Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Justice and “Keeping the Law” in Proverbs 28

The just in life both give and get the courage of justice, yet the rampantly unjust hide away and are only known to either the abused or neglected, the equally unjust, or the Law. Continuing the theme of sovereignty, Proverbs 28 seeks to embellish the theme of justice and of keeping the law.

Inheritance is discussed in verses 8 and 10. One who robs the poor by excessive interest will “gather it for another who will be kind to the poor.” (v. 8) Those who mislead the disadvantaged will fall into their own pits (vs. 10, 18). Here we see the LORD having the final say over our plans (believer or not) reminiscing back to Proverbs 16, bracketed by verses 1 and 33, which pointedly suggest this. The blameless, however, “have a goodly inheritance.”

I love the proverb:

“When the righteous triumph, there is great glory, but when the wicked prevail, people go into hiding” –Proverbs 28:12. If anyone’s ever had a tyrant as a boss they know the truth in this proverb. How soothing to the heart it is to work for a person who’s impartial and compassionate, even eternally forgiving.

Verse 13 is a gospel verse. Those who confess their sin will receive mercy. We see this in the judicial system, if not in everyday life and relationships, basically all the time. Genuine humility and surrender precedes mercy, yet pride resists the clemency available--amazingly, it’s sickened by it.

There is a tantalising truth that shows us just how close any of us are to wrongdoing in verse 21: “To show partiality is not good--yet for a piece of bread a person may do wrong.” The ‘piece of bread’ is powerful imagery. What compromise will we consider for dining out? If it’s not food that tempts us, it’s something of equally insignificant value in the eternal context i.e. when compared with keeping our virtue and the intent of the law.

There are a lot of proverbs in this chapter relating to riches, the poor, and our right dealing with both. If we’re to be ‘prosperous’ we could be well advised to take a leaf or two out of this section of Proverbs.

All Bible verses drawn from the New Revised Standard Version (NRSV).

Copyright © 2009, S. J. Wickham. All Rights Reserved.

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