I have tested all this by wisdom. I resolved, “I will be wise,” but it was beyond me. What exists is beyond [reach] and very deep. Who can discover it? I turned my thoughts to know, explore, and seek wisdom and an explanation [for things], and to know that wickedness is stupidity and folly is madness. And I find more bitter than death the woman who is a trap, her heart a net, and her hands chains. The one who pleases God will escape her, but the sinner will be captured by her. “Look,” says the Teacher, “this I have discovered, by adding one thing to another to find out the explanation, which my soul continually searches for but does not find: among a thousand [people] I have found one [true] man, but among all these I have not found a true woman. Only see this: I have discovered that God made people upright, but they pursued many schemes.” Eccl 7:23-29 (HCSB)
The pursuit of wisdom is an ongoing journey, and the more we grasp, the more we realize that we are short of what we really need to discover, which is still beyond our reach. If only we could grasp the knowledge we need, then and likely only then will we avoid the wickedness that leads us to stupidity, and the folly that identifies us as mad men.
The ultimate test for a man that claims to be wise, that has become the envy of others, is how that person handles his relationships with women. When man pursues out of lust a woman then that pursuit, not the woman herself, becomes a trap, a net, and it will chain us in that lust. A wise counselor who was a professor in college told me that when a man and woman establish an intimate relationship there is a chemical connection that lasts a lifetime long after the two have traveled separate paths. A man will remember vividly each woman he has been with given the right circumstances. That is an interesting trait that marks our life of relationships, however often many of those memories come with regrets and consequences.
So are women wicked? Are they to blame for man’s stupidity and folly? Why do proverbs identify sin with the temptress? (Well, most of Proverbs and Ecclesiastes were likely written by a man who knew wisdom and wealth, but still felt the need to lust after what he could never own – the love of the women he pursued in life.) No, women are not wicked and certainly not to blame for man’s lustful desires. The only temptress is man’s own sinful, lustful heart that stirs man’s stupidity and foolish ways. Just as wisdom is never fully attainable, neither is the satisfaction of man’s lust for women. However, we become wise when we realize that fact and learn to be satisfied with where we are in life and not allow the pursuit of wisdom, wealth or women to blind us into falling prey to the lust of any of the three.
Our only hope is found in our faith in pursuing God’s will, God’s ways, and God’s wisdom according to God’s Word so that we can learn to love rightly all that we have, and to free ourselves from the lust that resides within us. Lust is the seed of sin that tempts us. Men beware, and do not blame women for our sinful distractions that are left unchecked will destroy the relationships we hold most dear to us.
You have heard that it was said, Do not commit adultery. But I tell you, everyone who looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart. If your right eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of the parts of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of the parts of your body than for your whole body to go into hell! Matt 5:27-30 (HCSB)