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Attitude, Lifestyle, and Security

December 24th, 2008

Focus Text: Proverbs 10: 28-30 (NLT)

28 The hopes of the godly result in happiness,
      but the expectations of the wicked come to nothing.

 29 The way of the Lord is a stronghold to those with integrity,
      but it destroys the wicked.

 30 The godly will never be disturbed,
      but the wicked will be removed from the land.


Stop Here and Reflect Before Reading Ahead

You may have noticed that these last series of verses from the tenth chapter of Proverbs have a singular theme: the comparison between the “godly” and the “wicked.”  This is key feature of much of this book because it clearly delineates between the choice that each person on this planet is presented.  In my life, I try to avoid absolute judgments concerning people because there is always another side (or seven sides) to the story that my limited mind has yet to grasp.  Issues are complicated.  Circumstances are broad and varying in interpretations.  The choices are cloudy.

But the truth of these passages brings simplicity to the complexities of life’s choices.  Again, judgment, in the sense of the heart or eternity, is not intended to reside within the sphere of human wisdom.  Does that mean that we can’t look at someone or something and “evaluate” what we see?  Certainly we can.  The Bible even speaks of this truth by instructing us to look for “fruit” in people’s lives.  If it’s by love that our faith in Christ will be evident to the world, then it’s obvious that humans are allowed and expected to examine and evaluate someone’s life. After that, usually a conclusion will be drawn.

But “conclusion” and “judgment” are two birds of a completely different feather.  A conclusion is based purely off of the observable evidence.  Judgement, however, is based off of not only the evidence, but also the wisdom of the judge.  That’s why even though juries, made up of regular citizens, may make conclusions about the guilt or innocence of the accused, it is the sole responsibility of the judge to determine the sentence.  Millions of opinions.  Twelve jurors.  One judge.  Judgement, you see, if different.

So, as we examine the differences between the “godly” and the “wicked,” we must understand that only the all-knowing and perfectly wise Judge truly knows what’s going on within.  Sure, we can make conclusions based off of the observable evidence of someone’s life . . . and often those conclusions will be accurate . . . but only God observes the heart.  Furthermore, only a relationship with the Judge and the acceptance of the grace that executed humanity’s sentence on Jesus can stamp our eternal records with a red Not Guilty.

So, if we understand the nature of true “godliness” and true “wickedness” as defined by one’s interaction or lack thereof with the only true Judge of this life, then we can move on to the comparisons and contrasts that can be made between these two lifestyle choices.  

This passage presents us with three similar topics and demonstrates the differences between the godly approach and the wicked approach to each.  The first is an issue of attitude.  Notice that the godly person is said to “hope,” while the wicked person is said to have “expectations.”  What a telling difference.  A godly person is humble enough to not just pridefully expect good things in life.  Instead, he hopes and trusts in the only One who can provide the best.  Not so for the wicked who approach life with an entitlement mindset, expecting good to come no matter what.  This haughty arrogance “comes to nothing.”

Secondly, we encounter lifestyle choices between the two differing sides.  “The way of the Lord” is more than just a poetic phrase; it refers to a life lived in surrender the will of the Father.  For the godly, the very lifestyle they lead becomes a protective “stronghold” for them.  They are trusted.  They find favor.  They are safe because they have chosen to walk in the steps laid out before them.  But the very fortress that guards the peace of the godly is the impenetrable castle . . . the impassable mote that constantly keeps the wicked from safety.  It’s the same “stronghold,” but it’s affect is vastly different dependent on which side is chosen.

Finally, we see the issue of security.  Make no mistake, this passage doesn’t guarantee that godly people won’t experience turbulence or uncertain circumstances; no, it only promises that they won’t be “disturbed” . . . the NIV uses the term “uprooted.”  Nice!  It just means that those who trust in the Lord can never be ripped from His safety . . . they will remain grounded even when the tornadic winds of life blow everything off of their foundation. Their foundation will remain.  The other choice . . . not so much . . . they “will be removed from the land”  Ouch! 

Attitude.  Lifestyle.  Security.  All three must be dealt with, but what a difference a choice makes!  The Judge has chosen to offer each of His grace . . . have you taken it yet?


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