If Sinners Entice Thee
Brian D. Dykstra
[The article below and articles in future weeks are short devotional pieces written for Christian school teachers by a Christian school teacher. They show us the blessings of a Christian school—something for us to pray for and work toward. They teach us some practical lessons for raising our own children and grandchildren in this "present evil age." And they call us all to remember the parents and children of the church in our prayers. (From the CPRC, N.Ireland Bulletin - Nov.17, 2013)]
Proverbs 1:10–16: "My son, if sinners entice thee, consent thou not. If they say, Come with us, let us lay wait for blood, let us lurk privily for the innocent without cause: Let us swallow them up alive as the grave; and whole, as those that go down into the pit: We shall find all precious substance, we shall fill our houses with spoil: Cast in thy lot among us; let us all have one purse: My son, walk not thou in the way with them; refrain thy foot from their path: for their feet run to evil, and make haste to shed blood."
In these verses, we have Solomon again giving spiritual instruction to his son. After telling his son the importance of fearing God and the reward of heeding godly parents, Solomon teaches about the general character of sin. It is a good foundation on which to build his book of wisdom. So much of Proverbs speaks of the blessed nature of spiritual virtue and the opposite effect of living in sin, that it is fitting that we have a basic outline of the development of sin.
In whose company does this son now find himself? He is in the company of sinners. It does not appear that he has usually found his companions among the wicked. It seems that these sinners come looking for him. Surely, these sinners show themselves to be very friendly people. Perhaps they even act as though they have this son’s good in heart. Isn’t that the example set by the father of the lie in his dealing with Eve?
This illustrates the importance of the company you keep. How many tears have been shed by godly parents when they see a son making his friends with the wicked. This is also one of the benefits of Christian education. Yes, our school has many shortcomings. How often don’t the students seem all to willing to follow a disobedient example? Yet, there are many godly friendships being formed here. Some of these friendships will prove very valuable during junior high and high school years. There are even examples of friendships started here that have lasted a lifetime.
These sinners do not lay open their plans at the start. In these verses, sin displays a progression. It all begins with a simple enticement. Sin is not presented to the son for what it really is. It is made to look good. Aren’t we surrounded by that every day? Do the media of television and movie dramas show the devastating spiritual result of breaking God’s commandments, or is sin portrayed as exciting, alluring and rather innocent? Our sinful natures are enticed daily, even without the help of the wicked. Children need to be warned about the enticing nature of sin. How did David’s sin with Bathsheba begin? Eve was enticed with the possibility of being as God.
What is Solomon’s advice? "Consent thou not!" It is a rather simple message. He assumes that because of the lifetime of instruction which his son has already been given, the son is able to recognize these sinners for what they are and their enticement for what it is. It is the type of advice that is so terribly mocked today. You are not coming along? You are going to be all alone. You are not going to have any friends. Your life will be very boring, devoid of any adventure. Aren’t you ever going to have a good time? What is it with you Christians? Why are you so judgmental? Aren’t we good enough for you?
Yet look at the examples from the Bible. Joseph resisted and, though he suffered at the hand of a wicked woman, prospered in the end and ultimately was saved. Job was tempted by Satan and was even encouraged by his wife to curse God. Yet Job has been a shining beacon to saints of all ages who have had to deal with adversity because we read, "... in all this Job sinned not."
There is a progression in sin here as well. It all starts with the invitation merely "to come with us." The demand then rises to become one of the group, "Cast in thy lot with us." If the son is worried about being caught, he is reassured that all will be done secretly and no evidence will be left. The rewards of membership in the group will then be laid out: "the spoil of precious substance." The profit will be shared by all.
The son is warned. Do not walk the same path with them. In fact, do not even place one foot on the same pathway with them. It seems that most often a life of sin begins not with a head-long into the depths of depravity, but with a slow immersion. What was once thought to be outside of the realm of possibility is now done with impunity. With each exposure to sin, the conscience becomes less sensitive. As is so often the case, one sin so often leads to another. The only safe thing to do is to recognize sin for what it truly is and to flee from it.
There are examples we can use in Bible class for this as well. Students must be warned of the dangers and the real power of sin. They must know that our nature is depraved, and that there is no sin which is impossible for us to commit. If we think that we can fend for ourselves and that we can associate with sinners without spiritual consequence, we deceive ourselves. When the sinners entice, we must flee to our only refuge, the protecting hand of the Triune God. He can uphold us through all temptation for His hand is almighty and His grace in Jesus Christ is rich.