But the path of the righteous is like the light of dawn, which shines brighter and brighter until full day.” (Proverbs 4:18, ESV)

When I was in the Marines we had to learn to do night land navigation.  To pass the final exam they took us out on a moonless night and dropped us off at the edge of some thick woods.  Our objective was to navigate a line through those woods to one box, then navigate a different direction to another box, and finally navigate a third direction to our final point.  Off we stumbled in the darkness, not knowing what lay ahead, whether it be a clear path or a rough thicket.  We stumbled and tripped over tree roots, banged into tree branches and were scraped by thorns.  One of our guys even stumbled and hit his head and got knocked out!  At the end of the night, they sent us all back into the woods to find our one missing man.  He was discovered when someone tripped over his body in the dark!  We discovered that night that it is impossible to follow a direct line in the darkness.

Solomon has just been describing the life of the wicked, of those who reject wisdom and go about life according to their own desires, who do not walk before the Lord in righteousness, but in wickedness and evil.  “They cannot sleep unless they have done wrong” and they “eat the bread of wickedness.”  In short, they are doing night land navigation and it doesn’t work very well.

Then this beautiful contrast:“But the path of the righteous is like the light of dawn, which shines brighter and brighter until full day.” (Proverbs 4:18, ESV)

The path that those who follow God are on is one that may begin in darkness, we may stumble around at first, but as we go the promise of God is that it will become more and more clear as the dawn arises until we are walking in full daylight, easily following the path which lays ahead of us.

I am thankful that God doesn’t have us doing night land navigation.  The path of righteousness is difficult enough for us when we can see the way that we are to go in the bright light of day.  God knows this.  Indeed, it’s exactly why he gave us light to follow.

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