Is it really 'choice ground'?
Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm. (Proverbs 13:20)
Do you remember the story of Abraham and Lot - both with growing flocks, herds, and wealth? The time came when they needed to separate their flocks and herds because of what ranchers might have called 'overcrowding' of the animals. They were 'over-grazing' the lands, so they needed to find 'independent' grazing grounds. As you may recall from the story, Lot chose what looked best for himself, his family, herds, and flocks. He moved lock, stock, and barrel into a land way to close to the sinful people of Sodom, a mistake that would cost him dearly.
The company of fools soon rubs off on those who spend enough time with them. Before long, Lot was so accustomed to the 'culture' of the day that he didn't even confront sin any longer. His choice of grazing ground may have been a little self-centered as it was 'choice ground', but that 'choice ground' did not take into consideration the companions he would be surrounding his life with over the long run. Whenever we choose what we might think as 'best' or 'better' just based on the surface impression, we might find ourselves getting a little too chummy with sin's influence!
He could have remained closer to Abraham, still providing enough space for their combined herds and flocks, but he chose to separate from those who could provide him moral support and a growing faith. The company of fools somehow doesn't do much to support our spiritual health, much less encourage its growth! In the long run, his children took spouses from among one of the most sinful people of the world at that time - ensuring the loss of their lives when judgment came down on Sodom. His own wife would suffer the fate of being turned into a pillar of salt. Probably one of the least taught 'sins' of Lot was the engagement of his unwed daughters in incest with their own father.
Truly, the company of fools influences more than just our own lives - it affects those we might call 'family' and our close friends. Maybe this is why God calls us to guard our hearts and to choose our companions well. The closer we get to the influence of those who do not walk closely with God will ensure we are exposed to things, ways of thinking, and actions we may not have ever considered if we were to keep companions with those who walk closely with God. Just sayin!