8 My son, hear the instruction of your father, And do not forsake the law of your mother;
9 For they will be a graceful ornament on your head, And chains about your neck.
10 My son, if sinners entice you, Do not consent.
11 If they say, “Come with us, Let us lie in wait to shed blood; Let us lurk secretly for the innocent without cause;
12 Let us swallow them alive like Sheol, And whole, like those who go down to the Pit;
13 We shall find all kinds of precious possessions, We shall fill our houses with spoil;
14 Cast in your lot among us, Let us all have one purse”—
15 My son, do not walk in the way with them, Keep your foot from their path;
16 For their feet run to evil, And they make haste to shed blood.
17 Surely, in vain the net is spread in the sight of any bird;
18 But they lie in wait for their own blood, They lurk secretly for their own lives.
19 So are the ways of everyone who is greedy for gain; It takes away the life of its owners. (Proverbs 1:8-19)
Parental wisdom is a valuable asset. Our parents often know us very well. They know our strengths and our weaknesses. They are in a position to impart sage wisdom to us… when we are willing to listen.
In verse 8, the word “instruction” includes the ideas of discipline, chastening, and correction. The word “law” includes the ideas of direction and instruction. The two words are very close in concept. The idea being conveyed in this verse is that our parents are in a place to correct our thoughts and actions in a way to help us maintain course on the ways of a righteous life. When we accept their instruction and allow them to steer our direction, we are able to maintain a narrow path.
In verse 9, the word “chains” is referring to a necklace. This verse is describing ornamental jewelry being worn on head and around the neck, which conveys the idea of royalty. The parental correction and instruction from the previous verse is to be seen as a type of badge of honor. To have parents that care enough to spend time with their children and invest in their lives is a blessing. A parent should go out of their way to teach their children (of all ages, young and old) the ways of the Lord. A child (of any age, young or old) should take the time to soak up the wisdom and correction offered by their parents.
In verse 10, the psalmist begins to contrast the wisdom of parents with the enticements of the sinners that we encounter daily in this world. The psalmist essentially begins with the punch line… “do not consent”. My son, if sinners entice you, Do not consent. This immediately gets to the heart of the matter: individual responsibility. We each are responsible for our own actions. We are not responsible for the actions of others, nor are they responsible for our actions. When it comes to the enticements of sinners, simply do not consent.
In verses 11-14, the psalmist lays out the actions (and the heart) of the sinners. Their goal is to shed blood and gather ill-gotten wealth. Their method is to wait in secret to take advantage of the innocent without reason. The sinners intend to swallow (consume) the lives of the innocent like Sheol. Sheol is referring to the grave. The sinners will take everything from the innocent, including their lives. The “Pit” refers to cisterns without water that were used as prisons. The sinners will hold the innocent against their will, without mercy. They will gather their wealth by taking from the innocent and fill their own houses with spoil (plunder taken from others against their will).
The sinners need help to accomplish this. Like a gang they recruit others to help carry out their actions as they prey on helpless victims. Like cowards they depend on numbers of men as a show of force and crowds to hide behind. Their dependence is upon men, not the Lord. They entice others to abandon their faith and their dependence upon God to join their evil ways by enticing them with a shared plunder.
The parental guidance begins again in verse 15… My son, do not walk in the way with them, Keep your foot from their path. The righteous will distance themselves from the ways of the sinner. Their actions look nothing like the actions of the sinner for their heart is not aligned with the sinner. The righteous’ heart has pure motives (serving God by demonstrating compassion and love for others) while the heart of the sinner has evil motives (preying on the weak and innocent for self gain).
The sinner lives a life of gathering plunder (unearned possession which are taken from others) and inflicting pain and death on the innocent. However, in the end, they will lose all of their worldly possessions and live an eternal life of pain and suffering in magnitudes greater than they can imagine. The innocent that have put their faith in God and lived a life dedicated to serving Him will be presented with heavenly treasures (presented as gifts) and live an eternal life with God the Father free of pain and suffering.
“Blessed is the man Who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, Nor stands in the path of sinners, Nor sits in the seat of the scornful; But his delight is in the law of the LORD,
And in His law he meditates day and night.” (Psalm 1:1-2)
I pray that you choose “not to consent” to the enticements of the sinner, but instead, to delight in the law of the Lord.