Lasting Truth: How to Destroy Yourself

Worth Valuing (Prov. 1:10–11, 15–16, 18)

Why is youth a decisive age? Against what people did the father warn his son? Against what practices did he warn him? Why do some people prey on others?

Proverbs 1:10–11, 15–16, 18: My son, if sinners entice thee, consent thou not. If they say, Come with us, let us lay wait for blood, let us lurk privily for the innocent without cause.… My son, walk not thou in the way with them; refrain thy foot from their path: for their feet run to evil, and make haste to shed blood.… And they lay wait for their own blood; they lurk privily for their own lives.

The words my son show that this part of the Book of Proverbs was written by a father to his son. Youth is a decisive time in life. Many of life’s greatest decisions are made during youth. These include decisions about God, lifestyle, family, friends, work, alcohol, priorities, and purpose for living. Knowing this, a wise father warned his son about dangers in wrong choices. The Book of Proverbs as a whole deals with these and other practical aspects of life. The context for all these moral admonitions was stated in 1:7, “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge.” In other words, moral admonitions assume a right relationship with God.

The choice of friends is crucial for young people. The Book of Proverbs says much about friends, emphasizing good friends. Choosing bad friends can be disastrous. So the father told his son, If sinners entice thee, consent thou not. Everyone wants the approval of their peers. This is especially true of youth. If a youth gets in with the wrong crowd, the youth will feel tremendous pressure to be part of the group. Many voices are crying out to youth. Some of those voices are enticing them to commit sin.

Verse 11 shows this is a warning against a specific kind of sin. There were people who preyed on others. They sometimes went so far as to take a human life. The gang asked the youth to join them in ambushing some unsuspecting innocent victim. Verse 11 says they do this without cause (“just for fun,”). Some people are so callous about the value of human life that they kill just for fun. These are the thugs in every society. Verse 11 also shows that parents should teach and exemplify the value of human life to their children.

Verses 13–14 show that much killing grows out of greed. A father said to his son, “Get money; get lots of money. When you can, get money honestly, but get money.” Some of those who harm innocent people are not hardened criminals who attack people physically. Some are “white collar” criminals who use more subtle ways of getting lots of money at the expense of innocent people, whom they exploit.

Verses 15–16 summarize the plea of the father. Again he addressed his son. “Don’t travel that road with them” . To avoid walking with evildoers he told his son not even to “set foot on their path” .

Verse 18 is an intriguing verse. Those who lie in wait for an innocent victim are actually lying in wait for their own blood. They set up an ambush to lure some innocent victim, but they end up ambushing themselves. This is a result of the law of sin and retribution. We reap what we sow. They that live by the sword die by the sword. In a kind of negative way, these verses affirm the value of human life. They remind us that some callous people take the lives of innocent victims. Christians must not be such people. Instead, we should protect innocent victims. This is affirmed in Proverbs 24:10–12 under the next heading.

What are the lasting truths in Proverbs 1:10–11, 15–16, 18?

  1. Many important decisions are made by youth.
    1. Young people need guidance from parents.
    2. Young people should choose their friends wisely.
    3. Young people must be careful to not let sinners entice them.
    4. Some people are callous about the value of human life.
    5. Callous people invite others to join them in their crimes.
    6. Those who devalue human life destroy themselves.

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Published by Intentional Faith

Devoted to a Faith that Thinks

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