In the beginning of Proverbs, much is mentioned of adultery. Some may think then that this is the “biggest” sin out there. Try not to take it so far. What you teach on the most is usually what you have the most experience in. Solomon was more than familiar with adultery and the effects the physical relations between a man and a woman can do to one. His father was committed adultery with his mother (David and Bathsheba). His birth was within the confines of a marriage, but their relationship began long before it was morally or legally supposed to. He knew what could happen and the long lasting effects of adultery. I would also point out at this time that don’t use this as an excuse that when I man commits adultery that it is ok since the Proverbs uses and adulteress in its examples. Adultery takes two and usually both are guilty.
Solomon takes the experience that he and his family has had and continues with this warning.
Do not lust in your heart after her beauty
or let her captivate you with her eyes,
for the prostitute reduces you to a loaf of bread,
and the adulteress preys upon your very life.
Can a man scoop fire into his lap
without his clothes being burned?
Can a man walk on hot coals
without his feet being scorched?
So is he who sleeps with another man’s wife;
no one who touches her will go unpunished. (6:25-29 NIV)
When you give into adultery, you might feel good for a moment here and there but the rest of your life begins to disintegrate. You begin to be paranoid, always trying to invent more lies, always dragged down into some degree of guilt.
Solomon uses some really vivid imagery here to explain the results of tasting the forbidden whether it be a physical or any other sin. Have you really looked at hot coals in a fireplace? They are so hot that many times I don’t even have to use the bellows or add kindling when the fire goes out. I just add a log and the intense heat from the embers ignite the large log I’ve placed on it. That is so hot that I cannot begin to describe. Can you now imagine placing these same inferno level coals in your very lap and expect not to feel the effects? No cheating. You have to be wearing your every day clothes and not protective armor of some sort. You cannot do that. It is impossible. You are guaranteed enough pain that death might even occur.
The same can be said about walking on these embers. The bottom of your feet and your lap are very sensitive and tender places. They will hurt you. It could kill you. If nothing else, your life would never be the same and not for the better.
When you touch the spouse of someone else in an inappropriate manner (in a way only the spouse should), then you are heaping coals on your lap. The difference is that it might feel good at first and for a time afterwards, but the end result is the same. Only pain can come of it. Only ill effects in your life can come from it.
Whenever you are in a position where temptation is there to betray a trust, a vow, a moral standard, THINK. Don’t let the present pleasure outweigh the thoughts of the horrendous feel of the coals. The best thing you can do is not get yourself in a position of temptation or surrender. How? Never be left alone with anyone of the opposite sex. It might seem innocent at first, but most affairs/flings are not schemed the minute you meet someone. If you realize that you are alone, politely and not so obviously leave the room or draw another person in. If you realize that you might be walking into a situation that could you leave you alone with another one, take someone with you. Never be alone. That only leads to trouble. If you are married, then spend more time with your spouse and date them all over again. That will push temptation far away. If there is trouble in the marriage and unresolved issues, please seek counseling from a spiritual mentor. You don’t have to be on the verge of divorce (or murder) to need this. Every couple should have this periodically to keep their marriage strong.
Keep the words close to your heart and listen to wisdom.