Isaiah 5:20 [Through his prophet Isaiah, God said]: "Woe [great distress, affliction, or trouble will come] unto them that call evil [things] good, and [call] good [things] evil; [and to them] that put darkness [ignorance, error, false doctrine, crime] for light [truth, knowledge, piety (devotion to God)], and [put] light for darkness; [and to them] that put bitter [sinful things] for sweet [things, like virtue (morality) and purity], and [put] sweet [things] for bitter [ones]!"
In other words, there are painful consequences for people who pervert, or twist, the truth.
In his commentary, Matthew Henry said that this verse is directed toward those "…who not only live in the omission of that which is good, but condemn it, argue against it, and, because they will not practise it themselves, run it down in others, and fasten invidious epithets [derogatory names] upon it--not only do that which is evil, but justify it, and applaud it, and recommend it to others as safe and good …" (Source: https://www.biblestudytools.com/commentaries/matthew-henry-complete/isaiah/5.html, "Verses 18-30," "(v. 20)")
Proverbs 29:16: "When the wicked [people] are multiplied [become greater in number], transgression [sin, rebellion, bad behavior] increaseth [increases, gets worse]: but the righteous [lawful, just, 'good' people] shall see their [the 'wicked' people's] fall [downfall]."
According to Pastor Jim Delany of Salem Bible Church, "This proverb speaks of the results of bad leadership. The result is that sin increases." He adds: "Usually leaders are a reflection of the people. People put in power someone who is like them. When the wicked multiply in the land -- there will be wicked leaders in positions of power and authority."
The first section of Pastor Delany's commentary on this verse gives examples of wicked leaders in Israel and Judah in Old Testament times. Then, in paragraph C, number 1, it says:
"d. All wicked men in positions of authority have to do is to pass a wicked law and transgressions increase.
"• Consider the sins that abounded when men voted to allow slavery. (untold evil and abuse was a direct result)
"• Consider the sins that abounded when men voted to allow abortions and made them legal. (millions of unborn babies have been scrambled alive in the womb)
"• Consider the sins that abounded when men today have voted to legalize gay marriage (transgression does and will abound!)
"• Consider the sins that abound when men vote to legalize drugs. (God help us… transgression will increase)
"e. When the wicked are multiplied, sin abounds.
"• When such laws are passed, people begin to think that it is NORMAL.
"• During slavery, people began to think that slavery was normal.
"• Today, most people look at abortion as normal -- because it is legal and so many people get abortions.
"• Gay marriage will soon seem normal to our kids and grandkids.
"• Drug stores may soon be selling not only Tylenol, but marijuana and who knows what else… and after a while it will seem normal.
"• It is NOT normal, but it will seem normal.
"• The multiplication of wickedness causes transgression to increase.
"• When there is a lowering of moral tone and attitude in the land (or in a business--or in a church) it is a perfect environment for sin to prevail.
"• Wicked people promote wicked ideas… and they catch on… and over time seem normal. And once it seems normal, it is accepted by society and increases.
"• And people become emboldened in wickedness when wickedness increases and becomes accepted in society.
"• And it is not easy to reverse wickedness. It is hard to reverse when the wicked are MULTIPLIED…. And their ways become entrenched in the thinking of the majority."
But all hope is not lost!
Pastor Delany says, "The good news is that the righteous will one day see the FALL of those evil men and their wicked ways … Just read the book of Revelation. Even if you don't understand any of the symbols, you do get the picture that in the end, the wicked are judged, and God rules."
The commentary ends with this:
"There are examples in the Old Testament of righteous men seeing the 'fall' of the wicked.
"• Noah saw the destruction of those who perished in the flood.
"• Abraham saw the destruction of those in Sodom and Gomorrah.
"• The Israelites saw the fall and destruction of the Egyptian army at the Red Sea.
"• But ultimately, when the Kingdom is established, righteousness will finally reign on earth."
If you want to read the rest of the pastor's commentary, you'll find it here: https://www.salembible.org/proverbs-index/proverbs-29-index/proverbs-29_16/.
