Proverbs 7:4-5 Say unto wisdom, Thou art my sister; and call understanding thy kinswoman: That they may keep thee from the strange woman, from the stranger which flattereth with her words.
Proverbs 7:24-27 Hearken unto me now therefore, O ye children, and attend to the words of my mouth. 25 Let not thine heart decline to her ways, go not astray in her paths. 26 For she hath cast down many wounded: yea, many strong men have been slain by her. 27 Her house is the way to hell, going down to the chambers of death.
Also Proverbs 6:20-28, & Proverbs 7
We can associate or be acquainted with the world, but we must be very careful about what we allow close to us. What we allow to reach a place of influence, which happens quite subtly and easily-more so for some than others.
Influence: (noun) To flow in, a flowing into. The word “influence” is sibling to “influenza”. What you expose yourself to does not just pass before your eyes and then disappear. It does not go in one ear and out the other. There is a “flowing into” that happens, and some influences are not easily shaken off. If you have friends outside the church, you had better be the stronger influence or you cannot afford the relationship. We must have a sincere fear of the Lord that guides us and governs our lives-specifically our relationships.
Influence leads to authority. What you allow to influence you today will take authority over you tomorrow. You will adopt the values of those who you allow to influence you. There are some things I have chosen to allow my children to decide for themselves and reach their own conclusions apart from my input so they can learn to think for themselves, but with respect to the fear of the Lord. I have to diligently teach this to them because they will not happen upon it automatically-not even from going to church. If my kids go out and buy a bad car, they’ve got a bad car and can always replace it. If they buy a bad doctrine, those are harder to get rid of and much more costly.
Parents: Three things we must instill in our children: Beside the very obvious and most basic and vital love for God (Deut. 6) we have to instill within our children: (1) a love for the church-so they will stay close to its safety. (2) A love for their pastor-so they will hearken to the watchman. (3) A love for the work of God-so they will have an avenue to express passion and vision, which is so vital to life.
A sincere love for the work of the Kingdom of God gives us focus. It helps direct our hearts and minds toward God and Godly things.
Solomon had a godly heritage. He had everything going for him-raised in a godly home, his father was one of the greatest men of God who lived, Solomon himself didn’t just live by the Word of God, he wrote some of it. Psalm 11:10 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. Proverbs 1:7 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge. Such phrases are found fourteen times in Proverbs.
And yet, all that wasn’t enough. A heartbreaking story begins to unfold in 1 Kings 11 as Solomon’s wealth and fame and power continue to expand. He began an almost or even indiscernible downhill spiral when he began to marry strange (heathen) wives. Even though he knew better, (he knew the warnings and commandments) he still took wives of people who did not serve The Lord. Some would say these wives were for political reasons-no doubt the case with Pharaoh’s daughter. But these were not just associates or acquaintances or friends; verse 1 says he loved them. These women were close to him physically and emotionally, and who would potentially be in a place to influence him. Influence begins with proximity, then regard, then adoption.
The gift may be working perfectly, even in the midst of inconsistency. Solomon wrote most of Proverbs while married to Pharaoh’s daughter. And while marrying more strange women. The words he wrote were true, but he did not heed them himself.
Exodus 34:12 Take heed to thyself, lest thou make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land whither thou goest, lest it be for a snare in the midst of thee: 13 But ye shall destroy their altars, break their images, and cut down their groves: 14 For thou shalt worship no other god: for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God: 15 Lest thou make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land, and they go a whoring after their gods, and do sacrifice unto their gods, and one call thee, and thou eat of his sacrifice; 16 And thou take of their daughters unto thy sons, and their daughters go a whoring after their gods, and make thy sons go a whoring after their gods.
Deuteronomy 7:1 When the LORD thy God shall bring thee into the land whither thou goest to possess it, and hath cast out many nations before thee, the Hittites, and the Girgashites, and the Amorites, and the Canaanites, and the Perizzites, and the Hivites, and the Jebusites, seven nations greater and mightier than thou; 2 And when the LORD thy God shall deliver them before thee; thou shalt smite them, and utterly destroy them; thou shalt make no covenant with them, nor shew mercy unto them: 3 Neither shalt thou make marriages with them; thy daughter thou shalt not give unto his son, nor his daughter shalt thou take unto thy son. 4 For they will turn away thy son from following me, that they may serve other gods: so will the anger of the LORD be kindled against you, and destroy thee suddenly.
Why were the children of Israel to destroy the heathen nations? Not for just punishment or judgment, but also to remove the negative influence from among God’s people. Isn’t it better to teach them to stand (my kids, that is)? To stand among the heathens? God didn’t think so.
Neh 13:23 In those days also saw I Jews that had married wives of Ashdod, of Ammon, and of Moab: 24 And their children spake half in the speech of Ashdod, and could not speak in the Jews’ language, but according to the language of each people. 25 And I contended with them, and cursed them, and smote certain of them, and plucked off their hair, and made them swear by God, saying, Ye shall not give your daughters unto their sons, nor take their daughters unto your sons, or for yourselves. 26 Did not Solomon king of Israel sin by these things? yet among many nations was there no king like him, who was beloved of his God, and God made him king over all Israel: nevertheless even him did outlandish women cause to sin.
1 Kings 11:7 Then did Solomon build an high place for Chemosh, the abomination of Moab, in the hill that is before Jerusalem, and for Molech, the abomination of the children of Ammon. 8 And likewise did he for all his strange wives, which burnt incense and sacrificed unto their gods.
(Molech was the pagan God to whom people offered their children as burnt sacrifices-an abomination to The Lord)
So many strong warnings against the influence of unbelievers. It isn’t that God wants to keep us from the goodies this world has to offer, He wants to keep us from the misery that is inevitably linked together with those “goodies”. He knows a love for the world cannot coexist with a love for Him.
Virtually all of Paul’s letters as well as all the other epistles were dedicated to ensuring that saved people stayed saved. Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world the love of the Father is not in him (1 John 2:15)…keep yourself unspotted from the world (James 1:27)….know ye not that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whosoever be a friend of the world is the enemy of God. (James 4:4)
A love for the things of this world will turn our hearts away from Him, and no good can ever come of that. No good ever comes from withdrawing from The Lord Jesus.
Has anyone in history ever turned away from Him and left the church-and lived happily ever after?