The initial charm of a new encounter with another can quickly become caustic. What appears enticing may actually be corrosive. That’s the warning of Proverbs 5. First, I want to say this text is not just a proverbial saying for men only. While sexual behavior is the object of alarm and men are the targeted readers, there are plenty of other “attractions” that could stand in the place of sex and women are no less intended. Since money, success, power, and pride, along with sexual temptation, all compete for a seat in the theater of the human heart, this is a proverb fit for all. Just as every loving parent warns their children of impending danger, encouraging them to stay far from its path (Prov 5:5-6, 8), so our heavenly Father speaks to us through this earthly father.

Specifically this proverb highlights the exclusivity of sexual behavior; that it must remain within the boundaries of a lifelong commitment (Prov 5:15-19). Paul echoes the same instruction to the Corinthians who instead followed their cultural ideals (1 Cor 7:2–4). Nowhere are biblical texts more clear that sexual intimacy is limited to the bonds of marriage. Not only is sex outside marriage biblically prohibited but there are many practical reasons it can destroy a relationship (see Lee Gatiss’s keen article titled The Issue of Pre-Marital Sex and Marriage and the Public Good: Ten Principles).

Lest we forget, the proverbial parent reminds us that all our “ways are in full view of the LORD, and he examines all your paths” (Prov 5:21). Hebrews 4:13 puts this in a strikingly sharp manner: “Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.”

Rather than writing with such explicit language on sexual matters that go beyond the biblical text (as some like Driscoll have done), all one needs to know is that God sees all. This is more than sufficient to govern and guide our choices in sexuality. God’s justice will be fully meted out by the risen Christ who one day will judge the whole earth, believers included. “For he has set a day when he will judge the world with justice by the man he has appointed. He has given proof of this to everyone by raising him from the dead” (Acts 17:31). There will be a moral reckoning where every human motive and behavior is calculated by the all-knowing, all-seeing God of the universe. No one will escape. Thus, discipline can only be our best friend in the area of sexuality (Prov 5:23).

The next proverbial saying takes up this theme again.

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