Proverbs 13:24 “Discipline”

Pastor Joshua Hall; Faith Presbyterian Church, Quincy, IL; June 9, 2020

Good Morning, Brothers and Sister!

Today we continue our series of devotionals on the themes from the book of Proverbs by examining the theme of fidelity in marriage. I want to warn you ahead of time, this message is not for children. Parents, please make sure you do not allow your children to listen to this message until you have previewed it and are ready to discuss it with them!

If you have your Bible, follow along with me as I read Proverbs 5:15-23 from the English Standard Version’s translation of the Bible and consider this teaching on marriage.

“Drink water from your own cistern, flowing water from your own well. Should your springs be scattered abroad, streams of water in the streets? Let them be for yourself alone, and not for strangers with you. Let your fountain be blessed, and rejoice in the wife of your youth, a lovely deer, a graceful doe. Let her breasts fill you at all times with delight; be intoxicated always in her love. Why should you be intoxicated, my son, with a forbidden woman and embrace the bosom of an adulteress? For a man’s ways are before the eyes of the Lord, and he ponders all his paths. The iniquities of the wicked ensnare him, and he is held fast in the cords of his sin. He dies for lack of discipline, and because of his great folly he is led astray.”

Let us pray…

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With colorful language the king shares this proverb. It is filled with great wisdom for those who are willing to listen.

We are to drink water from our own wells. In marriage, a man and a wife give themselves to each other in a blessed marriage covenant created by God. God designed sex to be between one man and one woman who have entered the covenant of marriage, a commitment to fidelity for life. All sex outside of biblical marriage between one man and one woman is immoral. For the married couple, we are commanded to only drink from our own well. That is, lust after no one else! Do not let your eyes or mind wander to someone who is not your spouse! Do not allow your relationships with others to take on a romantic tone! Do not even entertain that thought!

The king argues that it is shameful to share our romantic passions with anyone but our spouse. One should not let the water of their well be poured out on the streets. There it becomes defiled and useless.

We are to rejoice in the wife of our youth. This is directed at men, but also applies to women who should enjoy only their husband’s embrace. The king implored us to look upon our spouse as our mate from our youth. Always remember the beauty which attracted you at the first. Men, do not let your love grow cold, but pursue your wife! Consciously recognize the truth that she is lovely as a graceful doe! Be delighted in her breasts, intoxicated with her love! Infidelity of all kinds detracts from your marriage bed. It reduces your ability to love your spouse. It is stealing. 

Love is a choice. Don’t ever let anyone tell you that you are not in control of your feelings. You may become lazy with your feelings, but you are responsible for them. So the king asks us why we should be intoxicated with a forbidden woman? Why should we entertain romantic or erotic thoughts of another? It is foolish! And out of the desires of the heart come actions! We must not entertain any lust!

I am a man. I cannot claim to be pure in all my ways. We all struggle and fall short of God’s glory. So we need grace. God gives that grace. The first grace given to those who struggle with lust is the truth contained in this and other passages. We can see that lust and adultery are foolish and shameful from this text. The second grace given is this truth: God watches us all and ponders our steps. He knows the thoughts and desires of your heart. He knows the secret desires and the secret sins. There is nothing we can hide from God! If you wouldn’t want your mother to now what you have been thinking or doing, why would you do it in the presence of the Lord? Your mother may think less of you, but God has the power to discipline and to judge!

The king tells us that “the iniquities of the wicked ensnare him.” Those who begin down the path of lust will not escape the consequences of his actions. He goes on, “he is held fast in the cords of his sin. He dies for lack of discipline, and because of his great folly he is led astray.” Would you give up your life for temporal pleasure? Adultery destroys lives. It wrecks marriages and families. It ends careers. It destroys trust. 

So what does the wise person do? The wise person cultivates his or her relationship with their spouse. The wise person trains their heart to love their spouse, and shuns wickedness. The wise person learns to avoid temptation and, like Joseph, flees the temptation! Those who do not flee temptation when they have the chance are already walking the path to sin and death!

Enjoy the spouse of your youth! Ask God to help you be content and to give you more love for your spouse. Commit your heart to your spouse and no other! This is the way to life and happiness. This is God’s will for you.

Let us pray…


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