Bitter Honey

My son, be attentive to my wisdom, incline your ear to my understanding, that you may keep discretion, and your lips may guard knowledge. For the lips of a forbidden woman drip honey, and her speech is than oil, but in the end she is bitter as wormwood, sharp as a two-edged sword. Her feet go down to death; her steps follow the path to Sheol; she does not ponder the path of life; her ways wander, and she does not know it.

Proverbs 5:1–6 ESV

We know the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom (Proverbs 9:10).

What is the fear of the Lord? It means a deep reverence and respect for God, his power, and his authority. Click To Tweet

It also leads us to another kind of fear, and that is leaving (or walking outside of) his wisdom.

In today’s verses, we see a picture of what this looks like. It’s a warning for what awaits those who stray from God’s path of life.

As disciples, our lips should “guard knowledge,” which is in direct contrast to the forbidden woman whose lips “drip honey” but ultimately lead to “death.”

Here, the author of this Proverb is painting an evocative image. Think of it like this:

Sin makes promises it never intends to keep. They are an immediate delight to our palates, but in the end, they are sugar-coated poison. Click To Tweet

The terms the Bible uses apply to a man’s unfaithful relationship with a prostitute. The story of Proverbs 5 is a warning against adultery.

So in this sense, should the “son” (the original audience) believe a prostitute when she tells him, “I love you… I care for you… I want to be with you…”

Of course not! This “forbidden woman” is simply saying these things for money. At first, it sounds sweet, but the betrayal will end in death.

One of the clearest applications we can make today is pornography.

Pornography is bitter honey and eats us from the inside. Click To Tweet

In fact, Paul even tells us that when we commit sexual sin, we’re actually sinning against our own bodies (1 Corinthians 6:18). This is why we should “flee” from it!

Have you strayed from God’s path of life? Do your metaphorical “lips” guard knowledge? Or do they hold the residue of forbidden honey?


Today’s devotion by Jordan Loftis, author of The Men With Bare Feet and host of The Bible Better Podcast.

How Jesus Viewed Ministry Success

And when it was day, he departed and went into a desolate place. And the people sought him and came to him, and would have kept him from leaving them, but he said to them, “I must preach the good news of the kingdom of God to the other towns as well; for I was sent for this purpose.”

Luke 4:42-43 ESV

Ministry success is easily attributable to Jesus.

He captivated thousands because he taught “as one with authority” (Mark 1:22). He was like no one they had ever heard.

He would preach to thousands, heal the sick, and spend time with the untouchables. At one point, his renown was so great that people tried to make him king by force (John 6:15).

Jesus could have stayed where he was and regularly had large crowds gather in his presence. But what did Jesus do with this “ministry success?”

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Let Your Yes Mean Yes

It’s happening.

Gray hair is sprinkling into my temples.

As we all do, I’m getting older. But in today’s verse, Jesus uses the inevitable aging process to show us something. Something key about the character of a disciple.

How many times have you said something like, “I swear to God it’s true…” In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus tells us simply: let your yes mean yes and your no mean no.

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