We have seen where Jesus talked about two “ways” and two “gates” (Matthew 7:13-14). He said that only one of those ways leads to the only gate through which one may find everlasting life. The point being, there is only one way to live with a hope of the life to come. It is a very specific way of living (“difficult,” “confined”). The gate to which it leads is “narrow,” requiring focus to enter in there through. A person cannot live a life pleasing to God by accident!
As we continue to focus our attention on the coming year, I would like to ask, again, “What ‘way’ will you be following in 2017?”
Just as Jesus presented two possible choices, the one that leads to God and the one that leads away from God, Proverbs also presents two possible ways a person can follow. In Proverbs, those two ways are presented as the way of wisdom and the way of folly.
The word “way” is used 57 times, in 51 verses, within the book of Proverbs. Let’s notice some examples of how it is used.
The first time the word is used is in Proverbs 1:15, “My son, do not walk in the way with them, Keep your foot from their path.” The “father” is instructing his “son” in the way of wisdom and warning him not to go in the way of folly with “sinners” (Proverbs 1:10). They will say to him “come with us…cast in your lot among us,” to entice him to join them in their wickedness. The wise “father” tells his “son” that these “sinners” “lie in wait for their own blood…for their own lives.” To go with them in the greed of dishonest would be to follow the way of folly, foolishness! Stay out of that “way,” says the wise “father.” It is clear that the word “way” here is being used in reference to certain kind of lifestyle, the kind of lifestyle that a wise person will avoid at all costs.
The second time the word “way” is used it is in reference to Wisdom’s call to follow her (Proverbs 1:20-33, specifically verse 31). Here Wisdom is personified as a woman calling to the young man, i.e. the “son,” encouraging him to make his relationship with her. Those who refuse her call are destined for calamity, terror, destruction, and distress! Why? “Because they have hated knowledge And did not choose the fear of the Lord (Proverbs 1:29). Because of this, those who refused Wisdom’s call will “eat the fruit of their own way.” That is, they will bare the consequences of their folly, the foolish lifestyle they have chosen apart from Wisdom. “But whoever listens to me [Wisdom] will dwell safely, And will be secure without fear of evil” (Proverbs 1:33).
The use of the word “way” is in reference to those who choose to follow God’s way of wisdom. It says, “He [God] guards the paths of justice, And preserves the way of His saints” (Proverbs 2:8) Obviously, “the way of His saints” refers to the lifestyle of godliness that comes in the way of wisdom. If the “son” would heed his wise “father’s” counsel then he would “understand the fear of the Lord, And find the knowledge of God” (Proverbs 2:5). It is a lifestyle lived in the Lord’s wisdom (Proverbs 2:6), “who walk uprightly” (Proverbs 2:7). This is the one who will know how to walk in “every good path” because he understands “righteousness and justice” (Proverbs 2:9).
It is when we do not let the wisdom of the Lord depart from us that we will “walk safely” in our “way” (Proverbs 3:23). The life that we live, the path that we follow, the way that we walk, will be a way of safety if it is in God’s wisdom. It is the way of safety because it is the way that leads to everlasting life.
This is just a very small sampling of how the Bible instructs us in the right and good way, the difficult way that leads to the narrow gate, through which is life! What way will you be following in the coming year? It is my prayer that if I can help you make that determination that you will give me the opportunity to do so. I am here for you, please do not hesitate to call on me.