God’s Word for You
Proverbs 28:4-5 The struggle
by Pastor Timothy Smith on Saturday, June 20, 2020
4 Those who forsake the law praise the wicked,
but those who keep the law struggle against them.
This seems like a dangerous verse. The verb “struggle” toward the end can also mean “to wage war” (yitgara’), as in Daniel 11:10: “His sons will prepare for war and assemble a great army,” and Deuteronomy 2:5. It can also be understood as “asking for trouble” (2 Kings 14:10). The verse (especially the second line) is not a call to wage war on the wicked, but rather to wage war on wickedness within ourselves, and not to allow praises for sin to sway us from turning away from it. Those who abandon God’s will become evangelists for sin. They want everyone to embrace what they call natural and healthy releases of stress. Sometimes this is just nonsense, but sometimes it becomes an addictive lifestyle of sexual, chemical, or even intellectual indulgence that wages war against God’s commandments. We must struggle against this in our preaching and our teaching, but we must not let such a struggle become physical or violent. Paul warns his people not to visit the temple prostitutes (1 Corinthians 6:15-16), but he doesn’t command that their shrines or bordellos be blown up.
5 Evil men do not understand justice,
but those who seek the LORD understand all.
Paul said: “Since they do not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, he gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what ought not to be done” (Romans 1:28). A wicked man has two opinions of justice. If it is a punishment on someone else, he wants to know how he can benefit from it. If it is a punishment on himself, he wants to know how he can escape it. Bribery, threats, blackmail, lies, denial—these are his tools against justice, rather than ever suffer the consequences for something he has done wrong.
There are also a great many people in our world who have been led to believe that ‘criminals’ need to be taken off our streets, so that ‘good people’ can live in peace. While there is some truth in this, the fact is that most criminal activity is committed by ‘good people’ because of the rotten circumstances of their lives. Anyone is capable of committing a crime.
The person who seeks the Lord gains wisdom, knowledge, and insight: “Then you will understand righteousness and justice and equity, every good path” (Proverbs 2:9). And the Great Psalm says: “I have more understanding than the elders, for I obey your precepts” (Psalm 119:100). A fine daily goal to have as we study the word of God is to read and meditate on God’s word, ask God in our prayers to help our understanding, so that we are taken, as it were, into God’s private confidence each and every day. He speaks to us in his word. Don’t forget to listen to what he says.
Pastor Timothy Smith