Galatians 4:16 [In a letter to the Christian churches in Galatia, the apostle Paul wrote]: "Am I [have I] therefore become your enemy [or 'an enemy in your eyes'], because I tell you the truth [of God; i.e., about Jesus, sin, salvation, the law, false teaching, etc.]?"
When they first met Paul, the Galatians loved him, but over time, something changed. When Paul continued to preach and teach the truth according to the Bible, the people rejected his message--and him--perhaps because they were offended by something he had said and/or because they had been corrupted by false teachers. Sadly, during current times, many pastors and Christians who are involved in evangelism (spreading the gospel) find that they get a similar response (rejection!) when they preach to their congregations, talk about the Bible to other Christians, witness to unsaved people, etc.
Titus 3:8 [In a letter to Titus, the apostle Paul wrote]: "This is a faithful [true] saying, and these things [listed below--see note*] I will that thou [I want you (Titus) to] affirm [declare, confirm] constantly [in your preaching], that they which have believed in God [referring to those who have received Jesus Christ as their personal Savior and been 'born again'] might be careful to maintain good works [try to be good and do good; i.e., do good to others, and try to lead an honest and holy life]. These things [the doctrines listed below--see note*] are good and profitable unto men [all people] [because they promote well-being and happiness]."
According to the Bible, it's impossible to be saved by doing good works (Ephesians 2:8-9), but following salvation, good works is one way to express our gratitude (appreciation, thankfulness) to God for his wonderful gift of eternal life (James 2:26).
In one of their articles, GotQuestions.org writes: "Works are not the cause of salvation; works are the evidence of salvation. Faith in Christ always results in good works." To find out more about the subject of good works, read "Why is faith without works dead?" Here's the link: https://www.gotquestions.org/faith-without-works-dead.html.
*According to Adam Clarke: "… The things to which the apostle refers are those of which he had just been writing, and may be thus summed up: -
"1. The ruined state of man, both in soul and body.
"• The infinite goodness of God which devised his [mankind's] salvation.
"• The manifestation of this goodness, by the incarnation [birth] of Jesus Christ.
"• The justification which they who believed received through his [Jesus'] blood.
"• The mission of the Holy Spirit, and the purification of the heart by his influence.
"• The hope of the resurrection of the body, and the final glorification of both it and the soul through all eternity.
"• The necessity of obedience to the will of God, and of walking worthy of the vocation wherewith they [believers, Christians] had been called.
"• And all these points he [Paul] wills him [Titus] to press continually on the attention of believers; and to keep constantly in view, that all good comes from God's infinite kindness, by and through Christ Jesus …"
(Source for above quote: https://www.studylight.org/commentary/titus/3-8.html, "Adam Clarke Commentary")
Proverbs 26:12: "Seest thou [do you see] a man [or woman] [who is] wise in his [or her] own conceit [or 'in his (or her) own eyes or sight,' referring to someone who is filled with pride]? there is more hope of a fool than of him [or her]."
According to Pastor Jim Delany of Salem Bible Church, this verse, which "refers not to a man who actually IS wise, but rather to a man who thinks he is," is directed mainly toward men but can also apply to women. He points out that there are two types of fools (proud and humble), and there is more hope for humble fools than for proud ones. That's because:
A humble fool:
-- "is open to listening to wisdom,"
-- "will respond to rebuke and correction," and
-- "can eventually leave his folly behind and become wise."
A proud fool:
-- "will not listen to correction,"
-- "refuses to acknowledge that he might be wrong,"
-- "thinks he is too smart to listen to the words of wisdom from God's Word," and consequently
-- "will never change."
The above quotes were taken from Pastor Delany's commentary on the above verse, which can be found here: https://www.salembible.org/proverbs-index/proverbs-26-index/proverbs-26_12/.
