Pr. 5:10: “Lest aliens be filled with your wealth, and your labors go to the house of a foreigner.”
I recall a particular sleepover my daughter had with her friend when she was a young girl. The next night, as I tucked her in to bed, she was cuddling a stuffed animal I had never seen. When I asked her where she got it, she told me that her friend’s mom had taken them to Wal-mart and bought it for her. How sweet.
I asked her if I could look at the toy, and when I got a better look, I could see scratches on the eyes of the animal and raggedy fur. I realized instantly that this was a well-worn toy, not a brand new toy from the shelf of the store. With her elaborate story, it was clear that she had taken the toy from her friend’s house with every intention of claiming it as her own.
Because she had not only stolen the toy, but had taken the time to think up such a cover-up story to hide her deeds, we knew we had to punish her in a way that she would remember. For stealing, she had to give the toy back in person, and give away 3 of her very own toys to people who did not have as many as her; and because of the lie, she was grounded from playing with the toys she had left.
Reading this verse about the consequences of adultery reminded me of the consequences she faced. A marriage is an investment. We do labor in a marriage. We give hours, months, and years of our time to our spouse. We build our houses together, and spend our money on new counter tops or lighting fixtures. As a couple, we have friendships with other couples. Maybe we even have a ministry within the church.
We risk losing all that we’ve built when we commit adultery. Like my daughter, who had to give away some of her own things when she stole from someone. When we take something that is not ours, in adultery, we risk losing what we have built within our marriage. All the time we’ve invested into our spouses is now hard to remember, or now seems like a lie. The houses and “nests” we’ve built with our spouse may be lost to us, given to another, or just sold to settle accounts.
Stealing from her friend, my daughter also risked losing that friendship, due to lack of trust. The same can happen with our friendships if we risk adultery. We may even lose our ministries.
The warning in this verse is very clear and very real. Why allow someone else to gain what you’ve invested in? We don’t need to invest in or claim things that don’t belong to us. We must treasure what we have, care for it, invest more into it, and allow the rewards to multiply. The gain we experience will be exponential and eternal. 🙂