Revive Our Hearts Podcast

A Woman's Weapon

Leslie Basham: Here’s Nancy Leigh DeMoss.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: A woman has a weapon that is as strong and stronger than any man has in his physical strength. It’s this little thing called the tongue, which is attached to the heart.

What’s in the heart comes out in the tongue and has the ability to absolutely overpower any man.

Leslie: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss for Friday, September 25, 2015.

How have you been using the powerful tools God has given you? A wise woman uses her words to build and not tear down. That's one of the themes we'll explore as Nancy continues in the series "Becoming a Woman of Discretion." 

Nancy: We’ve been looking at a portrait of a foolish woman as painted for us in Proverbs 7. I want to begin reading in verse 21 as we see how this foolish woman has seduced and ensnared a foolish young man, a man who is not her husband.

Her husband is away on a business trip, and she has gone after this young man. She has drawn him into her trap. Verse 21 shows how she actually lures him in.

With her much fair speech she caused him to yield, with the flattering [or the smoothness] of her lips she forced him. He goeth after her straightway [or immediately] as an ox goeth to the slaughter, or as a fool to the correction of the stocks; till a dart strike through his liver; as a bird hasteth to the snare, and knoweth not that it is for his life (vv.  21–23).

And now this writer says:

Hearken unto me now therefore, O ye children, and attend to the words of my mouth (v. 24).

“Listen up,” he’s saying. This is really, really important that you pay attention.

Let not thine heart decline to her ways, go not astray in her paths. For she hath cast down many wounded; yea, many strong men have been slain by her. Her house is the way to hell, going down to the chambers of death” (vv. 25–27).

We see in verse 21, as we did in the first verse describing this woman back in verse 5, that she uses her speech, her words to entice him. “With her much fair speech she caused him to yield, with the flattering [or smoothness] of her lips she forced him.”

You don’t usually think of women as forcing men. We think sometimes of men as forcing women in a physical sense.

But a woman has a weapon that is as strong and stronger than any man has in his physical strength. It’s this little thing called the tongue, which is attached to the heart.

What’s in the heart comes out in the tongue and has the ability to absolutely overpower any man.

When I read this verse, I can’t help but think about another woman in the Old Testament. Her name is Delilah. We know how she enticed Samson.

It talks here about the foolish woman who has much fair speech that causes this man to yield. She just overpowers this man with her persistence and her words. She gets him ultimately to yield to whatever it is that she wants.

It talks about much fair speech here. That’s a convicting point to me as we’re examining our own hearts and saying, “Lord, are there any characteristics of this foolish woman in my life?”

She speaks a lot. Proverbs tells us that in the multitude of words sin is not absent. When we talk too much, we will sin. Women, this is something we need to ask God to search our own hearts about and to show us, “Are we women who just talk too much, who say everything we think?” It all has to come out. I mean even good things.

That’s one of the dangers, by the way, of being a teacher of the Word to others. You talk a lot. One of the things I often pray before I teach the Word is this prayer from Psalm 19:14, “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in Your sight, O LORD” (NKJV).

I pray, “Oh, Lord, I know that I’m going to be saying a lot today. Help me not to sin with my lips. May my words be truthful and pure. Guard my tongue.” The way we do that is by guarding our hearts.

With her much fair speech she caused him to yield. She seduced him with her smooth talk, as some of your translations say. The power of words to use flattery, flirtatious words, bold words, seductive speech to manipulate a man to do what it is that you want him to do.

By the way, you can use this against your husband as well. It’s not just in the matter of immoral relationships. With much fair speech you can cause your husband to make choices that are not what God would want him to make.

So before we speak, we need to make sure that we’ve asked the Lord:

  • Is this what You want me to say?
  • Are these the right words?
  • Is this the right timing?
  • Is this the right spirit in which to say these words?
  • Have I already said too much, and is it time just to be quiet?”

The contrast to this foolish woman again can be found in Proverbs 31 with the virtuous woman. I love that verse—verse 26—where it says, “She opens her mouth with wisdom, and on her tongue is the law of kindness” (NKJV).

So many times I ask the Lord as I go out into the course of my day and I know I’m going to be interacting with people and in conversations and discussions. I say, “Lord, let the words of my mouth be kind and wise.” If it’s not kind and it’s not wise, don’t say it.

I think sometimes men just get tired of hearing us talk and they just give in. If we’re going to insist on talking and talking and talking, they may give in just to stop talking.

That’s why whether it’s in your marriage or in relationships with other men, if you want to be a wise woman, ask God to give you a wise and kind heart that will express itself in wise and kind words.

Ask yourself, “Am I speaking as kindly to those in my own home as I do to those at work, at church, to other women, to other men?” Shouldn’t our kindest words be reserved for those who are closest to us?

Yet so often those are the ones we take advantage of. And those words, like a piercing of a sword, Proverbs says, can be so deadly.

Well, verse 26 tells us that this foolish woman "has cast down many wounded: yea, many strong men have been slain by her."

