Two Friendships to Avoid (Proverbs 2:1-11)


  
A little wisdom will save you from a world of trouble.
 
Proverbs 2:12-22 talks about two kinds of relationships that are particularly disastrous for your wellbeing: with “wicked men” and with “the adulteress.”
 
Verses 12-15 talk about the wisdom of avoiding friendship with “wicked men”:
 
Wisdom will save you from the ways of wicked men,
from men whose words are perverse,
who leave the straight paths
to walk in dark ways,
who delight in doing wrong
and rejoice in the perverseness of evil,
whose paths are crooked
and who are devious in their ways.
 
In his Confessions, St. Augustine recounts a time in his youth when he and some of his buddies raided a neighbor’s orchard and stole some pears. Now we might not think pear-stealing is all that big of a crime (unless, of course, we own the orchard), but Augustine looked back on this incident with great shame. In his mind, he committed two sins: stealing the pears and conspiring with friends to steal the pears. Sometimes, our desire to do bad things is compounded by the desire to have company doing them. The wise person avoids both bad things and the people who do them.
 
Verbs 16-22 talk about avoiding “the adulteress”:
 
It [wisdom] will save you also from the adulteress,
from the wayward wife with her seductive words,
who has left the partner of her youth
and ignored the covenant she made before God. 
For her house leads down to death
and her paths to the spirits of the dead.
None who go to her return
or attain the paths of life.
 
Sex outside of marriage, whether before or after the ceremony, is a huge temptation in our culture. Everybody seems to do it, after all; at least that’s what you would think if all you did was watch TV or go to the movies. What our TV shows and movies don’t portray is other side of the story. Men incapable of forming last commitments to women, fatherless children, lonely women, broken homes. All too often, these are the consequences of disobeying God’s commandments regarding sex and marriage. Wise people avoid them by cultivating a healthy, lifelong covenant with the partners of their youth.
 
Verses 20-22 end with a general encouragement to live wisely and a general warning about living wickedly:
 
Thus you will walk in the ways of good men
and keep to the paths of the righteous.
For the upright will live in the land,
and the blameless will remain in it;
but the wicked will be cut off from the land,
and the unfaithful will be torn from it.
 
The basic contrast here is between “the upright [who] will live in the land” and “the wicked [who] will be cut off from the land.” According to Deuteronomy 28, obedience to the covenant between God and Israel resulted in peace, prosperity, and security within the national borders. Disobedience entailed war, poverty, and exile.
 
Given the choice, don’t you want peace, prosperity, and security? Then avoid “wicked men” and “the adulteress.”

One thought on “Two Friendships to Avoid (Proverbs 2:1-11)

  1. Dear George P. Wood,

    As a p.k. like yourself(I think your dad is great) i was reared to expect the best of people that at first glance everyone is good, to be latter be dissapointed by these bad men (people), expecially with staff. How do I avoid this?

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