Breakfast with Solomon - Proverbs 5:4
"But in the end she is bitter as wormwood, sharp as a two edged sword"
This is the part about adultery and lust that very few men take time to think about – the end. What kind of life do any of the parties end with? It is a dismal, guilty, diseased, alienated life. Adultery always promises to bring relationship intimacy and meet a deep need, but it doesn't. It is like drinking salt water; you are only more thirsty and it begins poisoning you.
The dire consequences of adultery need to be regularly repeated. It usually causes divorce; it siphons away financial resources; it distracts attention and focus on other crucial areas thereby reducing potential and success; it usually results in diseases – in some cases sterility; it results in the background radiation of guilt and a general angst; it offers a shortcut to intimacy but instead builds a pathway around true intimacy so it is never attained; it fractures friendships; it destroys the safety of the home for spouse and children; it often damages children, significantly limiting their potential; it often throws one or both parties into poverty; it weakens moral resolve in other areas of life; and so on.
Some may dismiss these consequences as “not going to happen to me,” but it is clear that these consequences cluster around those who commit adultery.
It is always wise when planning your life to picture where you want to be at the end of some part of the journey. How do you get there? Well, you have to take a serious look at what each pathway will entail.
There are limitations on the pathway of righteousness, but there is also great reward.
There are limitations on the pathway of sin, and there is a great consequence, also.
Solomon says that the affair with an adulteress woman – while she may seem very exciting and enticing at the early stages of the affair – will turn into a deeply bitter pill staining and souring your whole life. Don't go there.
bitter as wormwood
The Hebrew word for bitter is mar and the Hebrew word for wormwood is laana. The wormwood plant is known for its intense bitterness. It is referred to as hemlock in Amos 6:12 and in Revelation 8:10,11. It is represented as a star falling on the waters of the earth turning them poisonous. In Greece the people think of water with this plant in it as undrinkable.
Therefore, what Solomon is saying is that your whole life will be impacted by this act of adultery. It has a much greater impact than its actual size and duration would suggest.
I can remember talking with a woman who had grown tired of her marriage to a nice, contented, hard-working man. He still loved her, but she just wanted to experience the thrills and chills of life. She wanted to return the looks and attention of the men that noticed her. They came in for counseling and after talking to both of them at length about how to save their marriage, it became clear that she was not interested. I told her that in five or so years she would be used up and tired of the lifestyle that looked so appealing right now. She would forever break the heart of her husband and do untold damage to her two daughters. I remember telling her that there would be an awful price to pay, and she would pay a huge portion of it. She dismissed what I said, confident that her looks and her smarts would allow her to escape what I was saying.
About four years later, she moved back to the town where I pastored; she looked weathered and much older. I heard reports that she had been beaten by a number of the men she had taken up with. She moved back to town to be near her two girls whom she had abandoned. They wanted to have nothing to do with her. She was now stuck in a low-wage job with no husband and no prospect to trade on the looks she had used in the past.
The end of adultery is a difficult ride on a picket fence. The crop that you sowed with unfaithfulness will be reaped.