Many seek the ruler's favor, but justice for man comes from the Lord. Proverbs 29:26
Where do you get justice in our world? Today's proverb weighs in on this issue in a way that reminds us that we need to keep an eternal perspective on all things. This world may seek what they call justice from the officials who rule over it, but true justice for mankind comes from God.
Many do seek the ruler's favor - and consider that justice. The problem comes when you realize that rulers are not always righteous. There are rulers and officials who receive bribes and favors to turn justice toward the one who gave them. Another problem arises when you read the statement that "many" seek the ruler's favor. That means if your bribe is not high enough, you lose. If someone else comes along and offers something more or something better, justice goes to the highest bidder. Such was the case with Haman, Mordecai, and Esther. Haman, angry with Mordecai because he would not bow down to him - paid a ridiculous amount of money to the king to have "his justice" enforced. That justice did not involve punishment on Mordecai - but on the entire nation of Israel. He did not want Mordecai to be punished alone - he wanted the extermination of his entire race. The price was right - and a decree was made to have the Jews destroyed kingdom-wide. Thus goes justice when you seek the ruler's favor. The real problem for Haman though, was the justice he bought was not final. When Esther gave two banquets for the king, told him he was a Jew, and on top of all this the king later learned that Mordecai had saved his life - the price for this justice went much higher. In the end, justice from the king meant Haman's hanging, the destruction of his entire family, and the destruction of Israel's enemies in the city and throughout the kingdom.
God warns those He puts in authority repeatedly against taking bribes perverting justice for a price. Although power can corrupt - and absolute power can corrupt absolutely - God alone is the One Who cannot be corrupted. Therefore wisdom tells us that, "justice for man comes from the Lord." God's justice is based on His perfect righteousness and justice. He does not have such things - He IS such things. God does not base justice on a set of laws given by others - He is the Lawgiver, He is the Source of righteousness, and He is the Judge. His throne is founded on justice and righteousness. When He speaks, He speaks with absolute authority - and - with absolute, perfect just and right decisions. When He speaks and judges - His statements are final - and always beyond question. Here is what He said about Himself when revealing Himself to Moses. "The Lord, the Lord God, compassionate and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in lovingkindness and truth; who keeps lovingkindness for thousands, who forgives iniquity, transgression and sin; yet He will by no means leave the guilty unpunished, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children and grandchildren to the third and fourth generation." (Exodus 34:6-8) God is just - but our salvation is not His justice, but His mercy and grace.
Justice for man truly does come from The Lord. The gospel bears this out. God is just and the Justifier of the one who believes in Jesus Christ. He carried out His perfect, absolute justice when Jesus Christ was crucified on the cross. If there ever was a time when God might have set aside justice and righteousness - it would have been for His Son. But God's justice is perfect - and Christ had to die for sins for man to be forgiven and made righteous in God's sight. Thus the fullness of God's justice and wrath fell on His Son that day. But . . . as a result, justice for man comes from the Lord. We have a choice - to face the full brunt of God's wrath for our sins ourselves - or to turn to Jesus Christ, believe on Him, and receive grace and mercy. The Just God - had His justice satisfied by the death of His Son for sin. Now He will justify (declare rightoeous) anyone who turns to His Son in repentance and faith. No man can offer such a thing. Therefore the wise man is the one who seeks absolute justice, not from fickle men who can change justice as often as they change socks, but from God. He will not only give just decisions here on earth between men - but will give the ultimate justice to us in heaven - not based on us paying the price of our sins - but based on the death, burial, and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ.
He who is a partner with a thief hates his own life; He hears the oath but tells nothing. Proverbs 29:24
In our law courts we have something called, "being an accessory to a crime." This particular aspect of our law (as many of them do) has its roots in biblical law. The whole idea of being an accessory to a crime has to do with knowing or seeing that someone has committed a crime - and saying nothing about it when called to testify against them. For our courts the one who is with someone while they commit a crime - even if they are not involved - can be brought up on charges of being an accessory to the crime. Charges like this are dropped when the one who has seen the crime testifies against the one who committed it. Some call this ratting someone out or being a snitch. Reality is that they are speaking the truth about someone who has a complete disregard of the law, public safety, and the cohesiveness of the fabric of our society.
