Gracious God, You are my maker and my God. You gave me life and sustain my life. I give You praise.
Read PROVERBS 24:1-22
Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
“My child, do not let these escape your sight: keep sound wisdom and prudence, … Then you will go on your way securely, and your foot will not stumble” (Prov. 3:21,23 NRSV).
“Bad company corrupts good character,” warns Paul. (1 Cor. 15:33). How many of us who are parents have watched with agony when our children have mixed with bad company—maybe nice, fun and understandably popular company, but with regard to God, bad company? The problem is clearly on the teacher’s mind as he gives his moral directions. Notice the references to companionship for the journey: the company of wicked men (1), the many advisers consulted by a wise general (5,6), the assembly of wise town elders “at the gate” (7), the band of rebels (21,22). We are social beings; some rogues are engaging company and some virtuous people are dull. We cannot help a clash of personalities nor can we deny that some wicked people enjoy enviable lifestyles. So, as well as wisely reading the road ahead and anticipating where our chosen companions and advisers might take us, we do need discernment to see people as they are. That means seeing them as they are before God and shrewdly sensing the calibration of their moral compass.
It also means sorting out from among those that we spend our days with at work or in the community, or even our own families and fellowships, those whom we will trust. Refusing to trust some people will disappoint them—does that worry us too much? Are we too nice to say “No” to some invitations? Do we crave short-term acceptance and popularity more than God’s approval?
The teacher cannot overstate the consequences of being in with the wrong crowd; many Christian parents have watched helplessly as their children have been derailed in painful slow-motion. But remember: it’s not just the young who can be steered into disaster by the company they keep. Be wise!
Thank God for those who have positively influenced you. Consider: how am I influencing those whose lives I touch?
Heavenly Father, thank You for my good friends. Help me to be one, too. Help me to speak, listen and act well for their sakes, as well as my own.
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