20 Why, my son, be intoxicated with another man’s wife?
Why embrace the bosom of a wayward woman?
21 For your ways are in full view of the Lord,
and he examines all your paths.
Now that both sides of the issue have been thoroughly conveyed, the son is invited to “give thought to [his] ways.” Honor and dignity (v.9), wealth and toil (v.10), blessedness (v.18) and lasting satisfaction (v.19) are all at stake when it comes to sex. Surely there is nothing worth sacrificing all that for – especially not the embrace of an adultress! The whispers of temptation are always a fraud – whatever benefits she offers are far outweighed by the costs.
“For your ways are in full view of the Lord, and he examines all your paths.” Only one foolish objection remains: “what if I’m never caught?” Yet the inherent consequences need not be enforced by others, they are built in to the way life works. The man who sabotages his own satisfaction may do so in secret, but he has done it nonetheless. We may hide our sins from others, and even from ourselves, but they are in full view of the Lord. He has created us with legitimate needs and instructed us on their joyful fulfillment, all other paths are dead ends.