• Richard Parrish

Two Paths

Updated: Jan 30


Her instructions were clear. Her cute British accent was sophisticated—and confident. I listen and trust her, often.


That day was different.


A significant—early morning meeting—was scheduled on the other side of town, but I had given myself sufficient time, allowing for traffic. She’s most accurate with her instructions. But that day, I chose not to follow her advice.


What is she thinking? I travel this route often, and she’s insisting that I take the longer, more congested road. What’s wrong with her!


I assumed I knew better. Ignoring the lovely, confident voice (and annoying re-directions), I turned off my GPS. Maybe it’s time to update my GPS maps, I mused.


Thirty minutes late to the meeting, I apologized. “I was not aware of the new construction taking place on the 101. I should have paid attention to my GPS,” I said with embarrassment.


It was apparent: My GPS was aware of things I could not see or anticipate.


Do you ever argue with your GPS, or purposefully ignore the directions? Have you regretted not following her instructions? Unfortunately, my GPS isn’t the only voice I can resist.


The book of Proverbs is full of insightful instructions for us to follow. Here’s one of many:

“Do not enter the path of the wicked and do not walk in the way of evildoers. Avoid it; do not go on it; turn away from it and pass on.⁠[1]”

With the tone of a wise and confident father or grandfather, these words serve to provide us accurate directions, assuring our safety. However, hearing them is not the same as obeying them.


Wisdom warns us that nothing good comes from the path of the wicked. But unfortunately—like my GPS—I can be inclined to ignore her voice, insisting I know better.


Throughout the book of Proverbs, we find the terms “path” or “way.” These expressions indicate a manner of life or lifestyle. The sage urges us to avoid the path of the wicked and strongly proposes the path of righteousness.

“But the path of the righteous is like the light of dawn, which shines brighter and brighter until full day.⁠[2]”

It’s easy for me to think that I would never choose to take the path of the “wicked.” Aren’t wicked people murderers, rapists, and violent individuals? I’m in no way like that! Is it possible that “wicked” may have a broader definition?


The Hebrew word for “wicked” (רָשָׁע raw-shaw) implies one who is guilty of a crime, ungodly, guilty of sin, or the person who is hostile (or in opposition) to God.


Already, I see that I’m not off the hook. I don’t have to rape, murder, or be a violent person to be considered “wicked.” Try as hard as I can, I too, often fail to keep God’s commandments. I’ve not reached a place where I’ve discovered power on my own to conquer sin. But Jesus defeated sin, and that’s why I need Him (Hebrews 7:27).


A regular examination of my life—lifestyle—reveals which path I’m on. When I see that I have failed to avoid the wicked way, it’s not too late.


Wisdom—like my GPS—desires to redirect me to the path of righteousness by reminding me: Stop! Don’t continue on this path. Please take the next exit and move away from it as quickly as possible. Resist the temptation to follow the crowd. Place as much distance between you and the evil path as possible.


“Path” is a metaphor for a particular way of living, a style of behavior, and an attitude to life. There are two paths we can choose. Each way defines our character. This proverb encourages his pupils (you and me) to avoid the evil way and walk the path of righteousness. By following Wisdom’s guidance, our attitude and character will lead us to life (4:13).


Which path are you on? Do we need to follow Wisdom’s GPS?

1 The Holy Bible: New Revised Standard Version (Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1989), Pr 4:14–15.

2 The Holy Bible: New Revised Standard Version (Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1989), Pr 4:18.