The punishment is unending–we may escape it for a day or two, or even a month or two, but it has a way of lingering for a lifetime. Verse 33 says that the one committing adultery “will get wounds and dishonor, and his disgrace will not be wiped away.”
We’re all getting catfished.
In our digital world, many people fall prey to people pretending to be something other than what they are. The perfect online boyfriend or girlfriend turns out to be a scam artist or a student prankster. The perfect investment opportunity turns out to be a con. But this isn’t a modern phenomenon at all. In fact, it’s centuries old, so old in fact that the author of Proverbs exposes one of the oldest catfishing schemes in the book: the promise of guilt-free, consequence-free, no-strings-attached sexual pleasure.
The reality is that there’s a reason catfish artists use romance and relationships and sexuality. When those things are involved we’re even more liable to believe lies, and when do we’re not just liable to get hurt, but we’re liable to get dead. That’s what the Bible says. That’s the danger the father in Proverbs sees, so he lays out this danger for his son.
The book of Proverbs is filled with characters who represent something about the world–Lady Wisdom, the “fool”, etc., so he describes this catfishing scheme as being run by the “adulterous woman.” But really she’s just a character representing any illicit sexual temptation outside of God’s plan for sexuality–meaning you can apply it to men or women, adultery or pornography. The Father in Proverbs wants his son to see through the scheme, and God wants us to see through it too because it’s alive and well today.
In a few posts, we’re going to explore in brutal honesty how this catfishing scheme works. First, one of the oldest lies in the world.
The Lie: You can sin and not suffer* (Proverbs 6:20-35)
“Can a man carry fire next to his chest and his clothes not be burned? Or can one walk on hot coals and his feet not be scorched? So is he who goes in to his neighbor’s wife; none who touches her will go unpunished.” (Proverbs 6:27-29)
In our world today, we think we can separate sin from suffering–that we can get the pleasure of sin without its consequences. But that’s a lie. The son sees a woman he thinks is “hot” but the reality is you can’t get close to that kind of “heat” without getting ugly second and third-degree burns.
Bruce Waltke points out that this section is meant to show the severe, inevitable, and unending penalty of adultery.
The punishment is severe–it won’t be a slap on the wrist it’ll be ugly and brutal. The Father says that when you pay a prostitute you get the pricing up front but many of these “free” sexual encounters cost far more than you’d ever imagine.
The punishment is inevitable–there’s no such thing as a risk-free, consequence-free sexual hookup.
The punishment is unending–we may escape it for a day or two, or even a month or two, but it has a way of lingering for a lifetime. Verse 33 says that the one committing adultery “will get wounds and dishonor, and his disgrace will not be wiped away.” Even in the best case where there are repentance and restoration, there are still long, lingering effects in your relationships with God and others. And in the worst case you will be relationally, economically, personally, socially, destroyed.