May 15, 2011
Looking To Marry – Part 1
Pastor Philip De Courcy
Proverbs 18: 22
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The series That Makes Good Sense teaches from the book of Proverbs on the essential nature of godly wisdom to live life well. The series reminds believers that wisdom is about choosing to live rightly, righteously, and timely so that God is honored in all areas of life.

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Looking to marry. Proverbs 18, verse 22, “He who finds a wife finds a good thing and obtains favor from the Lord.” “He who finds a wife finds a good thing and obtains favor from the Lord.” When Ruth Bell was a teenager, she was sent from her childhood home in China to a school in Korea. At the time, she fully intended to follow in her parent’s footsteps and become a missionary. She envisioned herself confirmed as an old maid ministering to the people of Tibet to her dying day. But while she was at school she did dream and imagine, “What if God had someone special for me? What would he look like? What would I look for in him?” And so she wrote some qualities down. Although she never intended to marry, she wrote some qualities down about a man she would like to marry.
You’ll find him in her book, A Time of Remembering. Here are the qualities she wrote as a young woman in a boarding school in Korea expecting to go back to China to serve out her days as a missionary in Tibet. “If I marry,” Ruth Bell writes, “he must be so tall that when he is on his knees, as one has said, he reaches all the way to heaven. His shoulders should be brought enough to bear the burden of a family, his lips must be strong enough to smile, firm enough to say no and tender enough to kiss. Love must be so deep that it takes its stand in Christ, and so wide that it takes a whole lost world in. He must be active enough to be gentle and great enough to be thoughtful, his arms must be strong enough to carry a little child.”
Ruth Bell as it happens, never did become an old maid. She never did become a full-time missionary to Tibet. She did find a man worth marrying and his name was Billy Graham. And as his wife, Ruth Bell Graham became a missionary to the world. Now as I’ve thought about that story and reflected upon her own reflections, I’m reminded as I want to remind you, that you and I need to give purposeful and prayerful thought to who we will marry because it’s a matter of first importance. Outside of our decision for Jesus Christ, the decision concerning whom we will marry is the most influential choice we will make. It will change us like nothing else will, for good or for bad.
In fact if you think about it for a moment, when it comes to looking to marry, the glory of God, the joy of parents, the happiness of couples, the welfare of children, the strength of churches and the good of society, all those things are bound up in this one decision. Therefore, there’s no debate as to its importance and as to its influence. It’s crucial to marry the right person and it’s just as crucial to avoid the wrong person. Therefore, we need to think like Ruth Bell Graham as to what are some of the qualities we might look for in a spouse and the Book of Proverbs is going to help us to that end, not surprisingly. Here’s a book that’s calculated to help us live successfully, to help us choose wisely.
It would seem to me that if this book has been written to that end, it’s hardly gone to avoid the issue of marriage because it’s up there in terms of issues of importance. And you’re not surprised to find out, the Book of Proverbs does. Look at the text we just read, “He who finds himself a wife finds a good thing and he obtains favor from the Lord.” This book was written to red-blooded, full-of-life young men. Remember what we said our opening study? “This book was written by multiple authors to young, emerging leaders in the nation of Israel, and it wanted to address life from a wisdom perspective.” And therefore, we’re not surprised with that context and audience that the Book of Proverbs has expansive instruction on loving the right woman and on avoiding the wrong woman who seems to be right.
In fact, here’s an interesting fact. As we talk about loving the right woman, Proverbs presents wisdom in feminine terms and in feminine tones, did you notice that? Go back to chapter one with me for a moment, quickly. Proverbs, chapter 1 in verse 20, here’s what we read, “Wisdom calls aloud outside.” Look at what it says, “She.” Wisdom is personified as a woman, a lady. And this woman, this lady, cries out in the open squares and cries out in the chief concourses, “How long? How long will you simple ones love simplicity? For scorner’s delight in their scorning and fools hate knowledge. Turn at my rebuke. Surely I will pour out my spirit on you. I will make my words known to you.”