This is one of the most sobering verses in my own life as I’ve sought to become a woman of wisdom. Years ago as a young teenager, God began to impress on my heart that my life, as much as I wanted to seek after God and be a wise woman, that I could be the means by which not one, not a few, but many men could be cast down.

It talks about two kinds of men who are cast down by this kind of foolish woman—the wounded man and the strong man. Men often find themselves in one of these two categories.

A wounded man is one who has been hurt in some way. He’s emotionally vulnerable or fragile or weak. And this foolish woman comes into his life and she casts him down.

Or he may be a strong man. He may be a man who’s spiritually strong but after a great spiritual victory he becomes vulnerable to pride. And at that point, a foolish woman can be the undoing of that man.

How does she cast him down? She does it by discouragement and by intimidation and by ensnaring, in some cases, men in an immoral sense.

You may not have ever been involved in an immoral relationship with a man. You may not be on your way to an immoral relationship. But ask yourself as you think about the men that you know—your husband, your sons, the men in your church, the men that you work with—“Have I cast down those men with my words, with my spirit? Have I intimidated them or have I discouraged them?”

Those weak men are going to tend to be discouraged more easily. Those strong men are going to easily be intimidated. That’s where we need to ask God to make us wise women.

In so many ways we women foolishly cast down the men around us. I think one of the ways we often do that in our culture is with humor about men. It’s politically correct today for women to make “men-bashing” statements.

Could I appeal to you, plead with you? Do not be one of those women who talks that way. It is not appropriate. The Scripture says that the woman is the glory of the man. When we women make humorous or light or “put down” comments about men in general or, God forbid, about your husband in particular, we become a means of discouraging, emasculating those men, weakening them, just like putting a sword into that man.

You say, “My husband’s not much of a man. He doesn’t ask like a man. He doesn’t have courage. He doesn’t take initiative. He’s not a spiritual leader.”

Ask yourself, “Is it possible that I may have cast down this man with:

  • comparing him to other men
  • discouraging comments
  • critical comments
  • always trying to remake him into something that he’s not

Your husband may have given up, just given up years ago because he’s felt he could never live up to your expectations. You’ve made him a prisoner of your expectations.

I would just say, “If you want to be a wise woman, let him go. Trust him to God. Let God be the one who makes that man.”

Now you pray like crazy, and you love like crazy. But rather than casting down, tearing down as a foolish woman, say, “Oh God, I want to build up with words of love and encouragement and grace.” God can use you to build up that man.

This has been a very sobering text for me to study because over and over again, though not myself involved in immoral relationships as this woman was, I’ve seen aspects of her life in me. I’ve been warned and cautioned, and I think we all have to say, “Lord, don’t let me be that foolish woman,” and to even say, “Lord, I am in some respects that foolish woman.”

We’ve been asking God to search our hearts and to show us where we have foolish characteristics so that we can repent of that foolishness, and we can put on a heart of wisdom. We’ve been contrasting this foolish woman with the virtuous woman in Proverbs 31 who manifests the heart and spirit of Christ in her marriage and in her relationships.

We’ve been not only seeking to have God make us women of wisdom and deliver us from our foolishness, but we’ve stressed the importance of teaching these ways of God to our daughters, to younger women.

You say, “I’m not an older woman. I can’t be teaching younger women.” One thing I learned from Elisabeth Elliot years ago is that all of us are an older woman to someone. Women today will not automatically understand these principles. Our responsibility as women of God is to live out these principles and then to teach them to others—first to your own sons and daughters and then to other young women and even young men that God may bring across your path.

As we come to the close of Proverbs chapter 7, this chapter ends on a very serious note. I think that’s because God wants us to take this whole concept very seriously. If we let these characteristics of foolishness go unchecked in our lives or in the lives of our children, God wants us to see where we’re going to end up.

We talked in the last session about how this woman in verse 26, the foolish woman, "has cast down many wounded men: yea, many strong men have been slain by her."

Then the last verse of the chapter: “Her house is the way to hell, going down to the chambers of death” (v. 27).

That’s not a happy ending. I think what the writer of Proverbs is saying is, “The end of a foolish woman is not a happy ending.” She may think she has a happy life, and for a while she may. She may have some fun being foolish.

Yes, sin has pleasures for a season. But the writer here in the Proverbs is saying, “Look ahead to the end of the story and see where it will lead you. If you are a foolish woman, this is where you will end up and this is where you will take others with you.”

The bottom line is, this foolish woman is deadly. If you are a foolish woman, you are a deadly woman. To whatever extent I allow foolishness to stay in my own heart, I will be a deadly woman.

We see this throughout the Proverbs, not just in this chapter. In chapter 2 of Proverbs the Scripture says, “Her house,” speaking again of this foolish woman, “Her house inclines unto death, her paths unto the dead. None that go unto her return again” (vv. 18–19 KJV). This is a dead end street.

The writer is warning his son about this kind of woman. But should not we, as women, take warning as well about being this kind of woman?

Chapter 5 of Proverbs says, again speaking of this kind of woman, “Her feet go down to death; her steps take hold on hell” (v. 5 KJV).

