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  • Writer's pictureDale DuBose

Proverbs 7-8| Week 4: The Danger of Instant Gratification

Author: Jody Green

From drive-thru restaurants, instant potatoes, canned goods and microwaves, to GPS directions and Google results within seconds, instant gratification has become a cultural expectation. Is this shift dangerous to character, wisdom and moral values? Have we – and those we raise, teach or disciple – become susceptible to ‘happiness shortcuts’ and lies like ‘buy now and pay later’ as a wise option? Is it possible the self-denial Jesus spoke of for His disciples has become foreign to our Western mindset? Proverbially, is self-gratification wise?

Solomon, warning his son in Proverbs 7, suggests a broader application. Rather than cultural pressure, its our own fallen, human natures that tempt us to sidestep the longer path of building a marriage of wisdom and joy to foolishly bite the forbidden fruit of immorality. Solomon exposes the lie of love embedded in adultery and reveals, in his scenario, the tempter’s pretense of religion used to make her death trap more palatable to prey.

Come, let us take our fill of love till morning; let us delight ourselves with love. … With a bold face she says to him, “I had to offer sacrifices, and today I have paid my vows; so now I have come out to meet you. … He follows her, as an ox goes to the slaughter … as a bird rushes into a snare; he does not know that it will cost him his life. (7:13-23)

This door swing both ways, of course. Young women must also recognize love never comes in a ruinous guise. To offer poison, having nicknamed it caviar, changes nothing of its deadly outcome. “For many a victim has [the forbidden woman] laid low, and all her slain are a mighty throng.” (7:26) The sage begs his readers, “Let not your heart turn aside ...” (7:25) The battle is won before sin’s temptation appears by guarding your heart!

Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. … Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience. … And above all these put on love … and let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts. (Col. 3:5, 12-15)

Back to back, Proverbs 7 and 8 symbolize two extremes of foolishness and wisdom: a forbidden woman “loud and wayward… wily of heart,” (7:10-11) and the heroine of Proverbs, Woman Wisdom. In contrast to death resulting from the forbidden woman’s ploys, those who search for divine wisdom discover “fruit better than gold, even fine gold. … [She] grants an inheritance to those who love her … [for] the LORD possessed [her] at the beginning of his work.” (8:19, 25) Polar opposites, these women symbolize ‘Voices’ vying for what your ears will listen to and your hearts will love. However, make no mistake, only God’s path of wisdom ends well.

My fruit is better than gold, even fine gold, and my yield than choice silver. … Blessed is the one who listens to me [Woman Wisdom] watching daily at my gates, waiting beside my doors. For whoever finds me finds life and obtains favor from the LORD. (8:19, 35)

What do you value most? What are you seeking? If you swallow our culture’s hedonistic purpose, of happiness as the chief end of your life, you will chase the wind and (one day) reap a whirlwind. The dangers of instant, self-gratification are voluminous. Please recall. Jesus taught … “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.” (Luke 9:23) The world offers gratification of fleshly lusts; Christ calls us to set our sights much higher … to live for the glory of God. Once called “a friend of God,” Moses has much to teach us on the wisdom inherent in self-denial. May he inspire us to wisely live for Christ, not self.

By faith, Moses [chose] rather to be mistreated with the people of God than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin. He considered the reproach of Christ greater wealth than the treasures of Egypt. … By faith he left Egypt, not being afraid of the anger of the king, for he endured as seeing Him who is invisible.” (Heb. 11:23-27)


"Lord, guard our heart’s ‘first love’ for Jesus, our choice to seek first His kingdom and our desire to glorify You."

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