THE TWO PATHS: (The King of Pop)

THE TWO PATHS
Proverbs 4:18-19                                                                         SAL-96

Introduction

Two first-year deer hunters were high in the mountains in the State of New York.,  To their amazement, they had shot their first deer. He was a prize: an enormous,  buck with a majestic spread of antlers.,  They began dragging the huge animal out of the woods.,  They stopped to catch their breath again and again.

A veteran hunter not far away had heard the report of their weapons as,  they had blazed away over,  and over.,  He instinctively made his way toward them.,  Not long after, he saw them toiling along the trail out of the woods.,  They looked desperately tired.,  He offered them some advice.

“Boys,” he said, “if you let go of the hind quarters you are pulling, you can take hold of the antlers and pull him by the front quarters. you’ll be pulling in the direction of his coat — its much harder to pull against the grain of his hair like you’re doing.”

A few minutes later the two freshmen hunters were now moving along nicely when one of them remarked: “Wasn’t that a nice man to give us such good advice to drag him from the other end?”,  “Yeah, the other remarked but the problem is we’re getting’ so far from the car.”

Transition

That’s kind of the way life is — there appears to be only one path.,  But, the problem is it goes in two different directions.,  In our text, in characteristic fashion, a Hebrew parallelism is created:
“The path of the righteous” as opposed to “the way of the wicked.”
“Path” and “way” are intended to be synonyms.,  In other words, in this world one may tread on a path one way or may take a path in the opposite direction. One thing sure: one way leads to a far different destination than the other.

I. THE PATH OF THE RIGHTEOUS VERSUS THE WAY OF THE WICKED

It is usually fundamentally obvious to a person, the moment he receives Christ as Savior or shortly thereafter, if he or she is growing at all, that all this time in life, he was on the wrong path.,  Often a consciousness of this fact is a primary indicator that something vitally important was missing in his life: namely — clear fruitful direction. And now, the new Christian knows he is on the right path.

The Lord Jesus spoke of the two directions in life one may take — toward the Lord, or away from Him:   (Mt. 7:13-14, NIV)

13,  “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it.
14 But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.”

Here our Lord made it crystal clear that of the two paths, the way of
the wicked is by far the more popular.,  It is “wide,” he said, and “many” travel along it.

On the other hand, He used words like “small” and “few” and “narrow” with respect to the right way and the number on it. Obviously, it is certainly the less popular way to go.

II. THE WAY OF THE WICKED

This past week (July 22-28, 2009) has seen the deaths of two people known to millions, a man and a woman.,  The former in his fifties; the latter in her sixties.,  These were not just any two people:,  These were stars, these were performers, these were “icons” as the term is often used.

There is a program on the television of which I am sure everyone here has heard.,  It is called “American Idol.”,  As far as I know it is a program that tries to find stars and performers for the future.,  When such a person is found, he or she is proclaimed an “American Idol.”

Apparently a lost world is totally unaware of the holy God’s warning to,  the world many, many years ago:,  “Turn not to idols” (Le. 19:4), “Do not make idols” (Le. 26:1).   Exodus 20:5, where the Ten Commandments are given, states that God’s is jealous for our worship and attention.,  Nothing and no one should be put in His place.,  To do so is idolatry.

Over 240 times the Bible brings up the subject of idolatry.,  To avoid false worship is extremely important to God.,  God calls idols “detestable,” and “lifeless,” and “worthless” and “shameful.”,  Yet a brazen modern group of media hold up modern so-called singers and actors as “idols.”,  Is it any wonder we are in trouble in our modern world; that our youth are confused?

Lest you think my point here is overdrawn, think for a moment about the notoriety accorded just the two big-name stars who died this week.,  One had arranged 50 rock concert appearances in Europe.,  Seating for all of them, hundreds of thousands of seats,,  sold out in just a few hours: not days- HOURS!,  All this in spite of the fact that the personal life of this “star” was in a shambles. He was a virtual recluse in his big mansion. He was known to have paid millions of dollars to settle a child abuse accusation against himself.

The other’s claims to fame, though tragic through awful personal illness, for which we should all be saddened,,  was best expressed in a racy swimsuit picture; one of the most famous in the world. Along the way there was divorce and the scandal that went with living openly with another, not her husband, for years and other sinful things.

It needs to be said that no honorable Christian wished ill-will on either of these “idols” of men’s making.,  Their deaths were unfortunate and broke the hearts of many, many people to say nothing of their families.,  How sad.,  It is right that there would be grief.

What is more, none of us should take smug satisfaction in the fall and death of either of these stars.,  These were sinners for whom Christ died, just as He did for us.   Hope against hope that each found faith in Him before they died.