Galatians 5:14: "For all [of] the law [of Moses, referring to the moral law, as stated in the Ten Commandments (specifically, Commandments 5-10, regarding our duty to mankind, or how we should treat others)--see note below*] is fulfilled in one word ['love'], even in this [statement, as quoted from Leviticus 19:18]; Thou shalt [you shall] love thy [your] neighbour as thyself [yourself]."
You may be familiar with a similar thought, expressed in 1 Peter 4:8, that love covers a multitude of sins.
*Exodus 20:2-17 - Ten Commandments
"I am the LORD thy God, which have brought thee [Israel] out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.
 Thou shalt have no other gods before me.
 Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.
 Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.
 Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.
 Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.
 Thou shalt not kill.
 Thou shalt not commit adultery.
 Thou shalt not steal.
 Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.
 Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour's."
Titus 2:13-14 - Jesus Died for Us, and He's Coming Back to Earth Someday
Verse 13 [The apostle Paul told Titus that Christians are]: "Looking [waiting] for that blessed hope [of eternal life], and the glorious appearing [at his 'second coming' to earth] of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ [who is the second person of the Godhead--see Note 1 below];"
Verse 14: "Who [referring to Jesus] gave himself [as a living sacrifice for sin (1 John 2:2, 1 Peter 1:18-19, Hebrews 9:25, 26, Hebrews 10:12) when he died on the cross] for us, [so] that he might redeem us from all iniquity [pay our sin debt], and purify unto himself [cleanse and make holy] a peculiar [special] people [i.e., born-again Christians, who are saved through faith (not works) and who, after salvation, belong to the Lord], [who are] zealous of [eager to do] good works [good deeds and other things that are pleasing to God] [see Note 2 below].
Jesus Christ is both Savior and God, and we who are saved look forward to his return.
Hopefully, you're also saved and looking forward to Jesus' return, but if not, please don't put it off. If you believe that Jesus Christ (God's Son) died on the cross to pay for your sins and that he was buried and rose again, all you need to do is sincerely ask him, through prayer (either silently or out loud), to come into your heart and save you so you can go to heaven when you die. You only need to do it once, and you're saved forever.
For a more detailed explanation of the plan of salvation, please read one or more of the gospel tracts on the "Printable Gospel Tracts" page of my website. Here's the link: https://www.mansioninheaven.com/PrintableGospelTracts.html.
Jesus Christ (the Son of God, or God the Son) is part of the Trinity, which means that the Godhead consists of three persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. For more information on the Trinity, which may be a hard concept for some people to understand, read the GotQuestions.org article entitled "What does the Bible teach about the Trinity?" Here's the link: https://www.gotquestions.org/Trinity-Bible.html.
Regarding the statement in verse 14 that Jesus wants Christians to be zealous of good works, one Bible commentator wrote:
"… I once undertook a study on the idea of zealots. My premise was that the zealots of the New Testament were not the dread plague of that day, but rather men that were properly motivated to do as they should, but misdirected. Paul himself was a zealot in his pursuit of the early Christians, but he was misdirected. After his conversion, he was a zealot for the Lord in the proper direction.
"Many through the ages were zealots. Zealot is not a derogatory term; it is a term to describe the zeal with which they do their job. I feel that through the years that I have been a zealot. I have pushed to do what God has directed all my born again life. I believe that many pastors and missionaries are true zealots today.
"This verse tells me that I have a Biblical basis for that thinking. Zealous of good works! Many believers today never do any good works much less be zealous to do good works …"
(Source for above quote: https://www.studylight.org/commentary/titus/2-14.html, last commentary on the page--by Stanley Derickson)
3 John 1:11 [In a letter to a Christian man named Gaius, the apostle John wrote]: "Beloved, follow not [don't imitate] that which is evil [in this case, referring to the unchristian conduct of Diotrephes, a man in Gaius's church--see note below*], but [copy] that [behavior] which is good. He [or she] that doeth [does] good [things, naturally and willingly,] is [a child] of God: but he [or she] that [intentionally and habitually] doeth evil [things] hath [has] not seen God [spiritually, not literally, indicating he (or she) has not been born again]."
