Good Directions

By now, I trust that Solomon has sufficiently motivated you to guard your heart from invasive, detrimental influences and to cultivate a hunger for knowledge of God. Hopefully, we possess adequate discernment to distinguish between helpful and harmful input. If not, deeper knowledge of God is readily available through His Word. If you are reading these pages, you are most likely reading the Scriptures. (At least, I hope so! This book isn’t worth much without the Bible.) So keep up the great work! As you continue reading the Scriptures, you will know the mind of God more deeply and consistently, and your discernment will reflect your intimacy with the Almighty.

Assuming we will possess reasonable discernment, Solomon told us how we can guard the fortress of our inner self. He offered three practical instructions using the word picture of a traveler making his or her way through the world. In summary, he said this:

  • Ignore false directions (v. 24).
  • Focus on your destination (v. 25).
  • Stay on the path (vv. 26–27).

The phrase put away is the translation of a verb that means “to turn aside.” The object of the verb is “a deceitful mouth,” and the adjective rendered “deceitful” carries the idea of something bent or twisted out of its normal shape. Sometimes translated “perverse” or “crooked,” this Hebrew word describes truth with a bend in it. Solomon counsels us to avoid people who bend divine truth. He wasn’t thinking of mere liars; he had in mind false teachers and diversionary influences. Their messages appear similar to biblical truth. They seem to use common sense. They even seem convincing, but their directions lead to the wrong destination.

The English rendering put . . . far stems from the verb “to remove.” The adjective devious also translates a Hebrew term that means “crooked.” Speech is literally “lips.” The command is to remove from our environment any influence that does not align with Scripture, and we must avoid anyone who distorts the Word of God.

Using the illustration of a road trip, Solomon assumed we will have an accurate map or a perfectly reliable GPS. (I have yet to find a perfectly reliable GPS, but we’ll pretend for the sake of this analogy.) He said, in effect, “If someone contradicts your map or suggests you ignore the GPS, get that person out of your car and leave him at the next truck stop. Moreover, ignore unofficial, hand-made signs along the road.”

According to this wise, fatherly advice, we must keep our road map handy and refer to it often. That’s how we will be able to discern the difference between divine truth and crooked directions.

From Living the Proverbs by Charles R. Swindoll, copyright © 2012. Reprinted by permission of Worthy Inspired., an imprint of Hachette Book Group, Inc.

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