To be a partner with a thief here means to be one who divides or shares in his actions. Proverbs 1 speaks of ignoring someone when they make an offer like this. The thief says that they will all share in one purse as they steal and kill to take what is not theirs. The same word is used in that passage as it used here. We are warned that someone who will do this with a thief (who will be their watchman to warn them if someone is coming - who is the get-away driver - who turns the other way when they break into someone's home or business) is someone who "hates' their own life. Hate is the Hebrew word "sane" and it means to be hotile to, loathe, or dislike intensely. When we ignore the warnings of God - His commandments - and indeed even those of our society - we do damage to our souls.
To be an accessory to a crime means we need to hurt our souls. We begin with our minds. We need to convince ourselves that God's laws and those of our society do not apply to us. We need to ignore the Word of God and its calls to us - as we ignore the Holy Spirit and our conscience. We then move to our emotions. Due to the Work of the Spirit in our consciences, we will begin to have adverse emotiions. We will feel guilty (because we are guilty). We will also have to put to death things like mercy, compassion, and kindness in order to act in those ways toward whoever is being robbed. Finally, our will is affected. We set our couse direction with our will and our choices. We intentionally chose against God's way - and in agreement with our flesh and the devil (who by the way loves it when we sin). Now we see the damage to our soul - or the way that we disdain the work of God withiin it.
The Bible speaks of hearing an admonition or oath - but saying nothing. This speaks of the Law in Leviticus 5:1 which says, "Now if a person sins after he hears a public adjuration to testify when he is a witness, whether he has seen or otherwise known, if he does not tell it, then he will bear his guilt." There it is plain and simple - the law against withholding information and in so doing helping a thief, murderer, or any kind of criminal who is acting outside of the law. Wisdom tells us that we should speak up on these matters - not to be a snitch or someone who is telling on everyone about everything possible - but rather as someone who desires for a society to hold together on the basis of law. This passage is speaking of clear cut crimes being committed. It also speaks of us being made aware of those crimes - being called to testify - and then choosing to withhold our testimony so as to be in league with the crime and the one who committed it. That is never wise. God's desire - and indeed the healthiest thing we can do for our souls - is to be a friend and ally of the truth. That is the position of wisdom - and of loving our souls, not hating them.
Stripes that wound scour away evil, And strokes reach the innermost parts. Proverbs 20:30
Physical punishment . . . here is a topic that brings out the most strident opposition in a lot of people. When it refers to children some call it child abuse - and when it comes to the punishment of those who break the law the phrase "cruel and unusual punishment" is used. So what exactly is God's take on the idea of corporal punishment and some kind of physical response to disobedience and criminal activity?
There are two levels to understand this Proverb - that of the physical and the responsibility of parents and the state - and a purely spiritual level and how it relates to our growth in a relationship with the Lord. I'll begin with what is being addressed most clearly here - which is the response of parents and governing officials to disobedience and crime.
Our justice system has turned away from the biblical view of crime and punishment. We try to rehabilitate criminals without thought that they need to acknowledge that they've stepped over a very serious line in their behavior. The results are not encouraging at all. We have overcrowded jails and prisons where repeat offenders abound. We've gotten to the point where we have more people interested in the rights of the criminals than in the rights of those they infringed upon with their godless behavior. Our prisons therefore have revolving doors on them - and with the present focus, there are few who are rehabilitated while incarcerated. Put our current record next to one of a modern state that practices physical punishment for a crime. Several years ago a young American citizen was arrested from a crime in one of these states. He was convicted and sentenced to a caning. People in the United States, especially among liberals, went ballistic. Yet the facts should be viewed without all the hysteria. Their crime rates are much lower than ours. What they see currently and have seen in the past is that truly stripes and strokes do scour away evil in the heart. They do reach the innermost parts of a person. They are a very powerful deterrent to crime and disobedience.
The spiritual level is little diffeerent. God disciplines those He loves and, according to Hebrews 12, He scourges every son He accepts. How does God deal with His own children? He disciplines them with scourgings - stripes and strokes that scour away the evil of our hearts and make us think twice about being disobedient again. We are fallen beings and have a sad tendency to ignore God and His commandments and turn instead to what our flesh cries out for constantly. The way God deals with this is to bring us into discipline. Anyone who has ever experienced this discipline knows that it is stern but loving. There is no doubt that God loves us when He disciplines us - but He is dead serious about it too. He knows what is at stake - and is wanting to deter us from walking in rebellion and sin. These things will hurt us - and in some cases even destroy us - therefore He takes it very seriously a trip to the proverbial spiritual woodshed. But do not ever be mistaken . . . God does these things because He loves us. The same should be said for parents and for a society that crafts effective physical punsihments for those who break the law.
