Today's Text and Thought of Encouragement:
“My (daughter), if sinners entice thee, consent thou not.”
Proverbs 1: 10
King James Version
“The Price of Enticement”
“If you have been tempted into evil, fly from it. It is not falling into the water, but lying in it, that drowns you."
What are the “enticements” in my life that tempt me?
What has been my response when I have found myself “enticed” by others?
“Many a dangerous temptation comes to us in fine gay colors that are but skin-deep.”
“And if a man entice a maid that is not betrothed, and lie with her, he shall surely endow her to be his wife.”
Exodus 22: 16
King James Version
I’m on a diet. Not some fad or wacky food diet that starves you. I’m trying to lose some weight by eating healthy and this includes a regimen without my favorite food – chocolate. You’d be proud of me because I’ve had such will-power, that is until yesterday.
About 4p.m. I received a cell phone call from my husband, Jim, who was running some errands. He informed me that he was sitting in front of our town’s home-made fudge shop. In fact, Jim said, “The car just drove me here.” Right on! He told me he was going to succumb to the temptation of buying fresh fudge with macadamia nuts. But he didn’t stop there! He asked, “Wouldn’t you like a couple of haystacks?” Now this really plunged me into a dilemma because there’s only one thing I like as much as chocolate and it is coconut. Our local fudge shop has perfected the art of pouring creamy dark, dark chocolate over finely shredded coconut then letting these little droplets from heaven harden into the most delectable morsels you can imagine putting in your mouth.
Well, Jim’s enticement and cajoling won out and I had a haystack for my evening dessert. It was delicious. While being enticed to eat a small piece of chocolate once in awhile isn’t going to damage me forever, some of the “enticements” we face in our lives are not so benign. In fact, they are dangerous and they burrow themselves into our spiritual lives and just like termites destroy us from the inside out.
Let’s begin by looking closely at our text for today in Exodus 22: 16. “If a man entices a maid that is not betrothed, and lie with her, he shall surely endow her to be his wife.”
There are two important lessons I found in this text:
Lesson 1: The first lesson has to do with the word we studied on Tuesday, “self-respect.” Here in a book of Divers Laws and Ordinances, God says to men, “If you seduce an unmarried woman, you must “assent or agree” to marry her.” Why would God have this kind of rule? At that time sex outside of marriage was considered to be an offense punishable by stoning. But God said to His children, “a man can’t ‘entice,’ ‘seduce,’ ‘allure,’ or in any other way, sweet-talk a girl into going to bed with him and then just walk off and leave her as a used old shoe, waiting for the stones to begin to fly.” You see, deceit and treachery of a man toward a woman or a woman toward a man, was not and is not part of God’s plan. And this goes for flattery motivated by a desire to get what one wants for their personal use and pleasure. Author Helen Rowland describes the affect of flattery this way and I have changed the gender so this thought applies to all of us girls: “Flattery affects a (woman) like any other “dope.” It stimulates and exhilarates (her) for the moment, but usually ends by going to (her) head and making (her) act foolish.” God says to men, “Don’t you “entice” or “seduce” my girls for your pleasure and walk off. There are consequences. Sex is for marriage, period!” Quite a pronouncement from the God of the universe. And to men who use women or women who use men for a moment of enjoyment, God says, “Not so fast. Your behavior has consequences.” In the old French, the word for “entice” is “enticer” which means to set on fire. God tells men and women, “Don’t play with fire. Don’t set emotions on fire because a blaze may result that you can’t put out.” The preacher John Calvin said, “Though Satan instills his poison, and fans the flames of our corrupt desires within us, we are yet not carried by any external force to the commission of sin, but our own flesh entices us, and we willingly yield to its allurements.” This is why God wanted to protect His daughters, especially, from the pain of being used in a thoughtless way and then tossed aside like a piece of trash. Again, God is protecting the self-worth of His girls.
Lesson 2: But there’s a second lesson we can learn and it comes from the word “entice.” This word in Hebrew means to, “draw aside.” While our text for today focuses on sexual behavior, sex isn’t the only thing that can entice us, as daughters of the King, to be drawn aside from the path and purpose God has for our lives. In the Old Testament, in the book of Job we find these instructional words: “If I have made gold my hope, or have said to the fine gold, ‘Thou art my confidence; If I rejoiced because my wealth was great, and because mine hand had gotten much….And my heart hath been secretly enticed, or my mouth hath kissed my hand: This also were an iniquity to be punished by the judge, for I should have denied the God that is above.”
(Job 31: 24,25,27,28, K.J.V.). What is shown in this enlightening piece of Scripture is that money and love of self are” enticements,” also, and lead us to deny our heavenly Father. Sex, money, love and wealth aren’t bad in themselves. But when we use them to get from other people what we want to satisfy our own selfish desires, they become “enticements” that draw us aside from God.
Today, as you review your own life, are there any “enticements” that are drawing you aside? Is your self-esteem, as a worthwhile daughter of God, taking a beating because you’ve been “enticed” to provide yourself only as a “party favor” for someone who doesn’t hold you in the place God wants you to be. Lady Mary Montague penned these words: “You can be pleased with nothing when you are not pleased with yourself.” This is why, as God’s girls, we must never let anyone or anything “entice” us to draw aside from the plan our Father has for each of our lives.
“He said not:
‘Thou shalt not be tempted;
Thou shalt not be travailed;
Thou shalt not be afflicted.”
Be He said:
‘Thou shalt not be overcome.”
Julian of Norwich
“O Lord, never suffer us to think that we can stand by ourselves, and not need Thee.”
“There was a time when I did not exist,
And thou hast created me;
I did not beseech thee for a wish,
And thou hast fulfilled it;
I had not come into the light,
And thou hast seen me;
I had not yet appeared,
And thou hast taken pity on me;
I had not invoked thee,
And thou hast taken care of me;
I did not raise my hand,
And thou hast looked at me;
I had not entreated thee,
And thou hast heard me;
I had not groaned,
And thou hast lent an ear;
With prescient eyes thou sawest
The crimes of my guilty self,
And yet thou hast fashioned me.
And now, I who have been created by thee,
And saved by thee, and have been tended with such care,
Let me not wholly perish by the blow of sin
That is but the slanderer’s invention;
Let not the fog of my stubbornness
Triumph over the light of thy forgiveness;
Nor the hardness of my heart
Over thy forbearing goodness;
Nor my material weakness
Over thine unconquerable grandeur.”
Gregory of Narek
Dorothy Valcárcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
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