Please Support the Bible Translation Work of the Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
The Path that Leads to Spiritual Progress and Growth in Life
Proverbs 4:18 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
18 But the path of the righteous is like the light of dawn,
which shines brighter and brighter until full day.
But the path of the righteous is like the light of dawn: The conjunction but shows us that verses 18 and 19 will contrast the righteous person with the wicked person. The path of the righteous refers to the life course of the upright person, the blameless person. Blameless: (Heb. תָּם tam; תָּמִים tamim; Gr. ἄμωμος amōmos; ἀμώμητος amōmētos; ἀπρόσκοπος aproskopos) means, “perfect, blameless, sincerity, entire, whole, complete, and full.” Of course, Noah, Jacob, and Job were not literally perfect. When used of imperfect humans, the terms are relative, not absolute. However, if we are fully committed to following a life course based on God’s will and purposes, fully living by his laws, repent when we fall short, he will credit our righteousness. – Gen. 6:6; 25:27; Job 9:20-22l Ps. 119:1; Pro. 11:20; Phil 2:15; 1 Thess. 5:23.
The path of the righteous is like, and “like” is a simile. Similes are normally introduced with the word “like” or “as.” They compare two very different things, highlighting something these two things have in common. “He is like a tree planted by streams of water …” (Psalm 1:3) In this simile, the path of righteousness is being compared to the light of dawn. What is the commonality between the two? Dawn occurs before sunrise before the top of the Sun reaches the horizon. So, the path of righteousness (life course of a blameless, upright believer) is being compared to rising sunlight, meaning the way in which they are to go is made clear so that they can be aware of the unseen dangers.
Which shines brighter and brighter until full day: The path or life course of the believer is one where there is increased light, just as the sunlight of dawn pulls the righteous ones out of the darkness and into the light of the full day.
The path of the righteous, which they have chosen instead of the path of the wicked and the way of the evil, in which they walk, is like the light of dawn. The light shines on their paths, making their ways safe. Of course, the Jewish people would come to know some 1,500 years later that Christ is the way, and he is the light. (John 1:4-11; 14:6) The Law was a tutor leading to Christ. (Gal. 3:24-29) Until the Messiah came, the Jewish people knew that ‘God’s word was a lamp to their feet and a light to their path.’ (Psa. 119:105) Isaiah offers us such warm, appealing words, “Then shall your light break through like the dawn, and your healing shall spring up speedily; your righteousness shall go before you; the glory of Jehovah shall be your rear guard.” (Isa. 58:8) God blesses and protects those on the path of the righteous. If God’s people are repentant of their ways and obedient, life will be much brighter for them. God will restore them spiritually, mentally, emotionally, and physically. While they remain on the path of righteousness, they will also be guarded, as he did for their forefathers as they left Egypt. Isaiah goes on to say, “if you offer to the hungry what your own soul desires and satisfy the desire of the afflicted, then shall your light rise in the darkness and your gloom be as the noonday.” Compassion, kindness, empathy, and generosity toward the hungry and the afflicted would result in God’s blessing them richly if it was indeed out of their selflessness and not from seeking blessings. If only God’s people would take the certainties of God’s Word to heart! Then their spiritual light and success will make them shine like the sun at noonday, removing any darkness and misery. Therefore, it is wise and prudent not to stray from the path of righteousness.