After a brief introduction to the book, the wisdom of Proverbs begins in earnest in verse 10: “My son, if sinners entice you, do not consent.” It is no coincidence that the first word of wisdom given after the introduction is to avoid temptations to sin. It is a word many of us today need to heed as well.
Some these days tend to downplay the role of avoiding sin, teaching that it is not a primary emphasis of Christianity, but Proverbs reminds us here that it is indeed important. The very nature of sin is not just that it “breaks some old traditions”; sin at its heart is rebellion against God. It is THE heart problem of mankind. There is a path of obedience to God in life, and there is a path of rebellion and disobedience. And that path of disobedience and rebellion is one full of heartbreak and pain and suffering. Avoiding “the path of sinners” as Psalm 1:1 calls it IS a big deal. (And by the way, surely it is no coincidence that the Book of Psalms also begins with this same admonition to avoid the path of sinners!)
It is no minor thing. We need to make sure that we do not downplay the importance of avoiding sin in our own lives, or in the way we counsel others.