John's advice to Gaius applies to everyone, especially born-again Christians: We should imitate good--not bad--behavior.
*For background information on the troublemaker referred to above, read "Who was Diotrephes in the Bible?" Here's the link: https://www.gotquestions.org/Diotrephes-in-the-Bible.html.
Psalm 103:13: "Like as a father pitieth [has compassion for] his children, so [does] the LORD pitieth [have compassion for] them that fear him [i.e., with reverence and a godly fear]."
Our heavenly Father is kind and loving to us, as are most earthly fathers to their children.
HAPPY FATHER'S DAY
to all of the wonderful
dads in the world.
Romans 15:4 [In a letter to Christians in Rome (and to us), the apostle Paul wrote]: "For whatsoever things were written aforetime [previously, in the Old Testament'] were written for our learning, [so] that we through patience [while enduring suffering] and comfort of the scriptures [by reading stories of Job, Daniel, David, and other people in the Bible who patiently endured affliction and trials] might have hope [of eternal life and good things to come]."
Regarding the above verse, Albert Barnes wrote:
"… We may learn here,
"(1)That afflictions may prove to be a great blessing.
"(2)that their proper tendency is to produce 'hope.'
"(3)that the way to find support in afflictions is to go to the Bible.
"By the example of the ancient saints, by the expression of their confidence in God, by their patience, 'we' may learn to suffer, and may not only be 'instructed,' but may find 'comfort' in all our trials; see the example of Paul himself in 2 Corinthians 1:2-11."
(Source for Barnes quote: https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/romans-15.html, "Verse 4")
Regarding the Old Testament, another Bible commentator (Robert Haldane) wrote:
"… Some persons have blasphemously said that the Old Testament is now out of date. But the writers of the New Testament give no such view of the Old. Instead of this, they refer to it as proof, and treat it as of constant use to the people of God. All that is therein written, whether history, types' prophecies, precepts, or examples, although under another dispensation, is intended for the instruction of believers, to train them to patience, and to impart the consolation which the Scriptures provide for those that have hope in God …"
(Source for Haldane quote: https://www.studylight.org/commentary/romans/15-4.html, "Haldane's Exposition on the Epistle to the Romans")
Also referring to the Old Testament (in paragraph 6 of his commentary, under "Points to Note"), Mark Dunagan wrote:
"Since 'whatsoever' things written were written for our learning it's clear that God teaches us by bad example as well as good. The unsavory elements in the lives of Abraham, Lot, Jacob, David and others were written so that we would learn to avoid what they didn't avoid …"
(Source for Dunagan quote: https://www.studylight.org/commentary/romans/15-4.html, "Mark Dunagan Commentary on the Bible")
Psalm 147:1: "Praise ye [you] the LORD: for it is good to sing praises unto our God; for it [praising God] is pleasant [is pleasing, gives pleasure--to us and to him]; and praise is comely [becoming, proper, desirable]."
As you may have noticed, for two days, I had trouble with my computer and couldn't upload anything to my website. I'm really sorry about that.
1 Peter 2:25 [In a letter to Christians, the apostle Peter wrote]: "For [before salvation] ye [you] were as [like] sheep [that were] going astray [wandering away from the correct path or direction]; but [you] are now returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop [overseer, guardian] of your souls [referring to the Lord Jesus Christ, who guides, protects, cares for, and watches over his born-again 'sheep'].
1 Corinthians 11:1 [In a letter to the Christian church at Corinth, the apostle Paul wrote]: "Be ye [you should become] followers [imitators] of me, even as I also am [a follower, or imitator,] of [Jesus] Christ.
Like Paul, Christians should be an example to others of good (godly, moral, lawful) behavior.
In his commentary on verse 1, Albert Barnes wrote:
"Be ye followers of me - Imitate my example in the matter now under discussion. As I deny myself; as I seek to give no offence to anyone; as I endeavor not to alarm the prejudices of others, but in all things to seek their salvation, so do you …
"Even as I also am of Christ - I make Christ my example. He is my model in all things; and if you follow him, and follow me as far as I follow him, you will not err. This is the only safe example; and if we follow this, we can never go astray."
