Breakfast with Solomon - Proverbs 5:23
"He will die for lack of instruction, and in the greatness of his folly he will go astray"
This is the Hebrew word muth, which means to die or bring about death. The idea that Solomon is teaching is that the wicked who pursue their own selfish desires with reckless abandon – without regard to who gets hurt in the process – refuses to learn either from their mistakes or the lessons others try and share with them. They just keep pushing to get the object of their selfish focus and end up destroying relationships, their body, and eventually their life because of it.
This is the Hebrew word musar, which is discipline or chastening or correction. The idea is that they will not receive correction. Those who are focused on their selfish desire and will harm others to get it are not willing to evaluate their mistakes. They are not willing to have others point out where they should have done something different. This is one of the clear characteristics of those who are confirmed in their wickedness. They will not listen to correction or redirection about the object of their sinful or selfish fascination. They have decided that they will make power or sex or money or fame the goal of their life and nothing will keep them from obtaining it.
What is also true in this insight from Solomon is that the only way back from wickedness is repentance about the focus of your selfish behavior. You must receive correction about why your life is so messed up. You must confess with God that what you have been doing and how you have been living is wrong.
If your life is really in a mess with lots of trouble and consequences, you may want to see if it is because you are living outside of the Ten Commandments: idols, cursing, lying, abortion, violence, multiple sexual partners, stealing, etc. Wake up and realize lots of your troubles are because of your pursuit of these things. Repent and listen to a different way of life.
This is the Hebrew word ivveleth, which means folly or foolishness. This is selfishness, which is on display in this person's life. Notice that Solomon says that the wicked person is involved in a high level or great amount of selfishness. Their life is built around themselves in some colossal way. We have all seen this with the alcoholic or the womanizer or the braggart. There is a greatness of selfishness about the wicked.
That means if it is all about you all the time, then you are headed in the wicked direction. If you do not regularly think about blessing and caring for others and sacrificing for other’s benefit, then your life is headed in the wrong direction. If thinking about yourself and what you want and what would please you is all you do, then welcome to folly land.
This is the Hebrew word shagah, which means to go astray to commit error. In the English it means to get off the right path. Solomon is saying that the wicked person who gets captured by illicit sex, illegal wealth, or abusive power or pride is off the right path and just keeps going deeper into the jungle. They will seriously damage their potential in life and their ability to perceive what is happening to them.