They have spread a net by the wayside…. ~Psalm 140:5b
The word “wayside” describes the side of a road. It is not the beaten path that is commonly traveled. In driving, this could be considered the shoulder of the road, where cars pull off after a mechanical failure or accident, or for a road violation. To everyday travelers, the wayside had the idea of a location that was not preferred or prominent. It was farmland to the side that was not broken up and ready for sowing. In traveling, it could represent a ditch on the side. Let us see, this morning, the peril of the wayside net.
We see the wayside snare.
The psalmist said, “They have spread a net by the wayside.” A wayside net was used for trapping birds and other small game. It would be placed off to the side, perhaps near some bushes. It would be covered with dirt and leaves so that it would not be visible to the eye. Scraps of food could be left around that area to entice the unsuspecting bird or game. It would be strategically placed to trap and ensnare. Bad friendships and associations are a net by the wayside. David describes these people in Psalm 1:1 as standing in the way of sinners. Solomon described them as the enticement of sinners. The “strange woman” of Proverbs 6-7 is a net spread by the wayside, seeking to ensnare naïve and unrestrained young men. Judah had a friend named Hirah who was a net by the wayside to him. Amnon had a friend named Jonadab who was a net by the wayside to him. Evil associations corrupt good manners. Be careful of the wayside snares!
We see the wayside soil.
“And these are they by the way side, where the word is sown; but when they have heard, Satan cometh immediately, and taketh away the word that was sown in their hearts” (Mark 4:15). This is soil that is untilled and uncultivated. It is surface soil, where seed cannot penetrate. It is vulnerable soil because the birds of the air come down and eat up the seed. This represents hearts where Satan snatches the seed out so that it cannot take root. Men who walk on the wayside will trample on this seed. There are careless and reckless people who have no regard for God’s precious Word and trample on it. They want nothing to do with it. I think of men whom God gives up to a reprobate heart as those who trample under their feet the Word. I think of those who have strongholds in their life as having hearts where the Word of God is snatched out.
We see the wayside seat.
“And when he came, lo, Eli sat upon a seat by the wayside watching: for his heart trembled for the ark of God. And when the man came into the city, and told it, all the city cried out.” The worst seat to sit in at church is a wayside seat. When you sit on the wayside, you are sitting out of view of those who must watch for your soul. When you sit on the wayside, you have removed yourself from activity and involvement. Others are doing the work and carrying the load while you sit on the wayside. When you sit on the wayside, you are living in the flesh and not in the Spirit. Eli’s heart trembled for the ark of God as he sat on the wayside. Sitting on the wayside seat removes you from those who love you and need you. The wayside seat leads to spiritual apostasy and destruction. The wayside seat will result in you falling off your chair backwards: that’s what happened to Eli. Being on the wayside is risky and dangerous, and it leads to undesirable results. Instead of being on the wayside, be on the upside! Live on the upside of being a tender-hearted, humble, and faithful Christian.
Have an upside God Morning!
Bible Reading: Luke 17-18