Give not your strength to [loose] women, nor your ways to those who and that which ruin and destroy kings.
Many translations do not add the adjective loose to this scripture and it certainly leaves the reader with the impression that all women sap the strength from men. This is not true. There is a vast difference between a virtuous and worthy woman and a loose woman.
Proverbs 12:4: A virtuous and worthy wife [earnest and strong in character] is a crowning joy to her husband, but (a wife) who makes him ashamed is as rottenness in his bones. (AMP)
Women hold tremendous sway over men and have the ability to bring them to ruin. We will get to how not to be that type of woman but for now we, even women, need to be wary of the type of women who can destroy us. We should pay careful attention to avoiding women who promote any kind of uncleanness …immorality, impurity, indecency, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, anger (ill temper), selfishness, divisions (dissensions), party spirit (factions, sects with peculiar opinions, heresies), envy, drunkenness, carousing, and the like. Galatians 5:19-21 (AMP)
Proverbs 6:23-33 gives us a very clear picture of exactly who a loose woman is and just what getting involved with her will do to one’s life.
23 For the commandment is a lamp, and the whole teaching [of the law] is light, and reproofs of discipline are the way of life,
24 To keep you from the evil woman, from the flattery of the tongue of a loose woman.
25 Lust not after her beauty in your heart, neither let her capture you with her eyelids.
26 For on account of a harlot a man is brought to a piece of bread, and the adulteress stalks and snares [as with a hook] the precious life [of a man].
27 Can a man take fire in his bosom and his clothes not be burned?
28 Can one go upon hot coals and his feet not be burned?
29 So he who cohabits with his neighbor’s wife [will be tortured with evil consequences and just retribution]; he who touches her shall not be innocent or go unpunished.
30 Men do not despise a thief if he steals to satisfy himself when he is hungry;
31 But if he is found out, he must restore seven times [what he stole]; he must give the whole substance of his house [if necessary—to meet his fine].
32 But whoever commits adultery with a woman lacks heart and understanding (moral principle and prudence); he who does it is destroying his own life.
33 Wounds and disgrace will he get, and his reproach will not be wiped away. (AMP)
It speaks specifically about a man being enticed by such a woman and the results but it is as much a strong warning to women as to men. As women we should ensure that we provide well for our husbands so that they are not tempted to even look elsewhere. Affection, respect and honour go a very long way to keeping a husband. The second part of the warning to women is to not be a loose, evil woman. Do not tempt a man, do not draw him away and do not steal his life.
1 Corinthians 5:18
Shun immorality and all sexual looseness [flee from impurity in thought, word, or deed]. Any other sin which a man commits is one outside the body, but he who commits sexual immorality sins against his own body. (AMP)
Our time would be far better employed by gaining knowledge and wisdom and running the affairs of our lives than in idle conversation and courting uncleanness which brings with it dangerous diseases. We lose not just our physical strength but our mental, emotional and spiritual strength as well.
The word ‘ways’ used in Proverbs 31:3 talks about our affections, conversations and attention. We should not give ourselves to destruction. This means we have the power and the ability to choose not to be destroyed. Destruction doesn’t just befall us. The Bible clearly says we should not give ourselves to it. Choose to stay away from destructive people and things.
Remember that we are called to reign as kings in our lives. How are we to rule and to reign if we cannot even keep our own lusts under control? How are we to go and make disciples we if cannot avoid destruction? How are we to build others up and exhort if we ourselves are at the lowest of lows because we have not avoided uncleanness?
These are harsh words that beg the question so how do I avoid giving me strength to loose woman or becoming a loose and evil woman. Paul has the answer for us in Philippians 4:8.
For the rest, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is worthy of reverence and is honorable and seemly, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely and lovable, whatever is kind and winsome and gracious, if there is any virtue and excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think on and weigh and take account of these things [fix your minds on them]. (AMP)
If I fix my mind on the things listed above there is no space for uncleanness. When something does pop up I have the strength to just shut it down.
To Drink or Not to Drink
4 It is not for kings, O Lemuel, it is not for kings to drink wine, or for rulers to desire strong drink,
5 Lest they drink and forget the law and what it decrees, and pervert the justice due any of the afflicted.
This is a hotly debated subject amongst Christians and when I set out to study this chapter I certainly did not expect to be diving into what God’s word says about drinking. I certainly enjoy a glass of wine every now and then. I was even told by my chiropractor that he recommends I drink a large glass of red wine when I feel pain in my right arm caused by a motor car accident. I have taken his advice several times and it really does work.
In contrast to Lemuel’s mother advising him not to drink, Paul instructs Timothy to “drink water no longer exclusively, but use a little wine for the sake of your stomach and your frequent illnesses.” 1 Timothy 5:23 (AMP)
Lemuel’s mother even advises her don to give strong drink and wine in certain instances.
5 Give strong drink [as medicine] to him who is ready to pass away, and wine to him in bitter distress of heart.
6 Let him drink and forget his poverty and [seriously] remember his want and misery no more. (AMP)
So now what do we do? Can we drink or not? My view is that there is no one-size-fits-all answer.
Let’s start with our bodies. Our bodies are the vessel that we are housed in, in order for us to do the work of the Lord. We are told in 1 Corinthians 6:19 that our bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit who lives inside of us. Paul mentions this again in chapter 3:16-17 but in reference to false doctrines and the rather lewd and lascivious tastes of the city at the time. He was speaking about keeping the body pure as it is the church of God and His temple.
Our bodies should not be a burden to us or either our master. There should be a balanced view of how we care for ourselves. In order for our bodies not to be a burden we need to take care of them. It is wise then, to do research, consult professionals and study the Word of God on diet, exercise and proper care of our bodies. Proper care also does not go to the other extreme where we become obsessed, where diet, exercise, tracking our steps and even our sleep with a sports watch take over our whole lives. We then start to live in bondage to fitness and health. Do not get me wrong, I have a sports watch, I gym regularly and I follow a healthy diet but it does not consume my life.
If my body reacts adversely to alcohol then I should not drink it. If I suffer from gout, take medication that reacts with alcohol or have been advised not to drink for medical reason then the answer for me would be, “No, I cannot and should not drink alcohol.”
Why did Lemuel’s mother say he should not drink? It could very well impact on his ability to rule and reign. It could cause him to forget the law, to make bad judgements and adversely affect those he should be protecting. How much alcohol do you consume at any one time? Do you make a fool of yourself, forget what you have said, go against your word, make outrageous decisions or declarations? Then you answer would be, “No, I cannot and should not drink alcohol.”
Alcohol most definitely has an effect on our faculties and in most cases rather negatively. Are you still able to live out the fruits of the Spirit after a normal Saturday afternoon spent socialising with friends? Do you know when you have had enough? Are you able to drink a little wine and be satisfied? Then your answer may be, “Yes, I can take a little wine.”
God made wine. Jesus even turned water into wine at a wedding. God made wine to make our hearts glad. We should not drink so much that we end up misbehaving. There is nothing wrong with drinking wine for medical reasons either. It most definitely helps to settle an upset stomach and is a far safer muscle relaxant than many medications. There is nothing wrong with wine, if in the light of caring for our bodies and living out the fruits of the Spirits, it is taken as a help and not a hindrance to us.