Skip over into chapter 3 and verse 13. Again, the feminine tone, feminine terms, “Happy is the man who finds wisdom and the man who gains understanding. For her proceeds are better than profits of silver and her gain than fine gold. She is more precious than rubies.” One last reference here is chapter four verse five, “Get wisdom, get understanding. Do not forget nor turn away from the words of my mouth. Do not forsake her.” Who? Wisdom. Lady wisdom is courting you. Lady wisdom is romancing your soul. Lady wisdom wants you to marry your life and all its decisions to her. Look at verse six, “Do not forsake her. She will preserve you.” Look at these words, “Love her.” Love wisdom. “Love her and she will keep you.”
Seems to me that lady wisdom is a great matchmaker. Before you fall in love with anybody else, fall in love with wisdom. Fall in love with her, she’s got so much she wants to give you. There’s riches to be had, there’s joy to be known when you fall in love with lady wisdom. And so here we are talking about love, here we are talking about finding a wife, here we are talking about searching for a spouse. Before you do it, make sure that you’ve courted wisdom and we’re going to do that. This morning and the next time we’re together, we’re going to listen to lady wisdom as she talks to us about looking to marry as she warns us about the wrong woman and as she instructs us about the right woman.
In fact, this theme of marriage and choosing well and wisely is at the beginning, at the end of the Book of Proverbs. In fact, the theme of looking to marry acts as bookends to the Book of Proverbs, did you know that? Look at chapter 2 and verse 11, where here we are. The prologue has taken place, the book has been introduced, the purpose has been stated. Now we’re getting into some issues. We read in verse 10, “When wisdom enters your heart,” chapter two, “and knowledge is pleasant to your soul. Discretion will preserve you, understanding will keep you.” Now scroll down to verse 16, what will it keep you from? Wisdom will deliver you from the immoral woman from the seductress who flatters with her words. That’s one of the wrong women you need to avoid. One of the dangerous women that can bring a tremendous cost to one’s life.
Now there you have it, early on in the book. Already, these men are speaking to these young men about marriage, choosing well, choosing wisely, but they’re not done. Go right to the end of the book. In fact, the longest section on one theme is at the end of the book, this is their parting shot. What’s it about? It’s about virtue. It’s about virtuous women that make great wives. “He who finds himself a wife finds a good thing.” And here’s what you find in a virtuous woman. You find something that’s worth far more than rubies.
Verse 11, “The heart of her husband safely trusts in her so he will not lack gain. She does him good, not evil, all the days of her life.” Interesting issue of marriage is at the beginning of the book, the interesting, it’s at the end of the book. At the beginning we’re told avoid this kind of woman. At the end we’re told, search and find this kind of woman. Now if you take the broader theme then in between these two bookends, you’re going to find two major things that are underscored. Number one, the happiness of finding the right woman. That’s one of the themes of the Book of Proverbs, the happiness of finding the right woman.
We’ve already quoted Proverbs 18, 22, “He who finds himself a wife finds himself a good thing.” The word good there in the Hebrew carries the idea of a boon or a windfall. The man who finds himself a good woman who loves him back, who’s loyal to him, who does him good all the deaths of her life, he has got himself a windfall. It’s the greatest investment he’ll ever know, the greatest returns he’ll ever enjoy. When he finds such a woman he should get down on his knees every day, and sing the hallelujah chorus, “I’ve found myself a good woman. I have obtained favor from the Lord.” One of the themes of the Book of Proverbs, happiness, joy, satisfaction, fulfillment in finding the right wife. That’s a theme that’s picked up.
Go with me to Proverbs 12, verse 4. I’ll give you a couple of verses just to substantiate what I’m saying. I must always root my words in the Word of God or else they have no authority. I have nothing to say to you this morning other than what God has been saying to me from His Word. Proverbs 12, verse 4, “An excellent wife is the crown of her husband.” Again, there’s a great verse showing in a man who’s find himself a great woman. He’s like a king that’s been crowned. It’s a great day in his life. Proverbs 19, verse 14, you’ll pick up this theme again. 19, 14, “Houses and riches are an inheritance from fathers, but a prudent wife is from the Lord.”
