12 delivering you from the way of evil,
from men of perverted speech,
13 who forsake the paths of uprightness
to walk in the ways of darkness,
14 who rejoice in doing evil
and delight in the perverseness of evil,
15 men whose paths are crooked,
and who are devious in their ways.
Yes, there are men “out there” who want to harm you and take advantage of you. They enjoy doing evil. They take pleasure in planning mischief; they are excited by the wicked deed; they look back with fond memory over their escapades. Perversion is fun. While we are fuming “How could they…,” they are congratulating one another and themselves over mischief well done.
This pleasure motivates them to use their skill and ingenuity to plot and carry out their mischief. The same individuals who drop out of school with failing grades will show a high level of creativity and complex thinking to do evil. The more motivated criminal mind will grow in knowledge for the purpose of stealing, destroying, and murdering. Con men make a living out of devising ways to part you from your money.
And as a predator who looks for the weak to pounce upon, so these wicked men look for the person who appears naive and unwilling to use discretion and wisdom for protection. The best way to protect yourself is not to live in the fear of man, but in the fear of the Lord (2:5). By such an approach to life, you will then find the wisdom of the Lord which he will give to you; and that wisdom will protect you. Your mind will become sharper; you will become more observant, more discerning. Discretion will lead you away from much danger, and understanding will deliver you when danger is upon you.
Living in the fear of the Lord is not to live naively, “trusting” the Lord to take care of you regardless of you walking about blindly and without thought. Trusting the Lord is to avail yourself of the wisdom he reveals through his Word and through the Holy Spirit. Remember Jesus’ words, “Be wise as serpents and innocent as doves” (Matthew 10:16).
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Please include the following statement on any distributed copy: By D. Marion Clark. © 2023 Tenth Presbyterian Church. Website: tenth.org