9 Then you will understand righteousness and justice and equity, every good path;
10 for wisdom will come into your heart, and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul; 11 discretion will watch over you, understanding will guard you, 12 delivering you from the way of evil, from men of perverted speech, 13 who forsake the paths of uprightness to walk in the ways of darkness, 14 who rejoice in doing evil and delight in the perverseness of evil, 15 men whose paths are crooked, and who are devious in their ways.
16 So you will be delivered from the forbidden woman, from the adulteress with her smooth words, 17 who forsakes the companion of her youth and forgets the covenant of her God; 18 for her house sinks down to death, and her paths to the departed; 19 none who go to her come back, nor do they regain the paths of life.
In a recent post, I mentioned the reciprocal nature of wisdom. I stated that wise obedience to the precepts of God leads to blessings, which leads to wiser living, leading to greater blessings. As we examine the next section of scripture, it is important to note what those blessings are. So many people think that blessings from God refers to prosperity. While it is true that God can and does bless people with material blessings (the earth is the Lord’s and everything in it), the greatest blessings from God are beyond material.
The Lord gives wisdom and understanding, and as verse nine says, “then you will understand righteousness and justice and equity, every good path.” How wonderful it is to understand every good path! That kind of understanding can save someone from a lifetime of foolish decisions and actions. Living a foolish life entails striving for personal pleasure from the wrong sources. The fool seeks pleasure from money, sex, drunkeness, etc. The person who lives wisely understands that Godly wisdom is the source of pleasure, as well as results in pleasure. Wisdom hidden in the heart leads to a fulfilling pleasure of godly knowledge.
Godly wisdom results in discretion. Discretion is knowing and behaving in such a way so as to avoid causing offense or revealing too much personal information. As we gain wisdom, we realize that we need to avoid evil people and compromising situations. Discretion informs us of who evil men and evil women are.
Evil men pervert their words. Our first reaction is to think of profanity, but that is not what the author meant by perverted speech. What he meant was that evil men twist the truth. There are evil men who will tell you that all religions are pathways to God. They tell you that as long as you try to live a good life, God will let you into heaven. After all, God is loving and compassionate. The truth is, God IS loving and compassionate, but He is also just. The Bible says that “there is none righteous, not even one.” God has a standard for heaven. He demands and deserves perfection. But no one has lived a perfect life except for Jesus Christ. The Bible also says that “the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ.” The truth is that you can never earn you way into heaven, but God will save you from the penalty of your evil lifestyle by His grace. “For by grace you are saved through faith, not of works lest any man should boast.”
There is only one God, and there is only one way to enter His kingdom – faith in Jesus Christ.
The proverb continues by describing that godly wisdom will keep you from the forbidden, adulterous woman. While the evil man will corrupt you with his words and his ways, so to will the forbidden woman. This woman will entice you away from the one true path, and seek to devour you. While you and I are covenanted to walk with God, this woman will attempt to draw you from that covenant. She does not respect commitments, but goes to whatever or whoever feels good now. This leads to death and destruction. Avoid her at all cost.
Challenge for the week: See God’s wisdom and courageously avoid evil men and women. Avoid the lies and enticements which lead to death.