My son, keep my words, and lay up my commandments with thee.
Sons often neglect their father’s instructions and warnings. If they forget them, they will not be ready, when temptation is in their eyes, ears, heart, and loins. And the temptation here is dangerous and powerful – a beautiful and skilled adulteress (Pr 7:5-27). The same lesson applies to young women, when they are infatuated with a handsome man. Solomon begins and ends his warning with appeals to remember his advice (Pr 7:1-4,24).
Solomon knew the folly and vanity of youth (Pr 22:15; Eccl 11:10). He knew the great vulnerability that young men and women have to sexual lusts and temptations (Ps 25:7; Eccl 12:5; Ezek 23:3,8,19,21; II Tim 2:22). Their freedom, folly, naïveté, sexual desire, and youthful bodies create a dangerous combination. He also knew the haughty spirit in most of their hearts. Therefore, he repeatedly begged his children to listen and remember his instruction (Pr 1:8; 2:1-5; 3:1-4; 4:1-5,13; 5:1-2,7; 6:20-21; 7:1-4,24; 8:32-33).
The dangers of not remembering are great. How will a young man resist, when his eyes are full of her beauty, his ears full of her flattery, his heart full of her offered love and submission, and his loins full of desire (Pr 5:3; 6:24-25; 7:13-21)? How will a young woman resist, when her eyes are full of his manliness, her ears full of his flattery, her heart full of his attention and affection, and her body craves his embrace (Gen 34:1-3)?
The consequences of not remembering are great. Solomon warned his children very carefully about the bitter pain that would wrack their consciences and bodies after sinning sexually (Pr 5:7-14). They would lose their reputations, years of their lives, and their labor and money. They would grieve about their hypocrisy, but it would be too late. They would remember the many warnings they had been given, but it would also be too late.
Why is it hard for youth to remember instruction? They have undisciplined and wanderings minds; they easily forget what was said in their rush to explore new things; they get enraptured in the vanity of youthful activities and lusts; they think their teachers are too conservative and missing the great pleasures of life; they fall into temptation naively and unawares without recollection of warnings. Youth is folly and vanity!
Consider Joseph in Egypt. He worked for Potiphar in his late teens and twenties, the years of a man’s most powerful sexual drive (Gen 37:2; 41:46). He was far from home; no one knew him; Egypt’s morality was low; and a beautiful woman begged him to sleep with her (Gen 39:7-12). He did not have a Bible, and there were none for sale at the local pyramid! How did he resist this woman in these circumstances? How did he give such a sober answer to her? He remembered the instructions of his father from his youth. Glory!
But consider Samson with Philistine women. Though he had good parents, who had been given careful instructions about his life, he chose early on to reject their advice about women (Judges 13:1-25; 14:1-3). By forgetting the warnings of his parents, Samson was in no condition to resist the lying words, hired body, and short-term pleasure of Delilah; and he was utterly ruined (Judges 16:1-21). If only he had remembered his parents’ advice and married a beautiful woman of Israel and had children with her (Pr 5:15-23).
Solomon had been taught well by both of his parents – David and Bathsheba (Pr 4:1-4; I Chron 28:9). And he had witnessed the horrible evils of sexual sins in his own father and family (II Sam 11:1-27; 12:1-25; 13:1-39). But he forgot his father’s instruction and ruined his life with 1000 ungodly women (I Kgs 11:1-8; Neh 13:23-27). If even this wise man could forget the instruction he had been given, the danger is much greater for you.
How well do you hear and remember what you are taught by your parents and pastors? Jesus Christ taught that careful hearing is very important, for He knew the three enemies of retention and application (Luke 8:11-18). Do you crave hearing and learning to grow in knowledge (I Pet 2:1-3; II Pet 3:18)? Do you review what you are taught and practice applying it (Heb 5:12-14)? Can you teach others, or do you still need to be taught?