Thursday, March 17, 2016

The Allure of the Forbidden

“Stolen waters are sweet, and bread eaten in secret is pleasant.” Prov. 9:17

         Why is that, do you think? Why are stolen waters sweeter and bread eaten in secret more to be desired? Are we to assume that the forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden was more appetizing than any other fruit there? I don’t think so. Knowing human nature ­– and especially my own – I’ll wager that the fact that it was forbidden by God weighed at least as heavy in her decision as did the promise of wisdom. And I doubt Bathsheba was any more beautiful than any of King David’s wives. Yet the fact that she was “off limits,” in every sense of the word, made her irresistible to him at that point in his life. He should have done with these “stolen waters” as he did with the water from the well in Bethlehem stolen for him by his “three mighty men” (2 Sam. 23: 15-17). He should have poured out his desire as an offering to God.

         But there it is. There is something about being forbidden that makes the sin or any other activity much more inviting. Paul tells us this in Romans 7:7, “…I had not known sin, but by the law…But sin, taking occasion by the commandment, wrought in me all manner of concupiscence [irregular appetite for unlawful enjoyments].” The commandment “Thou shalt not kill” only confirmed what Cain knew in Genesis four, when he killed his brother and tried to lie to God about it. But Paul admits, by codifying a list of what God considers to be sins against Him, the desire to do said sins became greatly enhanced.

         Now let’s bring this home to where you and I live. Obviously, we all know that the overriding fascination of sin is pleasure (the sowing, not the reaping) (Heb. 11:25), and none of us is immune to pleasure. But what about questionable activities and indulgences that may not be sin, but definitely fall under the category of “weights” (Heb. 12:1)?  Those habits that may not harm our souls but do harm or dishonor the temple of God which houses the soul, “bread eaten in secret,” if you will. To indulge in something you may have heretofore deemed forbidden carries its own degree of pleasure. Either way, blatant sin or broken resolve, it is testimony to our inbred inclination to rebellion against God and/or what is right for us. Oh, how we need to pray as David did, “…cleanse thou me from secret faults. Keep back thy servant also from presumptuous sins…”(Psl. 19:12-13). Beware the allure of the forbidden.

“The power of sin is pleasure; if stolen waters were not sweet, no one would steal them.” – Wm. Arnot

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