“God blesses those who patiently endure testing and temptation. Afterward they will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him. And remember, when you are being tempted, do not say, “God is tempting me.” God is never tempted to do wrong, and he never tempts anyone else. Temptation comes from our own desires, which entice us and drag us away. These desires give birth to sinful actions. And when sin is allowed to grow, it gives birth to death. So don’t be misled, my dear brothers and sisters” (James 1:12 – 1:16 NLT)
So she seduced him with her pretty speech and enticed him with her flattery. He followed her at once, like an ox going to the slaughter. He was like a stag caught in a trap, awaiting the arrow that would pierce its heart (Proverbs 7:21- 7:23 NLT)
The power of encouragement is evident in the above scriptures. Both James and Solomon are warning and encouraging the reader to pay attention, don’t get caught off guard, and make wise choices. The choices one makes will determine whether they live or die; it’s that serious.
Take for example Solomon’s words: Pretty speech, flattery, whatever was needed to get the young man to follow, that’s what she used. Prey on the weak spots which, for most men, are their eyes and ego.
What a descriptive word: like an ox going to the slaughter. I worked at a meat packinghouse for a while in the 80’s. Never worked the kill floor, but “visited” there once. Wow. Picture the animal as it’s poked and prodded into the livestock trailer. Have you ever followed one down the road? Whew! Now see it as the trailer backs into the gathering area, is poked and prodded more, is herded through a narrow gate, onto the kill floor. Its head is bashed with a stun gun, legs are manacled, body lifted above floor as it hangs by its hind feet. Then the knife and flow of blood; flowing, flowing, flowing until the last drop of life is pooled on the floor.
This is the picture Solomon had in mind.
Remember, though, the picture was intended to warn, to encourage, young men (and old men) to watch their step, guard their heart, and stay clear of the slaughterhouse. Not an easy feat, these days. Bombarded on every side, voices and images flash before us endlessly. But the Lord will give you the strength to overcome; ask Him, believe Him, and turn away from the kill floor.
For those who’ve already been a participant in the packing house regimen, God, through Jesus, is the God of restoration and new life. Repentance is the key that unlocks the door, removes the shackles, and even causes the dead to live again.