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The Sirens of Sex

October 7th, 2008

Focus Text: Proverbs 5: 7-14 (NLT)

 7 So now, my sons, listen to me.
      Never stray from what I am about to say:
 8 Stay away from her!
      Don’t go near the door of her house!
 9 If you do, you will lose your honor
      and will lose to merciless people all you have achieved.
 10 Strangers will consume your wealth,
      and someone else will enjoy the fruit of your labor.
 11 In the end you will groan in anguish
      when disease consumes your body.
 12 You will say, “How I hated discipline!
      If only I had not ignored all the warnings!
 13 Oh, why didn’t I listen to my teachers?
      Why didn’t I pay attention to my instructors?
 14 I have come to the brink of utter ruin,
      and now I must face public disgrace.”


Stop Here and Reflect Before Reading Ahead

In today’s society, the sound of a siren lets us know that an emergency has occurred.  Whether it’s an ambulance siren, a fire truck siren, or the screaming cry of a police siren, we all move our vehicles to the shoulder of the road when the siren sounds.  But the term “siren” hasn’t always had this modern connotation.  In the ancient fictional story of Homer’s Odyssey, the “sirens” were beautiful female creatures whose song lured sailors passing by to sail their vessels directly into the rocks and perish beneath the crashing waves.  The song of the ancient sirens was intoxicatingly irresistible . . . and consequently deadly.

The mythical hero of Homer’s epic tale, Odysseus, instructed his crew to stop up their ears with wax and to lash him to the mast of the ship so that he could not be released.  He sternly commanded them to not untie him no matter what he might say or do.  As their vessel passed by the rocks and the alluring song of the sirens filled the air, Odysseus went mad and pleaded with his crew to release him from the mast. Despite his vehement attempts to be untied, the crew obeyed his previous orders and refused to let him go.  Thus, once the ship had passed out of range of the sirens’ song, Odysseus came back to his senses and was able to tell the crew to take the wax out of their ears.

As long as we’re in this particular passage of scripture, I will continue to be safe and reestablish the context so that there is no misunderstanding.  Just remember that Solomon is speaking to his son and that is the only reason these verses refer to staying away from immoral women with no mention of immoral men.  For all you ladies out there, feel free to interchange the terms to apply the truths to your lives.

That being said, back to sirens.  Modern day sirens aren’t pleasant to the ears.  Their volume is almost deafening and is deliberately unnerving.  The idea is to warn all within earshot to watch out for danger. The sound of a police siren doesn’t allure us to anything but a court date and traffic school.  The sirens in Homer’s Odyssey, however, produced hypnotic melodies that enchanted those who sailed by to abandon caution and embrace death.  Wow, that’s some song!  How hilarious would it be if blue lights illuminated your rear view mirror and instead of hearing next the annoying whine of the police siren, you instead heard the most beautiful music in the world.  Yeah, that would be strange indeed. 

Sexual temptation is more like the ancient sirens than the modern ones.  Oh, how we all wish that temptation would scream out a warning that would jar us into movement away from the wrong thing. But instead, sexual impurity is more like Homer’s description.  Its song seems to be irresistible to all who pass by.  Now, although I believe that we should be spiritually strong enough to resist any kind of temptation, I think that we should realize that this temptation is unlike any other and that it must be approached with a different strategy.  Simply put, we should run away.

Many Christians approach their battle against impurity as if they are strong enough to win easily.  The problem is, the moment the sweet song of temptation begins ringing in their ears, they abandon their convictions and sail headlong into danger.  What are the dangers of sexual immorality?  Just read these verses for another disturbing list.  Loss of honor.  Loss of possessions.  Debilitating disease. Unbearable regret and anguish over the decision to ignore wisdom.  As I said yesterday . . . yikes!

But go back to the beginning of this passage.  These things don’t originate with the immoral act; they begin with going “near the door.”  They begin when one deliberately sails “near” sexual temptation thinking they can resist the allure of sin.  Just like Odysseus, sexual sin is hypnotic and we are not ourselves once we’ve opened our ears to the enchanting tune of temptation.

The answer, then, is not just to stay away from the house of sin, but to stay away from the door to sin. The backseat of a car is not the place to try to exercise self-control.  Self-control should have been exercised earlier in the date when you pre-planned your evening to stay “in the light” by knowing exactly where you were going and by asking his or her parents to call and check on you throughout the night.  Does that sound crazy?  Maybe so, but the chances to fall are vastly decreased.  The middle of the night is not the time to resist the temptation to watch the wrong television show that just popped up on your TV.  The right moment was back when you could have set blocks on the wrong channels and asked someone you trust to create a password that you don’t know.  The examples are plentiful.

But I’m not a little kid?  I don’t want to be treated like I can’t be trusted!  True that, but how sincere are you about avoiding the sirens of sexual temptation?  It’s time to tie ourselves off to the mast of this ship before–not after– we reach the crucial moments of decision.  The decision can be made right now. Hey, just like Solomon implied: if you don’t go near the door, you cannot make the wrong decision.

Single.  Married.  Young.  Old.  It doesn’t matter, we must all sail past the sirens of sexual temptation. Make a decision in the present to tie yourself to God’s strength by deliberately avoiding the door that leads to temptation.



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