Proverbs 7:22 He followed her at once, like an ox going to the slaughter.
Some theologians actually think the scene described in Proverbs 7 was a real life scenario that played out one evening as King Solomon was looking out over the city from a window in his palace. Possibly after dinner, he parted the curtains of his bedroom window to enjoy the view as the sun set over the city of Jerusalem. As he took in the view, a young man caught his eye as he was moving through the lethargic streets of a sleepy city.
Before we continue on with the story, let me set up the characters and explain how to identify with them. The young man represents you, whether you’re male or female. I want you to step into his shoes. Then, let the immoral woman represent an area of temptation in your life. It may be lust like the literal story we read or it may be anger, over eating, alcohol, gossip, or any number of temptations. Got it? Alright, let’s continue.
Solomon goes on to describe the scenario as he watched this young man (you) make his way across the street near the house of a notoriously immoral woman (temptation). If you read the rest of the chapter, you know where this is about to go. Succumbing to the seductively dressed and sly woman (temptation), the young man (you) finds himself in a place he never should have been (Garth Brooks reference intended).
Spoiler alert. This story does not have a redemptive moment. As Solomon puts the finishing touches on the story, He tells of the tragedy that befell this young man (you). The same theologians I mentioned in the beginning of this devotion also believe that it’s very likely Solomon called one of his guards in that moment and sent him to the house of this woman and had the two executed. So when it says he was “like an ox going to the slaughter,” Solomon meant it.
In another more famous verse, God says it a little more directly:
Romans 6:23 says, “The wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.”
But there is good news. We don’t have to be the young man in this story. We don’t have to fall prey to the snares of temptation the enemy plants in our lives. I want to give you two ideas for overcoming temptation:
1—Keep Your Distance! In verse eight it says he was “strolling down the path by her house”. When dealing with a temptation, when possible put some distance between you and it. Overcoming sin while maintaining proximity can be very difficult.
2 —Run Away! In our subject scripture, it says “he followed”. When temptation and sinful desires hit, run the other way! I didn’t say walk. I said run! If this young man had been more sensible, or realized the stakes at hand, he not only wouldn’t have followed, he would have run for his life!
Father, I thank you that you have given me the free gift of life through Jesus, my Lord! I’m so grateful I don't have to live under the thumb of sin and temptation. Thank you today for the wisdom to recognize when temptation hits and the strength to run to you. I choose to live victorious over sin and I know you’ve given me the grace to do so!