Wisdom delivers by enabling us to make different choices.
Delivering you from the way of evil,
From men of perverted speech,
Who forsake the paths of uprightness
To walk in the ways of darkness,
Who rejoice in doing evil
And delight in the perverseness of evil,
Men whose paths are crooked,
And who are devious in their ways (Prov 2:12-15, ESV).
Deliverance FROM evil people. A discerning, godly person will choose not to join evildoers in their evildoing. This lifestyle means rejecting hurtful speech (Prov 2:12), deceitful cover-ups (Prov 2:13), godless delights (Prov 2:14), and devious behavior (Prov 2:15). The wise person knows that the most dangerous of all potential influencers are those who claim to follow God, but who by their actions have forsaken his way (Prov 2:13).
I’ll give an example. We once hired a contractor to upgrade one of the mechanical systems in our house. About a week after the work was completed, we discovered that we should have gotten a permit from the local code office for this work. So I called the contractor to ask if he had gotten one and had just forgotten to communicate with us about it. Now he claimed to believe in God, but his response was something like: “Is the code office after you? Just tell them you had only a little bit of work done, and they’ll leave you alone.”
This course of action was unacceptable to me; I knew that a deceitful cover-up would dishonor God and come back to haunt me someday. I should have researched the local ordinances more carefully, and I had to deal with the consequences. So I contacted the code office and told them of my situation, offering to do whatever I needed to do to make it right. The assistant at the office told me to fill out an application and include a note saying that I wasn’t aware of the permit requirement before the work completion date. Once I did, the permit was issued, and I don’t think they even charged a penatly.
The point is: I had to make a different choice. Part of that choice involved not being influenced by an outwardly godly but inwardly deceptive approach to the situation. Those who have heard and received God’s wisdom are equipped to label “the way of evil” correctly so they can avoid it and its consequences.
Next: Wisdom Delivers from Adulterous People (Prov 2:16-19)