Consider the Cost
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.
Observation - What does it say?
Wise King Solomon compares sleeping with another man's wife to scooping fire into your lap or taking a barefoot stroll on some hot glowing coals. Just as it's impossible to do those things without getting some 3rd degree burns and some permanent skin damage, it's impossible to sleep with another man's wife without receiving severe punishment.
Understanding - What does it mean?
Have you ever seen something at the store and fell in love worth it... Until you saw the price tag? It's perfect, amazing and you have to have it... Until you realize you can't afford it.
In several different passages and from several different angles, Solomon addresses this issue of adultery. He continues to warn his hearers that the wayward woman is seductive, beautiful and captivating but the price of going near her is way too expensive! The pain of the consequences is greater than the pleasure of her touch. It will cost you more than you're willing to pay!
James 4:7 commands us to "resist the devil." And 1 Corinthians 6:18 commands us to "Flee from sexual immorality." James points out that there are times we need to stand our ground and fight, but when it comes to sexual temptation we are called to RUN. Don't even go near it!
Joseph had the right idea when Potiphar's wife was trying to get him to sleep with her. Genesis 39:10 says, "She caught him by his cloak and said, 'Come to bed with me!' But he left his cloak and ran out of the house." He chose streaking outside over being alone in the house with that seductive woman.
When you see her, remember the cost and RUN while you still can!
Side note to the unmarried: This applies to relationships outside of marriage too. If you get sexually involved with someone and you don't end up marrying them, you just stole something that belongs to the person who will end up marrying them. And, you just gave something to that person that was intended for you to give to your future spouse. Biblically it's clear; sexual intimacy is beautiful and amazing, invented by God, but ONLY within the context of marriage. In the Old Testament, if you slept with a woman you were forced to take her as your wife. There's no such thing as a one night stand or casual sex. It's like scooping fire into your lap. It's going to result in pain, shame and disgrace.
When temptation comes, RUN! Don't flirt or entertain lustful thoughts.
God, give me the wisdom to always be mindful of the high cost of touching another man's wife. Lead us not into temptation, protect our marriages, our purity and our faithfulness to our spouse (or future spouse if we aren't yet married). Amen.
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