January 1, 2012

Do Not Enter – Don R. Patton

Posted in Uncategorized at 6:00 am by sranderson0103

“Do not enter

the path of the wicked…”

Proverbs 4:14

In Proverb 14, Solomon, as a deeply concerned parent, pleads passionately.

1 “Hear, O sons, the instruction of a father, And give attention that you may gain understanding, 2 For I give you sound teaching; Do not abandon my instruction.”

This parent recalls the instruction he received from his father (David). He now approaches the same issues, but from a different perspective. How different things look through the eyes of a parent.

3 When I was a son to my father, Tender and the only son in the sight of my mother, 4 Then he taught me and said to me, “Let your heart hold fast my words;

This father spoke to his son about wisdom (vs.5-13). Evidently his father’s words were heard. See, it can happen. Solomon learned to appreciate wisdom and prayed for it.  Now, as a parent he speaks, understanding that the son is more interested in what is cool (what his peers think) and what is thrilling, at this moment.

This wise parent continues with an even more difficult lesson; the danger of the opposite course. The “way of wisdom” cannot be described without a warning against the “path of the wicked.”

14 Do not enter the path of the wicked And do not proceed in the way of evil men. 15 Avoid it, do not pass by it; Turn away from it and pass on.

We know the father was not suggesting that his son live as a hermit, though that might be what the son hears. His wisdom does not contradict that of Jesus who acknowledged His disciples could not avoid worldly association. In His prayer for them He said, “‘I do not ask You to take them out of the world, but to keep them from the evil one. ‘They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world” (John 17:15-16). He taught that they were to maintain separateness and at the same time “make disciples of all the nations” (Matt.28:19).

The problem we all have is maintaining this balance. Some say, “We must be separate from the world so I don’t need to invite my neighbor into my home to talk about how to go to heaven.” Others say, “We can’t be out of the world, we have to influence the world so…we don’t concern ourselves with dire warnings about continual, preferential associations with the wicked.”

I am confident that Solomon understood the responsibility to be a positive influence but still considered it wise to warn against the real danger of unnecessary choices to walk in the path with the wicked. Different translators express Solomon’s thought in ways that may make the plain admonition even more clear.

Today’s English Version renders this passage “Do not go where evil people go…” The New International Version says. “Do not set foot on the path of the wicked…”

Charles Swindoll wrote a book entitled, Living Above the Level of Mediocrity. (I do not recommend it all, DRP) On page 223 he spins an insightful yarn that may help illustrate Solomon’s warning for us.

Once a spider built a beautiful web in an old house. He kept it clean and shiny so that flies would patronize it. The minute he got a ‘customer’ he would clean up on him so the other flies would not get suspicious. Then one day this fairly intelligent fly came buzzing by the clean spider web. Old man spider called out, ‘Come in and sit.’ But the fairly intelligent fly said, ‘No, sir. I don’t see other flies in your house, and I am not going in alone!’ But presently he saw on the floor below, a large crowd of flies dancing around on a piece of brown paper. He was delighted! He was not afraid if lots of flies were doing it. So he came in for a landing. Just before he landed, a bee zoomed by, saying, ‘Don’t land there, stupid! That’s flypaper!’ But the fairly intelligent fly shouted back, ‘Don’t be silly. Those flies are dancing. There’s a big crowd there. Everybody’s doing it. That many flies can’t be wrong!’ Well, you know what happened. He died on the spot. Some of us want to be with the crowd so badly that we end up in a mess. What does it profit a fly (or a person) if he escapes the web only to end up in the glue?”


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