We will study verses 10-19 this morning in Proverbs chapter four. This portion contains the exhortation to loathe ungodly companions.
Verses 10-13, "Hear, O my son, and receive my sayings; and the years of thy life shall be many. 11 I have taught thee in the way of wisdom; I have led thee in right paths. 12 When thou goest, thy steps shall not be straitened; and when thou runnest, thou shalt not stumble. 13 Take fast hold of instruction; let her not go: keep her; for she is thy life." Verse 10 gives great advice for any young person, the instruction of a godly father will add length of life as well as quality of life. Verse 11 speaks of the type of advice Solomon gave his son. He pointed him in the way of wisdom, and led him in the right direction. A parent who provides the right kind of instruction is invaluable to his child. Verse 12, the thought is how that when we follow the advice of our great heavenly Father, we will not get into tight places or predicaments in life. Moreover, we will avoid stumbling blocks and obstacles in life. In short, godly wisdom from a wise father (whether earthly or heavenly) will be of great value in life. Finally, Solomon encourages his son to "Take fast hold of instruction; let her not go: keep her; for she is thy life." The word translated as instruction has as its basic sense, ‘discipline,’ ‘chastening,’ and ‘correction.’ In the context of receiving the instruction of a father, the thought clearly is of also receiving the correction thereof. Such correction and discipline are a vital part of life. Therefore, a young person is advised by God to never let such discipline slip away. Rather, guard the same carefully. Clearly implied is the wisdom of receiving correction and discipline of a parent. It is wise and valuable.
Here in verses 14-17 Solomon shifts to specific wisdom and advice the ways of the wicked and the command to avoid them.
- "Enter not into the path of the wicked, and go not in the way of evil men." (vs. 14) The principle of separation is clearly in view. The clear teaching throughout the Bible is to get as far away from the world and from ungodliness as possible. Notice what the Bible says elsewhere in 2 Corinthians 6:17, Romans 12:2, I John 2:15-17, and James 4:4. There is a twofold wisdom here. (1) Don’t go where the wicked go and (2) don’t run with them. The very way of the wicked leads to sin and trouble.
- "Avoid it, pass not by it, turn from it, and pass away." (vs. 15) The simple truth is to avoid the way of the ungodly at all costs. Don’t go near it and stay away from it. Profound is such wisdom.
- Notice the continuation of the ways of the ungodly. "For they sleep not, except they have done mischief; and their sleep is taken away, unless they cause some to fall." (vs. 16) Ungodly people do the very same things to this very day. They stay up all hours of the night indulging in all manner of sin. Furthermore, they delight in enticing someone into sin whether it be intoxication or immorality.
- "For they eat the bread of wickedness, and drink the wine of violence." (vs. 17) The world’s crowd to this day indulges in all manner of sin as if it were food to eat and liquid to drink. They intoxicate themselves which often leads to violence. Indeed, immorality, intoxication, and violence are all the result of the same evil actions.
Notice now the contrast presented in verses 18-19, "The path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day. 19 The way of the wicked is as darkness: they know not at what they stumble." Dr. David Sorenson writes in his commentary "Understanding the Bible,"
"The sacred writer uses the illustration of daybreak and the rising of the sun to illustrate his point. The subject is “the path of the just” (i.e., the righteous). Even as the dawn breaks and then rises to the fullness of the noonday sun, so is the path of those who order their lives by the principle of righteousness. The way of the righteous is clear and brightly lighted. It becomes even more so with the advance of time. However, 19 the way of the wicked is as darkness: they know not at what they stumble. What a contrast! Righteousness is associated with light. Wickedness is routinely associated with darkness. Indeed, men love darkness, because their deeds are evil (John 3:19). Most sin and immorality take place under the cover of darkness. Righteousness is a function of broad daylight. Moreover, whereas the righteous have a clearly lighted path, the wicked stumble through life, not even knowing what they trip over. Clearly implied is the stability and prosperity of righteousness versus the instability and poverty associated with sin."
May we learn to abhor ungodly companions because of the great threat they bring to a godly way of living. Enjoy you time meditating upon these thoughts, and take time to worship the Lord in church this weekend.
Your Friend and His,