“…that they admonish the young women… to be discreet, chaste…” Titus 2.4,5
Today, as we continue our study of Paul’s exhortation regarding older women, we will consider the wayward woman from Proverbs 7. Let’s read about her together.
6 At the window of my house I looked out through the lattice. 7 I saw among the simple, I noticed among the young men, a youth who lacked judgment. 8 He was going down the street near her corner, walking along in the direction of her house 9 at twilight, as the day was fading, as the dark of night set in. 10 Then out came a woman to meet him, dressed like a prostitute and with crafty intent. 11 (She is loud and defiant, her feet never stay at home; 12 now in the street, now in the squares, at every corner she lurks.) 13 She took hold of him and kissed him and with a brazen face she said: 14 “I have fellowship offerings at home; today I fulfilled my vows. 15 So I came out to meet you; I looked for you and have found you! 16 I have covered my bed with colored linens from Egypt. 17 I have perfumed my bed with myrrh, aloes and cinnamon. 18 Come, let’s drink deep of love till morning; let’s enjoy ourselves with love! 19 My husband is not at home; he has gone on a long journey. 20 He took his purse filled with money and will not be home till full moon.” 21 With persuasive words she led him astray; she seduced him with her smooth talk. 22 All at once he followed her like an ox going to the slaughter, like a deer stepping into a noose 23 till an arrow pierces his liver, like a bird darting into a snare, little knowing it will cost him his life.
24 Now then, my sons, listen to me; pay attention to what I say. 25 Do not let your heart turn to her ways or stray into her paths. 26 Many are the victims she has brought down; her slain are a mighty throng. 27 Her house is a highway to the grave, leading down to the chambers of death. NIV
Let’s consider various characteristics listed here which help identify this “strange woman” (that is the language KJV uses in reference to her) or “the immoral woman, the seductress” (NKJV.)
1. Her attire: she is dressed like a prostitute (v.10.) Throughout the ages, from culture to culture, the clothing of harlotry varies. That fact alone is proof that legalism is not the answer. God is speaking of principle here. Still, that is not intended as “an out”. We must take this admonition seriously, even (and maybe especially) in this day, when fashion would openly flaunt seduction, when young girls are taught in both overt and subliminal ways to sell themselves, to attract and snare. This is not merely a mode of dress being peddled, but an essence of expression and intention of heart. It emanates from somewhere deeper finding expression in many ways, but dress is one of them.
There is need, therefore, to examine the intention of why you wear what you wear. Whether young or old, married or single, if you are hoping in any small way to attract undue or inappropriate attention (sexual interest from anyone other than a/your husband), you need to change your type of dress. In the same vein, if you have taken your fashion cues from anyone who is attempting to attract undue or inappropriate attention, you must take extreme care that those styles in and of themselves will not trigger, even unintentionally, such attention toward yourself.
Many of us may want to consider getting help in this area, especially if this is a territory of holiness that you are hoping to reclaim. Our ability to discern may be impaired through years of insensitivity. We may come to wrong conclusions. Being current isn’t necessarily bad; being “old-fashioned” may not be an instant fix. If there is a problem it may run deeper than the clothes you wear. But, as we can see from our text, some problems can be identified in things as superficial as fashion.
A word to the wise: submit your fashion to His Spirit and let Him prune you. He knows how to search your heart in this arena.
2. Her speech: we find that the seductive, crafty nature of her speech has readily identifiable attributes. Test your own mode of speech against that of the strange woman. Here is a list of adjectives I found in various translations, adjectives that are telling.
Several of these words would be found as synonyms in a thesaurus, but I wanted us to be sure and consider the merit of each one individually. They are revealing. I linked a few because we have possibly adopted a less than accurate understanding of the given word, and accuracy is imperative for study. Note that loud, for instance, has not so much to do with volume as with spirit or intention: boisterous is a picture of clamoring for attention, commotion implies frenzy, raging and roaring need no explanation. These descriptions help identify the type of loudness being communicated here. Do you raise your volume in search for attention? If so, it may need to be checked. Is it a result of anger or frenzy? Then it must be curbed, the anger resolved, the frenzy quieted.
As you may see, these are worthy of some contemplation, as they often reveal deeper concerns. Because of this need for reflection and thought, I will pause here for now, hopefully inspiring you to do this very thing: return here from day to day during the week, reflecting upon one or more of these adjectives. Do a word study, look it up in a dictionary or do further work in your lexicon. Or just consider it in prayer with God. As we do this together, I pray that the tainted forms of communication modeled to us by the world around us will be purged from our conversations, both within and without.