Proverbs 7:21-23 says, “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. He was like a bird flying into a snare, little knowing it would cost him his life.”
As a parent of two teenage sons I can fully attest to the reality that sometimes teenagers don’t fully think through what they are doing in their lives. They’re good at mapping out point A and maybe point B but they usually fail to see point C, point D, point E and beyond. Having been around the block a few times we as parents try to teach out kids to think critically about which path they are on and where their current, seemingly harmless choices could possibly lead.
To teenagers and sometimes even to “seasoned adults” certain options can seem really appealing at first glance. We can sometimes be guilty of shadowing the heels of those in front of us without ever raising our heads to see where it is that we’re headed. We shuffle along following what’s in front of us without fully thinking through where this road will lead us.
Figuratively speaking we keep our heads down, only raising our eyes high enough to what’s right in front of us. With that being our only directional point of reference we simply keep moving.
Proverbs 7 paints a powerful picture of someone witnessing first hand the ramifications of an ill-advised youth failing to critically think through his choices. The writer uses powerful words such as “seduced” and “enticed”. We’ve all been their right? We’ve all felt the powerful lure of instant notoriety, instant money in our pocket, instant pleasure. We each have our own stories of “one being led like an ox to the slaughter”. It’s often these scenarios that we find easy to spot, especially in the lives of others. We use phrases like, “Any idiot could have seen that coming.” or “I could have told you that was going to happen.” or “I’d never be so stupid.”
What’s interesting is that the writer also uses another analogy that we perhaps overlook as one and the same. He uses the words “a stag caught in a trap, awaiting the arrow that would pierce its heart”. This feels intentional to me, I think the writer was painting two pictures: one of instant death and the other of eventual death.
We often pride ourselves as mature adults who can easily spot obvious pitfalls and would never make a decision without critically thinking it through. However the writer also points out that not all “pitfalls” are so easy to spot. The stag isn’t killed immediately, it’s first trapped. What perhaps looked like an appealing or delicious opportunity to the stag, in the end only served to ensnare it. The stag wasn’t killed right away, the arrow to its heart came later.
What arrows are headed in your direction? Be encouraged and keep moving forward.