As I continued to read through Proverbs, these were the next verses that spoke to me concerning the times in which we live.
Proverbs 4:14–16 & 19 “Enter not into the path of the wicked, and go not in the way of evil men. Avoid it, pass not by it, turn from it, and pass away. For they sleep not, except they have done mischief; and their sleep is taken away, unless they cause some to fall…. The way of the wicked is as darkness: they know not at what they stumble.”
Solomon is warning his son not to follow the example of wicked and evil people. Through Solomon, God is giving His children today the same warning.
The first thing that jumps out to me is that the father assumes that his son understands the difference between good and evil, between doing good things and doing wicked things. It is clear from the passages discussed in previous posts that he had taught him that the fear of God and knowledge and understanding of His word provided the principles from which he could confidently make such discernment.
The father tells his son to:
· Avoid following the examples of wicked, evil people.
· Avoid even getting near the places they go and the people with whom they associate.
· Turn from following this path; in other words, go in a different direction from those that are wicked and evil.
· Pass away—As I looked at the broad meaning from the Hebrew for this phrase, the context caused the ideas of being delivered from and escaping the consequences of such action stood out to me.
It seems to me that often we who claim Jesus as Lord try every type of reasoning and justification to circumvent these warnings. We don’t want to be labeled intolerant, so we avoid drawing lines of black and white between good and evil as defined in scripture. We choose to live according to the compromised standards that fall within this gray area of tolerance. We try to stay in step with the culture by focusing on sharing God’s love without sharing His truth. Because we refuse to draw the lines in the sand drawn by the word of God, the area of gray grows larger until finally we have perverted and corrupted the foundational truths of God’s word.
Sometimes it really does seem as though those who have chosen to defy God and follow the rebellion of Satan have a commitment and stamina to accomplishing their agendas that far exceed the efforts of the “church” to spread the gospel and the truth of God’s word. Through their political activism, they have managed to promote their godless agendas to the point that that evil is considered good and good is considered evil. The prophet Isaiah warned against this very thing.
Isaiah 5:20–23 “Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter! Woe unto them that are wise in their own eyes, and prudent in their own sight! Woe unto them that are mighty to drink wine, and men of strength to mingle strong drink: Which justify the wicked for reward, and take away the righteousness of the righteous from him!”
I think the last verse states a very important truth. Those who are in rebellion against God and promoting agendas that are in direct opposition to the stated will of God in His word are walking in darkness. They have no spiritual understanding. They are deceived by the wisdom of men, by their own perceived wisdom. They don’t understand that the wisdom of men has no firm foundation and is rooted in the flesh and the things of the world—not the spirit as ministered by the grace of God through His Spirit.
1 Corinthians 2:12–14 “Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual. But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.”
1 Corinthians 3:19; 2 Corinthians 1:12 “For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, He taketh the wise in their own craftiness.For our rejoicing is this, the testimony of our conscience, that in simplicity and godly sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom, but by the grace of God, we have had our conversation in the world….”
True believers are to serve as lights to lead the people of the world out of darkness.
Matthew 5:14–16 “Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.”
If we continue to live in the “gray” and refuse to let the light of God’s word shine through our lives, evil and wickedness will continue to thrive. Again, I am reminded of the words of Paul in his letter to the Corinthians.
1 Corinthians 15:34 “Awake to righteousness, and sin not; for some have not the knowledge of God: I speak this to your shame.”
(to be continued…)