The Path To Take
Life is filled with many paths taken as well as paths not taken. For every decision, one path appears while another one vanishes. No one knows for absolute certainty where any path in life will ultimately lead. However, prudence demands great consideration be given to every path of life. Will the person you meet today be in your life ten years from now? Will that person be important to you? Will that person help to make you a stronger Christian? Will you find yourself in a terrible situation because of the influence of the person? In reality, no one can know the answers to these questions. However, a person can learn to look for certain signs which would warn him away from certain people and certain paths.
Solomon warned his sons against the path of the wicked. In Proverbs 1:10-19, Solomon begins by saying, “My son, if sinners entice you, do not consent.” Solomon continues by warning his sons against listening to the words and invitation of these sinners. In verse 15, Solomon said, “My son, do not walk in the way with them, keep your foot from their path; for their feet run to evil, . . .” (Proverbs 1:10, 15) The warning was quite simple: Do not walk the path of sinners.
In Proverbs chapter 4, Solomon reminded his sons of two different and opposing paths. Solomon referred to one path as the “path of the wicked” and the opposing path, “the path of the just.” Consider first the path of the wicked. Solomon wrote, “Do not enter the path of the wicked, And do not walk in the way of evil. Avoid it, do not travel on it; Turn away from it and pass on. For they do not sleep unless they have done evil; And their sleep is taken away unless they make someone fall. For they eat the bread of wickedness, And drink the wine of violence.” (Proverbs 4:14-17) Using six different phrases, Solomon told his sons to avoid the “path of the wicked” and the “way of the evil.” Solomon told his sons to: “Do not enter,” “do not walk in,” “avoid it,” “do not travel on,” “turn away from” and “pass on.” All of these phrases help to paint a picture of total avoidance.
Solomon also used multiple phrases to describe how deeply wickedness was embedded in these people. Solomon described these wicked people as not being willing to sleep “unless they have done evil.” Their restlessness was so great that they were unable to sleep “unless they make someone fall.” So great was their desire for wickedness that Solomon describes the wicked as eating “the bread of wickedness” and drinking “the wine of violence.” After reading Solomon’s description of these wicked people, there is no wonder as to why Solomon warned his sons in such a strong and repeated fashion.
According to Solomon’s description, the wicked are unable to sleep “unless they make someone fall.” The wicked are not happy being alone; they desire company. The wicked will seek those who are willing to walk the same path. It may be that the wicked will try to lure, seduce, or deceive a person into walking with them. The wicked will prey upon those who either do not care about the outcome of the path or who do not give consideration to the outcome. In either case, the wicked will not sleep “unless they make someone fall” with them.
Every person must give careful thought as to the path he has taken as well as the possible outcome of the path. Every person must consider his friendships, his associations, his loves, and his passions. Will these varying influences lead a person to faithfully follow the Lord, or will the influences lead one away from the Lord? It is possible that some influences may be “indifferent” and will neither lead one toward the Lord nor lead one away from the Lord. It is the influences which are contrary to one’s current faithfulness which are to be of concern. While it may be that the present friendships, associations, or situations do not bear any warning signs, a person must always be watching for dangerous twists and turns along the path.
Consider your friends, associates, loved ones, and others who may influence your life. Give thought to each path you have chosen with the various relationships and influences. Ask yourself if these paths will hinder your faithfulness toward God or will they help to increase your faithfulness. Will these paths lead you to heaven or to hell? Strive to live by the following words: “Do not enter the path of the wicked, And do not walk in the way of evil. Avoid it, do not travel on it; Turn away from it and pass on.” (Proverbs 4:14-15)