“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. For they sleep not, except they have done mischief; and their sleep is taken away, unless they cause some to fall. For they eat the bread of wickedness, and drink the wine of violence.”
When my daughter was eight we spent a week staying in a small Austrian village during the summer. The weather was glorious, the scenery fantastic, and the lake was perfect for swimming. We spent a lot of time by the lake, as did other holidaymakers, and the locals. Despite not being able to speak German, my daughter soon found that she could not stay away from the most mischievous of the local children. They had some sort of magnetic attraction. Nothing I said to her made any difference, she just seemed to gravitate towards the bad kids.
Why is bad sometimes so attractive? Back in Exodus when Moses vanished up the mountain it didn’t take long for the people to lose the plot and become disobedient to the point of making and then worshipping an idol. It is difficult to believe that even Aaron went along with the crowd instead of walking away from what he knew was wrong.
Walk away is the wisdom expressed in these verses. Walk away from wicked people. Walk away from temptation. Walk away from anything you know will be hurtful to God, and keep on walking. Sometimes it seems so hard to take that step and go in the opposite direction, even though we know it is the right thing to do.
Solomon refers to the path or way of the wicked. This is the broad road that leads to destruction. When we walk out on it every step we take adds to the weight of the burden Jesus carried to the cross. Every step on this highway to hell is another hammer blow against a nail piercing the hand of our Lord, who once said:
“Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it.” (Matthew 7:13 NIV)
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. (Hebrews 12:1-2 NIV)