Physical punishment and corporal punishment may be unpopular with the liberal elements of our society - but in all honesty, they are wrong. Yes there need to be limits put in place - there needs to be a humane way to practice the death penalty - and there should be wisdom in a parents administration of discipline. Yet there also should be a full acknowledgement that the sinful nature of man will not respond to a call to reform alone. It is in the best interests of a family - and indeed a society to practice physical and corporal punishment. How do we know? The Word of God informs us.
A wise king winnows the wicked, And drives the threshing wheel over them. Proverbs 20:26
If a leader of a nation is wise - he will know that leaving the wicked alone to do what they want will ultimately be very bad for that nation. To do otherwise is to leave a group of people who have no regard for law or for any kind of self-restraint for the good of others around them. The wicked do not care if their actions cause problems and suffering for others - they just have a will to do what they want to do. This is why we the king is told that he needs to winnow the wicked and drive a threshing wheel over them. Let's take a look at what these two pictures reveal to us.
The word "winnow" is an agricultural term. It means to separate the wheat from the chaff in processing grains. The word came from the word for wind - because often the process for this involved beating the wheat on a threshing floor - and then tossing it into the air where the wind would blow away the chaff and the wheat kernels would fall to the floor where they would be gathered to make flour for bread. Because of this process, the word winnow came to mean other processes used to separate what is worthless from what is of value. That is what it means in our proverb today. The wise king uses the law to winnow the wicked in his society. He establishes and enforces law in order to separate the worthless elements from society. This makes for a law-abiding culture which can prosper. If he does not winnow out these elements of society - there will be a very detrimental effect on the culture. People who lie and are untrustworthy in life - will be this way in business. Some might wonder why this is important - until they see the kinds of things we have seen in the financial world where stock brokers bilk people out of their entire life savings by setting up a ponzi scheme to take other people's money. Dishonesty and a lack of integrity actually will cost a society . . . actually billions of dollars . . . which we've actually seen.
The king is also encouraged to drive a threshing wheel over the wicked as well. Whereas the word winnow has a separating aspect to it, the word does not bring to mind much violence. This is not the case with the threshing wheel. This was a heavy stone wheel that was pulled by oxen or horses (or in Samson's case, by a man) that would roll in a circle over wheat or corn that was put in its path. As the heavy wheel rolled over the grain it would crush the grain separating the wheat from the chaff. This was then further "winnowed" by letting the wind blow away the chaff as the grain fell to the floor. The picture though here with the threshing wheel was a violent one. It involved punishment and a crushing process. Thus a wise king will set up law so that it punishes the wicked for their actions. This will further eliminate the elements of a society that are evil and wicked - while preserving the godly who will submit to the law.
At this point I must make a point - especially because of the day in which I am writing this post. We currently have a very foolish president in the United States. I say this because he has recently made it clear that he has no respect for the laws of our land - or the Constitutional process by which they are established. He has chosen in recent months to disregard laws concerning the sale, distribution, and use of mariuanna. He has decided in dictatorial fashion that this is not good for us - and has decided on his own (with no act of congressional approval - or the approval of the courts) to not enforce the law. Almost every study ever done on the long-term affects of this drug is that it is a gateway drug to more serious and harmful involvement in the use of illegal drugs. He has also decided not to enforce the Defense of Marriage Act - because he sees it as unfair. This is even though the law was passed with overwhelming support - and was signed by a fellow Democrat. He has unilaterally decided to also give amnesty to illegal aliens who have come into our country illegally (Yes that was bad grammar, but felt the need to emphasize the word illegal - meaning not legal - or said another way - breaking the law). These are just three things he has done - unfortunately the lack of any respect for the law is rampant in his administration. He has effectively made himself a law unto himself - choosing enforcement options at his own whims - with a complete disrespect for any kind of constitutional prccess. This is foolishness - and will damage our nation in the end. The populace will follow his example - and will also have a disregard for the law as well - except the parts they agree with - and want to keep. As a result there will be a rapidly growing wickedness that will at first creep into our society - but then later will flow into it like water from a broken dam. Pray with me for our president. Pray that he will be wise - and will see the wisdom in enforcing the laws as given - not just as he wants them to be at the time. Pray that he will see the wisdom of enforcing all our laws - regardless of whether he personally likes them or not. Oh, also pray one other thing - that the people of the United States will have wisdom this November to not re-elect anyone who does not show respect for our laws - and our constitution.
