The paragraphs below were written by Dudley Hall.
Traps for the Young
My son, if you receive my words and treasure up my commandments with you...
…if you call out for insight and raise your voice for understanding...
…discretion will watch over you,
…delivering you from the way of evil, from men of perverted speech…
So you will be delivered from the forbidden woman, from the adulteress with her smooth words…
Proverbs 2:1, 3, 11-12, 16 (ESV)
As we have noted before, the proverbs of the wise are framed in the father to son relationship. Who better to give guidance than a father who wants nothing but the best for his sons? (Note that all humans were created to have the status of "son" before God, just as Adam and Eve did. The term "son" applies to both male and female.) The heavenly Father offers this protection for all of his children. But why focus on these specific traps?
Since we are designed to be social, we are greatly influenced by our peer group. Of course in God’s design, the first and most important peer group is the family with father and mother leading. The Father structured the best possible atmosphere for growth into destiny by providing the complimentary dynamics of mother and father. Listening to these primary authorities prepares children to live with life-giving boundaries and gives them a framework for what is real. If this primary peer group is absent or devalued, the peers of youth serve as the substitute. Every boy and girl wants to fit in. But the values of youth lack the wisdom of experience and many fall into the two traps that await.
Choosing one’s friends is a critical decision in every life. People who marry usually marry a friend. Friends set the agenda for play, relationships, and style. Our first culture, outside of family, is determined by the associates we choose. Those who don’t have the loving guidance of a father and mother are vulnerable to the whims and fancies of young ones who are still trying to make sense of their own existence. How many times do we hear distraught parents explain, “He/She just fell in with the wrong friends?”
So, the question begs to be answered, “why do we poll the youngest, most inexperienced among us to set our cultural values?” Of course the answer reveals a terrifying admission: They are the market! We are slaves to an economic value that is ignoring wisdom and exalting profit. Youth sells! It is especially true as baby-boomers are longing for their fading vitality. When the family model is being mocked and the market sets moral values, the children have little protection against unhealthy friends.
The first trap is wrong friends. The second one is a wrong sexual partner. Wisdom promises protection from the “strange woman.” She is strange simply because she is not the one for you. She is not a covenant woman. The one for you is one with whom you make a binding covenant. Of course, this applies to both sexes. There are strange men, too. Sadly we live in a culture where such ideas are considered archaic, but we can only imagine the pain and scars that are the result of turning a deaf ear to wisdom’s call.
Even an animal will avoid a trap if it is identified. Wisdom has identified the traps and revealed God’s way of escape.