This note has been about three years in the making. I have started to write it out many times, always deleting it knowing that everything I tried to write ended up flat, lacking something. This topic is hard to explain and can be hard to understand – at least it has been for me. I also realized that in order to truly be able to write about something authentically, one must experience it first. So though I feel I can explain it much better now through the things I have seen and felt, it still can be difficult and I pray that the words written here can be understood by the reader and that something can be drawn out of it for edification.
One night, my friend and I were up late talking about the “strange woman” mentioned throughout the Book of Proverbs, and I realized then that there were many similarities between this woman and the woman described as “wisdom” in the same book. It hit me somewhat during that night and it has never really left me. However, the things that have transpired in this past year has shown me what it all really means.
Isn’t it crazy how so many different religions and odd doctrines can all originate from the same book? It seems everyone has a creed, and it will always say that the bible is the final authority. Then how are there so many different teachings and groups of people masquerading as some sort of Christianity? Everyone has a claim on the scriptures and will argue until their faces turn blue that they have found the only “truth” and that everyone should learn from them. How can this be? To start, it begins with two women, two doctrines, two choices: the seducer and the sister. The honey that leads to bitterness in the stomach and brings death unto death, and the honey that leads to bitterness in the stomach and brings death unto life.
Proverbs 2.16-20: To deliver thee from the strange woman, even from the stranger which flattereth with her words; Which forsaketh the friend of her youth, and forgetteth the covenant of her God: For her house inclineth unto death, and her paths unto the dead: None that go unto her return again, neither do they attain unto the paths of life.
I find it interesting how the writer of most of the Proverbs – Solomon – could explain this woman so well. The reason being is that he was an adulterer himself and knew her – in fact, he knew her well. However, let us not forget that it wasn’t only physical adultery that King Solomon committed, but also spiritual adultery. So in this note, my references to the strange woman will be to strange doctrines and religions.
In the above verses, an important thing to notice is that the strange woman wasn’t always this way. She was on the right path before, and started out on the right foot. But somewhere down the road she forsook and forgot, and began to use flattery to gain a following. There have been many people who have meant well, but have fallen to her with just the use of her flattering tongue. Everyone wants that pat on the back to let them feel loved and appreciated. But the strange woman’s ways are unstable and she doesn’t even know it (Proverbs 5.6). How much more then for her followers?
Proverbs 5.3-14: For the lips of a strange woman drop honey, and her mouth is smoother than oil: But her latter end is bitter as wormwood, sharp as a two-edged sword. Her feet go down to death; her steps take hold on Sheol; So that she findeth not the level path of life: her ways are unstable and she knoweth it not. Now therefore, my sons, hearken unto me, and depart not from the words of my mouth. Remove thy way far from her, and come not nigh the door of her house: Lest thou give thine honour unto others, and thy years unto the cruel: Lest strangers be filled with thy strength; and thy labours be in the house of an alien; And thou mourn at thy latter end, when thy flesh and thy body are consumed, And say, How have I hated instruction, and my heart despised reproof; Neither have I obeyed the voice of my teachers, nor inclined mine ear to them that instructed me! I was well nigh in all evil in the midst of the congregation and assembly.
In Revelation 10, we read about how John ate the scroll given to him by the angel and in his mouth it tasted like honey. A similar story happened to Ezekiel in his book as well (ch. 3). It is here, with honey, that we have our first comparison with the strange woman and with wisdom. This is one major reason how people cannot discern between that which is holy and that which is profane, because both will taste like honey. The difference is how you tasted that honey. Was it from the lips of the spiritually seductive (with all sorts of “knowledge”) temptress or was it from the words (the scroll) spoken by the other woman – Wisdom? To make matters worse, even when it gets inside of you – in your stomach – it feels the same. Above it says that her latter end is as bitter as wormwood. And in Revelation 10.10, we see that after eating the scroll, it turned his stomach bitter. There is a difference between these two though but it has to be seen spiritually. When that strange honey enters in and turns bitter, it brings forth death unto death. But when that scroll and those words enter into you and turn bitter, it is only that way because your flesh is so much against the words and it feels foreign to it. It is quite simply too holy to be inside of you and your flesh fights it by turning it bitter. This is the struggle within ourselves that will continue, but keep faith, because this kind of honey and bitterness bring forth death unto eternal life.