Do not say, “I will repay evil”; Wait for the Lord, and He will save you. Proverbs 20:22
Revenge is something that is very dangerous. We are told by today's proverb not to say that we ourselves will repay the evil done to us. Instead we are to wait for the Lord to be the One who saves us. There are two interesting examples of this - and Solomon was well aware of both of them. These two examples were Saul and David. They were the opposite ends of this issue of taking our own vengeance and repaying the evil done to us. They are also the difference between blessing and destruction.
Saul started out his career being wise in this way. When he became king some scoffed at him - and did not bring him any kind of present - on a day when presents were in order. Shortly after this God allowed a situation where Saul proved his worth - and showed that he indeed was fit and called to be king. When some wanted to bring vengeance on these men who rebuffed Solomon, his response was wise. He said that no one was going to be put to death, because God was gracious and had been good to His people. Thus Solomon allowed the Lord to defend him. But later in life Saul no longer followed the Lord - and began to be rebellious to God's purposes. When he faced a supposed wrong by the priests of the Lord - he reacted violently. Even though the priests acted without any knowledge of any kind of rebellion, Saul had the entire city, men, women, and children put to death. Thus was his reign marred by a continual desire to repay any suspected slight or evil done to him.
David was much different. He was wronged repeatedly by Saul and by those who followed him. Yet twice David rejected the opportunity to kill Saul - even when God put the opporutnity to do so. He saw Saul as God's annointed and therefore a man to be honored. His statement to the men with him who desired to put Saul to death was that God would be the One to bring Saul down - but David would not take his own vengeance and repay the evils done to him. David was blessed greatly because of this -a nd God greatly prospered his kingdom. God also blessed David with deliverance after deliverance.
Saul . . . he experienced something much diffferent than David. Saul went crazy - he was mad - he lost his mind. This is what happens to us when we think we have to defend ourselves against every slight and every evil done to us. This is a responsibility and a weight on our minds that we cannot carry. Soon the world itself is against us - and everyone and everything is suspect. This will make you lose your mind - just like Saul did. The way to peace is through forgiveness.
When we choose to forgive the evils done to us we are blessed. We are adopting the mind and heart of God, Who chose to forgive even though it cost His Son His life to do so. Our minds, when we forgive, are loosed from the constant torture of remembering the wrongs done to us. They are set free from bitterness which will consume our sanity like a dry forest is consumed by a fire driven by dry winds. We are free to give all our slights to God and allow Him Who sits on the throne to determine how to measure out justice and righteousness. Since there is only one ultimate throne in this universe - with only One Who sits upon it - truly, only He can mete out perfect justice. We are liberated from decisions taht are beyond our ability to make.
As long as we live in a fallen world there are going to be slights, problems, evils, and injustices that come our way. The wisdom that God offers to us today recognizes these things and gives us a way to deal with them without losing our minds. In the process we are protected from the deeper damage these things can do to us - and we are given the glorious priviledge of forgiving others - which is when we reflect both His character and His glory most.
Judgments are prepared for scoffers, and blows for the back of fools. Proverbs 19:29
The New Testament reminds us in Romans that if we obey the Law, we will have no fear of judgment or punishment. Thus, the man who is driving the speed limit does not have his heart jump when he sees the speed trap too late on the highway. He has no fear of being caught doing anything wrong - because he's not doing anything wrong. But the scoffer who has no regard for the Law - who actually mocks it and speaks out against it - he has no such peace. The fool who is ignorant of the law and who loves his folly and sin - he too will know no such peace.
We are reminded that judgments are prepared for the scoffers. This refers to the Word of God. The fact that many miss is that God has already pronounced His judgments on those who scoff at His Word. He has given His commandments and also offered His warnings to those who ignore them - and who indeed ignore Him. There is no lack of passages in Scripture to remind us that God will judge the wicked - and that those who reject Jesus Christ face a terrifying specter of God's unreserved wrath. Therefore, if you are a scoffer, you can know exactly what you will get from God for your scoffing.
