by David Baer, President & CEO of FamiliesAlive®
The concept of sexual purity is increasingly foreign in our society.
We live in a “Vegas” day and age – Sin City, USA might as well be the motto and the rule for our culture.
But even a casual reading of the first nine chapters of the Book of Proverbs shows that helping children understand sexual purity is one of the most important aspects of parenting. What follows is an excerpt from the new Read More about Parenting book, Raising Wise Children, Part 2: Helping Your Children Resist Sexual Temptation (available soon!)
Introduction for Parents
Since so much of the first nine chapters [of Proverbs] are devoted to this subject and since our culture values it so little, wise parents zero in on this topic early on in their children’s lives and then give guidance to their children all along the path leading to their maturity. We’re talking about the wisdom our children need to embrace as they move through childhood into puberty and beyond, as they become sexually mature adults.
For children to gain this kind of wisdom requires parents who are ready and able to talk about more than merely biological changes that happen with puberty. The writer of Proverbs addresses parents and the need for them to teach their children by word and deed what Godly sexuality and marriage look like. This positive teaching precedes and underlies the teaching our children need to stay pure for the sake of their union with another believer and their continuing relationship with God.
Main Idea: The writer is concerned that his sons learn to submit their sexuality to the high standard of the God of the Bible – not to the low standard of society. Today’s culture is no different.
Chapter 2 begins with the father encouraging his son to accept his words, listen carefully to what is wise and cry out for insight and understanding, searching for it as a great treasure. In response, his father says, the Lord Himself will give wisdom, knowledge and understanding. For God “…holds victory in store for the upright, He is a shield to those whose walk is blameless, for He guards the course of the just and protects the way of His faithful ones” (Proverbs 2: 7-8, NIV).
Further, the wisdom that God gives will save the son from wicked men and “from the adulteress, from the wayward wife with her seductive words, who has left the partner of her youth and ignored the covenant she made before God. For her house leads down to death and her paths to the spirits of the dead. None who go to her return or attain the paths of life. Thus you will walk in the ways of good men and keep to the paths of the righteous” (Proverbs 2: 16-20, NIV).
These verses introduce us to the role of parents, especially Dads, when it comes to teaching, mentoring and guarding his sons and daughters in this important area.
The concept is echoed throughout Proverbs chapters 2-9.
In addition to “My son, if you accept my words…” found in chapter 2, verse 1, similar admonitions are found sprinkled throughout these chapters. In 3:1, “My son, do not forget my teaching, in 3:11, “My son, do not despise the Lord’s discipline, and in 3:21, “My son, preserve sound judgement and discipline, they will be like to you as an ornament to grace your neck.”
In chapter 4, the generational aspect of this construct becomes crystal clear.
Each generation of fathers is to pass on to the next generation the wisdom that comes from fearing God and following His commands:
“Listen, my sons, to a father’s instruction; pay attention and gain understanding. I give you sound learning, so do not forsake my teaching. When I was a boy in my father’s house, still tender, and an only child of my mother, he taught me and said, “Lay hold of my words with all your heart; keep my commands and you will live. Get wisdom, get understanding; do not forget my words or swerve from them. Do not forsake wisdom, and she will protect you; love her, and she will watch over you. Wisdom is supreme; therefore get wisdom. Though it cost all you have, get understanding. Esteem her, and she will exalt you; embrace her, and she will honor you. She will set a garland of grace on your head and present you with a crown of splendor. Listen, my son, accept what I say…” (Proverbs 4:1-10, NIV).
This is followed later in the chapter by the reason why it is so important for parents to impart this kind of wisdom…
…and, correspondingly, the reason why it is so important for children to listen and respond.
“My son, pay attention to what I say; listen closely to my words. Do not let them out of your sight, keep them within your heart; for they are life to those who find them and health to a man’s whole body. Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.”
You see, godly parents pass on the wisdom of the Lord to their children not to be killjoys, but because life lived in this wisdom refreshes and enlivens both the body and soul and enables a person to live in authenticity and joy.
It is in this same fashion that our Creator God has given the Ten Commandments to His children. He knows what makes for the best life possible and wants His children to avoid the heartache of living in any other fashion.
Beginning in chapter 5, the parent’s instruction that must be heard and heeded is linked with sexuality and marriage.
Proverbs 5:1-23 is an extended passage that speaks of the folly of immorality and the remarkable, even captivating nature of marriage. Note once again that this is part of the wisdom passed on from fathers to sons. The chapter begins, “My son, pay attention to my wisdom…” and expands in verse 7 to: “Now then, my sons, listen to me…” And the father’s wisdom that needs to be heeded? Sexual satisfaction is to be found only in the arms of your wife and nowhere else.
The godly parent first warns against sexual infidelity and the ultimate cost it exerts upon a person’s body and soul.
“My son, pay attention to my wisdom, listen well to my words of insight, that you may maintain discretion and your lips may preserve knowledge. For the lips of an adulteress drip honey, and her speech is smoother than oil; but in the end she is bitter as gall, sharp as a double-edged sword. Her feet go down to death; her steps lead straight to the grave. She gives no thought to the way of life; her paths are crooked, but she knows it not.
Now then, my sons, listen to me; do not turn aside from what I say. Keep to a path far from her, do not go near the door of her house, lest you give your best strength to others and your years to one who is cruel, lest strangers feast on your wealth and your toil enrich another man’s house. At the end of your life you will groan, when your flesh and body are spent. You will say, ‘How I hated discipline! How my heart spurned correction! I would not obey my teachers or listen to my instructors. I have come to the brink of utter ruin in the midst of the whole assembly.’” (Proverbs 5:1-14, NIV).
Then comes the parent’s poignant conclusion that highlights where the greatest blessing lies for a young man or woman.
Here is just a glimpse of the captivating and exhilarating nature of sexual love within the bond of a covenant marriage:
“Drink water from your own cistern, running water from your own well. Should your springs overflow in the streets, your streams of water in the public squares? Let them be yours alone, never to be shared with strangers. May your fountain be blessed, and may you rejoice in the wife of your youth. A loving doe, a graceful deer—may her breasts satisfy you always, may you ever be captivated by her love. Why be captivated, my son, by an adulteress? Why embrace the bosom of another man’s wife?” (Proverbs 5:15-20, NIV).
Finally, chapter 5, helps wise parents understand why this is so important for themselves and for their children.
“For a man’s ways are in full view of the LORD, and he examines all his paths. The evil deeds of a wicked man ensnare him; the cords of his sin hold him fast. He will die for lack of discipline, led astray by his own great folly” (Proverbs 5:21-23).