In “the way of the wicked” Jefferson Vann explains the consequences of living this life apart from Christ.
the way of the wicked
“Great wealth is in the house of the righteous, But trouble is in the income of the wicked. The lips of the wise spread knowledge, But the hearts of fools are not so. The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the LORD, But the prayer of the upright is His delight. The way of the wicked is an abomination to the LORD, But He loves one who pursues righteousness. Grievous punishment is for him who forsakes the way; He who hates reproof will die” (Proverbs 15:6-10 NASB).
The problem with wise counsel is that it does you no good if you do not heed it. The Proverbs in the Old Testament is a book of wise counsel. Sometimes the wisdom passed on seems a stranglehold on the obvious, but it is surprising how many people miss it.
Take the above passage, for example. It contrasts the righteous and the wicked. It invites us all to take a long term view of these two groups.
It invites us to take a look at what these two groups do.
The righteous are wise and spread knowledge, while the wicked are fools who suppress it. Even when someone tries to correct them, they reject it, because they hate reproof.
The righteous are a religious people, whose sincere prayers bring delight to the heart of God. The wicked can also be religious, but their sacrifices are for show, and God finds them repulsive. Such religion is useless to reach God.
The righteous pursue righteousness. That is their way, but that is not the way of the wicked. The road the wicked take leads in the opposite direction. Jesus pronounced a blessing on those who pursue righteousness:
“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied” (Matthew 5:6 NASB). The writer of this proverb says that their ultimate satisfaction is great wealth.
But for those walking in the opposite direction, no matter how much they earn, they will not be satisfied. Two things tag along with the wicked as they travel the wicked way: trouble and grievous punishment. When they get to the end of the road, they die.
But the righteous die too, don’t they? Yes, so I’m thinking this proverb gives us a hint of the longer long term view. Perhaps the ultimate way of the wicked leads to a time of grievous punishment and death after the first death. Maybe that is why the next two words after this section are two untranslated Hebrew words: Sheol and Abaddon (verse 11).
Sheol is the intermediate state which everyone goes to at death. It is a state of unconsciousness as we await the resurrection. Even Jesus went to Sheol when he died, and was awakened three days later so that he could make his reentry on the first Easter morning.
But not everyone goes to Abaddon. That fate is reserved for the wicked who follow the way of the wicked. Check your dictionaries. Abaddon means destruction. That is the longer long term view.
So, there you have it. The wisdom of this proverb warns anyone who will listen to avoid the way of the wicked. The way of the wicked does not lead to life. The wicked will not live forever. Eternal life is conditional.
Have you met Jesus, my friend? He is the condition. He said “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me” (John 14:6 NASB). You cannot pursue righteousness without seeking him. You cannot please God without attaching yourself to his beloved Son, in whom he is well pleased (Matthew 3:17). If you are not following the way, you are still on the way of the wicked.
Now that we know where the way of the wicked leads, it would be foolish to keep traveling in that direction.
For more on conditional immortality, see: