Each one of us, at some point has chosen to "go our own way." To step out on our own and live the life we've chosen to live. Many of us do this without the wisdom and guidance of God's Word to show us which way to go. Sometimes, this works out well, others, not so much.
In Proverbs 28, unlike in our life without God, we're shown very clearly which path will be better for us and for those whom God has placed under our protection (ie: your spouse, your children).
The thing about God though, is that He hasn't taken away our free will. He wants desperately for us to love Him and to choose the path of wisdom He has laid out for us in his Word, but He doesn't force us to do so.
Our son, who is 20, is at a point in his life where he has to makes some decisions, like most young adults his age. And, like most young adults his age, he's not 100% sure which way to go. Scott and I can give him guidance and share God's (and our) wisdom, but ultimately, he has to decide which way to go.
God has done the same for His children, He WANTS us to choose the path He's clearly laid out for us, He WANTS us to make decisions that will honor Him and reap the blessing that come with that honor. He WANTS what is best for His children, just like you and I do for our children, but He does not force us to follow Him.
No, He gives us the option. As you read through Proverbs 28, listen to the way He very clearly spells out the benefits of following Him and the folly of choosing to go our own way. I wish I had the ears to hear and the eyes to see the wisdom of His Word when I was much younger, but thankfully, God is the Great Redeemer.
If You Desert God’s Law
28 The wicked are edgy with guilt, ready to run off even when no one’s after them;Honest people are relaxed and confident,bold as lions.
2 When the country is in chaos,everybody has a plan to fix it—But it takes a leader of real understanding to straighten things out.
3 The wicked who oppress the poor are like a hailstorm that beats down the harvest.
4 If you desert God’s law, you’re free to embrace depravity;if you love God’s law, you fight for it tooth and nail.
5 Justice makes no sense to the evil minded;those who seek God know it inside and out.
6 It’s better to be poor and direct than rich and crooked.
7 Practice God’s law—get a reputation for wisdom;hang out with a loose crowd—embarrass your family.
8 Get as rich as you want through cheating and extortion,But eventually some friend of the poor is going to give it all back to them.
9 God has no use for the prayers of the people who won’t listen to him.
10 Lead good people down a wrong path and you’ll come to a bad end;do good and you’ll be rewarded for it.
11 The rich think they know it all,but the poor can see right through them.
12 When good people are promoted, everything is great,but when the bad are in charge, watch out!
13 You can’t whitewash your sins and get by with it;you find mercy by admitting and leaving them.
14 A tenderhearted person lives a blessed life;a hardhearted person lives a hard life.
15 Lions roar and bears charge—and the wicked lord it over the poor.
16 Among leaders who lack insight, abuse abounds,but for one who hates corruption, the future is bright.
17 A murderer haunted by guilt is doomed—there’s no helping him.
18 Walk straight—live well and be saved;a devious life is a doomed life.
Doing Great Harm in Seemingly Harmless Ways
19 Work your garden—you’ll end up with plenty of food;play and party—you’ll end up with an empty plate.
20 Committed and persistent work pays off;get-rich-quick schemes are ripoffs.
21 Playing favorites is always a bad thing;you can do great harm in seemingly harmless ways.
22 A miser in a hurry to get rich doesn’t know that he’ll end up broke.
23 In the end, serious reprimand is appreciated far more than bootlicking flattery.
24 Anyone who robs father and mother and says, “So, what’s wrong with that?”is worse than a pirate.
25 A grasping person stirs up trouble,but trust in God brings a sense of well-being.
26 If you think you know it all, you’re a fool for sure;real survivors learn wisdom from others.
27 Be generous to the poor—you’ll never go hungry;shut your eyes to their needs, and run a gauntlet of curses.
28 When corruption takes over, good people go underground,but when the crooks are thrown out, it’s safe to come out.
Proverbs 28 The Message
What's better than the sweet redemption that God provides through His Son Jesus? The fruit of walking out a life of obedience to Him. That's a decision that is its own reward.