The Way of the Wicked and the Righteous
1. Once again, Solomon contrasts the wicked and the righteous.
2. Once again, Solomon speaks of that which is an abomination to the Lord. (vs.8 = sacrifice of the wicked; vs.9 = the way of the wicked)
3. Two WAYS are described in this verse: the way of the wicked, and the way of those who follow righteousness.
The way of the wicked is an abomination unto the LORD
A. The Way
a. Strong’s: way = road; journey; manner; path; direction; habit; of course of life; moral character.
b. Dict. of Bib. Lang.: way of life, the manner one conducts one’s life, including habits.
2. The way of the wicked described.
a. Prov. 4:19 – the way of the wicked is the way of darkness… and they stumble all along the way.
b. Prov. 22:5 – Thorns and snares are in the way of the froward.
c. Prov. 13:15 – the way of the transgressor is hard.
d. Prov. 2:13-14 – the wicked choose to leave the paths of uprightness and choose to walk in darkness. They delight in it!
e. Prov. 1:31 – the wicked shall EAT of the fruit of their own way. (cut by the thorns; trapped in the snares; stumble and get hurt from the fall; there are many consequences to walking in the way of the wicked)
f. Prov. 14:12 – the way of the wicked might SEEM right to him, but God’s estimate is quite different. It is the way of death… and an abomination to the Lord.
g. Psalm 146:9 – but the way of the wicked he turneth upside down.
B. An Abomination
1. This is the REASON for their sacrifices being an abomination—because their entire WAY of life is an abomination to God.
a. 15:7 – their sacrifices are an abomination.
b. 15:26 – even their thoughts are an abomination!
c. 28:9 – his prayers shall even be an abomination.
d. God considers the entire way of life of the wicked to be an abomination.
e. If a man is walking in the way of sin, rebellion, and unbelief, no prayer, no sacrifice, no thought could ever endear him to God. Nothing on that way is acceptable to the Lord.
f. The sinner has gone “out of the way”… and thus NOTHING he offers to God from that way (sacrifice or prayer) is of any merit.
g. Sacrifices and prayers offered to God from one walking in the way of the wicked is nothing but a corrupt stream flowing from a corrupt fountain.
2. Prov. 29:27 – “he that is upright in the way is an abomination to the wicked.”
a. God views the way of the wicked as an abomination.
b. Those who are walking on the way of the wicked view those on the straight and narrow way as an abomination.
c. The wicked cannot take their anger out on God directly, so it vents its wrath against godly men and women.
d. This is the world’s way of saying to God, “the feeling of abomination is mutual!”
e. This is one of the reasons for such hostility and deep division in our nation today.
» The deep division and hostility is not so much over tax cuts, building highways or schools, or passing this bill or that.
» The real division is over the MORAL issues of our day: abortion; gay marriage; fornication; euthanasia; divorce and the breakdown of the traditional Christian family; etc.
» The way of the wicked is an abomination to the Lord. And the way of the upright is an abomination to the wicked.
But he loveth him that followeth after righteousness
1. Follow: pursue; chase; persecute; (following with intensity… not just strolling along aimlessly…)
a. This speaks of the believer who pursues righteousness with his whole heart… he dedicates his life to living for the Lord… he chases after purity and holiness…
b. He pursues godliness with as much vigor as the unsaved pursue money, power, and success in the world!
2. In contrast to the “way of the wicked” is the one who “follows after righteousness.” (two very different “ways of life”)
a. Isaiah refers to the faithful remnant of Israel as “ye who pursue righteousness” (Isa. 51:1)
b. I Tim. 6:11 – the man of God is also commanded to “pursue righteousness.”
c. Following after righteousness ought to characterize believers in any age.
3. The way of righteousness DESCRIBED in Proverbs
a. Prov. 3:5-6 – the way of the righteous is the way of acknowledging God and being led by Him. God loves those who follow that path
b. Prov. 3:23 – the way of the righteous is a way guided by wisdom… and is thus the way of safety…
c. The way of the righteous is the way of making proper CHOICES…
• Prov. 1:10-15 – it the way of choosing to avoid those who are dishonest.
• Prov. 3:30-31 – choosing to avoid the oppressor (violence).
• Prov. 4:14-15 – AVOID the way of the wicked. It is your choice. (mischief and violence (vs. 16-17)
d. Prov. 6:6 – the way of the righteous OBSERVES the ways of others and makes proper choices accordingly.
• If one is to avoid the way of the wicked, then it requires observation.
• It is necessary to observe the roads people take… and to observe the consequences of those roads…
• The way of the righteous LEARNS from that observation and avoids the pitfalls that ensnare others.
e. Prov. 8:13 – God fearing people HATE the way of the evil. (they don’t hate the people… just their “way”)
• When a way is observed and proves to be evil—learn to HATE that way.
• When it is known from Scripture that a road is evil—avoid it. Hate it. Love righteousness and hate unrighteousness.
• Ps. 119:104, 128 – the psalmist hated every false way. There is such a thing as good hatred. Hating evil = loving truth and righteousness.
f. Prov.10:29 – the upright who follow the way of the Lord find STRENGTH for their journey.
• We need never fear taking the way of righteousness.
• The way is hard, but strength is provided.
• Those who choose to pursue righteousness with all their heart will discover that God will enable them in that pursuit every step of the way.
g. Prov.2:7-8, 12 – Those who walk in the way of righteousness find protection.
• The way of righteousness has proven to be dangerous for many saints. (saints in Communist countries; Muslim countries; etc.)
• But for those who choose to pursue righteousness with their whole heart, God provides not only strength for the journey buy journey’s mercies: protection along the way.
h. Isa. 3:10 – the righteous shall also EAT of the fruit of their doings.
» There are evil consequences to sin and poor choices.
» There are good consequences to righteousness and good decisions.
» Prov. 21:21 – He that followeth after righteousness and mercy findeth life, righteousness, and honour.
» God blesses those who follow righteousness. Do you want God’s hand of blessing in your life? Pursue righteousness… follow righteousness… and you will find righteousness and much more.
4. God LOVES those who follow righteousness.
a. I Tim.6:11 – the man of God is commanded to FOLLOW after righteousness.
b. This is the way of life that God loves… the way of wholehearted dedication to pursuing that which honors HIM.
c. Prov.11:28 – God causes the righteous to flourish.
d. Prov. 5:21 – For the ways of man are before the eyes of the LORD, and he pondereth all his goings.
• God is observing, pondering, all of our ways… every last one of them… every step along the way.
• Our steps and our ways are either an abomination to Him or He loves them!
• What about YOUR ways? Are we following (pursuing; chasing) righteousness? Is it wholehearted dedication?
• Or are we just drifting along… floating… wandering… dabbling… pretending to follow?
• The ways of man are all before the eyes of the Lord… whether we are pursuing righteousness or whether we are following some other road.
• Psalm 1:6 – two ways; two endings; God loves one and hates the other.