“The wicked man flees though no one pursues, but the righteous are as bold as a lion.” [Proverbs 24:1]
The Book of Proverbs is packed with lil’ nuggets of wisdom. It’s an collaborative book penned by generations of godly and insightful people, such as King Solomon. It’s main goal is to promote a life of wisdom and virtue so that readers can experience the fullness of what God has for them. In chapter 28, where we get our scripture, there is a frequent use of contrast. It’s an important tool that the writer is using, because it allows us to see both sides of the spectrum, the wicked and the righteous. With that being said, we can look closer at verse one!
The scripture compares a wicked man to a righteous man. The wicked man, or the guilty man, lives in fear. It says that he flees even when no one is pursuing him. It makes me think of being really small and doing something you know your parents will hate. I can remember the sensation of trying to hide that I hadn’t brushed my teeth from them and being eaten alive with that guilt because I knew what they expected of me. That’s what I think the proverb is referring to, the feeling that might attach itself to someone who knows what they’re doing is wrong.
On the other end of the spectrum is the righteous man, bold as a lion. The Hebrew word for bold is “batach.” It’s used around 120 times in the Bible. One hundred three of those times, the word means “to trust” or “trust in.” That’s kind of cool! I think that means that the righteous man is bold because he is trusting in God. Knowing this, we can differentiate between the wicked and the righteous. The wicked man does not have his heart in the right place while the righteous man is trusting God and seeking to honor Him.
IT’S ABOUT THE POSITION OF YOUR HEART
What I think is really important to note here is that the writer is speaking in extremes and using those contrasts to make a point. Proverbs often emphasizes fear of God. What I don’t want you to take away is that you are immediately labelled as wicked or bad if you do something wrong. That wouldn’t make any sense because we know God to be filled with grace and love. I do want you to take away that the position of your heart is important, and that when you take a position as a child of God, you get to walk in the boldness that the righteous man in the proverb walks in. Just a few verses later, it says that “Evil men do not understand justice, but those who seek the Lord understand it fully.” You, as someone with a relationship with God, have an innate understanding of what justice means, and you don’t have to reach very far to know the basics. When you live out of that knowledge, you are a positive influence to the people around you and an integral part of the Kingdom.
God, thank You for being You. Lead me and guide me today. Teach me how to walk boldly as one of Your children, and put people around me that call me higher. Help me to know Your heart better and to know what You say about me! Amen.