Throughout scripture, faithfulness in marriage is presented as a shadow of faithfulness in worship. And so, the idolatry of Israel is often depicted as an adulteress woman.
Those same images form the backdrop of the warning given to young men in Proverbs chapter 5.
My son, be attentive to my wisdom… that you make keep discretion, and your lip may guard knowledge. For the lip of a strange woman drip honey, and her speech is smoother than oil… (Proverbs 5:1-3)
The young man who sets up a fence around his bed puts himself in a position to enjoy all of the richness and blessings that come by being faithful to the wife of his youth (Proverbs 5:18-19).
The undisciplined man who jumps from sack to sack stands to inherit death, as his strength and his own body are slowly consumed (Proverbs 5:10-11).
These words are true and should be taken at face value. Our sexual relationships with others have consequences.
But the reason for these blessings and curses in sexual relationships is not found in some independent yin-yang worldview. The devastating consequences of sexual immorality exist because of the pre-existing devastation of false worship.
To put it another way, our sexual standards, like the standards by which we do everything in life, are the overflow of our worship and the fact that we are, by nature, worshipping creatures.
And so, it seems to me that everything Solomon has to say about sexual morality, he says through the lens of worship.
“Keep and Guard”, says Solomon—and not by accident. Where have we heard this expression before?
In Genesis 2:15, God placed Adam in a garden in order to guard and keep it. His success and fruitfulness in the garden, like his marriage, would be contingent on “monogamous” worship (Genesis 2:16).
A garden inclosed is my sister, my spouse; a spring shut up, a fountain sealed… Let my beloved come into his garden, and eat his pleasant fruits. (Song Of Songs 4:12, 16)
Secondly, unlike the pleasant fruits that come from faithful worship, expressed through sexual purity, the strange woman turns the heart of God’s people away from the Lord to serve other gods resulting in a poisonous and bitter fruit (Proverbs 5:4, Deuteronomy 29:18).
Thirdly, notice that it’s not the appearance of the forbidden women that’s the danger. It’s her speech (or literally, her ‘lip’) that does the damage.
Her lip would be his downfall and his lip would be his protection against her.
We first encounter this word, lip, in Genesis 11:1,
And the whole earth had one lip, and the same words.
There, under Nimrod, the world heads east (never a good sign) and attempts to set up a false religion at Babel.
The word ‘lip’ here, as in Isaiah 6:5 (cf. Psalm 16:4) refers to their worship, just as their ‘words’ refer to doctrine or belief.
And so we have the modern expression, “lip service”, which basically means, “false speech”.
Though smoother than oil, and dripping with honey, her speech, her worship, flows from a forked tongue (Proverbs 5:4) and leads to destruction.
Finally, the reason that God so frequently overlays faithful worship with ideas consistent with sexual purity is that our body is not some part of who we are. Our bodies are ourselves. We are our body and God never imagines our salvation or redemption—or our worship (Romans 12:1)—apart from our bodies.
Your four-poster bed, like all true worship, is a walled garden. Those who keep and guard it are blessed. Those who lack the discipline (Proverbs 5:23) to maintain those walls are lead astray by their own sin unto death.