When there is no fear of God, anything goes. When there is no accountability for one’s actions in this life or the next, violence will become the norm. Look at what is happening in many of the larger cities in America. Liberal prosecutors have let criminals walk without any consequences. It has created chaos in our cities. People are afraid to walk down the streets alone anymore in many places. There is no peace in the land. It is only when we live under the rule of law that we might live a peaceful life. Paul tells Timothy that he should teach his congregation to be obedient to the laws of the land in order that they live a calm and peaceful life.  Solomon is acting as a wise parent as he instructs his son that the world is not always calm and peaceful. There are evil people in it, and they will prey on you one way or another. In Proverbs 1:10-14, Solomon warns his son. He says, “My son, if sinners entice you, do not consent. If they say, ‘Come with us, let us lie in wait for blood; let us ambush the innocent without reason; like Sheol, let us swallow them alive, and whole, like those who go down to the pit; we shall find all precious goods, we shall fill our houses with plunder; throw in your lot among us; we will all have one purse.’”

This passage does not deny the fact that all of us are sinners. We all do fail, but this passage looks to the career sinners. Ortlund says, “In the extreme, this kind of person is a professional criminal, like the bad guys in The Godfather. Bullying is how some people make their way through the world. The key to this human profile is anyone who gets ahead by his own devices, anyone who is out for number one. They are the ‘sinners’ of whom we must be aware. They are out there. You will encounter them.”[1] If they want something another has, they take it. If they want to hurt someone, they do it. Morey observes, “When men no longer fear God, there is no restraint upon their lusts. The fear of the Lord is the recognition that God is holy as well as loving, and thus He is to be feared as well as trusted. God is the Righteous Judge of all the earth who sits upon His throne, judging the nations with equity. If we make the mistake of neglecting or denying this biblical view of God, we will suffer…”[2] When evil persists in any country, it’s the innocent who suffer the most. Sinners do not focus on who they hurt. They focus on what they can get for themselves.

Just like those in misery, sinners love company. They will promise all kinds of rewards and profits, but the end result is never what it was presented to be. The wise person does not fall for such enticements. Solomon wants his son, and us as his readers, to be wise with regard to enticement to evil. As Ortlund Says, real “Wisdom pays attention to the realities built into us by God our Creator. Wisdom humbly gives in to God’s design; it adapts and adjusts. A wise person notices, picks up on the clues, cuts with the grain, and tears along the perforated line. Unwise people can be gifted, but they are trying to be healthy on junk food, run high RPMs on low-octane gas, get home by the wrong road, or swim against the stream of the universe. Sin is trying to succeed by ignoring reality.” As the ultimate source of enticement to evil, the Devil is not as bright as he thinks he is. Actually, it “makes the devil the ultimate fool. He wants to reengineer the creation his own way. He is both evil and dumb. C. S. Lewis wrote, ‘The Devil is (in the long run) an ass.’ But the book of Proverbs is where God speaks to us as our life coach, guiding us into the only real success that’s out there.”[3] A hundred years ago, William Trench wrote a great poem.

Still, they plead, and still, they promise; wilt thou suffer them to stand?

They have pleasures, gifts, and treasures, to enrich thee at command.

Heed not thou, but boldly strike them; let descend the faithful blow.

From their wreck and from their ruin, first will thy true riches flow.

[1] Ortlund, Raymond C., Jr. 2012. Preaching the Word: Proverbs—Wisdom That Works. Edited by R. Kent Hughes. Wheaton, IL: Crossway.

[2] Morey, Robert A. 1999. Fearing God: The Key to the Treasure House of Heaven. Yorba Linda, CA: Davidson Press, Inc.

[3] Ortlund, Raymond C., Jr. 2012. Preaching the Word: Proverbs—Wisdom That Works. Edited by R. Kent Hughes. Wheaton, IL: Crossway.