We are also reminded that there are blows for the backs of fools. The fool is the one who enjoys his folly - and ignores God's Word. He loves his foolishness and will not turn away from it. He has no use for anything that restrains what he wants - what His flesh cries out for each moment of each day. Thus the only way to reach this one and turn him from his way is by blows to the back. This brings howls of protest from those who think any kind of punitive action that involves physical striking as punishment is evil. But the facts tend to speak for themselves. Countries that bring quick judgment to bear on those who disobey the law - are also countries that do not have an abundance of lawless behavior in their country.
A few years ago a young man was caned in Singapore for breaking their law. Our nation was horrified as they considered what was about to happen. But the facts in Singapore stand on their own. The type of lawlessness this young American man embraced was almost non-existent in their culture. Their culture is this way because people see the cost of their actions - in literal blows that will come to them. Therefore they stay away from such behaviors. The cries that such laws and actions increase violence are not founded in fact. The violent societies are those who refuse to bring blows upon the backs of the fools who violate their laws. There is actually LESS violence in societies who punish with physical blows. There is a very real deterrent when you are facing real consequences for your actions.
Our nation has become obsessed with the rights of criminals. We are so concerned about possibly infringing upon their rights that we have forgotten the victims of their actions. In our march toward perfect justice (which does not exist) we have committed the greatest injustice to those injured by scoffers and fools. What needs to happen is for our nation to return to the principles of true justice and righteousness. This will also require us to return to judgments that make a fool pay for his actions. He will no longer be coddled by the justice system, but rather held accountable for choices that have injured and affected others. Maybe then we can move away from our current insanity - and toward a more just and righteous society.
A rascally witness makes a mockery of justice, And the mouth of the wicked spreads iniquity. Proverbs 19:28
Justice is a major concept throughout the book of Proverbs. It should also be a major concern of any society that wants to endure. When a people know that there is justice, there is peace and stability. When people begin to suspect that justice is lost - there is unrest, discontent, and even rioting. Therefore, the process of justice, which always involves witnesses, is vitally important.
The "rascally witness" is actually a worthless man who has no qualms about distorting his testimony or lying on the witness stand. The word here is "belial" and it refers to someone who is wothrless because they have no moral fiber. They are good for nothing, are often seen as perjerers, and are among those who live in constant rebellion to the king or the government. This makes them unfit to serve as a witness to anything other than their own wickedness and sin. When this kind of man is on the stand - there is a complete mockery of justice. This godless man mocks and derides the entire idea of justice. He will make his own justice and his own judgments - often with no reference to justice or true righteousness.
We are also told that the mouth of the wicked spreads iniquity. The actual word for "spreads" here means to swallow something or engulf it. What the wicked man does is swallow iniquity. He enjoys sin and iniquity like the average person does delicious dish made for him. He considers sin and evil something to be consumed - not something to be avoided. when there is wickedness to swallow down - he swallows it wholeheartedly.
One other thing about this lying, false witness is his name throughout history. Here we have the phrase "a witness of belial," meaning a worthless witness - but it also means a witness of the devil. World history has had many of the "sons of belial" and many of his witnesses as well. Muhammed, Joseph Smith, Karl Marrx, and Adoph Hitler are only a few of these sons of belial. They have borne false witness of God - and have led many thousands into religious and political error. But there is one last son of Belial that will top all the others. In Revelation 13
we see the ultimate "false witness" rise up looking like a lamb - yet speaking like a dragon. He speaks powerful lies and deceives the world promoting the Beast and the Antichrist in the last days. He is the ultimate liar - will mock justice in a way that none have done in all history - and will spread iniquity, sin, misery, and death like no other. This is why a title like "witness of belial" is one we should shrink back in horror at receiving. It is also why we want to be known as people of truth - and ultimately people of THE truth of the gospel. Then we will not be known for spreading iniquity, but rather spreading righteousness. We will spread the ultimate story of God's justice at the cross - and the life that it gives to those who receive it.
The cast lot puts an end to strife and decides between the mighty ones. Proverbs 18:18
How can casting a lot actually help people make decisions? This is akin to making a major decision by drawing straws! Are we going to make a decision concerning justice by seeing who gets the short straw? This seems ludicrous by normal standards - yet for those who know God and who trust His sovereignty and ability to control all providential history - this is not too far a stretch.
