Do not enter the path of the wicked And do not proceed in the way of evil men. Avoid it, do not pass by it; Turn away from it and pass on. For they cannot sleep unless they do evil; And they are robbed of sleep unless they make someone stumble.
Consider with me for a moment how many films glorify wicked men. There are hundreds of films that take a wicked man and glorify his life by romanicizing the things he did - and not really showing us the heart behind his actions. His riches and power are shown to us - his stuff is paraded before our eyes - but his end is often kept from us. The father in Proverbs wants to warn his son against following the lifestyle that these men lived. He does so by giving us a far more accurate description of how these evil men live and make choices.
Good advice is not to ENTER the path of the wicked. If we do not ever start on the path and lifestyle of the wicked - we will not have to worry about being a wicked or evil man. I know that sounds like "University of Duh" information, but how often do we want to just dabble - or walk a few steps in that way and then come back? The path mentioned here is from the Hebrew word "orah" and it describes the path of an individual or the course of their life. This word is used often to describe the characteristics of their lifestyle - whether they are good or evil, righteous or wicked. This means that we are not just looking at the supposed rewards this wicked man receives during his lifetime - but we are gazing deeper into the way that he lives.
The second word that is used here to describe the wicked man's choices is again one that speaks of his entire lifestyle. The second word is "derek" which means the way that he walks. This word speaks more to his daily choices - that lead towards a lifestyle. The warning here is not to "proceed" in the same daily choices that evil men make. To "proceed" here means to go straight on, to advance forward. It speaks of following a straight path that involves a way of understanding or the direction that comes from the heart. The father is warning his son that choices lead somewhere - that as a wise man said - thoughts lead to choices - and choices to habits - and habits to a lifestyle - and a lifestyle to a destiny. Don't allow the reasoning that fills the minds of evil men - to fill your mind.
The father's counsel is clear in verse 15 - avoid it - don't pass by it - and turn away from it and pass on. Avoid it means to leave it alone and neglect it. Do not pass by it means to set your life in such a way that you do not go in a direction that would come near it. The father knew that these were important things to do, but that there still would be times when his son would come into contact with it. That is why he also added the command to turn from it and pass on. This would cover those times - and remind the son that he should not linger thinking about an evil path - but move quickly from it.
Finally, the father reminds his son that evil men love their evil - and want to influence others to walk in the same way they do. He lets his son know that these men lose sleep if they are not able to do their evil. They love not only doing their evil, but helping others stumble in the same way. Romans 1 speaks of the perversion of humanity by sin in these same terms at the end of chapter one when it uses these words. ". . . and although they know the ordinance of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of death, they not only do the same, but also give hearty approval to those who practice them." (Romans 1:32)
These are the ways of wicked and evil men. They have existed in the world ever since the fall - and will continue to exist until Christ comes again. Wise fathers need to warn their sons against such men - and against the paths they take in life.
Proverb a Day
Each day, we'll take a look at a verse from the chapter of Proverbs for the day. Our hope is to gain wisdom each day - and from that wisdom - to have understanding to make godly decisions in the throes of everyday life.
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