Who leave the paths of uprightness, to walk in the ways of darkness;
Are you on the right road with your life? Will you stay on it? Most never find the right road, and most who find it end up leaving it. Many who left it want to keep you from paths of uprightness to get you lost with them in the ways of darkness. This proverb is part of a long description of evil men and women that are a threat to your success in life.
Wisdom in your heart and knowledge in your soul are crucial to save you from evil men and women. Do not limit the value of wisdom and knowledge to positive blessings like financial, marital, or professional success, for they are also the vital means to save you from corrupt men and women that by lifestyle, philosophy, and intent hope to ruin you.
Backsliders are a grave danger. Carnal Christians threaten your soul. Evil men do not stay in the way of righteousness, even when taught well. They soon compromise what they were taught in order to pursue sin (Pr 2:12-15). The purpose of wisdom, knowledge, discretion, and understanding is to save you from such wicked men (Pr 2:10-17).
Both testaments of Scripture describe the inherent folly of men, who cannot and will not stay faithful to the old paths in which they were taught. Consider a few Old Testament examples (Judges 2:1-23; I Sam 8:8; Ps 78:40-42; Jer 6:16; I Cor 10:1-11). Consider a few New Testament examples (I Cor 15:12; Gal 1:6-9; 4:9; Phil 3:18-19; II Tim 4:10).
Sows love to wallow in muck. You cannot change a sow by cleaning it and leaving it in a flower garden. It will quickly turn that garden into muck so it can be a sow! A dog will eat its own vomit no matter how many good behavior classes you take it to. Fools cannot stay away from sin for long (Pr 26:11; II Pet 2:20-22). But you can stay away from fools!
It is your duty to learn the wisdom, knowledge, discretion, and understanding of God to avoid compromisers and their sins (Pr 2:10-17). Every man must be solidly established in the word of God to despise and reject any other opinion (Ps 119:128; Rom 16:17-18; II Thess 3:6; I Tim 6:3-5). But this requires learning wisdom (Pr 2:1-9; Col 1:23)!
God hates backsliding! And He severely punishes those doing it (Pr 14:14). When God blesses you with the truth, which is a great benefit, He expects you to use it or lose it (Lu 8:18). For the privilege of knowing the truth, you will be judged with greater severity for turning against it (Lu 12:47-48). Paul severely warned the Hebrew Christians several times about turning back from the truth (Heb 2:1-3; 6:4-6; 10:26-31,38-39; 12:25-29)!
You live in the perilous times of the last days (II Tim 3:1 – 4:5). These 22 verses from Paul to Timothy foretell the rise of an effeminate and compromising brand of Christianity, which is obsessed with pleasure and has only a weak pretense of religion. This warning covers the great majority of “Christians” today, for they will no longer endure sound doctrine. They want teachers who will give them fables rather than truth!
David was committed to not departing wickedly from his God; though he sinned heinously with Bathsheba, he quickly repented when confronted (Ps 18:21). He avoided sinners as much as he could, and he chose the righteous for his friends (Ps 101:3-8; 119:63). To be like him, you must have God’s word firmly before you (Ps 18:22).
A primary purpose of a local church is to keep each other from departing from the living God through the deceitfulness of sin (Heb 3:12-13; 10:23-25). And it is the duty of parents to indoctrinate their children against it (Ps 78:1-8). For the glory of Jesus Christ and His gospel, you should either convert or reject all backsliders (Gal 6:1; Jas 5:19-20).