“I did not listen to the voice of my teachers or incline my ear to my instructors.
I am at the brink of utter ruin in the assembled congregation.”
Proverbs 5:13-14 (ESV)
Thinking back to your school days, did you ever not take a teacher’s warnings to study for a test seriously and then found yourself failing that test and ultimately the class? Warnings are for our good, and in Proverbs we hear Solomon warning his son about many aspects of life, but especially in chapters 5-7 he is adamant about avoiding adultery.
Proverbs 5 is Solomon’s plea to his son to avoid adultery at all costs because the act of adultery will cost all he has: health, wealth and community. Close to the center of this chapter, Solomon describes what an adulterer might say as he feels the weight of his sins: I didn’t listen, and now I’m in trouble, complete and utter trouble.
Notice that Solomon has warned his son multiple times in this chapter, telling him to pay attention (v. 1), listen carefully (v. 1), and not to turn aside (v. 7). This is a recurring appeal throughout the book of Proverbs, but especially in chapters 1-7.
While verses 13-14 refer specifically to the sin of adultery, the warnings in this passage can apply to any kind of sin in our lives, whether it is adultery or other sins such as gossip, lying, or unrighteous anger. In the same way, the consequences of sin described in the passage above takes on many forms: financial (v. 10), physical (v. 11) and social (v. 14).
God has given us instructions for our lives through his word, and we should heed his instruction. If you are facing a hard decision or what feels like an uphill battle to overcome a particular sin in your life, pray for strength, find an accountability partner, and seek wisdom from God’s word. Don’t ignore the warnings from God or your friends and plow ahead with your own self-will.
When we heed God’s word, we can know that the rewards of discretion and knowledge noted in verse 2 will far outweigh the ruin that leads straight to the grave (v. 5). Trust your heavenly Teacher and take his warnings seriously.