And there’s one other verse I like that highlights just the joy of loving the right woman and finding her. Proverbs 30, verse 18, “There are three things which are too wonderful for me.” And then he says, “Hold on, there’s four things that I find hard to understand.” And he doesn’t mean by that it’s just something you can’t comprehend, it’s just a marvelous thing to think about. Here’s the four things that are surprising and very inviting, “The way an eagle flies in the air, the way a serpent skids along the rock, the way a ship travels in the midst of the sea. And look at the fourth one, “and the way of a man with a virgin.” That’s better translated more loosely like this, “and a man and the love he enjoys with a woman.” It’s one of those inspiring, inviting things about life, love between a man and a woman. There’s nothing quite like it. That’s what the Book of Proverbs is saying.
Few things come close to blessing a man more than the love of a good woman. And if you’ve got one, be good to her and let her know how much you appreciate the fact that in finding her, you find outside of Jesus Christ, the best thing that has ever happened to you. That’s one of the themes of the Book of Proverbs. But the other theme is this, if there’s happiness in finding the right woman, there’s heartache in finding the wrong woman. Go to Proverbs 12, verse 4. Proverbs 12 and verse 4, you’ll see what I’m saying. “An excellent wife is the crying of her husband.” But hold on a minute. If you’re not careful, if you haven’t listened to lady wisdom. If you haven’t been courted by her and you’ve gone off for your own as a suitor for your own prize and you haven’t been wise and discerning, here’s what you’re going to find.
“An excellent wife is the crown of her husband, but she…” that is another wife who’s not excellent, “she will cause you shame and she will be like the rottenness to your bones.” We believe that the Hebrew there, while not specifying it, is probably talking about bone cancer. Can you imagine? That’s a terrible picture. Those of us who have had family or pastors who have visited people with bone cancer, it’s not a pretty sight. And yet this is what the Book of Proverbs is saying, you marry the wrong woman and just as cancer destroys the bone structure of a man or a woman, robbing them of vitality, draining the very life out of them, so will the wrong woman do to you. It’s a powerful picture, isn’t it? Happiness if you get the right one, heartache if you get the wrong one.
A couple other verses that highlight this. Ladies, you’ll have to hold onto your seat here, but in Proverbs 19 and verse 13, here’s what we read. “A foolish son is the ruin of his father and the contentions of a wife are like continual dripping.” You ever have one of those taps in the house and maybe the washer’s gotten loose or the ceiling has broken and it just drips all night long, keeps you awake, drives you up the walls? So is a woman who nags her husband. She’s like a dripping tap. And you know what? This is stated a number of times in the Book of Proverbs, sorry ladies. Come the Proverbs 21, verse 9, “Better to dwell in the corner of a housetop than in a house shared with a contentious woman.”
If a man marries a nagging wife, he grows a fondness for outdoor activities. That’s basically what the proverb is saying. You marry the wrong woman and you know what? You got to take up shooting in the dead of winter or you got to go back to your sleepover days with your male friends or whatever the case might be. One other passage actually deals with this again, if that wasn’t enough. And if those verses hadn’t got me into enough trouble with the women in our congregation, here we go again. Proverbs 27, 15, “A continual dripping on a very rainy day and a contemptuous woman are alike. Whoever restrains her, restrains the wind and grasps oil with his right hand.” There’s just no controlling that kind of woman. There’ll be no leadership in that home. It’ll be a disaster.
And so the Book of Proverbs is warning us about happiness and heartache, both ends of the spectrum. When you come to the issue of choosing a good wife, this is one of the most important things. In fact, go back to our text, Proverbs 18, 22, “He who finds a wife finds a good thing and obtains favor from the Lord.” Now bear those words in mind and quickly go back to chapter 8 and verse 35. Proverbs 8, verse 35, wisdom is speaking again. Here’s what wisdom says, “Whoever finds me, finds life and obtains favor from the Lord.” And I’d pick up language is very similar there. Lady wisdom is saying, “If you find me, you’ll find life and obtain favor from the Lord. If you find a good woman, you’ll find life and find favor from the Lord.”
And the point is this, that there’s a striking resemblance here that I think is hinting at the fact that after finding wisdom, finding a good wife is one of God’s best blessings to a man. It’s as important as that. I mean if you read those early chapters in the prologue to the Book of Proverbs because the actual proverbs really don’t start till about chapter 10, verse 1, the constant reminder that wisdom is important in all you’re getting. Get wisdom because if you find wisdom, you’ll find life and get God’s favor and yet that’s the very language that is used of the man that finds himself the right woman. So important, so influential.