But, it is more than sad, it is tragic that adoration of these mere human beings was far out of proportion to their accomplishments.,  One person interviewed on television said the male star’s death was “the most important thing that ever happened.”,  With due allowance for the hyperbole of the moment, if this doesn’t represent idolatry, I don’t guess I know what idolatry is.

By the way, what is the most important thing that ever happened in this world?,  A careful examination of I Corinthians chapter 15 will make it clear that the most important occurrence on this planet was the resurrection from the dead of our Lord Jesus Christ.,  Except for this fact, every man, woman and child who ever lived would be condemned to death and separation from God and all good forever.

The writer of the Proverbs here states: “The way of the wicked is like deep darkness.”,  If you or I, or maybe more to the point, any young person set out to pattern his and her life around these modern “so-called stars” where would that lead?

Could it,  honestly be said that listening to and watching this man,  perform on stage would produce anything of value in a youth’s life?,  Would making money posing in compromising ways in wicked magazines,  be the right path for any young lady to follow? Some might say, how dare you criticize,  our stars, our icons!

If we are afraid to compare the lives these of idols to the light of Scripture, how can we expect our youth to know the truth?,  No, I am afraid the truths of our text are tragically clear in making application:,  “The way of the wicked is like deep darkness.,  They do not know what makes them stumble.”

III. THE PATH OF THE RIGHTEOUS

I was out in God’s great out-of-doors this morning just as the sun was rising, what our text calls “the first gleam of dawn.”,  It was beautiful.,  As I looked up to the east the truths of God’s beautiful creation came upon me: “The heavens declare the glory of God and the firmament sheweth his handiwork” (Ps. 19:1).

That’s where the path of the righteous will lead — to the truths of God’s creation, His majesty and His love.,  As our Lord said, there is only one right path.,  It may be narrow and may seem small, even unpopular, but it is the right path.,  Mark this: the path of the righteous and the way of the wicked do not run along parallel trails — they lead in opposite directions.

The Bible says: “the path of the righteous shines ever brighter till the full light of day.”,  When one walks with the Lord, according to Scripture, there is a conscious realization of light and truth that comes to the believer.,  Assurance that one is on the right path will become more and more obvious from one victory in Christ to the next.

Conclusion

Mid-way through our Lord Jesus’ great Sermon on the Mount, Christ made this statement about self-deception: “If the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness!” (Mt. 6:23)

Ladies and gentlemen, if that is not an apt description of the foolish idol worship of our present world toward these so-called stars, and icons and idols, it would be hard to imagine what it might describe.

Sadly our text in Proverbs says: “the way of the wicked is like deep darkness, they do not know what makes them stumble” (Pr. 4:19).

It is said that our now-deceased “king of pop” received more money for his rock concerts than anyone in history.,  His earnings reached into,  billions of,  dollars.,  You say, boy I’d like to have his money!,  Are you sure?,  Would you really want to trade him finances?,  I don’t think so.,  He died over 300 million dollars in debt.

“The way of the wicked is like deep darkness; they do not know what makes them stumble.”

Dear Christian brother, sister, remember what the word of God says about possessions:,  “If we have food and clothing, we will be content with that”,  (I Tm. 6:8),  and Paul right here reminded us: “godliness with contentment is great gain.”,  (v. 6)

The truth is, that quite apart from jealousy or bitterness, we as those who have the truth of God are responsible for a consistent loving witness to those around us of the truth that the path of the righteous is the only right, the only successful the only path that pleases God.

Yes, the events of this past week have been heartbreaking.,  They should sadden us all.,  But there is at least one person who might consider himself fortunate over these premature deaths.,  It is the governor of a southern state who was discovered to have betrayed his wife and family and his whole state in a shameless affair. At least he could consider the spotlight of failure off himself.   O, ladies and gentlemen; how awful is the darkness of sin.,  By God’s grace we must rise above it and be daily faithful to our blessed Savior for the sake of those who need Him so much.

Comments

  1. John Steingass says:

    Thanks for a good illustration of this world’s sad condition. It is sometimes discouraging to see so many souls headed in the wrong direction, knowing that most will probably never find the path that leads to salvation. However, it’s so encouraging to know and to see that God’s Holy Spirit is still drawing souls to Himself. As wicked as things seem in this world now, it is nothing compared to what will (and I believe very soon) happen, when the Holy Spirit is taken from this world, along with all believers. The spirit of Antichrist grows stronger in this world every day, and his wicked world views are promoted through every mind-influencing media and technology possible. It is therefore even more important these days to study and know God’s Word, to be “…transformed by the renewing of your mind. that you may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” (Rom. 12:2) We also know that God is “not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” (2 Pet. 3:9), and that He has entrusted us, empowered us, and expects us to carry out His “great commission”, being lights that point the way to our Savior. How precious is the short time we may have left to reach them! May God help us to stay focused upon this task, for there is no shortage of work for the willing Christian! God Bless.

Speak Your Mind

*