We are not to play around and entertain the flattery of this strange woman and her doctrines. The scriptures say to remove yourself far from her. And in verses 12-14, we read of what the people who joined themselves with her will say. These are those who didn’t heed the warnings given and didn’t know that the congregation and assembly that they thought was bringing truth, was in actuality a deceitful and flattering evil one. For why shouldest thou, my son, be ravished with a strange woman, and embrace the bosom of a stranger?
Proverbs 7.4, 5: Say unto wisdom, Thou art my sister; and call understanding thy kinswoman: That they may keep thee from the strange woman, from the stranger which flattereth with her words.
Notice how we are to call wisdom our sister? And yet, the strange woman comes at us seductively and as a mistress?
Proverbs 7.6-9: For at the window of my house I looked forth through my lattice; And I beheld among the simple ones, I discerned among the youths, a young man void of understanding, Passing through the street near her corner, and he went the way to her house; In the twilight, in the evening of the day, in the blackness of night and the darkness.
In verse 7 here, we see that she goes after the simple ones. Another similarity between her and wisdom (ch. 8.5). But don’t think that she doesn’t also go after people who have been studying for years and who “know their bible” as many people like to say about one another. For not all who study and “know” truly know – if that makes sense. Even Satan knows the scriptures better than we. He came at the Messiah with verses from the bible to tempt him! And he can’t or wouldn’t do the same with us? So just because someone can quote and has a good memory, doesn’t mean they have wisdom and understanding as their sister and kinswoman. Young and old alike can be void of understanding.
Proverbs 7.10-12: And, behold, there met him a woman with the attire of an harlot, and wily of heart. She is clamorous, and wilful; her feet abide not in her house: Now she is in the streets, now in the broad places, and lieth in wait at every corner.
Just as wisdom chooses a place to cry out (ch. 8.2-3) in the top of high places by the way, where the paths meet, she stands beside the gates, at the entrance of the city – so does the strange woman lie and wait at every corner looking for the man with whom she will devour.
Proverbs 7.13-18: So she caught him, and kissed him, and with an impudent face she said unto him: Sacrifices of peace offerings are with me; this day have I paid my vows. Therefore came I forth to meet thee, diligently to seek thy face, and I have found thee. I have spread my couch with carpets of tapestry, with striped cloths of the yarn of Egypt. I have perfumed my bed with myrrh, aloes, and cinnamon. Come, let us take our fill of love until the morning; let us solace ourselves with loves.
As soon as he let her kiss him, it was over. The man had given it all up right there. Why even let a strange woman close enough to kiss you? Keep your ways far from her. Then when her lips touched his, he tasted that honey and thought, “This is it! The Truth!” She even sells herself to him as being spiritual. “Surely she is since she has sacrifices with peace offerings and has paid her vows to the church,” he convinces himself inwardly.
Proverbs 7.19-20: For the goodman is not at home, he is gone a long journey: He hath taken a bag of money with him; he will come home at the full moon.
This woman is even so arrogant also to think that she knows when the goodman will return. It strikes of all the religions who have falsely prophesied about the coming of Christ. “He is gone a long journey, but come join me (us) before he comes back at such-and-such time.”
Proverbs 7.21-23: With her much fair speech she causeth him to yield, with the flattering of her lips she forceth him away. He goeth after her straightway, as an ox goeth to the slaughter, or as fetters to the correction of the fool; Till an arrow strike through his liver; as a bird hasteth to the snare, and knoweth not that it is for his life.
