By Elder Larry Wise
As I travel along the highways, I periodically see red warnings signs that say “Do not enter” which usually mark an entrance that a traveler might take but which would be going the wrong way. We hear of instances where a vehicle was going the wrong way on the Interstate and collided with someone, thus producing injury or death. There is a right way to go and a wrong way to go. Solomon said, “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.” (Prov. 4:14-15). The righteous are not to enter the path of the wicked; they are to avoid it at all cost. They are even told to not even pass by it which assumes that they know the place of evil and wickedness.
There is a path the just are to take and it doesn’t lead into the path of the wicked. The Lord always leads in the right path. When we follow that leadership, our paths will be in the way of the Lord and we won’t need to worry about having to stumble. The Lord doesn’t cause us to stumble; it is our actions that produce this result. Solomon teaches this lesson in Prov. 4:11-12, “I have taught thee in the way of wisdom; I have led thee in right paths. When thou goest, thy steps shall not be straitened; and when thou runnest, thou shalt not stumble.” Danger is ever present when we enter the wrong path.
You have heard of people who love to live on the edge; that is they like to go just as far as they can and risk their lives for the sake of the thrill of victory or overcoming the dangerous obstacle. They do this on the pretense that they only endanger themselves; and declare that it is their life and they will do with it as they please. This is all self-deception. We are not our own but have been bought with the price of the precious blood of the Son of God. Sin always endangers not only the practitioner but everyone else that is contacted in the process of fulfilling fleshly desires.
Our young people especially are exposed to pressure that entice them to join the crowd and not be such a prude. Instruction in righteousness comes through the word of God and admonishes them to remember the Lord in their youth before the evil days (old age) draw nigh. When they, or anyone else, join the crowd just to be one of the gang, there is a failure to remember the Lord; consequently, they expose themselves to the judgment of God and bring reproach upon themselves and the family they represent. Isn’t it amazing how the inspired word of God knew just this type of atmosphere as God inspires Solomon to write, “My son, if sinners entice thee, consent thou not. If they say, come with us, let us wait for blood…We shall find all precious substance, we shall fill our houses with spoil: Cast in thy lot among us; let us all have one purse: My son, walk not thou in the way with them; refrain thy foot from their path:” (Prov. 1:10-15).
A good name that has been cultivated for many years can be disgraced in a moment by failing to follow the admonition of “enter not.” Solomon describes how valuable a good name is in Prov. 22:1, “A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches, and loving favour rather than silver and gold.” Perhaps that driver that was going the wrong way on the Interstate was doing so because of drunkenness and failed to heed the warning sign of “Do Not Enter”; consequently, that driver was in danger and everyone else he approached. We cannot be drunk on the world’s enchantments and still be able to distinguish the correct path to follow and see the path and warning sign that declares, “Enter not.” A good name can be ruined by failure to exercise heavenly wisdom which the Lord has endowed His children.
We must not think that the people we associate with will not have an influence upon us; that is the devil’s lie as the Lord calls upon His people to separate themselves from the world; they are in the world, but they don’t have to be of the world. Paul tells the Corinthian church, “Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners.” (I Cor. 15:33). This admonition seems clear that we are to be careful about the people we choose for friends. Do we want to be around those who take the Lord’s name in vain or who are angry all the time? I trust the answer is no. We have no desire to enter that path as the scripture tells us to, “Make no friendship with an angry man; and with a furious man thou shalt not go:” (Prov. 22:24). Why would Solomon make such a statement? It is because we would have a tendency to learn the ways of anger and produce a snare to our soul. (Prov. 22:25).
Yes, may we all “Enter not” the path of the wicked and evil men. We are exposed to this way just from the fact that we must make a living for our families in this world: however, we do not have to willingly enter such a path when there is an obvious choice to be made. The choice is for this life and not for the life to come in heaven and immortal glory.