Proverbs 1:10-19

Proverbs 1:10-19 has Solomon speaking to his son and the danger of keeping bad company.  It’s a lesson we all need to be very aware of. “My son, if sinners entice you, do not consent.” Significantly, this first instruction and warning in the book of Proverbs speaks to the company we keep and the friendships we make. There are few more powerful forces and influences upon our life than the friends we choose. It has been said, show me your friends and I can see your future. It speaks to the great need for God’s people to be more careful and wise in their choice of friends. The mention of a son reminds us of another tragedy or irony regarding the life of Solomon. The man who had 700 wives and 300 concubines left record of only one son, Rehoboam – and he was a fool.

But friends or bad company cannot make us sin.  That only happens when we join in with them.  Sin is always a choice, our choice, and we can’t blame anyone else truly for our sin.  They may influence us, which is what Solomon is warning about here, but in the end we make our own decision to sin. “If they say, “Come with us, let us lie in wait for blood; let us ambush the innocent without reason; like Sheol let us swallow them alive, and whole, like those who go down to the pit; we shall find all precious goods, we shall fill our houses with plunder; throw in your lot among us; we will all have one purse“.”

 Part of their enticement is simply the sense of belonging: ‘come with us’. All of us want to be part of the group. The words sound more like the recruitment of gang members as he talks about waiting for blood and taking people’s things.  We can easily get pulled in further than we intend.  Sin always takes us further than we want to go, costs us more than we want to pay, and keeps us longer than we want to stay.  We need to run from sin, which is what Solomon tells his son: my son, do not walk in the way with them; hold back your foot from their paths, for their feet run to evil, and they make haste to shed blood.”

Solomon paints a picture of being trapped in a net because the birds only see the food that is used to lure them into the net. Tragically, Solomon’s company with sinners – in the form of his wives given to idolatry – became a trap he himself was caught in. “For in vain is a net spread in the sight of any bird, but these men lie in wait for their own blood; they set an ambush for their own lives. Such are the ways of everyone who is greedy for unjust gain; it takes away the life of its possessors.”  Greed will take a person down.  The gain promised will never be realized and it will cost the life of those who pursue it.

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