October 2 – Proverbs 2 (& surrounding chapters)
Let’s continue to look at Proverbs 1-4. Today we are going to focus in on the sections dealing with avoiding sin and living a righteous life.
Proverbs 1:10-19 issues a warning about hanging out with the wrong crowd. “My son, if sinners entice you, Do not consent.” (Proverbs 1:10) It is critical to quickly and firmly resist even the smallest temptation. Immoral people are often not satisfied with just doing bad things on their own, but they will instead often try to persuade others to join in their wrongdoing. But Proverbs warns, “My son, do not walk in the way with them (sinners). Keep your feet from their path, For their feet run to evil, And they hasten to shed blood.” (Proverbs 1:15-16) The wise will not give into negative peer pressure, but they will quickly flee from temptation and those doing wrong. It is dangerous thinking to believe that you can associate with habitual sinners, but not be affected yourself. Verses 18 and 19 then explain that those that set out to do evil will ultimately harm themselves. “But they lie in wait for their own blood; They ambush their own lives. So are the ways of everyone who gains by violence; It takes away the life of its possessors.”
In chapter two Solomon continues to stress that a wise person will resist evil.
12 Wisdom will save you from the ways of wicked men,
from men whose words are perverse,
13 who have left the straight paths
to walk in dark ways,
14 who delight in doing wrong
and rejoice in the perverseness of evil,
15 whose paths are crooked
and who are devious in their ways.
However, it is not enough to just avoid sin, but it is important to go beyond that, and treat others with goodness and generosity.
27 Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due,
when it is in your power to act.
28 Do not say to your neighbor,
“Come back tomorrow and I’ll give it to you”—
when you already have it with you. (Proverbs 3:27-28)
In chapter four a stark comparison is given between the righteous and the wicked.
18 The path of the righteous is like the morning sun,
shining ever brighter till the full light of day.
19 But the way of the wicked is like deep darkness;
they do not know what makes them stumble. (Proverbs 4:18-19)
How important to realize that with every choice we make, we are choosing to either live in the light or the darkness.
Then Solomon ends chapter four with some straightforward advice about how to keep choosing to live in the light.
20 My son, pay attention to what I say;
turn your ear to my words.
21 Do not let them out of your sight,
keep them within your heart;
22 for they are life to those who find them
and health to one’s whole body.
23 Above all else, guard your heart,
for everything you do flows from it.
24 Keep your mouth free of perversity;
keep corrupt talk far from your lips.
25 Let your eyes look straight ahead;
fix your gaze directly before you.
26 Give careful thought to the paths for your feet
and be steadfast in all your ways.
27 Do not turn to the right or the left;
keep your foot from evil.
We must read the word of God, not only looking on it, but keeping it in our heart, or following through and acting on it. We have to guard our heart and mind, always being vigilant of our thoughts, actions and priorities. We must be careful of what we say. We must keep our eyes focused on God and his plans for our lives. And finally, we must make sure that we are always moving in the right direction, drawing closer to God, and never turning away from him.