Proverbs 4 – Path of the Wicked

Proverbs 4:14-19 concerns avoiding the path of the wicked.

Proverbs 4:14-19 (ESV)

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.

This passage gives us several methods of avoiding the wicked path.  We are to avoid it at all costs.  We aren’t to go up to the edge and peer over.  Nor are we to walk along just slightly off the beaten path.  Nor are we to take “shortcuts” utilizing the path of the wicked along our walk.

Avoiding the Path of the Wicked

  • Do not enter the path of the wicked – Proverbs 4:14
  • Do not walk in the way of evil – Proverbs 4:14
  • Avoid it – Proverbs 4:15
  • Do not go on it – Proverbs 4:15
  • Turn away from it – Proverbs 4:15
  • Pass on – Proverbs 4:15
  • Deep darkness – Proverbs 4:19
  • Do not know over what they stumble – Proverbs 4:19

Notice how similar Proverbs 4:14-19 is to Psalms 1:1 and Proverbs 1:15-16?

Psalms 1:1 Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers;

Proverbs 1:15-16 (ESV)

15 my son, do not walk in the way with them; hold back your foot from their paths,
16 for their feet run to evil, and they make haste to shed blood.

The Lord takes seriously our sinful human tendency to be persuaded to evil by those we associate with.  That is why we have the Bible full of warnings like this to avoid the path of the wicked.  We also need to not become complacent in thinking that we aren’t hanging around with wicked people so this doesn’t affect us.  Some companions that many forget about are the companions on TV, in the music industry (both secular and “Christian”), computers, the characters in books, and the characters in movies.  These companions have much more influence than many realize.  Often it amazes me how children are allowed to watch and read about circumstances that no one would allow them to participate in real life.

“The sins of others leave some kind of stain upon the conscience. I question whether you can read a newspaper and scan the story of a murder or a robbery, or survey with more distant glance in any book of history the sin of your fellow men, without being in a degree injured therewith.”

Charles Spurgeon


As we get closer to Proverbs 4:23 concerning guarding or keeping your heart we see how avoiding the path of the wicked is important to the idea of guarding your heart.


Guard Your Heart series



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