In our text today, Proverbs 6:26-29, we are given the results from last week, two rhetorical questions, and then the application. Take heed for the Scriptures are not given simply to exercise a wrist or practice writing. It is given to instruct and inform all of us. To start, it is important to note that some take Proverbs 6:27 as an application to dating. While there are very good statistics, and evidence to support the passage of 1 Corinthians 7:1, and while the truth of Proverbs 6:27 can aid in dating and courtship, the context is for those who commit adultery with a married woman. We will draw some points for both married and unmarried, but we must be faithful to the text itself.

Proverbs 6:26 gives us the sad state of affairs (see what was done there?) for those who commit adultery. We have shown how being involved with a married woman, or having sexual relations outside the realm of marriage (Proverbs 5:1-14) can and will destroy us. But see the depth of that destruction. This woman being depicted here is evil (Proverbs 6:24) as compared to immoral from Proverbs 5:3. This is re-enforced because a man is reduced to a crust of bread. The crust. Not even the whole bread. He is destitute and poor. He lost everything and is reduced to the crumbs when he may have had a feast. Is that enough to placate the evil woman? No. Notice what else it says in this text.

This poor man’s life is even hunted down. There will be no where he can go, nothing he can do, no place he can hide, where he will not be hunted and haunted by his adultery. I have heard, read, and talked with many who have committed adultery and the woman pursued after the man for all he had. Sadly, in some cases, these men were already married. I am not excusing the man. As the saying goes, it takes two to tango, and the man (and in our time and age, woman) who commit adultery, blows up their own marriage from the outset. This is a continued reminder, response, and result of that sinful act. What does it mean his life is hunted? The idea is that of hunting an animal. In this case this man has a trap waiting for him. But this trap was not necessarily accidental, or inadvertently set. It may or may not have been set by the woman in what she adorned herself with, the Bible does not say. However, it was absolutely set when this man decided to step out to pursue this married woman. He willingly put his life in her hands.

Then we have two rhetorical questions (Proverbs 6:27-28). Both are very vivid in what they picture. The first one is taking a fire to the bosom, or chest, and not have burnt clothes. I, Jonathan, will tell on myself. Fire intrigues me. What it can do, how it can be used, and the calmness it can bring... if it is used correctly. Correctly being the operative term. I have single handedly, singed the hair of my brother and two of my friends with a burn pit, and a BBQ grill. I have gotten my grill up to 8000F at a cookout. Most recently I bought a lighter to use on camp-outs with my son (much to my wife’s chagrin) and with the Trail Life troop here at Calvary (much to the fear of several leaders)! It is a Zippo lighter, and the first lighter I have ever owned. Never having smoked, or have a need for anything like this, I am as green as green can be.

I purchased this lighter from my local outdoor store and a dangerous place for me (it has every tool needed for outdoor adventures and I only have so much money)! Of course, not knowing what I was doing, I brought it home and commenced to try and light it up. It sparked, smoked, and sputtered. No light. It was then, having researched, I found that I needed fuel. Easy! Back to this outdoor store, and right next to the lighter was the fuel. With this in hand I returned home, watched a video, and commenced to fill.

I did, however, note how different the fuel I had compared to what they had and were using. No big deal, so I commenced to spray the fuel into the lighter.

There is a reason people display what they use. I should have heeded the several differences. First, the can they were using was bigger. Second, it had a lighter fluid spray nozzle. Third, theirs was not an aresol can. Not willing to be outdone by some unknown youtube channel maker, I felt that if they can do it, so can I. Therefore, I commenced to spray my aresol can fuel into my lighter, getting spray inside, outside, on me, lid, etc.

To say it was a big fire for a lighter would be an understatement.

My lighter was quickly engulfed with flames as the fumes, the residue, and wick quickly became a hot ball! My problem...I had to figure out how to put this thing out because it is “wind proof”! I will not share much more (in case my wife reads this post… “I love you dear”), but needless to say I was able to put it out and I didn’t get burnt, nothing got torched, and everything was good.

What happened was I purchased the fluid used in the torches and hand-warmers as it requires the aerosal can type fuel. I did go back, recently, to pick up the right fluid, and it is amazing how things work better when you use the right equipment! I will say, I felt some heat though! It got hot, especially where I was holding it. Yes, there was some small frantic running around while this fireball was in my hands!

What we find in Proverbs 6:27 is much more dangerous. What if I had taken that lighter, and instead of putting it out, I tucked it inside my shirt pocket? Or my jean pocket? What if I hugged it? What would have happened? Would it not have burnt my clothes? Of course (perhaps the troop leaders and my wife’s fears are justified?) it would have! This instance of taking someone’s wife is not just taking a small lighter, it is grabbing a flaming torch, dousing it in gasoline, and putting it inside the shirt next to the body.

Then Proverbs 6:28 asks the second question, Can someone walk on hot coals and his feet not be seared? What will happen to the feet? I am not a doctor, but I can safely say that the end result is not good. I have seen what fire can do. I saw how fire can hollow out a log to help speed up the making process for a canoe. I have seen how fire can destroy hundreds of acres of land. I have seen how fire can disfigure people greatly.

The obvious conclusion is found in Proverbs 6:29. If anyone goes in to, or commits adultery with, his neighbor’s wife, regardless who initiates it, they are not innocent. They will be torched beyond all recognition. They will be brought to the very lowest levels and will be destitute. Their life, which is precious, will be destroyed, sometimes permanently.

Why do it? What can be done to protect ourselves? There are some very good lessons here and applications. First, using myself as an example, I am allowed to help in starting fires on troop camp-outs, but I am an aid. Around my house, I can have fire, but only in controlled areas (does this make it sound like I am a child?). I recognize the danger, so I laugh about these limits because I know it is for my own safety as well as the safety of others and the property. The way to avoid being caught in Proverbs 6:29 is to put safeguards around yourself. Do we have some?

If you are married, refer to Proverbs 5:15-20. This is a great start and a powerful observation for all who are married. Just do not put yourself in those situations where there can be the temptation, or even the accusation (1 Thessalonians 5:22) of wrong doing. I would also give some starting verses to use as a basis for defense (Deuteronomy 24:5; Ecclesiastes 9:9; Malachi 2:14).

What if you are not married? I can think of no better passage than 1 Corinthians 7:1. There is a connection between what was said in Proverbs and this text. It is easier to not have a forest fire, than it is to put one out. It is easier to not be burnt than it is to heal a burn. It is best to enjoy the wife of your youth in the covenant of marriage as one man and one woman, than it is to have many others in the middle of that marriage.

As we close this segment, we are going to use another example to illustrate the disaster and destruction that comes from having an adultery. The other husband’s reaction. This will be our study of Proverbs 6:30-35, Lord willing, next week.