Friday, July 12, 2013

A Few Facts About the Righteous:

Reading Proverbs 12 & 13 this morning, I kept noticing statements about "the righteous man." I started drawing lines from verse to verse. Here they are, laid out for you in black and white:
This has nothing to do with the blog post, but a Google image search for "righteous" turned up this nice photo.
1. "The root of the righteous will not be moved."  Considering how many times we've moved in the past 20 years, I found this disheartening, and I hope it doesn't mean moving with a U-Haul. Do I have a deeper root that remains fixed, regardless of where I'm living?

2. "The root of the righteous yields fruit." So ... this root stays in its dirt, and thus is productive. Whatever it is that is fixed and solid in me, should be producing something good.

3. "No harm befalls the righteous." Hmm. This verse is particularly hard to swallow. And if you've known us for two or three decades, you know it doesn't seem to be true for us! No harm? We've been harmed by sinners, harmed by saints, harmed by ourselves. What in the world is this verse about? Maybe I'm not righteous. Maybe nobody's righteous.

4. "The Righteous will escape from trouble." Well. That's helpful. So the righteous person does get into trouble. He just escapes from it, and thus he does not suffer permanent harm. See how these verses work together? Can I say this of my life: I've had trouble; I've escaped from trouble; God has seen to it that it doesn't do me any real damage. I hope so.

5. "The righteous is a guide to his neighbor." Well, I hope so! If I had a neighbor who had suffered repeated trials but somehow miraculously escaped unscathed, I'd want to know his secret! 'Guide me, please!" I'd say to him. That also means my righteous neighbor has to be willing to tell me about his personal trials, in order to guide me. No closet skeletons allowed.

6. "The righteous will be rewarded with prosperity." This is closely followed by, "The righteous has enough to satisfy his appetite." Enough. Having enough to satisfy your needs for today, is prosperity. This is why we pray regularly, "Give us this day our daily bread." Not our weekly or monthly bread. Just enough for today. How is that prosperous? Because our daily bread is faithfully given by somebody who owns the universe.

7. "A righteous man hates falsehood." 'Nuff said. If you truly desire righteousness, get the lies out of your life.

8. "A righteous man has regard for the life of his beast." I love this verse. It's right up there with the final verse of the book of Jonah. A righteous man's life spreads benefit to all around him, even his pets and livestock!

And last but not least --

9. "In the way of the righteous ... there is no death." That's just another way of saying that the righteous man (He's righteous, mind you, because of Jesus's goodness, not his own.) escapes this life, as he escapes all trials, unscathed, "not perishing," not tasting death, whisked away to glory and not feeling the pangs of death.  Do you believe that? For you, in Jesus, there is no death. It's tough -- death is all around us. It looks like death. But we're told it's not death. There is no death. That's the Christian's hope: not death, but life on a New Earth. Even in Proverbs.

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