There is a path before each person that seems right, but it ends in death.
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1 Kings 2:1-3:2
In 1971, when my husband was in fifth grade and his brother was about to graduate, his brother went hiking up in the mountains with some friends. After they’d walked a bit, my brother-in-law tried to get his friends to go one way around the mountain, but the rest of them wanted to go another. So he went off by himself. At some point along the trail, he looked up at the sky, lost his footing, and fell a hundred feet or so to the ground below, hitting his head on a log where he came to rest.
It took hours for his friends to find him, and hours more for search and rescue to get to him and secure him on a gurney. By that time, he’d fallen into a coma, and he stayed in that coma for a month. My husband remembers walking into his brother’s hospital room and seeing his broken, bloodied watch among his things.
My brother-in-law lived. But not all who succumb to a tempting path survive. Over our years in ministry, we’ve witnessed many “deaths” brought on by those wanderers. Exploring the path of drug and alcohol dependence has killed relationships, career opportunities, and finances. Wandering down the path of adultery has killed marriages, reputations and ministry. One girl I knew lost her life when she was killed by a group of friends — friends her mother had cautioned her about. Another girl lost her life when she became enamored with the path of anorexia.
We can’t ever forget what the Word tells us about our enemy. He has a way of luring us with his beauty, and whispering lovely lies to draw us away from our Savior. He strikes when we’re alone, because it’s in our aloneness that we’re the most vulnerable.
Temptation will come to every one of us, and it will come repeatedly. But we do have protection. The Word of God is the language that shuts the mouth of our enemy. We have to know it, and we have to use it. And if we’re ever presented with a path that looks enticing, but which our Jesus-loving friends try to pull us from, we have to yield to their urging. After all, “It is better to hear the rebuke of the wise, than for a man to hear the song of fools” (Ecclesiastes 7:5).