Proverbs Gives Us Reasons To Avoid Evil: Prov 1:15-19
15) My son, walk not thou in the way with them; refrain thy foot from their path:
16) For their feet run to evil, and make haste to shed blood.
17) Surely in vain the net is spread in the sight of any bird.
18) And they lay wait for their [own] blood; they lurk privily for their [own] lives.
19) So [are] the ways of every one that is greedy of gain; [which] taketh away the life of the owners thereof.
In this section of Proverbs chapter 1, we find Solomon setting the groundwork for the study of Proverbs by reminding his readers of the need to avoid evil…. this emphasizes another important benefit of a study of the book of Proverbs.
My son, walk not thou in the way with them; refrain thy foot from their path
Solomon has warned his students to not follow the path of the wicked, who lived selfish lives abusing others for their own personal gain (vs 10-15). He now progresses in his teachings to describe WHY they should refrain from the ways of the wicked….
For their feet run to evil,
Their motives and actions cause them to rush to the commission of sin against God and the harm of others.
and make haste to shed blood.
Because of the evil nature of their motives and actions, the natural results of their evil doings are death and harm in two ways.
1. The result of their attacks on others is the physical harm and/or death of their victims.
2. The results of their actions upon themselves are even more serious… they bring upon themselves their own eternal spiritual death. In many cases they also bring upon themselves physical harm or death. All of these are received as judgment for the wickedness they have committed.
This proverb is quoted by the prophet Isaiah as he described the sinfulness of the people of Judah in his day – “Their feet run to evil, and they make haste to shed innocent blood:…” (Isa 59:7)
Also in the the New Testament, our Lord affirmed this truth… “Wherefore ye be witnesses unto yourselves, that ye are the children of them which killed the prophets. Fill ye up then the measure of your fathers. [Ye] serpents, [ye] generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell? Wherefore, behold, I send unto you prophets, and wise men, and scribes: and [some] of them ye shall kill and crucify; and [some] of them shall ye scourge in your synagogues, and persecute [them] from city to city: That upon you may come all the righteous blood shed upon the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel unto the blood of Zacharias son of Barachias, whom ye slew between the temple and the altar. Verily I say unto you, All these things shall come upon this generation. O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, [thou] that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under [her] wings, and ye would not!” (Matt 23:31-37)
This is an eternal truth that will last throughout the ages…. the actions of the wicked bring forth death and harm for both the victim and those who perform the wickedness.
Surely in vain the net is spread in the sight of any bird.
Although the sinful acts of the wicked result in death (see above), the wicked are blinded to the fact that they are harming themselves and heaping punishment upon themselves.
It is much like a flying bird who vainly ignores the net sprinkled with grain that is spread to capture it. Why does the bird ignore such an obvious indicator of its coming capture? It’s longing for immediate satisfaction and pleasure found in eating the grain outweighs any threat of its future captivity in the net.
Prov 7:23 – Till a dart strike through his liver; as a bird hasteth to the snare, and knoweth not that it [is] for his life.
And they lay wait for their [own] blood; they lurk privily for their [own] lives.
Because the sinful lusts of the wicked blind them to their coming doom, they think that they are waiting to capture the innocent, only to find that they are waiting to be captured in their own sinful plots.
Once again, in both phrases in this verse, the end result of the deeds of the wicked are expressed in terms of death…. “wait for their own blood” and “lurk privily for their own lives”. (Psalm 7:14-16, Psalm 9:16, Psalm 55:23)
So [are] the ways of every one that is greedy of gain; [which] taketh away the life of the owners thereof.
Death is the lot in life for anyone who harms others as they continue on their path of selfishness, greed, theft and sinfulness.
2Pet 2:3 – “And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not.”
After considering the end results of the wicked, let us not be like the ignorant bird that seeks immediate satisfaction at the expense of eternal loss. Let us live wisely, placing the satisfaction and pleasures of this world aside and placing our service to Christ first and foremost in our lives.
By God’s grace, let us all study these proverbs diligently, giving them the value that they deserve.
May the Lord bless us as we receive this sound wisdom and then “Think On These Things”.
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