The Paths of Judgment
Brian D. Dykstra (Teacher at Hope PR Christian School, Walker, MI)
This article was originally written as a devotional for his fellow teachers at Hope CS. It is posted here because of its broader value for our website readers.
Proverbs 2:8-9: “He keepeth the paths of judgment, and preserveth the way of his saints. Then shalt thou understand righteousness, and judgment, and equity; yea, every good path.”
In the previous verses of Proverbs 2, God has promised that those who seek for His wisdom as one seeks for treasure will come to understand the fear of the Lord. God will give the lasting wisdom He has laid up for His saints and will be the shield of His people.
But are we always totally confident of the future? The shots being fired on the spiritual battle lines will not be fired with less anger. The hatred of the wicked will not transform from burning flames to ash covered embers. The world’s judgment of true Christianity will not be one that will accommodate us and leave us a place in which to live. Earthly peace and security would not appear to be our future lots in life.
Remember, God kept all His promises to His Old Testament saints. He brought them to the promised land while driving out the enemy. He brought them back from captivity. He realized the promise of the coming of the long-awaited Messiah. However, what if He fails to keep just one of His promises, the promise to preserve His church and saints even to the end? What if those saints dressed in white robes and found beneath the altar waiting for God to avenge their deaths, never see that great day?
In Proverbs 2:8, God promises to keep the paths of judgment. My concordance tells me the path mentioned here is the customary road, the road usually travelled. God will watch over and reserve this path for us. He is not suddenly going to change the manner in which His judgment is given by using a new and different path. At the end of this age, He will not suddenly change the law so that the evil are now good in His eyes and the righteous are now evil. The world does this, but not the unchanging God. He walks the customary road.
The judgment of God is coming. The wicked try to deny this. They turn to their drugs, adultery and entertainment to dull or busy their minds so they do not have opportunity to think of God’s judgment. Nevertheless, His judgment will come. Jehovah will form an opinion of each man. He will compare each man to the perfect standard of His law and discern whether that man is good or evil. He will then reward each man according to His works.
We give thanks that we will not stand before this great Judge as our own advocates trying to prove our innocence. No silver-tongued oratory will get us out of this bind. Christ will plead for His elect. Our guilt is taken away, and His perfect obedience is made ours through the gift of faith.
The “way” mentioned near the end of verse eight is the trodden path. It is not the path used by the same person day after day as he goes to the same field to tend his crops or flocks. This is a path that is used by many. We have company on this path, though it sometimes may seem not to be so. God watches over this path to keep us in safety because this is the way of His saints, not the path of every man. The way of the wicked will not be preserved. Their way will be destroyed in His judgment. Their path of evil and deceit disgusts Him. The perfect One will not allow such a way to exist in His presence after the last of His saints has been gathered.
We will understand what righteousness is when God preserves the way of His saints. It is not the way of toleration which the world praises so highly. Anything can be tolerated today, except the Truth. Our culture praises diversity, as long as none of these diverse paths are the way of godliness.
We will know equity as well. Equity is not fairness, at least not as man often uses the term. Equity is what is upright. Again, the standard God uses for equity is His own perfection which is revealed to us in His law.
The path at the end of verse nine is a path used by wagons. It is a broad path with room for many travellers. Apparently we are not alone on this path, though in our times of doubt it can often seem so.
We are encouraged to learn that God will keep the path of judgment and preserve our way. Our students need to be reminded also that although God’s church will number only a relative few in the last days, yet we have the hope of the final victory of God’s cause. Press forward on the way of the saints. Never doubt but that it is the good path. At the end of that path we will hear our Father tell us, “Well done thou good and faithful servant. Enter thou into the joy of thy Lord.”