The Upward Path
“The path of life leads upward for the prudent, that he may turn away from Sheol beneath.” (Proverbs 15:24)
In Africa, the dust of the abundant dirt that is stirred up and the Sahara Harmattan often fills the sky during the day. When I lived in Central Florida for ten months, I often gazed up at the sky because it seemed brighter and more vivid than the air in Africa. So I now have a habit of looking up at the sky here in Texas, and enjoy seeing the beauty of the sky. Climbing hills while driving is especially pleasant, as the sky becomes the prominent feature in the Hill Country. I think of this in relation to our verse—the “path of life” leads upward—toward God.
John Gill reminds us, “They who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.” (Isaiah 40:31) “Faith, which deals with Christ “the way,” and by which men walk in him, is signified by soaring aloft, mounting up with wings as eagles, by entering within the vail, and dwelling on high, and by looking upwards, and at things unseen, and being the evidence of them…[A wise] man is continually looking upwards unto Christ, the author and finisher of his faith; pressing towards him, the mark for the prize; keeping his eye, not on things on earth, things temporal, which are seen here below, but on things above, things unseen, which are eternal in the heavens.” (1)
“In OT Wisdom literature…Death is not only the end of physical life but an irreversible descent into the disorder of moral perversity. (2) Looking to God as we live in the world is the antidote to the immoral and sinful temptations and pressures of life. It is not enough just to know that we are Christians who belong to Christ if we are to grow in holiness; we must fight the tendency of the world, Satan, and our flesh to pull us down to a godless standard of living for ourselves. Gravity is not only physical but also spiritual because of our sin natures. Left on my own, without the Word of God, the Spirit, and my Christian community I will descend to a selfish, independent lifestyle that dishonors God.
Will you look up to Christ as you go about your day? “If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.” (Colossians 3:1-2) Will you set your mind on him, praying frequently, as one good way to do so? (See Ephesians 6:18-19.)
(1) John Gill’s Exposition on the Whole Bible, Proverbs 15:24, https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/proverbs-15.html
(2) The Reformation Study Bible, Proverbs 5:23, Reformation Trust Publishing (Ligonier Ministries), Sanford, Fl., 2015.