After giving a graphic description of the way a man falls into the trap of the harlot, the Holy Spirit gives a conclusion. God begins by having the father call for his sons to listen and pay attention. Here is a huge problem - and one I understand. Most people know the thing they should do about temptations to commit adultery or to visit a prostitute. The problem is not knowing - it is listening when someone is warning them. Very few of the sins of which I've been guilty were committed because I did not know the morally proper thing to do. They were committed because I was not listening to the warnings of the Holy Spirit as I was being tempted. They were committed because I ignored godly counsel that had been given to me.
The wise father reiterates the truth to his sons again and again. He doesn't just talk to them or lecture them - he calls them to listen as he speaks. The word "listen" here does not mean just having the biological functions of the ear working properly. The word means to listen so as to comprehend, to discern, to give earnest heed, to be diligent in obeying what is said. The wise, godly father knows about distractions. That is why he calls his son to listen diligently with a view to discerning obedience that flows from fully comprehending what he has said to his son. The second phrase he uses here as he speaks is this, "pay attention." This phase means to listen and pay attention so as to give heed and to obey what is said. Dads, be careful to gain not just your son's ears - but to aim directly for their heart.
The first thing that is said to the son is that he does not need to turn aside to her ways in his heart. There is the first problem when it comes to men who get caught up in sexual immorality and adultery. Their hearts are the first thing to go. This manifests itself first in seeing their hearts no longer being given to the Lord. In the third chapter of Revelation Jesus says to the church that they've lost their first love - that love that draws them to the Lord and has them belong to Him more than anything else.
I've seen this before in young people - old people - anyone who finds themselves drawn away to sexual sin. They start when they no longer have that passion for Christ. They turn to someone other than the Lord - looking for satisfaction - for something to fill their emptiness. They find that the Lord is not enough - and that they will actually find what they need in someone else. That is how a man allows himself to "turn his heart" to her ways. When his heart is gone - there is a real serious danger - because at that point he probably won't listen. It isn't too much to say - he can't listen - because his heart controls what his ears will listen to in life.
Once he has strayed in his heart from the Lord - and into her ways - then he begins to stray into her paths. He begins walking without the normal cautions that he would have naturally. But worse than this is the fact that he is walking without the guidance of the Holy Spirit. He is grieving the Holy Spirit so his warnings are no longer being heeded. This is a very dangerous place to be. When he does stray into her paths - there will not be the protection that he normally has. Thus - it will be that much easier to fall into sin.
Wise fathers want to speak to their sons about these things. They want to not just fill their ears with lecture after lecture. The godly father wants to gain access to his son's heart. He wants to lay the protections and the guard rails there. That way his sons know that the battle is for their minds first - and for the hearts most. I am not opposed at all to doing exactly what this father does - and that is tell a cautionary tale to his son - filled with truth - and with the consequences of not guarding their hearts against the wiles of the strange, adulterous, sexually forward woman. Share even frightening details of what the possibilities are when they sin sexually. You are not using fear when you do - but you are using wisdom and truth. These are the allies that are needed to win the war against sexual temptation.