Unlike the previous chapters addressed specifically to Solomon’s son, Proverbs 4 is to a broader audience—“Hear, ye children…” (Proverbs 4:1) and is a lesson in “Uncommon Wisdom” passed from generation to generation. Solomon cites his father’s instructions to him when he was a prince in the opening verses (4:3).
We noted in earlier devotions from Proverbs 4 the acquisition and blessing of wisdom (4:7-9), the reward of a submissive, teachable spirit (4:10-12) and the urgency to treasure wisdom within the heart.
Proverbs 4:14-19 is a four-fold admonishment concerning the ways of evil men. Our focus for today will be two of the four admonitions.
Proverbs 4:14-15 – “Enter not into the path [way; journey] of the wicked [ungodly; immoral], and go not in the way [journey; manner] of evil men [wicked; sinful; bad]. 15 Avoid it [refuse], pass not by it [move away], turn from it [decline], and pass away.”
Solomon warns his son to stay away, avoid and shun the friendship and company of evil men. A wise parent recognizes the peer pressure youth impose on themselves (1 Corinthians 15:33) and will do everything they can to influence their sons and daughters to follow a godly path. In the same way Christ urged His followers to choose the narrow path that leads to eternal life (Matthew 7:13-14), a godly parent will carry a sense of urgency to direct their child from the company of sinners to the way of righteousness (Psalm 1:1).
Solomon’s second admonition paints a portrait concerning the character and motivation of the wicked (4:16-17).
Proverbs 4:16-17 – “For they [wicked and evil men] sleep not, except they have done mischief [evil; bad]; and their sleep is taken away [spoiled; robbed], unless they cause some to fall [stumble; cast down; falter]. 17 For they eat [consume; devour] the bread of wickedness [moral wrong; iniquity], and drink the wine [intoxicating, fermented wine] of violence [cruelty; injustice; wrong].”
You and I might observe the sins of the wicked and question how they can sleep at night. Solomon; however; reminds us evil men have an appetite for sin and violence and cannot sleep unless they have troubled the righteous.
Too many Christians entertain a naivety concerning the wicked and are guilty of “wearing rose-colored glasses” when it comes to discerning the danger they represent to our children, homes and church. The wicked have a seared conscience and their recreation is to do evil and cause the innocent to stumble and fall.
You should not be surprised when men are wicked; you should be surprised when they are not!
Copyright 2014 – Travis D. Smith