Day 5: The loving deer (5:18,19)
“Let thy fountain be blessed: and rejoice with the wife of thy youth. Let her be as the loving hind and pleasant roe; let her breasts satisfy thee at all times; and be thou ravished always with her love.”
In exhorting his son to pay attention to wisdom and listen carefully to counsel, Solomon brings up again (and he will do so again later) the matter of the loose, predatory woman, whose clutches he needs to avoid. Sexual immorality, while one of many sins we can fall into, is something all too prevalent and alluring in our culture that manifests itself in many ways, as well as there being many ways we can yield to the temptation of sexual sin. We have here just one example of many, where we can go astray, as is often borne out by experience, even among those we least expect, with tragic repercussions. We are told: “Do not love the world or anything in the world … For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life” 1 John 2:15,16; also “flee sexual immorality” 1 Corinthians 6:18 and “youthful lusts” 2 Timothy 2:22.
If there is a remedy to falling to sexual temptation, it is instruction (translated as discipline too) (Hebrew: musar). “For lack of discipline they will die, led astray by their own great folly” (NIV 5:23). And then we are told: “Drink waters out of thine own cistern, and running waters out of thine own well. Let thy fountains be dispersed abroad, and rivers of waters in the streets. Let them be only thine own, and not strangers with thee. Let thy fountain be blessed: and rejoice with the wife of thy youth” (5:15-18). While marriage is not for everyone, and is not without challenges, e.g. if a wife is “disgraceful” (12:4), “quarrelsome” (19:3), “nagging” (21:19), men who are married need be faithful to their wife, cherish and delight in her, resist all temptation to sexual immorality, and to be wise!
Solomon does not shy away from the concepts of sexuality and pleasure, as we have seen in his Song of Songs. A husband should picture his wife as a loving hind (deer) and a graceful doe. He should be intoxicated by her love. Proverbs, like the Song, shows that God considers physical attraction and conjugal love within a marriage as beautiful and commendable. The difference between sexual love in marriage and sensual lust in adultery is striking. The former is lifelong and satisfying; the latter is momentary and destructive. God instituted marriage between a man and a woman as a lifelong, loving partnership. When an adulterer breaks the bond of that partnership, pain and remorse fill his soul.
Prayer: we thank you Lord for the gift of marriage and, for those of us who are married, our spouses. Help us to be good husbands and wives and to resist the temptation of breaking our marriage vows. Cleanse us all from any impurity. We know discipline can be hard; may we receive and not despise instruction.