Saturday after the Feast of the Holy Trinity
Scripture: Proverbs 24:1-22 (NKJV)
1 Do not be envious of evil men, nor desire to be with them; 2 For their heart devises violence, and their lips talk of troublemaking. 3 Through wisdom a house is built, and by understanding it is established; 4 By knowledge the rooms are filled with all precious and pleasant riches. 5 A wise man is strong, yes, a man of knowledge increases strength; 6 For by wise counsel you will wage your own war, and in a multitude of counselors there is safety. 7 Wisdom is too lofty for a fool; He does not open his mouth in the gate. 8 He who plots to do evil will be called a schemer. 9 The devising of foolishness is sin, and the scoffer is an abomination to men. 10 If you faint in the day of adversity, your strength is small. 11 Deliver those who are drawn toward death, and hold back those stumbling to the slaughter. 12 If you say, “Surely we did not know this,” Does not He who weighs the hearts consider it? He who keeps your soul, does He not know it? And will He not render to each man according to his deeds? 13 My son, eat honey because it is good, and the honeycomb which is sweet to your taste; 14 So shall the knowledge of wisdom be to your soul; If you have found it, there is a prospect, and your hope will not be cut off. 15 Do not lie in wait, O wicked man, against the dwelling of the righteous; Do not plunder his resting place; 16 For a righteous man may fall seven times and rise again, But the wicked shall fall by calamity. 17 Do not rejoice when your enemy falls, and do not let your heart be glad when he stumbles; 18 Lest the LORD see it, and it displease Him, and He turn away His wrath from him. 19 Do not fret because of evildoers, nor be envious of the wicked; 20 For there will be no prospect for the evil man; The lamp of the wicked will be put out. 21 My son, fear the LORD and the king; Do not associate with those given to change; 22 For their calamity will rise suddenly, and who knows the ruin those two can bring?
All during this week we have heard words that encourage fleeing from our enemies and running toward God. And there is certainly nothing wrong with that advice. But we face another temptation in doing this: self-righteousness. We can become so proud of our self, that we look down on others who are not doing “as well.” We may have successfully fled from those who cause us trouble, but we should never gloat that we have repented and they have not. If we do become prideful, we are no better off than they are. Verses 17-18: “Do not rejoice when your enemy falls, and do not let your heart be glad when he stumbles; lest the LORD see it, and it displease Him, and He turn away His wrath from him.” Beware of God’s wrath that now may be directed our way.
It is a slippery slope. On the one hand, we can fall into the trap of sliding away from the sanctified life. This happens when we minimize sin and ignore our God-informed conscience. On the other side, when we repent of sinful attitudes and actions, we can begin to feel pretty good about ourselves. We think we are beginning to “figure this out,” that we have “finally arrived.” But in reality, we are only falling off the other side of the horse.
The Christian life is a cycle of sin, confession, forgiveness, godly living, sin, confession, forgiveness, etc. Thanks be to God that our salvation does not depend on how well we struggle, but on how well Christ has struggled, and won.