There always seem to be the groups of strange doctrines that usually cause someone to join because of their well-spoken and thought-out explanations about their beliefs. It is ingrained into them by their councils and societies that when they speak, they can actually sound robotic without any personal thought or opinion. They “yield” unto her and she forces them by it.
How does he not know?! As mentioned earlier, he tasted honey and even the woman with whom he is now committing spiritual adultery with doesn’t know that it is for her (and all associated with her) life as well.
Proverbs 9.13-18: The foolish woman is clamorous; she is simple, and knoweth nothing. And she sitteth at the door of her house, on a seat in the high places of the city, To call to them that pass by, who go right on their ways, Whoso is simple, let him turn in hither: and as for him that is void of understanding, she saith to him, Stolen waters are sweet, and bread eaten in secret is pleasant. But he knoweth not that the dead are there; that her guests are in the depths of Sheol.
Each and every one of us who are Believers – or who claim to be – will be faced with this woman and this situation. Do we stop and inquire of her? Just out of curiosity’s sake? Or do we stay far from her lest she grab us and kiss us?
I have had my opportunities to join myself with this strange woman and with strange doctrines. I could have joined them and dove right in with all of their theologies, their ways, their habits, and use the same verses they use to try to convince myself and those around me that I was right. But I always kept her and them at bay, knowing that I only want that honey that comes from the words spoken from wisdom and not the honey that comes from the lips of the strange woman. To eat that scroll that He provides and let God have at me with that bitterness in my flesh that will bring forth death unto that perfect and everlasting life. Nothing short of that will bring me the peace that passeth understanding. No flattery of words or excellence of speech from man dripping with honey should deter us from the honey that is given from above!
And now to end this note, Wisdom cries out in Proverbs 8.4-36:
Unto you, O men, I call; and my voice is to the sons of men. O ye simple, understand subtilty; and, ye fools, be ye of an understanding heart. Hear, for I will speak excellent things; and the opening of my lips shall be right things. For my mouth shall utter truth; and wickedness is an abomination to my lips. All the words of my mouth are in righteousness; there is nothing crooked or perverse in them. They are all plain to him that understandeth, and right to them that find knowledge. Receive my instruction, and not silver; and knowledge rather than choice gold. For wisdom is better than rubies; and all the things that may be desired are not to be compared unto her. I wisdom have made subtilty my dwelling, and find out knowledge and discretion. The fear of the LORD is to hate evil: pride, and arrogancy, and the evil way, and the froward mouth, do I hate. Counsel is mine, and sound knowledge: I am understanding; I have might. By me kings reign, and princes decree justice. By me princes rule, and nobles, even all the judges of the earth. I love them that love me; and those that seek me diligently shall find me. Riches and honour are with me; yea, durable riches and righteousness. My fruit is better than gold, yea, than fine gold; and my revenue than choice silver. I walk in the way of righteousness, in the midst of the paths of judgment: That I may cause those that love me to inherit substance, and that I may fill their treasuries. The LORD possessed me in the beginning of his way, before his works of old. I was set up from everlasting, from the beginning, or ever the earth was. When there were no depths, I was brought forth; when there were no fountains abounding with water. Before the mountains were settled, before the hills was I brought forth: While as yet he had not made the earth, nor the fields, nor the beginning of the dust of the world. When he established the heavens, I was there: when he set a circle upon the face of the deep: When he made firm the sides above: when the fountains of the deep became strong: When he gave to the sea its bound, that the waters should not transgress his commandment: when he marked out the foundations of the earth: Then I was by him, as a master workman: and I was daily his delight, rejoicing always before him; Rejoicing in his habitable earth; and my delight was with the sons of men. Now therefore, my sons, hearken unto me: for blessed are they that keep my ways. Hear instruction, and be wise, and refuse it not. Blessed is the man that heareth me, watching daily at my gates, waiting at the posts of my doors. For whoso findeth me findeth life, and shall obtain favour of the LORD. But he that sinneth against me wrongeth his own soul: all they that hate me love death.