Delivered From the Evil Man’s Path
Brian D. Dykstra, Teacher at Hope PR Christian School, Walker, MI
Proverbs 2:12-15: “To deliver thee from the way of the evil man, from the man that speaketh froward things; (13) Who leave the paths of uprightness, to walk in the ways of darkness; (14) Who rejoice to do evil, and delight in the frowardness of the wicked; (15) Whose ways are crooked, and they froward in their paths.”
In Proverbs 2:10-19, Solomon instructs us from what sinful ways true wisdom will preserve us. In these four verses, we are told from what type of man wisdom will keep us.
Verse twelve says God’s wisdom will prevent us from joining the wicked in his customary manner of living, his “way.” Evil living has become this man’s habit. This way has been walked so often by him and by others similar in heart that it can be easily distinguished from the surrounding terrain. The same ground has been travelled by countless feet so that either nothing green grows there or the earth there is packed hard. We are also told here that the man who walks this path can be recognized by his speech. His speech is described as being froward, that is, proud and disobedient. He does not care to follow God’s good law and defies God to do anything about it. Either he feels there will be no consequences for his sin or he does not care what those consequences might be.
My Bible commentary mentions that in verse thirteen the subject “who” is now plural. This wicked man now has companions. They have left the paths of uprightness. They appear to have known the way that was right and just before God but they forsook that way. Perhaps they were brought up in homes which had God-fearing parents but the way of sin was far more appealing to them. The works of darkness became more appealing to the flesh. There was no longer any benefit for avoiding the path of the wicked. The ways of darkness had more to offer them.
This temptation to leave the paths of uprightness has not diminished. We are, to varying degrees, social creatures. It can become difficult to walk the godly way when that way appears to be so solitary at times and ridiculed by so many. The wicked seem to have plenty of companionship and enjoy life. They are not sitting around with long faces as they contemplate their ultimate fate. They look happy. They have good times with their friends. They laugh and live care-free. Occasionally, the truth that the way of the evil man is darkness is not recognized by us. The well-watered plain of Jordan, the area of Sodom and Gomorrah, had something to offer Lot. Jacob’s daughter Dinah kept company with the people of Canaan. There is a real temptation for our young people to do what it takes to be financially successful or socially acceptable.
The wicked also rejoice to do evil, according to verse fourteen. That can appear shocking to us. How often don’t we feel sorrow and shame because our thoughts and desires are sinful! How quickly something hurtful to say can spring into our hearts, even if it does not bubble from our mouths! How dreadful it would be if others were able to read every thought we have in our minds! We see the darkness of our nature and are driven to our knees to ask forgiveness. Yet the wicked not only think such things; they actually do them. Then, when they do these things, they show no effect of guilt or shame. They are happy! They live care-free, and their only concern in life is how to satisfy their next sinful desire.
Young people might wonder about what point there is to the godly life. Why do we have to deal with all that guilt? Why go through life with a long face when the world seems to provide such happiness? Only godly wisdom can reveal to us the end of rejoicing to do evil.
These evil men also delight in the frowardness of the wicked. I have read the word translated here as froward is sometimes translated “perverse.” That certainly speaks of our time. Hollywood and our popular culture like to “push the envelope” of what is portrayed in entertainment or what is thought of as being funny. Entertainers who make the most money are often those who dare to say and do what others have not dared to say or do as yet. While there are some in our nation who bemoan the condition of our popular culture, their voices are easily drowned out by many others insisting on their First Amendment rights to sin. We can see how much our society delights in what is perverse by how profitable such enterprises are.
Verse fifteen states that the ways of the wicked are crooked and they are proud of it. They will say that what is good is evil and that which is evil is good. They have convinced themselves that God will do neither good nor evil to them. They are like carnal Israel which grew ripe for the judgment of God. The wicked believe their way is pleasant because its very crookedness prevents them from seeing the certain destruction which lies at its end.
As teachers and parents, we must warn our students and children about the way of the evil man. That way is appealing to our flesh. May God be pleased to use the instruction of this school and the homes represented here to cause His wisdom to enter the hearts of His people. Only He can preserve us in the straight way which leads to fellowship with Him in Jesus Christ.