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.

The Great Exchange Artist

to proclaim the year of the LORD’s favor,

and the day of vengeance of our God;
o comfort all who mourn;
to grant to those who mourn in Zion—
to give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes,
the oil of gladness instead of mourning,
the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit;
that they may be called oaks of righteousness,
the planting of the LORD, that he may be glorified. (Isaiah 61:2-3 ESV)

The Lord is the greatest exchange artist. I know people that will trade you something good in exchange for something good. I even know people that will give you something for nothing in return.

But I have never met anyone on this Earth that will give you all their beauty in exchange for your filthy ashes. Nope, not one. They might give you something beautiful but say, “Just keep your ashes please, I don’t want those. Those things are nasty.”

However, I know Someone

Read moreThe Great Exchange Artist