“Hear, my son, and accept my words, that the years of your life may be many. I have taught you the way of wisdom; I have led you in the paths of uprightness. When you walk, your step will not be hampered, and if you run, you will not stumble. Keep hold of instruction; do not let go; guard her, for she is your life. Do not enter the path of the wicked, and do not walk in the way of the evil. Avoid it; do not go on it; turn away from it and pass on. For they cannot sleep unless they have done wrong; they are robbed of sleep unless they have made someone stumble. For they eat the bread of wickedness and drink the wine of violence. But the path of the righteous is like the light of dawn, which shines brighter and brighter until full day. The way of the wicked is like deep darkness; they do not know over what they stumble.” — Proverbs 4:10-19
The sunrise is stunning. The first glimmer of light on the horizon breaks the darkness, and the whole world welcomes the warmth and glow of the sun. The dawn illuminates the beauty of creation. Without light, beauty only exists as potential.
The Path of Light and the Path of Darkness
The light of God’s word in your life works the same way. The father sets two paths before you in this teaching. One path is the way of wickedness, of rebellion against God and his word. This path leads deep into the darkness. Just imagine walking at night in a dense forest. The jungle surrounds you, and not even a shimmer of moonlight assists your journey. You have no way of protecting yourself from falls, injuries, or attacks from wild animals.
The other path is the way of wisdom, of obedience to God and his word. Not only is there light on this path, but this light only shines brighter the further you walk. You can run on this path because you can see clearly. You do not trip, and you can assess any potential danger before you fall into it. Your life is safe on this path.
The Dawning Light
Doesn’t it seem obvious which path you should choose? It does when you keep the end in view. Yet, at the place the paths split, the beginning of the journey, the level of light may not appear that much different. Additionally, the mystery of the dark path might even call out to you. You can barely see the light of dawn breaking on the path of light, and you wonder if it really matters which way you choose to walk.
But when God’s light breaks into your life, that light never burns out, fades, or diminishes. His righteousness is a light that only shines brighter the longer you walk with him. The intrigue of the darkness might still call out from time to time, but the warmth of God’s light keeps you fixed on his path for your life.
Keep hold of and guard God’s word in your heart. Walk down his path for your life. Whatever you do, avoid the path of evil and do not follow the example of wicked people. Your life in Christ is a dawning light right now. There is a brightness and fullness of the light and life of God that is waiting for you when Christ returns that will make the sun’s light seem dim. Just keep walking and trusting. One day you will see Jesus as he is, and you will be like him (1 John 3:2-3). The beauty of Christ’s light dawning on that new creation will be beyond anything you can hope or imagine (1 Corinthians 2:9)!