Sunday morning I enjoyed a rare treat. With no message to preach and a just a short walk to the beach, I took the jaunt and settled into the sands to await the sunrise. Every morning canvas is an opportunity to reflect on Proverbs 4:18, but the verse always stands out when I watch the big ball climb over the horizon. Reading the passage in its context helps me to see two paths: the way of the wicked and the way of the righteous:
14 Do not enter the path of the wicked,
and do not walk in the way of the evil.
15 Avoid it; do not go on it;
turn away from it and pass on.
16 For they cannot sleep unless they have done wrong;
they are robbed of sleep unless they have made someone stumble.
17 For they eat the bread of wickedness
and drink the wine of violence.
18 But the path of the righteous is like the light of dawn,
which shines brighter and brighter until full day.
19 The way of the wicked is like deep darkness;
they do not know over what they stumble.
The message is not difficult to understand. Two paths stand before us. Each carries a promise. Matthew Henry writes:
We must dread and detest the ways of sin and sinners, and decline them with the utmost care imaginable. “The way of evil men may seem a pleasant way and sociable, and the nearest way to the compassing of some secular end we may have in view; but it is an evil way, and will end [poorly], and therefore if you love your God and your soul avoid it, pass not by it, that you may not be tempted to enter into it; and, if you find yourself near it, turn from it and pass away, and get as far off it as you can.’ ’
[The way of the righteous] is a growing light; it shines more and more, not like the light of a meteor, which soon disappears, or that of a candle, which burns dim and burns down, but like that of the rising sun, which goes forward shining, mounts upward shining. Grace, the guide of this way, is growing; he that has clean hands shall be stronger and stronger. That joy which is the pleasure of this way, that honour which is the brightness of it, and all that happiness which is indeed its light, shall be still increasing.... Therefore it is our wisdom to keep close to the path of the just.
At our church we emphasize that we are a community responding to Jesus' call, "Come follow me." Following Jesus, who is the the light of the world, is taking that better path we see in Proverbs.
So here is a question: What does it mean to follow Jesus in every sphere of your life today? May God give you grace to walk that path.
Henry, M. (1994). Matthew Henry’s commentary on the whole Bible: Complete and unabridged in one volume (Pr 4:14–19). Peabody: Hendrickson. I have taken the liberty to update the pronouns a a few words for easier reading.