Today's proverb is not about making all your decisions in life. It is about a situation where there is strife - and where there is disagreement between what the Bible calls - "mighty ones." So we see that this is not speaking of every decision we make, but rather ones where there is disagreement between people who are either fighting with each other or who are very powerful. The first group needs the lot because their anger is keeping them from thinking rationally or wisely. The second may be so powerful that they do not have anyone else influential enough to deal with their problem. In both cases this would refer to those who know the Lord and trust Him to deal in their situation. The lost and the ungodly would just scoff at something like this - yet even in their case such a trusting practice would yield the right decision. When you read this you might wonder if I've lost my mind. How could I trust something as random as casting a lot to make a "right" decision?
The meat of this proverb lies in your understanding of Who is in charge of all matters of providence. It also lies in whether you believe in random chance or not when it comes to the affairs of men. The Christian knows that God is ultimately sovereign over all things - including what happens when you cast a lot. His superceding, divine providence rules over everything. Therefore when two people are too blinded by strife to decide a matter - they can submit to the lot for a decision from God. When two mighty men are struggling with a decision they can trust that God will direct them properly by surrendering to His divine choice in the matter of the lot.
Think about this for a moment if you are still incredulous about the lot making decisions. God found Achan among all the millions of Israel with the lot. When he had stolen something from Jericho that had been devoted to destruction, he hid it from God and from the entire congregation. Yet God, when He needed to "out" Achan - did so by having lots drawn to find him. Consider Jonathan, who did not realize he had sinned against his father's vow to God. But when he needed to be singled out - God did so by casting lots. How did the Lord do this? He did it by being a God Who is omniscient - Who knows all things that are known - or can ever be known. He is also a God who is omnipotent - Whose power can do all things. Therefore we can trust Him - even when trusting Him means appealing to His providence - even in drawing lots. Ultimately it is a trust in His ability to work all things for His glory and our good.
It is wise for those locked in strife and conflict to turn to God with their troubles. Even if these troubles seem unanswerable, God can provide the answer for them. Drawing lots to make a decision in what seems to be an unanswerable circumstance is very wise - because it trusts God to end the strife and the problem for His glory. Continuing in these things will not glorify God. Therefore a decision needs to be made. If both parties will trust Him - they will watch as God puts an end to the difficulty - and those who see it will be amazed at the way God's people will put aside their difficulties for the ultimate gain of even His providential direction. That is trusting God.
A wicked man receives a bribe from the bosom To pervert the ways of justice. Proverbs 17:23
When someone reverts to bribing others in matters of justice - you can guarantee that they are doing so because they are guilty of the charge that has been brought. That is what we learn from today's proverb of the day.
The "wicked man" to whom this proverb refers is a man who is guilty of the offense with which he is charged. The Hebrew word used here is "rasha" which means someone who is guilty or wrong. It is used of people who are transgressors, criminals, and honestly - who are just plain wicked. The word is an antonym of the Hebrew word "saddiyq" which has as its meaning - to be righteous or in the right. Therefore someone who is turning to a bribe is wrong - and therefore guilty as charged. When used in the Old Testament it refers to those who are enemies of God - and enemies of His people. God is a God of righteousness and justice - therefore anyone who desires to pervert true justice will find themselves an enemy of God.
The phrase ". . . from the bosom" has the idea of someone who is slipping money to another in a secret fashion. This is how most bribes pass hands - through subversive and secretive ways. This happens because the wicked man offering them - and the wicked man receiving them to pervert justice - both do not want to be exposed. Therefore everything is done in a cloak and dagger fashion.
This is done to "pervert the ways of justice." The one offering it is wicked - and the one receiving it is perjerous. They perjure themselves - for they make it clear that truth is not something they value (at least not as much as money). Where such judges rule - there cannot be justice - because the hearts of such men are corrupted by various means to twist justice as the bribes have purchased. In 1973 Charles Ashman wrote a book entitled, The Finest Judges Money Can Buy. This is a very depressing book because it exposes the chronic problem of bribes in our own justice system. In his book Ashman reveals eight judges involved in Mafia-type organizations, ten who were guilty of receiving bribes, sixteen who were guilty of petter larceny, at least six who were guilty of sexual impropriety, seven who were guilty of being drunk on the job, and ten more who have used their position and authority for impure political gain. Those who bemoan the corruption in our nation should see clearly one of the chief reasons it exists - and that is gross corruption in our legal system. This is why God makes it clear to all the judges within the biblical judicial system that they were NEVER to take a bribe to pervert justice. God also promises special judgment upon those who do!
