Proverbs 22:5 Thorns and snares are in the way of the crooked; whoever guards his soul will keep far from them.
If you could have a dollar for every time you remember a parent or elder reminding you of their past mistakes so that you might avoid them in your future, you might be pretty wealthy by now. Such is life that most of us, if not all, have turned an ear from a wise teacher or two and decided we knew better.
There is a place for the wisdom of man, but separate from the source of all knowledge, the Lord Himself, man’s wisdom is insufficient to straighten our paths. Proverbs teaches us that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight (Pr 9:10). Worldly wisdom, attained through worldly means, yields its own fruit, but it will not be the means by which our justification will come when we stand naked before the throne of God (Heb 4:13).
So then, what knowledge should we seek to attain? In light of the snares laid down in the paths we walk, desires of the flesh, desires of the eyes, and pride in possessions (1Jn 2:16), we must seek diligently to be in the will of God. The world, a proselytizer of all things ungodly, would have you believe that God’s will is unknowable, but the revelation of Holy Scripture states otherwise (2Ti 3:16-17, Eph 6:5-8, Col 1:9). Attaining knowledge of the Lord’s will in all things is preferable in living purposefully for the Kingdom of God. His wisdom is also profitable in the manner by which you conduct your life, for His glory, and His name’s sake (1Cor 10:31-33). The result of a godly life extends beyond the impact on your own life. It impacts all those who witness its effects.
The one whose path is laden with thorns and snares, this crooked one, by definition of crooked, is wayward, ungodly, and prone to straying. There is no contentment in godly living, the flesh is his compass, and his path is to go where he pleases. The snare is not mere consequence. It is purposefully placed to capture, limit, and hinder its victims. Choosing this path provides no excuse when life’s troubles and trials become overly burdensome. The ways of the crooked one produce a result that is eventually deadly.
In the same thought in which you read of certain trouble, the author provides an encouraging word of guidance. Unlike those times we chose to ignore the wisdom of our teachers, the Scripture provides ample teaching for us to be those who guard our souls against these stumbling blocks, and we will find ease in keeping far from them. In the same way that fear of the Lord breeds wisdom, it too shall provide means to resist temptation (Jas 4:7) and cause us to walk upright in His ways. The highway of the upright turns aside from evil, whoever guards his way preserves his life (Pr 16:17).
Heavenly Father, I ask you to abide in me through the power of your Holy Spirit, that I may be made to walk straight paths, strengthened to guard my soul against the ways of the crooked. Allow me to seek diligently your will, keeping my ways excellent in the sight of others that it might glorify you in the day of judgment, and that I may forever praise you for directing me to the gate that is strait (1Pe 2:12, Mat 7:14).