a wayward woman.
25 Do not lust in your heart after her beauty
or let her captivate you with her eyes.
26 For a prostitute can be had for a loaf of bread,
but another man’s wife preys on your very life.
27 Can a man scoop fire into his lap
without his clothes being burned?
28 Can a man walk on hot coals
without his feet being scorched?
29 So is he who sleeps with another man’s wife;
no one who touches her will go unpunished.
30 People do not despise a thief if he steals
to satisfy his hunger when he is starving.
31 Yet if he is caught, he must pay sevenfold,
though it costs him all the wealth of his house.
32 But a man who commits adultery has no sense;
whoever does so destroys himself.
33 Blows and disgrace are his lot,
and his shame will never be wiped away.
34 For jealousy arouses a husband’s fury,
and he will show no mercy when he takes revenge.
35 He will not accept any compensation;
he will refuse a bribe, however great it is.
Listen to passage & devotional:
Heidelberg Catechism Q&A 109
Q. Does God,
in this commandment,
forbid only such scandalous
sins as adultery?
A. We are temples of the Holy Spirit,
body and soul,
and God wants both to be
kept clean and holy.
That is why he forbids
whether it be actions, looks,
talk, thoughts, or desires.
Adultery wreaks such havoc because it always involves multiple sins. This passage in Proverbs helps demonstrate that committing adultery violates not just the one particular command, but every commandment in the second table of the law:
5th Commandment: adultery forsakes our father's command and mother's teaching (v20)
6th Commandment: those who commit adultery "have no sense... and destroy [kill] themselves" (v32)
7th Commandment: Adultery itself, which is precipitated by lust (v25)
8th Commandment: In adultery, one person steals the spouse of another (v24, 26, 29, 30-32)
9th Commandment: Adultery is rooted in and perpetuated by lies and falsehoods, and those caught in it will never be fully trusted again (v33)
10th Commandment: The Old Testament word for covet is the same word the New Testament uses for lust. Verse 25, which reads "do not lust in your heart after her beauty or let her captivate you with her eyes" can also be translated "do not covet in your heart..."
Adultery begins long before two people physically come together. This is why the catechism warns against "looks, talk, thoughts or desires" that "incite unchastity."
Jesus teaches this concept in the Sermon on the Mount when He states that a man who "looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart." Jesus goes on to warn that because of the danger that this sin includes you must get rid of everything that cause you to "stumble," even if that means gouging out your eye or cutting off your hand (Matthew 5:27-30).
Of course Jesus is using hyperbole in His warning, otherwise our churches would be full of blind people with no hands. What He means, and what the Proverbs and our Catechism reinforce, is that you need to get rid of whatever it is that causes temptation in your life.
ACKNOWLEDGE WHO GOD IS: Our Father, who has called us out of a life of lust and into a full covenantal commitment with the Triune God;
ALIGN YOUR LIFE WITH GOD'S WILL: Since it's impossible for you to separate yourself from every source of temptation, pray that God will strengthen your heart so you can keep yourself from lusting after the things of this world;
ASK GOD FOR WHAT YOU NEED:
Read the New Testament in a year, a chapter a day - 1 Peter 5