Click this link to hear an audio version of the below text narrated by SOTH member Jerry Rhinehart:
Proverbs 1:8-19 (ESV)
The Enticement of Sinners
8 Hear, my son, your father’s instruction, and forsake not your mother’s teaching, 9 for they are a graceful garland for your head and pendants for your neck. 10 My son, if sinners entice you, do not consent. 11 If they say, “Come with us, let us lie in wait for blood; let us ambush the innocent without reason; 12 like Sheol let us swallow them alive, and whole, like those who go down to the pit; 13 we shall find all precious goods, we shall fill our houses with plunder; 14 throw in your lot among us; we will all have one purse”— 15 my son, do not walk in the way with them; hold back your foot from their paths, 16 for their feet run to evil, and they make haste to shed blood. 17 For in vain is a net spread in the sight of any bird, 18 but these men lie in wait for their own blood; they set an ambush for their own lives. 19 Such are the ways of everyone who is greedy for unjust gain; it takes away the life of its possessors.
The first thing to note in this section is that God normally uses other people to deliver his wisdom to us. Martin Luther called this God hiding behind a “mask.” God’s glory is so overwhelming; we can’t see him face to face while on earth. So God “hides” behind our parents and teachers in order to deliver his wisdom. This is the chief meaning of the 4th commandment (‘honor your father and mother’); it is about allowing them and other authorities to teach us. Verse 1:9 says to wear their teaching like a necklace. The first teaching God gives is to be aware that sinners will entice us to evil. They will tempt us with easy riches (1:13), but do not tell us how they will cheat us in the end (1:19). The wise alternative is to literally ‘walk in a different path’ from them (1:15). God wants us to examine who we are spending time with, who we are listening to, whether in person or on the internet or TV, etc., and walk with those who lead us toward God, and avoid those who would lead us to sinful gains.