The Way of the Wicked: A Warning

We can find the phrase “the way” in over 300 places in the Bible. Many of ‘the way‘ verses are very significant for those who desire to love the God of heaven and earth, and to walk in His ways.

The Hebrew word for ‘way’ is ‘derek’ <Strong’s # 1870> and it means ‘a road’ (as trodden). It can also mean a course or a direction of life, or it can mean a manner of action, as in a lifestyle.

In this series of articles, we will be looking at this phrase – ‘the way‘ – and its meaning as a course or direction of life, as a manner of action – a lifestyle

What is Wickedness?

Most of us have a good idea of what wickedness is. We know it has something to do with ‘evil‘. Wickedness is essentially departing from, turning away from, and violating, the principles of right and wrong. Such principles are founded in the divine laws and teachings revealed in the Scriptures, the Bible, the Words of Yahuwah Elohim [the Hebrew name for the LORD God].

The most basic principles of right and wrong are placed deep within us from the very beginning of our life. Our Creator God has ‘programmed’ us to have His standards for good behaviour designed into and inscribed onto our heart. The essence of this programming deep within us is called our Conscience. Our conscience is the sense of right and wrong that our Creator has placed within each and every person.

“We do not have to create a conscience for ourselves. We are born with one, and no matter how much we may ignore it, we cannot silence its insistent demand that we do good, and that we avoid evil.” — Thomas Merton

As we saw in 4 Tips For Keeping a Clear Conscience, the word ‘conscience’ comes from the Latin word ‘conscientia’ which means “knowledge within oneself, sense of right, a moral sense”.

Our conscience is Yahuwah’s divine provision planted deep inside us to urge us and prod us toward His truth and His ways. It is our conscience that consistently causes us to perceive, making us aware of, our many internal thoughts encouraging us to do good and avoid evil.

Now we will begin to explore what God’s Word teaches about ‘evil’ or ‘wickedness’. However, before we begin, let us recall the strong warning from the prophet Hosea — it is the lack of knowledge of Yahuwah’s Word and His ways that has a devastating outcome for the people of God (Hosea 4:6)!! If we are to live a life in harmony with God, it is necessary that we come to know the incorruptible, written Word of God, and that we endeavour to obey His Word.

If we are serious about serving God without spot, and be blameless before Him, then learning what God’s Word teaches about ‘evil’ or ‘wickedness’ is an important step. (2Peter 3:13-14)

I have combined the Two Parts of this study into one article, so this is a rather long article. But as I have said before, we will never grow to maturity unless we discipline ourselves to diligently read the Bible, as well as read quality articles that inform us and instruct us in God’s ways. Also it has been said that ‘Great Things Take Time!‘ So if you truly want to learn what is pleasing to our heavenly Father, then take the time to learn what this study presents, for you will find it to be acceptable unto edification.

Part One:

The Wicked Hate Instruction

There are many Bible verses that give a clear understanding of what evil, or wickedness, actually is.

Wickedness is not only doing something that is ‘really bad!’

Here are four verses from the Bible that give us a good and very basic description of what ‘the wicked’ do.

  • The wickedhate instruction [correction, discipline] and they cast God’s Words behind them. (Psalm 50:16-17)
  • For the children of Israel and the children of Judah have only done evil before Me,… They have turned their backs to Me, and not their faces. (Jeremiah 32:30,33a)
  • Nevertheless they were disobedient, and rebelled against You [God], and cast Your law [Torah] behind their backs. (Nehemiah 9:26a)
  • Horror has taken hold upon me because of the wicked that forsake Your law [Torah]. (Psalm 119:53)

In other words, the most fundamental explanation of ‘wickedness’ is when a person refuses to be teachable!

As the Scriptures say, the way of the wicked is to hate instruction. The instructions they especially hate are the Holy Scriptures, God’s written Word, the Bible.

The wicked cast God’s Words away. They forsake God’s instructions, guidelines, and teachings [His Torah]. Simply put, when any of us reject and refuse God’s written Word and His instructions, then that is wickedness! Sadly, there are several warnings in Scripture that are addressed to God’s own people, urging them to turn away from wickedness!

The refusal of ‘the wicked’ to apply God’s Word to their life is evidenced by the multiple levels of spiritual darkness that pervade society as a whole. This is particularly true of the current condition of the USA. At one time, the USA was clearly a favoured nation, abundantly blessed by the Most High God. But now, because of blatant rejection of God and His Word, the USA is descending into a great spiritual darkness and deception that can only lead to wickedness, grief, turmoil, and upheaval.