(Source for quote: https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/1-corinthians-11.html, "Verse 1")
Nahum 1:7: "The LORD is good, [and he is also] a strong hold [a source of safety and protection, like a fortress--see note below*] in the day of trouble [affliction or danger]; and he [God] knoweth [knows] them that trust in him [for salvation and help]."
*Here are two examples from "The Biblical Illustrator" to help explain the meaning of the term strong hold in the above verse:
-- "God a refuge
"At Holyhead [a seaport on Holy Island in NW Wales] there is a splendid breakwater which cost a million and a half of money. Rising thirty feet above the waves it defies their utmost fury. We are not surprised that it should be built on so massive a scale, for in a great storm each wave strikes with the sledge hammer force of three tons to the square foot. Though a hurricane blow, and the sea be mountains high, shipping sheltered behind it ride in perfect safety. This is a type of the security God is to those Who trust Him."
-- "God's shielding love
"Astronomers tell us that every year millions of meteoric bodies make their way towards our earth with a speed many times greater than that of the swiftest cannon-ball. These, beyond doubt, would strike the earth and destroy its inhabitants but for the air which surrounds it, That air, soft and yielding as it seems, offers so powerful a resistance to the swift motion of the falling meteors that they become vaporised through increased heat, and if they reach the earth at all, it is only in the form of minute meteoric dust. This physical fact has its counterpart in the spiritual realm. The influences Of evil which assail the Christian as he goes through the world are often enough to crush and kill in him all spiritual life and joy and beauty, but round about him there is the atmosphere of the Divine love, and that love resists all evil, being as a consuming fire, keeping back from contact with the trusting soul everything that would destroy its purity and blast its blessedness. The love of God is a perfect protection to every Christian believer; with it around us we can walk with untrembling tread, knowing that no 'weapon formed against us can prosper,' …"
(Source for above quotes: https://www.studylight.org/commentary/nahum/1-7.html, "The Biblical Illustrator")
Ecclesiastes 5:10: "He [or she] that loveth silver [i.e., money] shall not be satisfied with silver; nor [will] he [or she] that loveth abundance [having more than he (or she) needs--of money, possessions, etc.] [be satisfied] with increase [with more money and things]: this [love of money, covetousness] is also vanity [because it brings emptiness and dissatisfaction, like many other things mentioned in Ecclesiastes--see note below*]."
For some people, the more they have, the more they want.
One Bible commentator summarized the above verse this way: "… If anything is worse than the addiction money brings, it is the emptiness it leaves …" (Source: https://www.studylight.org/commentary/ecclesiastes/5-10.html, "Mark Dunagan Commentary on the Bible")
*Concerning the word vanity, Albert Barnes says: "… In this book [Ecclesiastes, which was written by King Solomon, who was a very wise and wealthy man] it is applied to all works on earth, to pleasure, grandeur, wisdom, the life of man, childhood, youth, and length of days, the oblivion of [or state of being forgotten in] the grave, wandering and unsatisfied desires, unenjoyed possessions, and anomalies [abnormalities or peculiarities] in the moral government of the world …"
(Source for Barnes quote: https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/ecclesiastes-1.html, "Verse 2")
Job 1:10 [Because Job had been greatly blessed by God, Satan asked]: "Hast not thou [have you (God) not] made an hedge [in this case, an invisible wall of protection] about [around] him [Job], and about his house [household, or everyone who lives in his house (his family and servants)], and about all that he hath [has] on every side [i.e., all of his possessions, including livestock (oxen, camels, sheep, etc.)]? thou hast [you have] blessed the work of his hands [or 'everything that Job does'], and his substance [referring to his cattle and riches] is increased in the land."
Note: In response to the above question, Satan was given permission by God to test Job's faith.
