Living right is not always easy, but it has some major benefits. Likewise, wickedness might feel natural, but it sure has some downsides.
“Righteousness guards the one whose way is blameless, but wickedness subverts the sinner.” Proverbs 13:6
Have you ever spent some time reading about criminals? You can read about people like Jesse James or Butch Cassidy of the Old West. Or Al Capone or Dutch Shultz of the 1930’s mafia heyday. Or even people more recent like Tupac Shakur or John Geogahn. The examples are countless.
What you will find when you read these people’s stories is that all of them end up reaping the results of the way they lived. In other words, if they were cheaters, they were cheated. If they were violent, someone committed violence on them. If they used other people for their own gain, ultimately, they were used by others.
It’s a reality of life: wickedness subverts the wicked.
In modern English, “subvert” means to undermine the power of something. This word subvert is the word “salaph” in Hebrew; it conveys the idea of “overthrowing”. The meaning is clear: wickedness doesn’t help anyone, it overthrows the one who practices it.
The Bible speaks to this truth in nearly every book. In the Proverbs alone, there are multiple verses addressing this sabotaging nature of wickedness – it comes back to give the perpetrators their just dues (i.e. Proverbs 11:3, Proverbs 19:3 )
Fortunately, the reverse is just as true! As the wicked receive the results of their actions, so do the righteous. “Righteousness guards the one… “
When we are living right, we are living secure. God has laid down laws for how His people should live. The most well-known and earliest decrees from God were the 10 Commandments. When Jesus Christ came, these laws were expanded to more than just rules to follow. Jesus taught about the meanings of the laws, and the necessary motives of those practicing them.
God has created the world and its people, and if anyone knows what works and what does not work – it is He! He told us how to live and what to expect from following His principles. They are not difficult or burdensome. They are actually really simple and straightforward. The problem lies in our natural inclination to go against what He has said is right and good.
Ultimately, the way we live, the way we speak, the things we do, determine the product of our life. It is undeniable. Show me a man or woman who is loving and gracious to others, and I will show you someone who is treated with love in return. Show me a man or woman who gives liberally to help others, and I will show you someone who is always provided for.
For the one who speaks words encouraging to others, she will be praised. For the one who steps in to protect the weak, he will be protected!
We all want the protected, blessed life, don’t we? Well, God has made it pretty direct for us: live His way and our way will be secure.
But to live blamelessly? Is living right even possible? We address that in another post.