Proverbs 4:14-15
Pastor Bill Farrow
“Enter not into the path of the wicked, and go not in the way of evil men. Avoid it, pass not by it, turn from it, and pass away.” - Proverbs 4:14, 15 (Cf. 13:20).
          The immediate section in which we find this verse speaks of what we cold speak of as “wisdom practiced” and tells us that wisdom is productive of life, health and personal integrity.  The entire section actually, and these two verses specifically warn against turning to the path or way of the wicked (vv. 14–15).  The following couple verses describe such a turning creates an insatiable and destructive hunger (v. 16). Solomon then goes on to tells that the hunger alluded to is perpetuated by what the path offers those who walk along it: the bread of wickedness and the wine of violence, v. 17.
         He starts with one of the general references to a “path” meaning the general way that one walks and conducts his life.  It is interesting that he seems clear that even for believers, the “path” of the wicked can be chosen and embarked up, perhaps temporarily or even in an ongoing fashion.  The first two phrases are really speak basically of the same idea, just described in subtly different fashions.  We might see the first phrase as suggesting individual behavior as the reference to the “wicked” can be taken as singular and suggests that we consider the particular things that can make their appeal to us as individual people.  
         The second phrase seems to be directing us to think in a more general and even group fashion.  “…and go not in the way of evil men” can be seen to encourage us to think in terms of the basic path that those around us have taken to following  The encouragement is for us to think our way through our individual behavior and tendencies and also take a close and analytical look at the society amongst whom we dwell with an aim toward seeing to it that wicked and evil ways are forsaken and, by implication, that the ways of holiness are embraced. 
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