“The path of the righteous is like the light of dawn, which shines brighter and brighter until full day. The way of the wicked is like deep darkness; they do not know over what they stumble.”
The path of God is the way of confidence, strength, and effectiveness. It is not always the easy path, but it is always the right path. The way of evil is easy, but it eventually leads to destruction. God calls us to follow his path, and he calls us to reject the ways of deception and darkness.
This Proverb says that when you study and follow the Lord’s commands, you can walk with clarity and run with confidence. You will navigate the stuff of life with courage and strength that comes from God. When you follow the path of God’s wisdom you are protected; it guards you against the enemy. It keeps you from doing things that would harm you.
The path of the people of God is illuminated by the truth, wisdom, and insight of God’s word. Psalm 119.105 says, “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” Because they walk in the light of God’s truth, wise people can see what is happening around them. The people of God know who they are, know where they are going, and know how to live and work with wisdom and skill. They follow The Path. As a result, they are at peace.
Unwise people, on the other hand, follow the wrong path.
“Do not enter the path of the wicked, and do not walk in the way of the evil. Avoid it; do not go on it; turn away from it and pass on. For they cannot sleep unless they have done wrong; they are robbed of sleep unless they have made someone stumble. For they eat the bread of wickedness and drink the wine of violence.” (Proverbs 4.14-17)
The people who follow the path of darkness stumble over all kinds of things, because they are blinded by the darkness. They are restless and conflicted. They not only seek to do evil, but also draw others into evil. They want to make people stumble. They consume the dark path like bread and wine. They feed on wickedness and violence.
Proverbs chapter 2 is all about The Path. It repeatedly refers to walking on the path and following the right way.
“The paths of justice” in verse 8.
“The ways of his saints” in verse 8.
“Every good path” in verse 9.
“The paths of uprightness” in verse 13
“The paths of life” in verse 19
“The way of the good” in verse 20.
“The paths of righteousness” in verse 20.
Proverbs chapter 2 also describes the off-path life: “the way of evil … the paths of darkness .. crooked paths … devious ways.”
This is precisely Jesus’ message in the Sermon on the Mount: “Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.” (Matthew 7:13-14)
Keep in mind that the marquee over the wide gate and the easy way does not say, “This is the way to destruction.” Rather, the signpost over the path of darkness makes the claim that it is the way to success, happiness, and fulfillment. The way of darkness lures people with false promises and appeals to deceitful passions. It isn’t until people are well down that path that they discover it is a lie.
Proverbs 7.21-27 describes it with vivid imagery: “With much seductive speech she persuades him; with her smooth talk she compels him. All at once he follows her, as an ox goes to the slaughter, or as a stag is caught fast till an arrow pierces its liver; as a bird rushes into a snare; he does not know that it will cost him his life. And now, O sons, listen to me, and be attentive to the words of my mouth. Let not your heart turn aside to her ways; do not stray into her paths, for many a victim has she laid low, and all her slain are a mighty throng. Her house is the way to Sheol, going down to the chambers of death.”
Thus the central message of the book of Proverbs: The Lord’s wisdom gives you the discipline to stay on-path, as well as the discernment to recognize and reject the deceitful people and distorted ideas that want to take you off-path. Be watchful every day about the path you are following.