A few weeks ago I received an email from a friend who had heard me speak on this topic. She was writing to tell me what God had been showing her about her own life. In this case, the man she destroyed was her own husband.

By her own admission her heart was never in her home through many years of marriage. She loved her work. She loved other people. She would have said she loved her husband, but as she looks back now she acknowledges that she never, through twenty-some years of marriage, really fulfilled her God-given responsibilities as a wife and as a mother.

As she wrote this note, her marriage was in a state of utter disrepair. Now, I want to say that God is in the process of redeeming that marriage. But it’s all only of grace. Before that point came, here’s what she wrote to me. She said,

I am the epitome of the foolish woman you described. Over and over again from my earliest childhood, I’ve been this foolish, adulterous woman. I now see the tragic consequences that have resulted in my husband in our marriage.

I’ve also planted those vicious seeds in our precious daughter. I have emasculated my husband because of my selfish, arrogant, manipulative, intimidating ways and words.

How terribly, terribly wounded he is because of me. I’ve taken him down to the very core of hell itself because of my ungodly, willful ways.

Today he took the wife of another man to church with him. How could I have driven such a wonderful man to do such a hideous thing before God? God help me.

I see how wrong I’ve been. I’m trusting in His Word for healing, cleansing and restoration of my vile heart.

Let me point out a few things about that note. First of all, you can see so clearly that the paths of a foolish woman lead to death; that the way of a transgressor, as Proverbs says, is hard, not only for this woman but for her husband and for other men who fall into the trap of a foolish woman.

People who are aware of this situation would not have known that she was the foolish woman. They knew what her husband was doing by becoming involved in an illicit affair. Everyone assumed, “This is all him.”

He was a very foolish man and made some very wrong choices. He cannot blame his wife for the choices he has made.

But this woman got honest enough with the Lord to say, “It’s not just him. It’s me. I’ve got to take responsibility for the ways that I have been foolish and ultimately brought this man to destruction.”

You see, she’s not responsible for his failures. He’s responsible for his failures. But she is responsible for her failures.

The way God is bringing mercy and grace and restoration into this marriage is because a wife first, when there was no evidence of turning on the part of her husband, turned her heart to the Lord in confession, humility, brokenness, and repentance.

As God has wrought an incredible change, is bringing about a change—it’s a process—in this woman’s heart, God has simultaneously begun to move in the heart of her husband and is beginning to turn his heart back toward home.

I can’t promise you that if you’re a wise woman, your husband will never wander from God. I can’t promise you that your husband will never do foolish and sinful things just because you walk with God.

But I can tell you, if you’re a foolish woman your pathway will lead to death. I can tell you if you are a wise woman you will experience freedom from fear and you will experience the life of Christ within you, regardless of what choices your husband may or may not make.

Leslie: Important words from Nancy Leigh DeMoss. She’ll be back to pray about these serious issues.

I hope today’s message isn’t just something you hear and forget. I hope you’ll dig into today’s passage, Proverbs 7, and learn more about becoming a wise woman.

Nancy has written a booklet that helps you learn wisdom and how to work out the details in today’s world. It’s called "Becoming a Woman of Discretion." It will help you search the Bible and learn to appreciate wisdom. It will help you think through your own choices.

When you make a donation to Revive Our Hearts, we’ll send you a copy of "Becoming a Woman of Discretion." You can donate online at ReviveOurHearts.com. There’s a place that you can let us know that you’d like to get a copy of the booklet when you make your donation online. If you’d rather call with your donation, just tell us that you’d like "Becoming a Woman of Discretion," and we’ll send it to you. The number is 1–800–569–5959. Today's the final day I'll be letting you know about this offer, so let us hear from you soon.

What discourages you? Next week, Nancy will help you prepare for discouragement and handle it with God's peace. Please join us again Monday for Revive Our Hearts. Now let’s get back to Nancy wrapping up today’s program.

Nancy: I wonder if we could just take a moment here to bow our hearts before the Lord. We’ve looked at these very serious truths about being a foolish woman. We’ve seen ourselves at places here, and now we see the devastating consequences that come about from being foolish women.

I have a great burden in my heart that we as Christian women would humble ourselves and repent of our foolishness. So as I pray this prayer of repentance and humility, would you join me in your heart if this is what you want to express to the Lord?

Oh Lord, I just want to say on behalf of myself and my sisters in this room and other Christian women throughout this nation, in many ways we have been so foolish. We have sinned against You and against the men that we ought to love, with our words, with our behavior, with our attitudes, with our spirit.

Oh God, I pray that You would forgive us for ways that we have been foolish and for men that we have cast down and led to death—spiritual and moral and emotional death—by our foolishness. Oh God, please have mercy on us. Cleanse us. Create a new and right and clean and wise heart within us. Change us by the power of Your Spirit. Transform us into the women that You made us to be, women filled with the Spirit of Jesus, women of virtue. May our lives draw men and women and children and young people to say, “God’s ways are right, and I want to embrace them also.”

Thank You for hearing us and cleansing us and by faith using us as wise women of God. We pray in Jesus’ name, amen.

Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss is an outreach of Life Action Ministries.

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