A repeated metaphor in Proverbs is something that Bible scholars call “the doctrine of the two ways.” The idea is that all people must ultimately choose which path to follow with their lives – the way of wisdom or the way of the fool. Wisdom leads to life and peace while foolishness (aka “sin”) leads to suffering and death. Easy to understand, but hard to accept because of our fallen natures. We want to be able to travel both roads at once. We want to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin and avoid the hard work of godly living but still be able to receive the blessings of fellowship with God. And we keep getting burned. Our sin leads to bitter consequences. We find it impossible to have peace with God while continually disobeying His commands and ignoring His teachings. Yet we keep trying to have our cake and eat it, too. When will we learn?
Well, we must truly embrace the concept of the two ways, accepting that we must choose one or the other, and then determine to pick wisdom each day. We soak wisdom up into our minds and hearts and souls as we meditate on Scripture each morning and/or evening. We have already seen many times this summer how wisdom blesses us with long, healthy lives (in general – remember, there can be exceptions according to God’s providence), gives us guidance and direction, and keeps us from stumbling and falling (Proverbs 4:10,12). If you have read this blog and your Bible or paid attention in church, Bible class, and morning devotions last school year, then you have surely been taught the way of wisdom and shown the right path (v. 11). But will you take “firm hold” of the “instruction” that you have received and keep walking down the road of life (v. 13)? Will you keep avoiding and steering far from the path of wickedness and evil (vv. 14-15)? That is your choice – your parents and teachers cannot make it for you. We pray that you make the right decision, but the decision is yours in the end.
Remember that the path of wisdom is a tough but well-lit journey, while the way of the wicked is a broad highway filled with people stumbling about in darkness (vv. 18-19). The wicked come to love their sin like delicious food and drink (v. 17). They are even willing to give up the God-intended pleasures of sleep for opportunities to hurt others (v. 16). That may sound crazy, but it is biblical truth. What happens is that as we fall deeper and deeper into sin, we begin to crave it more and more. Our spiritual appetites keep changing for the worse. We then begin to forget the joy of the Lord and God’s light starts to become a distant and hazy memory. Light cannot have fellowship with darkness; God cannot have fellowship with evil. So we must choose. If we would find life in Christ, we must see the two roads clearly for what they are, and then pick the narrow route to heaven. Stay in or get back in God’s Word each day and let the Holy Spirit show you the way of wisdom. Then pick up your cross and follow after Christ another day.
The Text (Proverbs 4:10-19)
10 Hear, my son, and receive my sayings, And the years of your life will be many.
11 I have taught you in the way of wisdom; I have led you in right paths.
12 When you walk, your steps will not be hindered, And when you run, you will not stumble.
13 Take firm hold of instruction, do not let go; Keep her, for she is your life.
14 Do not enter the path of the wicked, And do not walk in the way of evil.
15 Avoid it, do not travel on it; Turn away from it and pass on.
16 For they do not sleep unless they have done evil; And their sleep is taken away unless they make someone fall.
17 For they eat the bread of wickedness, And drink the wine of violence.
18 But the path of the just is like the shining sun, That shines ever brighter unto the perfect day.
19 The way of the wicked is like darkness; They do not know what makes them stumble.
Questions to Think About
- Why do think that Proverbs continually compares life to a choice between two roads? Did you experience this truth last school year? How about this summer?
- How do Christians fall off from the way of wisdom? How can they get off the road of sin and back on the road of life?