In the first verses of Chapter 7 we encounter strong verbs that describe our responsibility to God’s instruction: keep it, treasure it within, keep it and live, and write it on your heart.
Why such strong commands? Verse 5 reveals to us that it is to “keep us from …” In other words, when God warns us we are to respond. Also, in verse 5 we find the “seductress” making her rounds again. The majority of the verses in chapter 7 are warning against sexual immorality, but those principles can help us fend off other sorts of temptations as well.
To help us digest it, let’s divide this chapter into three bite-sized portions:
Typical ways we go astray: verses 5b-13
- Falling for flattery (verse 5b). The smooth, complimentary words of others can often lure us away from obeying God.
- Being in the wrong place (8-9). While this can be a place of outright debauchery, It can also be a more common, yet subtle, venue such as the break room at work (gossip/complaining). Other places to avoid might include bars, casinos, church business meetings, and Arby’s. I don’t think Arby’s is sinful, but what it does to your stomach at 3 a.m. might cause you to think or say sinful things, and/or threaten bodily harm to whomever made you eat there.
- Being with people that we shouldn’t be with (10-13). These verses provide a description of what these folks are like: loud, rowdy, immodest, crafty/schemers, and impudent.
If you sense that any of these three are taking place, it’s time to head the other way!
Tools used to tempt us: verses 14-20
- Excuses or justification for the act are offered. (14). You can likely recall some that have been heaped upon you in the past.
- Personal appeals to participate are provided. (15). This tool is double diabolical, it is uses manipulation through a relationship in order to reel you in.
- Sense-exciting invitations are dished out. (16-18). Bad things require over-the-top advertisement to convince others to join in; good things do not require such titillating sales pitches.
- An encouraging round of excuses is offered. (19-20). New excuses are used to seal the deal, or as a last resort.
If you take a moment you can certainly recall personal examples of these that have been used on you in the past. Recall them, identify them, and steady yourself to fight them in the future. And, do not get the double roast beef with “horsey” sauce. Just sayin’.
Attitudes that temptation preys upon: 21
Verse 21 provides remarkable insight for us to use to guard against temptation. Although we are enticed and flattered by others to yield to temptation, our internal attitudes cause us to give in. Specifically, discontent and pride can become the two rails that temptation runs upon.
Keep in mind, while the context of the chapter deals with the specific sin of snuggling with a seductress, the principles transfer to most any form of temptation. We can be tempted to become angry, indulgent, jealous, gossip, lust, or greedy in the same ways.
Two take-a-ways for tomorrow:
1. When you sense someone beginning to flatter you, appeal for your involvement, offer excuses as approval, and tingle your senses with descriptions of what they are planning … run the other way!
2. Please do not think that temptation can’t break through your wall of resistance. Verse 26 registers a sobering statement: the weak and strong alike can fall prey to the wares of the worldly. We cannot withstand temptation in our own strength. We must run to Christ, He is our strength and wisdom! Seek him and sin loses it’s allure.