Now I got to pause and help our ladies here because I want you to know that as you listen to this sermon and the next time we look at it, I’m going to look at it from a man’s perspective towards a woman because that’s the way the Book of Proverbs has set it up. These are fathers writing to sons and so I want to stay to the text, and I’ll be speaking much from a man’s point of view, looking for the right woman. But I want you to know the intention of the text is not to demean women, it’s not to [inaudible 00:16:50] that men are good and women are bad, “Here’s the women you got to avoid because we are okay guys.” That’s not the point of the Book of Proverbs, it’s just fathers speaking to sons. If it was speaking to daughters, there’d be a whole different language.
And I just want to let our women know the Book of Proverbs holds women up with high esteem. There are dangerous women, and the Book of Proverbs would happily admit there are dangerous men because both sexes are included in the Book of Proverbs when it comes to foolishness and indiscretion. So while my language will often be directed from the man to the woman perspective, ladies just bear in mind that anything I say you can turn on its head, and what’s true of bad women is true of bad men. What’s true, women who are a danger it’s also true of men that are a danger. And this shoe can go on the other foot. So you’ll hear the language and you’ve got to work through that so that you don’t get too upset and feel, “Hey, the pastors on the case of women.”
Well that said, I’ve got more introduction to do that’s very important. What are we to be looking for when we are looking to marry? That’s the question we’re looking at this morning. And I want to look at the subject of marrying well and wisely from the perspective of what beauty is. Because attraction is part of courtship and dating and pursuing a spouse, what constitutes biblical attraction? What ought men to be attracted to in women? What ought women to be attracted to in man? And the Book of Proverbs picks up the theme of beauty and it contrasts false beauty and fading beauty with true beauty and inner beauty that lasts.
One of the great texts in the Book of Proverbs is Proverbs 31, verse 30, it’s right at the end. These men are speaking to these up-and-coming generation of young men and one of the last things they say to them is this, “Charm is deceitful, Beauty is vain but a woman that fears the Lord, she is to be praised” because you see these men knew their sons all too well and the men of this congregation know themselves all too well and they know their sons all too well. Men often commit the error of over focusing on the physical and they catch the eye of a woman on a physical level and vice versa.
And realizing the tendency of these red blooded full of life young men, these fathers want to say, hold on a minute, we want to talk to you about what real beauty is. You can end up saying like something “Hey dad, I found myself a wife and she’s a beauty” as the Australians say. Then they will want to know, “Well, what do you mean by that son? What do you mean beautiful? Tell me what she’s like.” “Well dad, she looks like an hourglass. She’s a stunner. She’s got the face of an angel, she’s got the shape of a goddess.”
And at this point, these men are going to say. “Hold on a minute, that’s not what real beauty is. That’s part of the attraction son. But now tell me about her heart, tell me about her love of God, tell me about her fear of the things eternal.” And hopefully at this point the boy doesn’t stutter and stammer or else him and the dad are in for a long night’s discussion. And that’s what’s going on in the Book of Proverbs and I want to spend some time with you this morning and next time just looking at the subject of beauty.
So while it’s directed to the young people, it will have an application for us all because these men want to remind these boys to look beyond the physical dimensions of a woman’s body, to the contours of her soul, to the shapeliness of her character. They want to remind them that charm and beauty are rooted in a commitment to God. If I could put it this way, that godliness is sexy. That’s not a word we use too often, but for our young people, the word sexy means attraction. I trust that there’s a generation of young people growing up. And the thing that they find sexy and attractive is godliness, Christ-likeness, the beauty of God resting upon someone that they like. That’s what the Book of Proverb wants us to think about.
It wants to encourage the young man if they’re going to take a tape measure to put it around a woman’s heart, not her waist, because charm is deceitful. Beauty is being passing temporary, skin deep, but a woman that fears God will be of lasting value and lasting sustained joy to any man that finds her. Now I’m going to say two other things. This is a long introduction, but these things need to be said and I’m setting up the stall for the other themes. I want to speak to the young man and the young woman briefly, and I want to say something to the young man in the light of just what I said about beauty and what the Book of Proverbs talks to us about. I want to talk to him about something that concerns me that’s going on inside the church regarding young men and young women.
