Proverbs 1:18 "And they lay wait for their own blood; they lurk privily for their own lives."
Solomon is almost done with his paternal preaching on problematic peer pressure in verse 18. In previous verses, Solomon has encouraged his son to avoid sinners while exposing the earmarks of their enticements. In verse 17, he provided an illustration for his son to remember when recognizing those earmarks – the common sense of a bird avoiding obvious danger. Now that he is almost finished with his initial counsel on the topic, Solomon points his son to the end of the sinner. In verse 15, he tells his son to stay off their path and here in verse 18, he tells his son what the end of that path looks like. In verse 15, he tells his son to avoid their way and here in verse 18, he tells his son where that way leads.
Having lived long enough to see the end of the sinner, this wise father speaks truth for the sinner. Having received wisdom from God about men, this wise teacher sheds some light on what the sinner was really saying in verse 11. When sinners recruit, they will say things like, “Come with us, let us lay wait for blood, let us lurk privily for the innocent without cause.” To be truthful according to Solomon’s wisdom in verse 18, they should’ve said, “Come with us, let us lay wait for our own blood, let us lurk privily for our own lives.” Obviously, no one would be successful in their recruitment if they said that. That being said, that is the reality of the matter when sinners set out to harm others and make mischief.
Solomon’s counsel to his son is not based on avoiding the sinner as much as it is based on avoiding the plight of the sinner. His parental instruction is not a matter of personal preference for good friends over bad friends. His instruction is based on the moral reality that sinful friends will eventually destroy themselves and he doesn’t want his son to share the same dreadful fate. No matter how much damage the sword of the sinner does to others, it always comes back to slay himself. No matter how long it takes to produce fruit, the seed of the sinner will eventually produce the fruit of self-destruction. Here in verse 18, Solomon is sharing one of the greatest truths any parent can share with his son – he is sharing the Law of Sowing & Reaping.
The Spiritual Law of Sowing & Reaping is the same as the Natural Law of Sowing & Reaping. The type of seed we sow determines the type of fruit we reap. If we plant a corn seed, then we will reap corn. If we plant an apple seed, then we will reap apples. We cannot reap watermelons where we have sown onions. If we plant violence, then we will reap violence. If we plant mercy, then we will reap mercy. We cannot reap love where we have sown hatred.
Solomon referred to the Law of Sowing & Reaping later in his book when he wrote, “Whoso diggeth a pit shall fall therein: and he that rolleth a stone, it will return upon him.” (Proverbs 26:27)
The Prophet, Hosea said, “For they have sown the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind.” (Hosea 8:7)
Perhaps the Apostle Paul said it best when he told the Galatians, “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.” (Galatians 6:7)
Solomon wanted his son to understand this spiritual law more than he wanted him to heed his father’s counsel to walk not in the way with sinners. The Law of Sowing & Reaping brought meaning to a father’s counsel. This law helps a child understand why a parent would give warning about a certain peer. This law helps a child see the foresight and more importantly, the love behind a parent’s warning about a certain group of peers. Solomon wasn’t attempting to raise a compliant child; he was aiming to raise a competent person. He wasn’t attempting to instill obedience as much as he was aiming to instill understanding. Solomon’s wisdom was provided in order to get young people thinking on their own and making sound moral decisions based on sound moral principles.
If successful in teaching, Solomon would’ve given Rehoboam a tremendous advantage in life. If successful in learning, Rehoboam would’ve owed his father a tremendous amount of gratitude. The sooner a person can learn this truth, the greater his chances at success in life. The person who knows this law well will look at history differently and he will look at the present carefully knowing how much today impacts tomorrow. If Rehoboam heard his father, he needed only to look back two generations to see the sad reality of the Law of Sowing & Reaping. Perhaps there was no greater illustration of this law for Rehoboam than his own grandfather. For selfish and proud reasons, his grandfather planted a seed of violence in the ground that tragically produced a tree of violence. By killing an innocent man, a loyal warrior, David sowed a seed of death that produced the fruit of death. As a direct result of his crime, in the years to come David had to eat the fruit of death by burying three of his own sons. His sorrow was so great for one of his sons that he cried out, “O my son Absalom, my son, my son Absalom! would God had I died for thee!” (2 Samuel 18:33).
If Rehoboam was listening, his father’s wisdom could’ve spared him a lot of sorrow and heartache. If he was listening, his father’s wisdom could’ve kept him from unnecessary pain and loss. There are no exceptions to the Law of Sowing & Reaping. What we sow we will reap. Our actions have consequences and the nature of the consequences is determined by the nature of the actions.