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God’s Word for You

Proverbs 30:20 the way of an adulteress

by Pastor Timothy Smith on Thursday, April 15, 2021

20 “This is the way of an adulteress: She eats and wipes her mouth and says, ‘I have done nothing wrong.’”

There are several warnings about the adulteress in the early chapters of Proverbs (2:16-19, 5:3-8, 5:20, 6:24-26, 7:5). Here she appears in contrast to the previous verse and its four unchartable pathways, including that of the man and the virgin girl. The ways of the adulteress are bold and predictable, like a person who eats and then wipes her mouth. She is a stranger to the ways of the Lord. She feels no remorse about what she does. She would be right at home today, when “If it feels good, do it” is no longer a new idea, but the way the world feels about everything. And although Agur says “adulteress,” he surely meant “adulterer,” as well.

At first, this proverb seems like it’s about illicit sex, sex outside of marriage, and of course it is. But that isn’t all. This is about a whole way of life that views sex as something to be enjoyed between ‘consenting adults’ and views marriage as an old-fashioned option that just isn’t for everyone. Therefore, this is a way of life that turns away from God’s word. This is a pit that’s being dug under the foundation of a wall. Soon, the wall will crumble because there is nothing left to support it. This is the way of the unbeliever. He pretends to say, “You do what’s right for you, and I’ll do what’s right for me,” but what he really means is, “I’m going to do what’s right for me, and I don’t care if it stops you from being able to do anything else.” The unbeliever never cares about equal time, because his influencer the devil doesn’t care about equal time. He is the camel who just wants his nose in the tent, but then pretty soon the whole camel is inside and there’s no room for anyone else.

The Christian falls into a sin, any sin, and when he or she realizes it, there is a wounded, bleeding conscience; a broken heart. There is grief over sin and a desire to change because the gospel of Christ’s forgiveness makes us want to change, want to follow Jesus, want to give God glory with a life of obedience. The unrepentant wicked man or woman doesn’t want to change, doesn’t want to do anything differently, and surely doesn’t ever want to be told that he or she is doing anything wrong. We live in a world where such people are starting to try to make laws that forbid their actions from being described as wrong, or perverted, or wicked, or sinful. Words like “wrong,” “immoral,” and “sinful” are beginning to be labeled more and more strongly. Thirty years ago, the pastor’s warning was snubbed as politically incorrect. Today it’s called hate speech. What will it be tomorrow? Illegal? Unconstitutional? Treason? This is where Christianity makes (if you will please excuse the term) strange bedfellows, because some of the groups we most strongly oppose for other reasons are the strongest proponents for marriage: the Mormons, the Muslims; the Hindus. Even some homosexuals are becoming strong advocates for the institution of marriage. That doesn’t mean that we would ever change our position regarding our opposition to those groups and their anti-Christian stands. But it does help us to breathe a little easier about the direction governments will take about the legality of marriage and the centrality of marriage as the basic building block of human society.

This proverb helps us to remember what law is being broken, and what our attitude should be. It is the attitude, “I have done nothing wrong.” No matter what the sin, the attitude of unrepentance compounds the sin. Whether what the wrong is, a stolen stick of gum or a stolen wife, the attitude that “I have done nothing wrong” must be addressed. Sin must be exposed as sin, or there is no need for a Savior. That’s why God blesses us with a law that breaks our hearts and that crushes our consciences, so that we recognize the saving hand of Jesus who offers to lift us up and bring us home. We put our trust in him, turn away from our wretched sinfulness, and live lives that give him glory.

In Christ,
Pastor Timothy Smith

Pastor Tim Smith

About Pastor Timothy Smith
Pastor Smith serves St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in New Ulm, Minnesota. To receive God’s Word for You via e-mail, please contact Pastor Smith.


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