The Way of Good Men
Brian D. Dykstra, Teacher in 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 2:20-22: “That thou mayest walk in the way of good men, and keep the paths of the righteous. For the upright shall dwell in the land, and the perfect shall remain in it. But the wicked shall be cut off from the earth, and the transgressors shall be rooted out of it.”
In the beginning of the book of Proverbs, Solomon tells us the purpose of his work. The people of God are to know wisdom and the young are to gain discretion. Here, at the end of chapter 2, Solomon repeats his desire for God’s children. We were told in verses 10-15 that when wisdom enters our hearts we are delivered from the path of wicked men. Verses 16-19 tell us that wisdom delivers us from strange women. These evil men and women seek to lure us to walk the same path as they do. It is the path which is broad, easy and comfortable, but the end of that path is certain destruction.
Now in verse 20 we are instructed that wisdom will lead us to walk in the way of good men. There were faster means of transportation in Solomon’s day. However, we are not told that we will run on this way. The goal is not that we will ride some animal or cart pulled by an animal on this way. Speed is not the emphasis. Our society is fast paced. Also, because there are so many churches and schools in our area, we can become very busy in events that are beneficial. Yet, there is a need to walk. Psalm 19 tells us of the speech of the night time sky, but how often do we slow down long enough to look at the stars?
Also, walking is something we can do for an extended period of time. Being on the way of good men is not a quick burst of energy which then results in our having to take a break for a time. This past summer my surveying crew chief and I were working on a small farm. The woman of the house came out to ask me how the work was going. She mentioned, “You sure do a lot of walking. Do you do this all day?” I replied, “Yes, I told my boss I could walk all day, but I will never run anywhere.” Walking is for the long term.
We are to walk on a way, a trodden path. We are not cutting a new path. We are not going where no one else has gone before. We are not chopping down trees and cutting brush to establish a new path. This way has been trodden by so many that the grass is gone. We are not struggling through bushes or hedges. This way is easily distinguished from the surrounding terrain. There are many who have walked this path before us.
The way is that of the good and the righteous. The good are those who conform to the standard of God’s law. This is not a denial of total depravity to say that there are good men. Aren’t we comfortable saying Enoch, Abraham, Joseph, Ruth, David and many others were good? What about the saints of our own personal experience? We simply must remember the source of the good. Are we good of ourselves? Try to find a saint who truly understands redemption through Christ’s blood who would say he is the source of his own goodness. How many do you think you’d find?
The righteous are the just. This is a moral and legal term. The righteous are free from guilt. A judge has declared them innocent of any wrong doing. Again, do you know of any fellow saints, or do you read of saints in history or Scripture who claim their righteousness is their own? Do you picture any saint who understands the holiness of God daring to say he is righteous enough in himself to enter heaven? No, the path has been walked humbly by those who by faith confess Christ to be their righteousness.
The chapter ends with the final destination of the upright and the wicked. The upright will dwell together. This will give us fellowship in a place which will last. We will not be on the shifting tides of water. The land is firm and stable. It is a place where God’s people will remain. We do not need to worry about being given an eviction notice. It is an everlasting place where God’s people will have fellowship with each other and with Him.
It is quite different for the wicked. The end is antithetical. There will be no common ground. They will be cut off. They will be separated and have no connection with this firm place of fellowship. They will be rooted out. Plants that are rooted out do not grow back. It is not as if they will be trimmed or cut back so they can grow back when God’s wrath is appeased.
May God grant us and our students wisdom to discern the path of the upright. The path marked by His Word leads to fellowship with Him in our Lord Jesus Christ.