Study 1 THE TWO WAYS IN CONTRAST
The Shining Pathway
by Francis Dixon
(Key verses: Proverbs 4: 18-19)
Matthew Henry, the old commentator, says that God is so concerned that the divine truth should penetrate into the hearts of men that He has devised a great variety of methods whereby that truth may reach them. In the Bible He has given divine laws, histories, songs, prophecies and proverbs! It is to the Book of Proverbs that we turn for the theme-title of this series of studies. These words of the wise Solomon make a vivid contrast between the path of the righteous and the way of the wicked. From God’s standpoint there are only two classes of people in the world - the “righteous” and the “wicked”. The “righteous” are those who are right with God, and the “wicked” are those who are wrong before God; the saved and the lost; believers and unbelievers; children of God and children of wrath. To which class do you belong?
1. The “righteous” are in the MINORITY; the “wicked” are in the MAJORITY.
Our key verses speak of the “path” of the righteous and the “way” of the wicked. Is there any difference between a little winding path and a broad highway along which masses of modern traffic speeds? All the difference in the world! The Lord Jesus spoke of the “broad way” and the “narrow way” (Matthew 7:13-14), and He said there would be many on the broad way and few on the narrow way. So we see that the righteous are in the minority, and this has always been so. In Noah’s day, after his 120 years of warning the wicked, only eight souls were saved - look up 1 Peter 3:20; in the case of wicked Sodom, only a small minority escaped God’s judgment - look up Genesis 19:23-25; and this was so in the days of the Psalmist and the Prophets - look up the words of Jesus in Matthew 20:16 and Luke 13:23-24. Christians are in the minority today, and the tragedy is that the crowd on the broad way think that to be among the majority must be the right way. It is easy to be beguiled by numbers, and it is dangerous to go with the crowd - look up Proverbs 14:12.
2. The ”righteous” are in the LIGHT; the “wicked” are in DARKNESS.
”The path of the righteous is as the shining light” is the experience of every born-again Christian, but how solemn is the condition of those who do not know the Lord! “The way of the wicked is like deep darkness” - look up 2 Corinthians 4:4. Satan is keeping multitudes in spiritual darkness, and the first thing that happens when we pass from “the way of the wicked” to ”the path of the righteous” is that the light of the gospel of Christ shines into our hearts - look up 1 Peter 2:9. Are you on the road of light, or on the road of deep darkness that leads to blackness and darkness for ever?
3. The “path of the righteous” gets BRIGHTER; “the way of the wicked” gets DARKER.
The path of the righteous is “like the first gleam of dawn, shining ever brighter…“; and in contrast, “the way of the wicked is like deep darkness: they do not know what makes them stumble.” The non-Christian stumbles through life hoping for the best, but he has no real anchorage and no eternal hope. Does God want us to stumble through life? No! He wants us to know the experience of ”shining ever brighter till the full light of day.” He waits to lead every stumbling soul, and if they will put their hands into His He will guide them, as He does every one of His children - look up Psalm 37:23. This wonderful Guide waits to lead you through all the intricate pathways of life until at last you enter into His presence.
4. The “righteous” have a GLORIOUS PROSPECT; the ”wicked” have a TERRIBLE PROSPECT.
The righteous are travelling on to the full light of day - look up John 14:2-3. One translation of our key verse reads: ”The wicked shall be silent in darkness”, and that surely speaks of judgment - look up Matthew 8:12. Are you travelling on the road with a glorious prospect or on the one with a terrible prospect?
It is easy to read these words and yet put off the vital decision which the Holy Spirit is urging you to make. For the sake of the Saviour who loved and gave Himself for your salvation, for the sake of your friends and loved ones who will be powerfully influenced by your attitude towards the Lord Jesus, and for your own sake, if you are not a Christian then join the minority now and experience the joy and peace of sins forgiven and the blessed hope of Heaven. Open your heart to the Lord Jesus, receive Him as your personal Saviour and ask Him to take full possession of your life. Do it now - and travel on to “the perfect day”!
Now read Psalm 1, which is a striking commentary upon Proverbs 4:18-19 and which emphasises the same truths. Particularly notice the closing verse of the psalm. Which “way” are you travelling?
Walk in the light, so shalt thou know
That fellowship of love
His Spirit only can bestow
Who reigns in light above.
Walk in the light, and sin abhorred
Shall not defile again;
The blood of Jesus Christ the Lord
Shall cleanse from ev’ry stain.
Walk in the light - thy path shall be
Peaceful, serene and bright;
For God, by grace, shall dwell in thee,
And God Himself is Light.