Picking The Right Path
We must choose between the path that leads to life and the paths that lead to destruction. Choose the path of life.
Spiritual Hearing & Longevity
My son, listen to me and do as I say, and you will have a long, good life. ~ Proverbs 4:10 (TLB)
Having finished quoting his father’s counsel, Solomon now resumes his appeal to his own son. It is a general rule, though not without exceptions, that a clean life is conducive to a long life. Think how tobacco, alcohol, drugs, and sexual sin are directly linked with disease and death.
I will teach you wisdom’s ways and lead you in straight paths. When you walk, you won’t be held back; when you run, you won’t stumble. ~ Proverbs 4:11-12 (NLT)
A father can be gratified when he has taught his son the way of wisdom and has been a good example to him. However, the teaching must be combined with the example. A father’s actions speak louder than his words.
A son who walks in the right paths will walk unimpeded and will run without stumbling.
The Syriac version reads:
“As thou goest step by step, I will open up the way before thee.”
This teaches two important principles:
- God guides us step by step, rather than revealing the whole plan at once.
- God guides people when they are moving forward for Him.
A ship must be in motion before the skipper can steer it. So must a bicycle; you can only guide it when it is moving. The same if true of us’ God guides us when we are in motion for Him.
Carry out my instructions; don’t forget them, for they will lead you to real living. ~ Proverbs 4:13 (TLB)
We should take firm hold of good instruction, and not let it slip from us. We should guard wisdom as we would guard our life – because it is our life, especially when we think of Wisdom Incarnate in the person of the Lord Jesus.
Avoid Evil Associations
Don’t do as the wicked do, and don’t follow the path of evildoers. Don’t even think about it; don’t go that way. Turn away and keep moving. ~ Proverbs 4:14-15 (NLT)
In verses 14-17, the discussion turns from the path of life to the ways of death. Solomon warns against the path of the wicked, a reminder that the issue goes beyond practical issues. The root of the danger is evil, not ignorance. These two verses consist primarily of six urgent commands. It is so dangerous to take even the first step down the path to sin that the father shouts a series of warnings.
- Do not enter that trail or set foot on it.
- Do not start walking down it.
- Stay clear of it.
- Don’t keep traveling in that direction.
- Turn from it, not toward it.
- Keep going in your original direction, rather than even pausing to consider it.
Avoid a life of sin. Don’t pass by to investigate. Turn the other way. Keep going. It might seem interesting, intriguing, and thrilling, but it eventually will destroy you.
For evil people can’t sleep until they’ve done their evil deed for the day. They can’t rest until they’ve caused someone to stumble. They eat the food of wickedness and drink the wine of violence! ~ Proverbs 4:16-17 (NLT)
What makes the path so dangerous? The evil people whom you are following. They live in a morally upside-down world where sin has become duty. They can’t sleep soundly unless they have been active in practicing evil themselves and causing others to fall. Their restless wickedness is second nature to them; their standard diet is the bread of fraud and the wine of violence. Or we might say that wickedness is their meat and drink.
The Right Path & The Dark Way
The path of the righteous is like the morning sun, shining ever brighter till the full light of day. But the way of the wicked is like deep darkness; they do not know what makes them stumble. ~ Proverbs 4:18-19 (NIV)
The father summarizes his comparison of the two paths:
- One is a path of light,
- The other is a trail of darkness.
For the righteous, the road is like the first gleam of dawn, but grows gradually brighter until the sun has risen and they walk in broad daylight.
For the wicked, however, the path winds deeper into unending darkness where they cannot even see the things over which they stumble. The picture of walking in the light appears often in Scripture.
But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin. ~1 John 1:7 (NIV)
On the other hand, if one walks in the light, then he can have fellowship with the Lord Jesus and with his fellow Christians. As far as John is concerned in this passage, a man is either in the light or in darkness.
- If he is in the light, he is a member of God’s family.
- If he is in darkness, he does not have anything in common with God because there is no darkness in God at all.
Those who walk in the light, that is, those who are Christians, have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ continually cleanses them from all sin.
Believer’s Bible Commentary
Holman Old Testament Commentary