Fellowship Offerings

Today's devotion from Proverbs 7.

This is an awkward chapter to read. Our author is incredibly concerned with seduction and adultery. Upon first reading, it could be that we might not find the application of this chapter as easily as some others. Of course, we could just generically apply this chapter to sexual purity and be done with it, but I think we'd be missing out on a more pressing application.

When we look at verse 14, something curious is happening. As the woman is attempting to seduce the young man, she says, "I've made fellowship offerings; today I've fulfilled my vows." (Proverbs 7:14, CSB) This interesting little verse is typically viewed from one of two lenses.

First, there is the idea that she is enticing the young man with the promise of a feast. This theory is supported by the idea that a meat offering would have been involved. However, I think this is a weak position. It really doesn't seem to have any backing by the content or context of the rest of the chapter.

The second option is that she is propositioning the man as a prostitute. If she were attempting to fulfill her vows, she would need the proper coinage. However, she has said that her husband is away with her silver. This seems to have more support from the text even though Scripture forbade the use of money from prostitution in the paying of vows (Deuteronomy 23:17-18).

Now, I'm pretty sure I can guess what you're thinking. You aren't really sure that you will struggle with being a prostitute or be propositioned by one, so how does this proverb apply to you? In this single verse we have encountered a serious and heinous offense. Regardless of how you interpret verse 14, the one inescapable truth is that she is using worship as a tool for sin.

Think about that.

The traditions and rituals that were meant to draw men closer to God can be manipulated to drive a wedge between the two. It may not always be through prostitution or sexual sin, but if this happened in this case, we should be wary of others. I've seen churches split over worship and believers argue over sanctuaries. Be very careful. Just because we are doing something "religious" doesn't mean we are being righteous.