September 3, 2021
Laity, Dutch Valley UMC
Tennessee Valley District
Proverbs 4:10-27 (CEB)
Stay on the path of wisdom
10 Listen, my son, and take in my speech,
then the years of your life will be many.
11 I teach you the path of wisdom.
I lead you in straight courses.
12 When you walk, you won’t be hindered;
when you run, you won’t stumble.
13 Hold on to instruction; don’t slack off;
protect it, for it is your life.
14 Don’t go on the way of the wicked;
don’t walk on the path of evil people.
15 Avoid it! Don’t turn onto it;
stay off of it and keep going!
16 They don’t sleep unless they do evil;
they are robbed of sleep unless they make someone stumble.
17 They eat the bread of evil,
and they drink the wine of violence.
18 The way of the righteous is like morning light
that gets brighter and brighter till it is full day.
19 The path of the wicked is like deep darkness;
they don’t know where they will stumble.
Be careful about what you say20 My son, pay attention to my words.
Bend your ear to my speech.
21 Don’t let them slip from your sight.
Guard them in your mind.
22 They are life to those who find them,
and healing for their entire body.
23 More than anything you guard, protect your mind, for life flows from it.
24 Have nothing to do with a corrupt mouth;
keep devious lips far from you.
25 Focus your eyes straight ahead;
keep your gaze on what is in front of you.
26 Watch your feet on the way,
and all your paths will be secure.
27 Don’t deviate a bit to the right or the left;
turn your feet away from evil.
DevotionHave you ever hiked in the mountains and found little pathways off the main path? Sometimes those little paths look inviting. You might think that those paths are shortcuts to your destination, but they probably will only get you lost. Whenever I went on a hike as a child, my parents would say, “Stay on the Path!” They meant the main trail, the one created for hikers.
This scripture in Proverbs has the father instructing the son on the correct way to live. He says to stay on the path of the righteous and you will not stumble. He says to give careful thought to the way you go. The other paths are the ways of the wicked and evildoers. Those are ones to stay away from. Perhaps the path of the wicked and evildoers looks more inviting but only leads to destruction.
Which trail, which path, which way do we choose to go? If we choose the wrong way, we might stumble, be in darkness, and find ourselves lost. One time I did not heed my parents warning; I ran way ahead of them and ended up off the main trail. I circled behind a tree and soon found myself falling. God heard my prayer for help, and I was rescued with only dirty clothes to remind me of my foolishness. As the father instructed the son, God also instructs us on the right way to go. We have the choice to follow his instructions or not. God wants us to look straight ahead and be steadfast as we travel forth. Our life’s journey is fraught with perils, but thanks to God we can look forward and follow Him. Make sure you “Stay on the Path!”