This post continues the previous theme: how can we avoid loving the world? In this regard, two important statements are given in the latter half of Proverbs 2. The first statement says that wisdom will save you from the ways of wicked men. The second says that wisdom will also save you from the adulterous woman, and by implication, the adulterous man.
Can you think of anything that you would like for your children to avoid more than falling in with the wrong crowd and avoiding sexual sin? These two patterns of sin are snares to thousands of young people from Christian families. And here in Proverbs, the Holy Spirit is boldly proclaiming that wisdom will save you and your children from both of them. Let’s take a look.
Wicked Men Proverbs 2:12-15
12 Wisdom will save you from the ways of wicked men,
from men whose words are perverse,
13 who have left the straight paths
to walk in dark ways,
14 who delight in doing wrong
and rejoice in the perverseness of evil,
15 whose paths are crooked
and who are devious in their ways.
Wickedness is defined in this passage as leaving the straight path. In other words, wickedness occurs when the path of obedience that is laid out by the Word of God is rejected. Darkness, perverseness, devious and crooked are words used to describe the way of those who are wicked. Each description of wickedness involves a deliberate turning from what is right. In contrast, wisdom has to do with a wholehearted love for what is right. Recall the first verses of this chapter. The pursuit of wisdom is likened to a hunt for treasure. Verses 1-5 of chapter 2 do not describe an indifferent, casual interest in wisdom. No, they describe someone totally driven to know the wisdom of God. As Psalm 19 describes, the person in wholehearted pursuit of wisdom will have a countenance of undeniable brightness. This pursuit is one that defines a person’s life. For example, Job was described as a man who feared God and shunned evil. The two go hand-in-hand.
The wicked in this passage are ones who are making a clear departure from the straight way of God. This is what all these terms for wickedness imply. Darkness is chosen over light. The wicked delight in deviating from the straight way. Given these descriptions, it is not hard to spot those who are wicked. They have no love of truth. But, and this is the where deception comes in, what is obviously wrong is made to appear a reasonable option. A crooked path can wander in and around the truth so it appears to be an acceptable choice. This is what temptation has always been about.
Having fun becomes the goal rather than loving God first. The question too often asked is, “What is wrong with that particular activity or thought?” The way the question should be asked is this: what is right with that—what is being considered. This is the question that a lover of wisdom asks. If we only ask what is wrong, the honor of God is not the first consideration. The deviously perverse person will always use the question, “What is wrong with having a little fun?” to cast doubt and ridicule on those desire is to love wisdom. This is how wisdom can save your children from the wicked. Note this well: the wicked will have no tolerance for asking what is right.
What question do you ask the most: what is right with something, or what is wrong with something? Choosing to ask and long for what is right–what pleases God–is the first step towards being protected from wicked men.
Let me end this post with a quotation from a rock group called The Killers. A few years ago they had a hit song called When You Were Young. The musical bridge in the middle of the song containes these lyrics:
They say the devil’s water, it ain’t so sweet
You don’t have to drink right now
But you can dip your feet
Every once in a little while
This is how temptation works. Asking what is wrong with something is like saying you can dip your feet every once in a little while. Asking this question is how loving the world begins.