Characteristics of the Wicked

As we saw in 9 Truths About the Bible, the divinely-inspired Scriptures are to be our supreme authority for learning how to live in harmony with God. Therefore to gain more insight into the way of wickedness, we will examine a few verses that reveal the characteristics of the wicked. Let us look carefully at these verses:

The wicked represent the workers of iniquity — those who lack uprightness in principle and practice; the unrighteous; transgressors of God’s law:

1. Draw me not away with the wicked, and with the workers of iniquity (trouble, wickedness, sorrow), which speak peace to their neighbours, but mischief (malice) is in their hearts. (Psalm 28:3)
2. Incline not my heart to any evil thing, to practise wicked works with men that work iniquity: and let me not eat of their dainties. (Psalm 141:4)
3. To deliver you from the way of the evil man, from the man that speaks perverse things; who leave the paths of uprightness, to walk in the ways of darkness. (Proverb 2:12-13)
4. Deliver me, O my God, out of the hand of the wicked, out of the hand of the unrighteous and cruel man. (Psalm 71:4)
5. Therefore I will judge you, O house of Israel, every one according to his ways, saith the Lord Yahuwah [GOD]. Repent, and turn yourselves from all your transgressions; so iniquity shall not be your ruin. (Ezekiel 18:30)
6. Even so you also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within you are full of hypocrisy and iniquity (unrighteous, wicked, violation of God’s divine laws [the Torah]). (Matthew 23:28)

The wicked represent those who are stiffnecked, stubborn, sinful, and will not serve God:

1. Furthermore Yahuwah [the LORD] spake unto [Moses], saying, I have seen this people, and, behold, it is a stiffnecked people…. 26) I (Moses) prayed therefore unto Yahuwah [the LORD], and said, O Lord Yahuwah [GOD],…. 27) Remember Your servants, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; look not unto the stubbornness of this people, nor to their wickedness, nor to their sin. (Deuteronomy 9:13,26-27)
2. Then shall you return, and discern between the righteous and the wicked, between him that serves God and him that serves Him not. (Malachi 3:18)

The wicked represent those who walk in spiritual darkness; those who hate the ‘light’ (the instruction/the understanding) of God’s truth; those who are an abomination to God:

1. The way of the wicked is as darkness: they know not at what they stumble. (Proverb 4:19)
2. For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed. (John 3:20)
3. The way of the wicked is an abomination unto Yahuwah [the LORD]. (Proverb 15:9a)
4. Every one that is proud in heart is an abomination to Yahuwah [the LORD]. (Proverb 16:5a)

Let’s summarize these characteristics of the way of the wicked:

  • They hate instruction (not teachable)
  • They are transgressors of God’s Torah (His instructions, guidelines, and teachings)
  • They are an abomination to God
  • They are in spiritual darkness
  • They are workers of iniquity
  • They will not serve God
  • They are unrighteous
  • They are stiffnecked
  • They are stubborn
  • They are sinful

Surely these are characteristics all of us want to avoid!! Having any one of these characteristics will only result in troubles and heartaches for us and others. (See also Jude 1:4-19 and 1Corinthians 6:9-10 and Leviticus 20 for more details on the characteristics of the wicked.)

Now let’s take a very brief look at this word: abomination.

An Abomination to Yahuwah [the LORD]

The way of the wicked is an abomination unto Yahuwah [the LORD]. (Proverb 15:9a)

If someone is an abomination to Yahuwah [the LORD], then that person is loathsome and disgusting. That person has done something that is disgusting or vicious or is hateful and offensive.

This word, abomination, reminds me of the story of the man Achan, who secretly coveted some forbidden objects when the children of Israel conquered the city of Jericho:

But the children of Israel committed a trespass in the accursed thing: for Achan, the son of Carmi, the son of Zabdi, the son of Zerah, of the tribe of Judah, took of the accursed thing: and the anger of Yahuwah [the LORD] was kindled against the children of Israel. 10) And Yahuwah [the LORD] said unto Joshua, … 11) Israel has sinned, and they have also transgressed my covenant which I commanded them: for they have even taken of the accursed thing, and have also stolen, and lied also, and they have put it even among their own stuff. (Joshua 7:1,10-11)

Achan took the accursed thing. However, he knew better to not do this sin because right before the children of Israel conquered Jericho, they were all warned to not take any accursed thing from the city:

And Joshua said to the people, Shout! For Yahuwah [the LORD] has given you the city…. 18) And you shall certainly keep clear from the cursed things, that you not become accursed by taking the cursed things, and make the camp of Israel become accursed, and trouble it. (Joshua 6:16,18)