What I’m talking about is this, too many Godly women who give themselves to spiritual depth and inner beauty are discouraged in our churches and dishonored among our people when they see the attention and the affection of Christian men go only to the pretty face and the shapely body. What a shame. What an indictment on Christian masculinity that discounts the value and virtue of godliness within young women because these young men have bought into the world’s inflationary ideas of outward beauty.
We have many young virgins in our churches who love Jesus Christ, who have married themselves to doing his work, who have sat under their pastors and said, “You know what? We believe in biblical male leadership. We’re going to be quiet, we’re going to be silent, we’re going to do the work of Jesus Christ under our men and under our brethren, we’re going to take on the beauty of the Lord Jesus Christ.” They’re sitting under male leadership doing what they’re told, submitting, but our actions don’t back up our words because many of the men who would preach and accept such a doctrine then overlook those women becoming only attracted to those who are what we may call outwardly beautiful. And I think that’s an indictment on the church and encourage every young man and every single man in this congregation to honor such godly women in our church.
It’s not about their clothes, it’s not about their face, it’s not about their weight, it’s not about the shape of their body. It’s about their love of Jesus Christ, and you’ll be thankful that you focused on that more than anything else. Of course there’ll be an attraction and beauty is in the eye of the beholder and we’ll leave all of that to God’s providence. But you’ve got to get beyond that as a man, especially a young man, and honor the godly virgins of the church of Jesus Christ who have indeed submitted themselves to us and who must not be overlooked and they must not be underappreciated among us. Too many of them are. Too many of them are like the spinster who died and left these words that there were to be no male pallbearers at her funeral. She said, “Since they didn’t take me out in life, they’re not going to take me out in death.”
That’s sad, isn’t it? I also like the story of the girl who refused to marry any man in her church. And when the pastor said, “Why not?” She says, “Pastor, I’m not going to marry any man in this church for a biblical reason.” He said, “What’s the reason?” “First Thessalonians, 4, 13, ‘I will not have these ignorant brethren.'” Too many godly women are looking for godly men and they’re a shadow on the wall. They’re just like the man in the world, they’re caught up with the wrong sizes and measurements of beauty. There’s a second thing I want to say, this one’s to the young women. If I want to say something to young men about what’s going on inside the church, I want to say something to the young women about what’s going on outside the church.
I want to say to our daughters and to our sisters and to our young, single women that you are growing up in a culture that’s very dangerous for you spiritually. You’re growing up in a culture in modern America where image and illusion has replaced reality and truth. Even the reality shows aren’t real. That’s how far we’ve gone. That’s how dumb America is. We think those things are real. They’re so unreal, they’re so plasticy, so illusionary. Life in modern America is now being lived on the surface, and you need to realize that because what we are talking about is deep down beauty that goes to the soul and the character and the core of a woman. But our culture has it otherwise.
Our culture defines beauty in very superficial, surfacey terms. Ours is a cosmetic culture. Many in the media business, the clothing business, fitness and the medical world have seen to it that beauty has been divorced from character and therefore is something on the outside of you. The beautiful women, and there’s a small number of them that seem to get onto the front of the magazines all the time. The beauty of these women are declared and defined in the texture of their skin, the flatness of their tummy, the bigness of their chest, the cut of their clothes. These are the measurements of worth and identity in the modern America, and they are diametrically opposed to this book and the wisdom of the Book of Proverbs.
The increasing use of cosmetic surgery reflects the culture’s ideas and ideals in that most women are [inaudible 00:27:05] because of all the advertisement and hype. They’re coming to this idea that what they are on the outside will determine and define what they are on the inside. Nothing could be further from the truth. From a biblical point of view, the Christian works from the inside-out but the world’s working from the outside-in. And therefore, if I’m to be anybody, I’ve got to look like somebody. Who’s the somebody? It’s this aesthetically enhanced air brushed image that we find on the magazine or the silver screen or the internet, and it’s unreal and it’s un-redemptive.
