Proverbs 4:18-19

The Path of the Just

 

Introduction:

1. Solomon has just described the path of the wicked (vs. 14-17)

a. It is called the path of the wicked or the way of evil men. (vs. 14)

b. He described the thinking of the criminal mind. (they can’t sleep until they have plotted harm; they stay up at night devising their evil schemes)

c. They thrive and flourish on wickedness and violence.

2. Now Solomon speaks of the path of the just for a moment—before reverting back to the path of the wicked in vs. 19.

3. Thus, in vs. 18-19, Solomon presents one more contrast between the way of the wicked and the way of the just or the godly.

The Path of the Just (vs. 18)

1. In this text, Solomon likens the path of the godly man to the rising of the sun… a glorious sunrise!

a. It begins as the shining light—the first ray of light over the horizon that dispels the darkness of the night.

b. Then the sun shines more and more—brighter and brighter until the perfect day … until the day is complete…
• Perfect = firm; fixed; established; ready
• The perfect day speaks of a day that has been fully established… no more dawning but brilliant daylight!

Several implications about the path of the just by this illustration.

1. Light – truth; holiness; righteousness

a. Believers are to walk in the light.
• For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light. (Eph. 5:8)
• In this passage light and darkness represent two different realms—the realm of evil and the realm of holiness.
• We WERE darkness, but salvation changed us!
• Now, we are LIGHT in the Lord… because of our union with Christ.
• We now dwell in light—holiness; truth; righteousness… that is our position as children of light.
• Therefore, we should WALK in the light!
• Our position in the light brings the responsibility to WALK in light!
• Our walk, life, speech, thoughts, attitudes should all be in harmony with truth and holiness… pure… in the Light.
• This is the path of the just… it is a path of light.

b. John 8:12 – Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.
• Jesus said that those who follow Him will be following LIGHT. He is the Light!
• Thus, those who follow Him are following the way of truth, holiness, and purity… light!
• Staying close to Christ and following Him will have an effect on us!

c. I John 1:7 – the way of light is the place of fellowship too!
• The one who is NOT walking in the light (truth; purity; holiness) does not have fellowship with God—even if he thinks he does!
• The one who walks in the light has fellowship… and his sins are covered.

d. The path of the just is a pathway of light—which first of all speaks of purity—moral and doctrinal purity.

2. Illumination

a. The next thing implied is that the path of the just is well illuminated.

b. The well-lit pathway speaks of understanding too… vision… sight.

c. Free from stumbling
• The path of the wicked is dark and they don’t know where they are going, and thus, they stumble. (vs.19)
• They walk in darkness (ignorance; immorality; doctrinal error)
• We are not nocturnal creatures. Those who walk in the night will stumble!
• Not so with the path of the just! The light shines on their path. They see… they understand… they discern what is ahead for them…
• John 11:9-10 – walking in a well-lit path is the way of safety.
• Are you walking in the path of safety? Why not?

d. Useful and precious. Ecc. 2:13 – the way of wisdom and light by far exceeds the way of darkness!

e. God’s favor is described as His light shining upon us—lighting our way. That is a blessing from God! (Ps. 4:6)

f. Ps.119:105 – the word illuminates our way. Forsake the word and we forsake the light and favor of God in our life!

3. Increasing light – maturity…increasing discernment… growing in wisdom.

a. The light begins as an almost imperceptible ray over the horizon, and increases in brightness, warmth, and intensity until the full blazing glory of it reigns over the day!
• Note that the illustration stops at the perfect day.
• It speaks of increasing light unto noonday—it speaks not of the sun setting. The illustration breaks down at that point—and Solomon omitted it.
• The point he makes is that the life of the believer increases in light… like climbing a mountain… higher and loftier heights sought after…
• We are to be increasing in the knowledge of Christ — filled with the fulness of God…reaching forth unto those things which are before… pressing toward the mark of the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus…
• II Pet. 1:19 – Peter uses the same illustration as Solomon used—only Peter uses the illustration of a rising sun to describe the increasing light that comes from God’s Word… as we lay hold of it.

b. In the straight and narrow pathway of light, light increases day by day
• The new believer walks in the light… and his eyes are opened to the spiritual realm!
• As that believer continues down the path of the just, the light becomes brighter and brighter.
• Thus, as he looks at himself, the light illuminates more and more dirt and dust that was previously not noticed… but now, with increasing light, comes increasing responsibility… and in turn, increasing holiness!
• Some of that dirt and dust may not even be recognized as such by the new believer… but in time, the light increases and so does responsibility.
• It is not a good idea for an older believer to make demands of a new believer that he is not ready to understand or perceive. That is God’s job to illuminate the mind and heart.

c. This is the norm for the believer… growth in the knowledge of Christ.

d. Increasing light ought to result in increasing gratitude to God.
• The more God shines His light on our heart, and the more we understand the depravity of our heart, the more appreciation and gratitude we will have for God’s cure for our sinful heart—salvation!
• This should increase our love for God too…

e. However, not all believers stay on the pathway of light. Some wander.
• Heb. 5 warns believers of the possibility of the Christian life becoming less and less discerning… decreasing in wisdom and discernment rather than increasing!
• Solomon wants his son to do just the opposite!

4. Testimony

a. The believer walking in the pathway of light is a light to others… a testimony for the Lord Jesus!

b. Not only should our WAY be the way of light, but WE should shine as lights too!

c. Matt. 5:16 – Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.

d. Phil. 2:15-16 – we are to shine as lights in a dark world. That is God’s purpose for us living in the world!

e. As the believer walks in the light… and his pathway increases in light, his capacity to shine increases!

f. Before long, with every step along this pathway—his testimony radiates with God’s love, grace, holiness, righteousness, and purity.

g. Opportunities arise to share Christ!

5. A glorious future!

a. The path of the just keeps getting brighter and brighter… closer and closer to glory!

b. It is as if he sees the path of the just in the way John Bunyan did—a long pathway that leads up to the dazzling brilliance of the Celestial City! The closer you get, the brighter the path…

c. Rev. 21:21-25 – the heavenly city—God Himself is the light of it! No night there! This city is at the end of our journey! Imagine that!

d. Whatever we suffer along the way will not be worthy to be compared to the glory that shall be revealed in us in that day! A far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory awaits us at the end of this path—in that city!

e. Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow!

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