Joshua’s warning originated from a particular place in the book of Deuteronomy — the book that is a review of Yahuwah’s instructions, teachings, and guidelines (the Torah):

The graven images of their gods you shall burn with fire: you shall not desire the silver or gold that is on them, nor take it unto you, lest you be snared therein: for it is an abomination to Yahuwah Elohim [the LORD God]. 26) Neither shall you bring an abomination into your house, lest you be a cursed thing like it: but you shalt utterly detest it, and you shalt utterly abhor it; for it is a cursed thing. (Deuteronomy 7:25-26)

These Scriptures teach us that not only can our behaviour be an abomination to God, but there are also objects that are forbidden, abominable things to have in our home. Such objects are cursed things and we, as believers in the Most High God, are not to have them in our home lest we be a cursed thing like it! This is one reason why ‘the way of the wicked is an abomination unto Yahuwah’ — because having cursed, forbidden objects in our home bring us under a curse. (See the two links below — 1) an article on the Second Commandment, and 2) a list of things to remove from our home.)

Thankfully, our merciful God reveals to us the solution — it is when we repent of our ignorant disobedience and turn and begin to respect, keep, and follow God’s instructions, starting with the Torah, for then we are in the way of life“!! (Proverb 10:17).

Our redemption in Messiah does not mean we can ignore Father God’s eternal instructions and guidelines! Our redemption in Messiah means the Holy Spirit lives within us now to ENABLE us to be obedient to Father God’s eternal instructions and guidelines! (Matthew 12:50)

The Way of the Wicked

We can find the phrase ‘the way of the wicked’, or many similar phrases, as an exhortation to God’s own people urging us, warning us to avoid ‘the way of the wicked’:

Enter Not Into the Path/the Way of the Wicked! (Proverbs 4:14)
Turn From Your Wicked Ways! (2Chronicles 7:14; Ezekiel 33:11)
Do Not Fret (agitate; irritate; vex) Yourself In Any Way To Do Evil! (Psalm 37:8)
If Sinners Entice You, Do Not Consent! (Proverb 1:10,15; Proverb 9:6)
And Have No Fellowship With (be not a partaker of) The Unfruitful Works of Darkness! (Ephesians 5:11)

Each one of these phrases are warnings for God’s people to avoid wickedness — warning us to turn away from the ways of the wicked, turn away from transgression of God’s law [the Torah], and depart from evil.

When we begin to turn away from our wicked ways; when we truly begin to depart from evil, it will be because we are beginning to receive and conform to Yahuwah Elohim’s wisdom and instruction, according to His written Word. This is a secret to having our prayers answered (1John 3:22)!

When we seriously begin to take God’s Words into our heart and apply it to our actions, then God’s wisdom and understanding will begin to be imparted to us, as the prophet Job told us:

to depart from evil is understanding” (Job 28:28)!!

The simplicity of this instruction is profound!!

This is the completion of Part One of this study. Let me suggest that you re-read Part One and become firmly established in what the Heavenly Father regards as wickedness.

Now we will proceed on to Part Two of this study and explore only 3 of the many STEPS we can take that will help us to avoid ‘the way of the wicked’ — steps that will help us to ‘depart from evil’. Steps that you and I, as children of God, can take to begin to be teachable, and receive and apply Yahuwah’s loving instructions into our life.

Part Two:

Before we begin Part Two, let us recall the strong warning from the prophet Hosea — it is the lack of knowledge of Yahuwah’s Word and His ways that has a devastating outcome for the people of God (Hosea 4:6)!! If we are to live a life in harmony with God, it is essential that we come to know the incorruptible, written Word of God, and that we endeavour to obey His Word.

Now we will consider only 3 of the many STEPS we can take that will help us to avoid the way of the wicked — steps that will help us to ‘depart from evil’. Steps that you and I, as children of God, can take to begin to be teachable, and receive and apply Yahuwah’s eternal teachings, instructions, and guidelines.

Step # 1: Lean Not Unto [do not trust in] Your Own Understanding

Yahuwah [the LORD] urges us to lean not unto our own understanding. (Proverb 3:5-7). By trusting in our own understanding, then we make our own understanding to be of greater importance than the truth of God’s written WORD. When we are trusting our own understanding, trusting our own reasonings and wisdom, then we will consider most everything we do as being good and right — The way of a fool is right in his own eyes: but he that hearkens unto counsel is wise (Proverb 12:15).

