In the fourth chapter of Proverbs, wisdom is being passed along from one generation to another. Truth, first taught by David to Solomon, is now being passed along to David’s grandchildren. If they will listen and apply this teaching, many benefits will come their way from walking in the path of wisdom. Therefore, Solomon implores his children, “Keep hold of instruction; do not let her go; guard wisdom, for she is your life.” (4:13)
Solomon then warns his sons. Horrible consequences await if they choose to substitute God’s wisdom for counsel coming from another source. If Solomon’s sons forsake wisdom and prefer folly, sleeplessness, stumbling, violence, deep darkness, and ignorance will follow (4:16-19)
The inspired teacher then concludes with the following admonition:
Let your eyes look directly forward, and your gaze be straight before you. Ponder the path of your feet; then all your ways will be sure. Do not swerve to the right or to the left; turn your foot away from evil. (Proverbs 4:24-27)
Clearly, one ought not swerve. Wise worshipers will ponder the path of their feet. They will look at every step through the spectacles of God’s Word, and they will commit never to swerve to the right or the left. God’s Word is their lamp and their light. Though encouraged by themselves to veer right, or by a multitude of wicked counselors to go left, they remain on the straight path. The Bible contains God’s logic. Timeless and infallible truths are found within the pages of sacred Scripture. From God’s Holy Spirit, wise words have been communicated to us; they are “breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:16-17) Therefore, wise worshipers will stay on the straight and narrow path, for on this path God is pleased, neighbors are benefited, and one’s personal journey is improved. Clearly, one ought not swerve from the God-directed path outlined for us in Holy Scripture.
However, there are clearly times when one ought to swerve. When one walks faithfully according to the counsel of God’s Word and Spirit, one will avoid the path of evil at all costs. Solomon states this in verse 14, “Do not enter the path of the wicked, and do not walk in the way of the evil.” He ends by exclaiming this point yet again in verse 27, “Turn your foot away from evil.” Later in two identical proverbs, he declares, “The prudent sees danger and hides himself, but the simple go on and suffer for it.” (Proverbs 22:3; 27:12)
Therefore friends, putting these two concepts together, there is a time to swerve and a time not to swerve. As we live life, let us walk according to the principles found in Scripture. Let us not be wise in our own eyes. Let us always be tender and teachable, and let us not compromise in any way. With straight focus, led by God, let us not swerve to the right or the left. And as we are being led by God, we can be sure that when we see potential for sin ahead, his divine guidance would be for us to swerve or turn in another direction.