Having and keeping faith. Unchanging love and undying devotion. Forever lasting loyalty and steadfastness. Complete confidence and trust. Sounds nice, I know!! That’s the definition of faithfulness. We have already been thinking about temptation from the earlier verses in chapter five of Proverbs (read more here: “When Temptation Comes My Way”). The final verses of this chapter talk about the sanctity of faithfulness. When we put it all together, I guess we could sum up Proverbs 5 as being about faithfulness even in the midst of temptation or when the odds are against it. Proverbs 5:15-23 spells out some of the consequences of unfaithfulness and provides a glimpse of the consequences of faithfulness as well.
That said, day eight is Proverbs 5:15-23…
“15DRINK WATER FROM YOUR OWN CISTERN AND FRESH WATER FROM YOUR OWN WELL. 16 SHOULD YOUR SPRINGS BE DISPERSED ABROAD, STREAMS OF WATER IN THE STREETS? 17 LET THEM BE YOURS ALONE AND NOT FOR STRANGERS WITH YOU. 18 LET YOUR FOUNTAIN BE BLESSED, AND REJOICE IN THE WIFE OF YOUR YOUTH. 19 AS A LOVING HIND AND A GRACEFUL DOE, LET HER BREASTS SATISFY YOU AT ALL TIMES; BE EXHILARATED ALWAYS WITH HER LOVE. 20 FOR WHY SHOULD YOU, MY SON, BE EXHILARATED WITH AN ADULTERESS AND EMBRACE THE BOSOM OF A FOREIGNER? 21 FOR THE WAYS OF A MAN ARE BEFORE THE EYES OF THE LORD, AND HE WATCHES ALL HIS PATHS. 22 HIS OWN INIQUITIES WILL CAPTURE THE WICKED, AND HE WILL BE HELD WITH THE CORDS OF HIS SIN. 23 HE WILL DIE FOR LACK OF INSTRUCTION, AND IN THE GREATNESS OF HIS FOLLY HE WILL GO ASTRAY.”
PROVERBS 5:15-23, NASB
I could sit here and attempt to extrapolate each iota of this passage, but I am not going to. I could type up a hellfire and brimstone defense of Biblical, God-ordained, pure and honorable marriage, but I won’t. (…Even though this passage does lend itself to and significantly adds to such a conversation! That stands as truth regardless.) I just want to share a little bit of what I am coming to see about faithfulness from these verses.
There is freedom in faithfulness. This probably seems like the most contradictory thing to say given the context at hand, especially in the 21st Century. Marriage, and the commitments thereof, are often interpreted as being confining. Why should you have to be stuck with one someone ’til death do you part? Yeah, because that’s the dream of every little girl– to be just another one of countless women like a second- (or third- or fourth- or fifth-) rate and forgettable movie sequel or to be tossed around between countless men like a cheap bag of chips at a football game. NOT! There is no freedom in a relationship where every waking moment is spent fearing (and or fueling) its disposability. Newsflash…that’s not love. “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love” (1 John 4:18, NASB).
“When you love someone with real practical deeds, you never hear a warning signal that says, “You’re going to get punished for this.” Fear is what you feel when you have done something that ought to be punished. But love is never threatened with punishment. So there is no fear in love. On the contrary, when you love each other with “perfect love” (i.e.: with the love of God overflowing and being completed in action)—when you love each other like this, it casts out fear!”
Love is impossible apart from God. “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love” (1 John 4:7-8, NASB). If we are Christ’s ambassadors (i.e.: having the responsibility of representing Him) and are called to live out His love for us in our relationships, especially marriage, what a fearful thing to think of having to account to God who is enthroned as King and established as Judge for misrepresenting Him!?!
So what does this have to do with Proverbs 5? “For the ways of a man are before the eyes of the Lord, and He watches all his paths. His own iniquities will capture the wicked, and he will be held with the cords of his sin” (Proverbs 5:21-22, NASB). Being held within cords sounds like the exact opposite of freedom to me!
Which brings me to another point…
There is peace in faithfulness. I am going to go out on a limb and state that peace is something we all crave, and desperately so. What sense of perfect peace there is in knowing full well that someone shares an unchanging love and undying devotion, forever lasting loyalty and steadfastness, complete confidence and trust with you.
When it’s broken…that’s not freedom, that’s not peace.
It is all too easy to lose sight of, ignore, and or dispute the scope and severity of the consequences of unfaithfulness in such a sin sick world. Unfaithfulness is everywhere. But GOOD NEWS…our unfaithfulness will not nullify the faithfulness of God (Romans 3:3). This is NOT a license to be unfaithful. Unfaithfulness will make for one bumpy road on which things of incredible value– like freedom and peace– will be sacrificed. This IS a reminder of why we need Jesus Christ more and more! Our ways are already before the eyes of the Lord, He is already watching our paths. So I pray…may our eyes look to the faithful Lord Jesus, the Maker of heaven and earth; He will not allow our foot to slip, He will keep us and our hearts steadfast in Him and reflecting His love as we ought to (Psalm 121:1-3, Psalm 112:7).
- Note that the term “marriage” in this post refers to Bible-defined, God-ordained, pure and honorable marriage.
- “Perfect Love Casts Out Fear.” John Piper. Available online at http://www.desiringgod.org/sermons/perfect-love-casts-out-fear. May 26, 1985.
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