The one thing we can be eternally grateful for is that our ultimate judge is nothing like these men and women who parade as judges, yet have no integrity. He is the One Who sits enthroned - and Whose very throne is founded upon justice and righteousness. He hears and sees all things - and judges accordingly. He is incorruptible and cannot make an unjust decision, for such a decision is contrary to His very nature which is holiness and purity. When it came down to how God would deal with sin, He even judged His only Son when He took sin upon Himself. He is completely and absolutely just and righteous in all that He does. Therefore know that although justice and righteousness may not be given to us here on this fallen earth - we can know that there will be a day when God will judge ALL men according to His righteous standard.
Therefore be of good cheer and be greatly comforted! Your God has the ultimate bar of justice - which will be held before Him alone. In the meantime, we can thank Him daily for His gracious kindness and for His unparalleled love!
Abundant food is in the fallow ground of the poor, But it is swept away by injustice. Proverbs 13:23
God is concerned about the poor - and about justice concerning them. What is interesting about this passage is that the major concern that God has is about freeing the poor to make the most of their lives by hard work. Unfortunately in our day too many think that the best way to care for the poor is for the government to take care of them by instituting programs that foster what is called social justice. This kind of justice involves the government using a taxing power to redistribute wealth so that fairness is reached as far as "outcomes" are concerned. What we see here is that God is more interested in the poor having fairness in regard to opportunity rather than outcomes.
God is the God of justice and He is very concerned about the injustices that are perpetrated against the poor. In the Old Testament He makes it very clear through the prophets that one of the reason judgment falls on societies is because they no longer have compassion for the poor. But, social justice is NOT a compassionate response toward the poor. It is rather an example of government trying to bring about justice by promising equal outcomes for all. This is done whether or not the person receiving the promised outcome is deserving of it or not. Whether we like it or not there is some poverty that is the direct result of choices made by the one who is in poverty. There is also poverty that is the result of people not being willing to work. The Bible is clear that if a man is not willing to work, he is not to eat. Then Proverbs tells us that when he is hungry enough - that will motivate him to work. The poverty of the prodigal son was due to his own ungodly living and ungodly choices. When a man wastes his money on drunkenness and riotous living, he should not prosper in life. To promise him the same outcome as the hard working man is not social justice. It is social injustice!
God makes promises to those who work hard and who live wisely. He also makes promises to those who choose ungodly paths - speaking of poverty and want that will come to them. We cannot try to stay His hand in these matters without eventually bringing the entire government under His discipline. That is what we are experiencing today. The government has decided to work for common outcomes for all in a perverted sense of what is just. But this is unjust - to confiscate the wealth of those who have worked hard for what they have - and to redistribute it to those who in many cases have not worked hard for it. When someone gives to the poor freely it is a gift. But when a government gives to the poor by confiscating the wealth and gain of the productive - it is thievery by taxation.
God says here that abundant food is in the fallow ground of the poor. That means that the poor could till the ground and make a crop that would lift them out of their poverty. The abundant food does not produce itself - it is given when the poor have the freedom to till their ground and bring it forth. What is being restricted here is the freedom of these who have been reduced to poverty. When this happens, there is poverty abounding. But where there is freedom instead of injustice, the poor man is able to work hard and over time lift himself out of poverty. Where the government works to provide a level playing field for all to prosper equally from hard work - there will be a blessing on that society. The government also has a responsibility to make sure that in doing this the rich do not use their money to keep the poor from succeeding. This happens as well in the world - and it is the responsiblity of the rulers of a nation to make sure that they are not unduly influenced by money to decide for the rich in disputes. They are to make just decisions and not allow the rich to abuse the law to keep the poor in their poverty.
God desires justice and freedom to prevail in the affairs of men. He desires for these things to free men to be able to work hard and prosper from their labors. These things can be infringed upon in life, but not without cost. The cost is that the poor cannot achieve better things through hard work, saving, and investing in something that can give them more in their future. Whether this is done by the rich oppressing the poor - or a government oppressing all by taking from one class to give to another - God is not pleased. All men - and all governments will stand before God to give an account of their stewardship of the poor. May we be wise to free the poor to till the fallow ground of their farms and lives so that they may be lifted out of poverty, not by a government program, but by a work-ethic that encourages them to work hard, save, and build for a better future.