Ours is a cosmetic surgery and customized self culture. Listen to these words from Carol McKinney, wife of CJ McKinney, a pastor in Washington. She’s writing in her book on womanhood that I have in my study. She says this, “Today’s woman faces intense pressure to conform to a perfect physical ideal. Is it any wonder so many go to drastic measures to change their bodies? A recent study indicated that American women spent a half billion dollars in one year on shape enhancing garments. Over the last eight years, cosmetic surgery procedures among women have increased by a dramatic 165%. According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, the top five cosmetic surgeries for women are liposuction, breast augmentation, eyelid surgery, face lifts, tummy tucks with no end in sight for the demand.”
In fact, as a footnote, after the service, one of the young men in our congregation came forward to tell me he was involved in a medical thing this week and one of the doctors was saying that presently, if the course continues in America, more money is being poured into research and cosmetic surgery than into the solving of some of our greatest diseases. This is where we’re at. This is why the Book of Proverbs is so timely, so truthful.
Let me go on with the quote, “From Argentina to the Japan, women of every culture are submitting with increasing frequency to the knife. In Mexico, nose jobs are the status gift for girls celebrating the traditional coming of the age 15 birthday party. Just over the border in California, their California peers are getting breast augmentation procedures as a high school graduation gift.” That’s a fact. This is the culture our young women are growing up in. This is why Proverbs 31 hits us across the head like a two-by-four, “Charm is deceitful, beauty is vein and a woman that fears the Lord well, you’ve got to find her. And when you find her, you find a good thing and obtain favor from God.” Happiness and heartache lies in that kind of relationship.
Let me go on to give you another quote from another godly woman writing in this subject. Quote, “In the 1950s, Marilyn Monroe epitomized the beautiful woman.” Now, I’m not necessarily endorsing that, the quote isn’t necessarily endorsing it, but it is taking you back a generation and saying the world looked at Marilyn Monroe as the epitome of beauty. The interesting thing is, lady, she was a size 12. Today, the beautiful women are a size two. Every culture, every era defines beauty and creates norms and expectations surrounding that beauty. The disproportion of beauty has led to beauty norms that are seldom natural and never reflect what the average woman actually looks like.
For instance, the average height of a woman in America is five feet, four inches, she’s 142 pounds. The average height and weight of a model which [inaudible 00:30:46] our television screens, our magazine covers, she’s five feet, nine inches, she’s 110 pounds. The average measurements of that woman is 33, 23, 33. Some of the most beautiful actresses choose or are even required according to this quote, to have body doubles when they have nude or semi-nude scenes in movies, and at least 85% of those body doubles have had plastic surgery. How unreal does it get? And yet, you know what? If Christian women, mothers and daughters are not careful, they’re buying into this illusionary unreal ideal.
They’re sitting, reading magazines. Stop it. There’s better books. Read your Bible, by the way, instead of those kind of magazines and remind yourself, if you buy into that stuff, you’re going to be dissatisfied, you’re going to spend your husband’s money unwisely, you’re going to set your daughter on a path to destruction. Now we’ll talk next time together about taking care of our bodies as temples of the Holy Spirit. There’s nothing wrong with a woman looking good. As the old preachers used to say, “If the house needs painting, paint it.” No. We’ll get into that next week. Okay, we’ll get into that next time.
Nothing wrong with that. Nothing wrong with looking well. Nothing wrong with that whatsoever, but this stuff is devilish, dangerous, deceptive. You need to accept your body as God created it. You need to take care of it. But this is illusionary. This is an ideal that destroys a woman’s self-image from a biblical point of view. It’s destructive to men because if they buy into it, then they compare those women who are basically manufactured. They’re not natural. It has them comparing their wives to such an illusionary image. And so the Book of Proverbs challenges us about these things. I was interested to come across even a sacrist, J.K Rowling who wrote the series of Harry Potter books.
She was writing online about the whole issue of girls and the whole beauty scene. She said this and this is a woman far from where we’re at, but here’s what she says about our culture, “I don’t want my daughters to be empty headed, self-obsessed, enunciated clones. I’d rather they were independent, interesting. A thousand things before thin.” Well said. I want my daughters, you want your daughters, we want the women of this congregation to be a thousand things more than thin. That’s not what it’s about. That’s the world’s standard. It’s illusionary, it’s deceptive. And you and I need to think that through because like the very pictures that prompt this fixation on the body, this view of life and the idea of happiness is a lie. It’s an illusion. It’s a promoted, and I believe, a premeditated deception, a filtered view of reality.