Satan thought that the only reason Job loved and served God was because God had been protecting him and his family from harm and had made them rich. Through Job's various trials, Satan found out that his assumption was wrong.
Jeremiah 23:24: "Can any [person] hide himself [or herself] in secret places [so] that I shall not see him [or her]? saith the LORD. Do not I fill heaven and earth [with my providence (divine guidance and care), power, and justice]? saith [says] the LORD."
Since God is everywhere, he sees and hears everything.
2 Timothy 4:7-8 - A Crown of Righteousness
Comparing the Christian life--and his ministry--to fighting a spiritual battle (against sin, the world, the flesh, and the devil) and running a race, the apostle Paul, knowing that his life would soon come to an end, wrote this in a letter to Timothy:
Verse 7: "I have fought a good fight [in living the Christian life], I have finished my course [race], I have kept the faith [been faithful to God]:"
Verse 8: "Henceforth [from now on] there is laid up [set aside, waiting] for me [in heaven] a crown of righteousness, which the Lord [Jesus Christ], the righteous judge, shall give me at that day [on judgment day--at the judgment seat of Christ]: and [he'll give a crown of righteousness] not to me only, but unto all them also [referring to born-again Christians] that love his appearing [i.e., those who sincerely look forward to the 'second coming,' when Jesus will return to earth]."
2 Corinthians 5:7 [In a letter to the church at Corinth, the apostle Paul wrote]: "(For [because God the Father and God the Son (Jesus) are in heaven and we can't see them,] we [believers] walk [through life on earth, meaning we live the Christian life, trying to do things that are pleasing to God,] by faith [in God's promises of wonderful things to come (eternal life in heaven, etc.)], not by sight:)"
In other words, according to one Bible commentator, when we "walk by faith," we "are controlled, not by what we see, but by what we believe." (Source for quote: https://www.studylight.org/commentary/2-corinthians/5-7.html, "Justin Edwards' Family Bible New Testament")
Proverbs 6:16-19 - Things That God Hates
"These six things doth [does] the LORD hate: yea [yes], seven are an abomination [a disgusting thing] unto him:
 A proud look,
 a lying tongue [referring to lying in general], and
 hands that shed innocent blood [commit murder],
 An heart [mind] that deviseth wicked imaginations [plans evil deeds],
 feet that be swift in running to mischief [or are in a hurry to do bad things],
 A false witness that speaketh lies [i.e., a person who gives false testimony (or tells lies) about others, as in court], and
 he [or she] that soweth discord [causes trouble] among brethren [by spreading gossip or rumors]."
As usual, Salem Bible Church has excellent commentaries on all of these verses. They are broken down into six sections as follows:
-- Verses 16-19: "Six Things the Lord Hates" (Covers "Introduction" and "A Proud Look")
-- Verse 17a: "A Lying Tongue"
-- Verse 17b: "Hands that Shed Innocent Blood"
-- Verse 18a: "A Heart that Deviseth Wicked Imaginations"
-- Verse 18b: "Feet that be Swift in Running to Mischief"
-- Verse 19: "Sowing Discord" (Includes "A False Witness")
If you want to read some or all of them, click on the accompanying links.
Proverbs 1:10-19 - Stay Away From Troublemakers
Although intended for King Solomon's son, this is good advice for all people.
Verse 10: "My son, if sinners entice thee [try to lure you into a life of crime, tempt you to join them in doing bad things, persuade you to become a member of a gang, etc.], consent thou not [don't say yes]."