But this condition is evidence of being puffed up with Pride. It is evidence of ignoring many of God’s warnings about pride (Proverb 16:18). It is evidence that we consider God’s Word as insignificant and our own understanding as superior!

The pride of trusting in our own understanding means we consistently decide to pursue our own will rather than conform to God’s written Word!

Sadly, this kind of pride causes us to lose and diminish in beneficial understanding; we lose discernment and good judgment; and we lose our ability to be teachable. Such pride causes us to reject God’s truth and therefore we begin to believe what is false (deception) (Proverb 12:26b).

Pride is one of the most destructive qualities that blinds us spiritually, and lulls us into a state of spiritual darkness and deceptionThe way of the wicked is as darkness: they know not at what they stumble. (Proverb 4:19)

Pride is a spiritual darkness that tends to prevail, or periodically overtake, everyone. No one is exempt from the darkness of Pride! When the darkness of Pride covers us, then the Light of God’s Word is extinguished.

So how can we avoid the spiritual darkness of Pride? How can we turn from this darkness and be in the Light of God’s Truth?

A Safeguard Against Pride

There is one thing that is a safe-guard against this darkness of Pride, and one Scripture verse sums it up very neatly:

For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God has dealt to every man the measure of faith. (Romans 12:3)

Notice that little phrase – “Do not think more highly of yourself than you ought to think.” That is a piercing bit of God’s Light that is a huge help in guarding against the darkness of Pride! We need to memorize that phrase!!

Take special note of that word ‘highly.’ Thinking more highly of ourselves than we ought is exactly what Father means when He says things like, ‘lean not unto your own understanding’ and ‘be not wise in your own eyes’ (Proverbs 3:5-7).

Thinking more highly of ourselves than we ought is at the heart of many arguments, contentions, and turmoil! Scripture tells us: Only by pride comes contention (Proverbs 13:10).

Thinking more highly of ourselves than we ought is what causes us to ignore the major significance of Father’s written Word. The apostle Paul warns us to cast down ‘every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God’ (2Corinthians 10:5).

It is the ‘high’ regard we place on our own thoughts, our own imaginations, our own opinions, that often leads us to treat Yahuwah’s Word as trivial, petty, or unnecessary, and thus keeps us in spiritual darkness. This kind of pride is a very dangerous darkness to be in! (James 4:6)

To escape this darkness, we must humble ourselves and seek to line up our thoughts, our understandings, and our actions with the superior thoughts of Yahuwah’s written Word! (Isaiah 55:8-9)

Pride is a barrier to God working in us. God can only work His will in those who humble themselves. As long as we remain proud, arrogant, self-sufficient, and attempt to maintain our independence from God, then there is no way God can work in us.” — Derek Prince

Step # 2: By The Fear of the LORD Men Depart from Evil

The topic of fearing God is a foundational principle for the children of Yahuwah. Father God tells us many times in His Word that it is essential for His children to ‘Fear God’:

it shall be well with them that fear God! (Ecclesiastes 8:12b; see also Ecclesiastes 12:13; Leviticus 19:14, 32; 25:17; Deuteronomy 4:10; 6:2, 13, 24; 8:6).

O that there were such an heart in them, that they would fear Me, and keep all My commandments always, that it might be well with them, and with their children for ever! (Deuteronomy 5:29)

These verses teach us that it is for our well-being that we fear God. Surely we would like things to be well with us! Yahuwah, who created us and loves us immensely, knows it is for our good to learn to ‘Fear God!’

It is the fear of Yahuwah [the LORD] that helps us depart from evil. (Proverb 16:6) Why is that?

In the first place, Yahuwah Elohim, the LORD God, the God of Truth, the King of Glory, is bigger, smarter, and more powerful than you and me! Yahuwah Elohim’s abilities are far above all our human abilities!! He is The Purest, Most Holy, Most Righteous, Most Powerful, Most Brilliant Person in ALL the universe! There is NONE like Him! He is the Creator of the heavens, the earth, and all creatures. And, He is the Creator of you – spirit, soul, and body, as the Scriptures reveal:

Thus says Yahuwah [the LORD], your redeemer, and He that formed you from the womb, I am Yahuwah [the LORD] that makes all things; that stretches forth the heavens alone; that spreads abroad the earth by Myself. (Isaiah 44:24; see also Isaiah 48:13; Colossians 1:16-17)
For thus says Yahuwah [the LORD] that created the heavens; God Himself that formed the earth and made it; He has established it, He created it not in vain, He formed it to be inhabited: I am Yahuwah [the LORD]; and there is none else…. I am God, and there is none like Me. (Isaiah 45:18; 46:9b)
Thus says Yahuwah [the LORD], The heaven is My throne, and the earth is My footstool…. (Isaiah 66:1a)