Physical beauty does not ensure happiness, fulfillment, success, either in marriage or life. Princess Diana will tell you that. Tragically died at the age of 36. She was the most photographed woman in the world. She was idolized by men, she was copied by women. But we know her story. June and I were living in Britain when they were married. You remember the fairy tale? It was something out of a book. We all hoped the best. We thought this was going to be great for our nation, but time has told us it was a facade. She became a very depressed woman, a very lonely woman. She had bulimia, she would go on binges where she would eat and then force herself to vomit. She tried to commit suicide a number of times. Her husband didn’t love her, she didn’t love her husband. She had other men that loved her and they were all failures themselves. And she died in a desperate state inwardly at the age of 36.
Charm is deceitful, beauty is vein, but a woman that fears God. So here’s where I want to go. I’m just going to take five minutes or so and take the first point. We’re going to look at beauty, especially talking to our young men, our young women. But we’re going to look at beauty from the Book of Proverbs as we are looking to marry. And there’s three thoughts from the Book of Proverbs, debatable beauty, durable beauty and desirable beauty. The first ones is the shortest one, debatable beauty. And what I mean by that is there is a beauty that’s dangerous and debatable. It’s really, it’s not beautiful at all. It’s ugly if you take a second look.
This is the beauty that masks and hides ugliness. This is the beauty that’s only skin deep. This is a beauty that does not reflect the glory of God. And these young men remember, have a tendency to focus on the physical. And so these fathers and wise sages say to them, “Hold on a minute. When you see a beautiful form, take a second look because that beauty is debatable. What you think is beautiful at first sight will not be so beautiful at the second sight. If you look beyond what your eyes are seeing.”
And there are two women in the Book of Proverbs. There’s more I picked up too. There are two kinds of women where this theme comes out. The first one is an immoral woman and the second one is an imprudent woman. Go quickly to Proverbs chapter six. Proverbs chapter six, we have the immoral woman. In Proverbs five, six and seven, we have these men addressing the whole issue of sex and sensuality. Every parent needs to teach their children and their teenagers especially, Proverbs five, six, and seven. And so these men imagine a situation where their son catches the eye of a good looking woman and to their son’s surprise, they’re flattered because that woman catches their eye.
She’s stunning to look at. She’s well dressed, she’s provocative actually. She’s actually showing some of her body off. And these red blooded young men catch an eye of this and they’re looking at this woman. She’s a 10, physically speaking, and this woman winks in this young man’s direction. What are they to do? Listen to what these men say, “Do not lust after,” look at the word, “her beauty.” There’s a recognition that outwardly speaking in form, she’s absolutely stunning, beautiful to look at.
It appeals to what’s natural to young men. But here’s what these men say, “Do not lust after her beauty in your heart nor let her allure you with her eyelids.” This woman glanced in their direction. These young guys get all wobbly at the knees, they’re falling apart. At this point, their parents are saying, “Now at this point, you need moral fiber. You need theological courage. You need to take a second look at her and say, ‘Okay, she’s beautiful but she’s ugly. Her beauty is debatable, her beauty is deceptive.'”
When you get beyond the outward facade, she is an immoral woman. She’s not good. She’s bad. She’s not beautiful. She’s ugly from God’s perspective because here’s what we read about her, she neither loves God nor her husband. Do not lust after her beauty in your heart nor let her allure you with her eyes, for by means of a heart that a man is reduced to a crust of bread, an adulterous will pray upon his precious life. Can a man take fire bosom, his clothes not be burned? Can one walk on hot coals and feet not be seared? So is he who goes into his neighbor’s wife. This is a desperate housewife who’s dangerous and deceptive. She is a moral suicide bomber.
You know what’s dangerous about suicide bombers? You can’t tell them apart. They go into restaurants, they go into disco [inaudible 00:39:09], they go wherever they dress like everybody else. They might even smile at you, and five seconds later they blow you to kingdom come. And this woman fits in and she looks attractive and she gains the smile of this young man, but these men are saying she is a moral suicide bomber. She will blow your life apart. You’ve got to look beyond the facade. Beauty is skin deep, true beauty is fearing God, holiness.