Verses 11-12: "If they say, Come with us, let us lay wait [lie in wait] for blood [let us ambush, rob, and murder people], let us lurk privily [hide, wait in secret] for the innocent [people--travelers, etc.] without cause [for no reason]: Let us swallow them up alive as [does] the grave; and whole, as those that go down into the pit [with both grave and pit probably referring to Sheol--the underworld, or abode of the dead] [in other words, let us destroy them suddenly and leave no clues behind (so we won't get caught), as when people are 'swallowed up alive' by an earthquake]:"
Verses 13-14: "We shall find all precious substance [valuables], we shall fill our houses with spoil [stolen goods, loot]: Cast in thy lot among us [join us]; let us all have one purse [or bag (to store money), meaning we'll share the wealth equally]:"
Verses 15-16: "My son, walk not thou in the way with them [don't associate with those people]; refrain [restrain, keep] thy foot from their path: For their feet run to [do] evil [things], and [they] make haste [hasten, hurry] to shed [pour out, spill] [other people's] blood."
Verse 17: "Surely in vain [for no purpose, without success] the net is spread [out] in the sight of any bird." [This verse can have more than one meaning--see note below.*]
Verses 18-19: "And they [the 'sinners,' criminals, bad people] lay [in] wait for their own blood; they lurk privily for their own lives [meaning that someday they'll pay the price for their actions]. So are the ways of every one that is greedy of gain [referring to covetous people--those who are not satisfied with what they have and who try to get more, sometimes by violence]; which taketh away the life of the owners thereof [i.e., those who are 'greedy of gain']."
You have a much better chance of staying out of trouble if you keep away from bad people. If someone from "the wrong crowd" invites you to join their group, follow the advice of Nancy Reagan (during her anti-drug campaign while she was First Lady of the United States) and "just say no."
*According to various Bible commentators, Proverbs 1:17 can have more than one meaning, depending on whether it is connected to the verse just before or after it.
Regarding verse 17, Albert Barnes says :
"… [This proverb] has received a variety of interpretations. The true meaning seems to be as follows: 'For in vain, to no purpose, is the net spread out openly. Clear as the warning is, it is in vain. The birds still fly in. The great net of God's judgments is spread out, open to the eyes of all, and yet the doers of evil, willfully blind, still rush into it.' Others take the words as pointing to the failure of the plans of the evil-doers against the innocent (the 'bird'): others, again, interpret the proverb of the young man who thinks that he at least shall not fall into the snares laid for him, and so goes blindly into them."
Source: (https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/proverbs-1.html, "Verse 17")
Pastor Delany of Salem Bible Church goes into much more detail with his explanation of verse 17. In his commentary on verses 13-19, under the heading "Surely in vain the net is spread in the sight of any bird," he says:
'1. There are two interpretations to this verse. It is hard to tell for sure which one the author intended.
"a. Here Solomon compares the criminals to birds about to be trapped in a net… a snare.
"b. Birds have a bad reputation in the Bible. They are spoken of as foolish, silly creatures… stupid! (Ephraim is like a silly dove without heart)
"c. Here Solomon states that even a stupid bird seems to have more sense than these criminals!
"d. Criminals must KNOW that there are consequences to their sin… they must know that eventually they are going to get caught… yet they STILL not only commit crimes, they make HASTE to run to evil and shed blood!
"2. It would be vain to spread a net or a trap in the sight of a bird. If an animal knows he is going to be trapped, he will avoid the trap!
"a. As silly as birds might be--they have enough sense to avoid a trap when they see it.
"b. Not so with the criminals. They KNOW that their crime is a trap ready to catch them at any moment, yet they RUN to evil!
"3. It also possible to understand vs.17 another way. Some see vs.17 as a comparison of a bird not to the criminals but to the son Solomon is warning.
"a. In this view, Solomon has just warned his son about the TRAP that the criminals have set for him. They have allured the young man into a life of crime… but a life of crime is a snare… a trap. They have used sport and riches as bait to lure him into their trap.
"b. The point would be that Solomon's son has been warned about the trap that is being set for him.
"c. Even a silly bird wouldn't walk into a trap if he knew it was a trap… therefore, Solomon expects that his son will NOT follow these criminals and enter the trap they have set for him!
"d. In other words, Solomon is saying: Son, you have been warned! You know full well that their enticing words are nothing but a trap which will destroy you! Don't enter it!"
If you want to read Pastor Delany's commentaries on the other verses, they can be found here: