Proverbs 24 (7-17-21)
Solomon gives us much needed counsel for how we are to navigate life in the midst of evildoers. Any unsaved person is essentially an evildoer, for nothing he does is unto the glory of the Lord. But surely there are those in our lives that practice and pursue evil and sin on another level. Discernment for how to be around but not of workers of lawlessness is so important. To love our enemy but not become like them is a daily clarity and practice we must become good at. Let’s dig into some of what Solomon says and see how God’s word directs us in this matter.
Solomon first says in Proverbs 24:1-2, “Be not envious of evil men, nor desire to be with them, for their hearts devise violence, and their lips talk of trouble.” There is surely a lure to sin that the flesh will always crave until God takes us home. The battle between the fruit of the Spirit and the work of the flesh is always raging in Christians, according to Galatians 5. This is one reason we must be so mindful of how we look at and engage those who practice lawlessness. As Christ followers, we need to embrace a new definition of “cool.” The flesh and the world have one way of defining “cool,” and there are many out there who display it well. But as Christ followers, our definition of “good” or “cool” must be transformed and renewed by our priority and love for God. This is what will allow us to fight back tempting feelings of envy for those who walk in the darkness. This will also help us check our “desire to be with them.”
It truly is a matter of who you are going to listen to; the desires and works of the flesh are what make sin look appetizing and cool. The work of the Spirit and the desire to honor and please God is what allows us to see through the lie and see what Solomon describes here, which is that this practice equals violence and trouble.
1 Corinthians 15:33 says, “Do not be deceived: ‘Bad company ruins good morals.’” Also, 2 Corinthians 6:14 says, “Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness?” Sometimes Christians will get caught up in the idea that to win the unsaved, we need to be like them, or they will not accept us. This is a lie and a wrong view of how God saves. God is the One who opens dead hearts to believe; it is not our partnership with them. Our God-given directive is to love our enemy and preach the truth in love. Our command is not to befriend our enemies and never speak the truth for a fear that we will lose their love. It is always tricky to find the line between loving our enemies and partnering with them. Christian, there can be no gray area here. Light and darkness will not blend. May we stand fast for the truth of the word and not fear the rejection it will bring. May we also go out of our way to love the lost and serve them well. Let us avoid falling into the trap of losing our bright-light testimony of life in Christ because we want to be a little more in and of the world.
Solomon builds on this later in Proverbs 24:19-22 when he says, “Fret not yourself because of evildoers, and be not envious of the wicked, for the evil man has no future; the lamp of the wicked will be put out.” He goes on to say, “My son, fear the Lord and the king, and do not join with those who do otherwise, for disaster will arise suddenly from them.”
The reality of evil and evil workers will always be around us. We need not lose hope, for we serve the King of kings who created, upholds, and will redeem this world. We do not grow tired and start playing on the losing team. We stand with our bloodied Champion and press on towards the prize. The evil doers who deny God and His glorious grace will be snuffed out, and their end and eternal punishment will be far worse than anything they knew in this life.
Never forget, saved sinner, that while “… you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience—among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved—and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them” (Ephesians 2:1-10).
May we echo Paul, as he wrote, “But far be it from me to boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world” (Galatians 6:14).
Finally, Solomon says in verses 24-25, “Whoever says to the wicked, ‘You are in the right,’ will be cursed by peoples, abhorred by nations, but those who rebuke the wicked will have delight, and a good blessing will come upon them.”
We betray the testimony of Christ when we start to say evil is good, and God-dishonoring things are acceptable and right. This is to stand with the other team while claiming the name of Jesus. This cannot be. We do not endorse adultery, homosexuality, tax evasion, lying, malice, or any other thing God deems sin, for then we fail to tell the truth. We must be people of the truth, and only then are we truly being loving. It is not loving to call sin “ok” because you don’t want strife with the person who is sinning. We must stand for truth and the honoring of God in all things. This is how God is glorified in and through us. This is how we show people their desperate need for Jesus and how the longings of the sinful flesh will only lead to broken heartedness and destruction.
May we be bold enough to stand for what honors God and willing to rebuke unrighteousness as a way of calling for people to run to Jesus instead. He is the only one who can truly give anyone the power to overcome.
I leave you with the words of Jesus in Matthew 5:13-16: “You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people's feet. You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.”
By His grace and for His glory,
Joshua “Shepherd” Kirstine
Soldiers for Jesus MC