“Godliness is sexy, young man.” That’s what they’re saying. Don’t settle for a blonde bimbo. Don’t settle for somebody who outwardly is attractive, but who inwardly is danger and death spiritually speaking. So we have the debatable beauty of the immoral woman. Secondly, we have the debatable beauty of the imprudent woman. This is a great proverb. I think my girls are tired hearing it this week. Proverbs 11, verse 22, “As a ring of gold in a pig’s snout, so is a lovely woman who lacks discretion.” Ladies, remember to flip the shoe on the other foot lest you come after me at the end of the service. “As a ring of gold in a swine’s snout, so is a lovely woman.” What’s the point?
Here’s a woman who’s not hard to look at. She’s lovely by all measurements. She’s stunning, beautiful, attractive, but she’s hard to live with. She’s not the kind of woman that you want make a good wife, and certainly not be one that would bring the possession of God’s favor because she lacks discretion. The word here in verse 22, discretion means to lack a good taste and good judgment. She doesn’t know how to dress well, she’s provocative, evocative, she’s got no taste, she’s got no manners, she’s got no modesty. She’s stunning to look at, but she’s a fool in her behavior. She has an impoverished ability to make good judgements.
For this woman, looking good is more important than acting properly. For this woman, staying fit is more important and being pure. We would categorize her as a dumb blonde. I know that’s a stereotype, but here she is. She’s beautiful but she’s a dunderhead, she’s an empty head. She has got no character, no discernment, no judgment. And so these men are saying, “Hey, you’ll meet a woman. She’s lovely, but take another look. She’s a pig with a ring in its nose.” What a statement. I mean, you go to the pig farm and there’s the sigh and it’s rolled. It rolled in whatever it rolls in, and there, it’s got the gold ring and the sun catches the ring and it glistens. And for a moment you go, “It’s not beautiful.”
No, it’s not beautiful. It’s a pig. It’s a sigh. The only thing it’s good for is bacon at breakfast. That’s it. It’s not an animal of beauty. God wasted no time on the pig and don’t get caught up with the ring. And it’s a phenomenal comparison staking. You’re walking down the road and you see this shapely, six foot, blonde haired, beautiful woman and you go, “Wow.” And then you go, “Hold on. But she’s got no judgment, she’s got no manners. She’s got no civic responsibility. She’s got no spiritual depth.” Take another look. She’s a pig with a ring in its nose. Strong stuff, isn’t it? It’s debatable beauty. It’s a beauty that’s ugly when you take a good look at it. And that’s what these men were trying to teach these young men.
They need to override their natural tendency to just look on the outside. Remember that was Samuel’s tendency? Looking at those sons of Jesse, strapping big lads, good looking guys. Some of them had the stature of a king. And then there was this little teenager out in the hills somewhere with a fuzzy beard and rosy cheeks, and Samuel had to learn that God doesn’t look on the outward appearance, he looks at the heart. This is where we’re at. And these young men needed to put that tape measure around a woman’s heart, not a woman’s waist because outward beauty can be used as a weapon in the war of the sexes, and it can be used as a tool of manipulation.
Few years ago when we were living in California, we spent a week up in the Monterey Bay area. It’s a beautiful part of California, some of you have been there, I know. And one of the places you want to visit when you’re in Monterey is the aquarium. When we went into the beautiful aquarium, saw some of the sea creatures that inhabit the west coast. One of the fascinating exhibitions that day was an exhibition of some of the most beautiful fish. In terms of form, they were beautiful to look at. They’re a rainbow of colors in terms of their outward appearance. But the exhibition was called, interestingly, Deadly Beauties.
Deadly Beauties because these fish were venomous and poisonous. I mean if you saw these things, beautiful to look at, deadly to experience. Seems to me that where we start here in this subject of marrying the right woman, is you got to avoid the deadly beauties, the immoral women, the imprudent women, same as immoral men, imprudent men. They’ve got to be avoided. We’ve got to look beyond the surface. Anything can look good. A junkyard can look good when it’s got two inches of snow on it. You got to look beyond that. There’s trash beneath it and there’s trash in people’s lives that are hidden by outward form and beauty. But if you find a good wife who loves the Lord, is submissive and serves Christ’s kingdom, you find a good thing and you’ll obtain favor from the Lord.