Yahuwah Elohim is the only Righteous, Living, Eternal, All-Mighty God. He is unlimited in His abilities, and He is infinitely superior to all human wisdom, reasonings, and abilities! He is invincible, irresistible, immutable, immortal, and He inhabits eternity. (Jeremiah 10:10; Isaiah 45:21b-22; 1Timothy 1:17)

Because Yahuwah is all-knowing and all-powerful, then fearing Him ought to be our automatic response to Him. He is The Great King over all the earth. He is our supreme authority. He knows everything about us — our past, our present, and our future. He holds our life, our very breath, in the palm of His hand! (Psalm 31:14-15a; Ecclesiastes 3:14; Luke 12:5).

And, He has diligently and carefully provided His divinely-inspired Words [the Bible] to reveal His great love for us, as a loving Father loves His own precious children.

Secondly, by the fear of Yahuwah we begin to acknowledge Him and His authority over us. We begin to reverence Him and His Word by seeking to obey His instructions, guidelines, and teachings. It is by the fear of Yahuwah we begin to know and understand Him:

The fear of Yahuwah [the LORD] is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the Holy is understanding (Proverb 9:10).

It is sensible to learn the fear of God, for by it we are motivated to guard ourselves from the things Yahuwah hates, and to avoid provoking Him to anger (Proverb 6:16-19)! All children who love their earthly father want to please their father, and want to avoid angering him. This should be our attitude toward our heavenly Father, because we are His children.

When we have the proper fear of Father God, then we will earnestly seek Father to help us avoid any sort of evil actions or practices or traditions that deviate from God’s written Word.

But we cannot turn from our wicked ways by our own strength! We must humble ourselves and seek God’s strength and grace to be enabled to do the things that are pleasing in His sight. When we have the proper fear of God, the Holy Spirit imparts unto us the supernatural desire to want to avoid the things that Yahuwah hates, and begin to love the things that delight our heavenly Father!

Step # 3: Seek First the Kingdom of God

The 3rd Step to help us avoid ‘the way of the wicked’ and begin to ‘depart from evil’ is to adjust our priorities and our schedule. We must take to heart one of the most important verses for those who are serious about walking with Yahuwah [the LORD]:

Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness (Matthew 6:33a).

This verse tells us what our highest priority ought to be — to seek Yahuwah and the ruling and reigning of His righteousness in our daily life. To do this, we simply begin, line upon line, to learn for ourselves what God’s written Word actually says, and then obey what He says! We adjust our schedule so that we can seek God daily by prayer, by reading and studying the written Word [the Bible], and by committing ourselves to obey what Father’s Word actually says.

Daily seeking God and His Word will help us, little by little, to be teachable, willing to receive, love, and apply Father’s instruction. When we know God’s Word, then little by little, our spiritual eyes will be opened to see the many lies of Satan that have deceived us in various ways.

Making adjustments to our schedule and priorities is a process that takes time and determination. We must apply effort and diligence to make Father and His Word first place in our life!! We adjust our schedule to have the necessary time for seeking Yahuwah and His righteousness daily because without Him, we can do nothing!” (John 15:5).


Only when we truly and honestly humble ourselves;

Only when we yield ourselves to believing and obeying the Words written in the Holy Scriptures;

Only when we sincerely cry out to Father God for His wisdom, understanding, and strength;

Only then will we be enabled to receive the divine help from the Fountain of Life, Yahuwah Elohim [the LORD God], and thus begin to avoid the way of the wicked and begin to depart from evil.

Let’s remember these 3 Steps:

  1. Lean Not Unto Our Own Understanding
  2. Cultivate the Fear of God
  3. Daily Seek God First and His Righteousness

Let’s also remember Yahuwah’s many warnings to avoid the way of the wicked:

Woe unto the wicked! it shall be ill with him: for the reward of his hands shall be given him. (Isaiah 3:11)

As righteousness tends to life: so he that pursues evil pursues it to his own death. (Proverbs 11:19)

Father in heaven, I thank You for Your love for me and for Your written Word that is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path. Please help me Father, to study and learn Your Word for myself. Grant me Your grace to enable me to avoid the way of the wicked and learn to obey You in small things and in great things. Help me to seek You first in all my ways. In the name of Your Son, Yahushua Messiah [Jesus Christ], I pray. Amen.

See the Companion Articles in this series:

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