Today’s passage will be a selection of verses from chapters 25-29. Here we are given wisdom pertaining to our conduct. This section will help us learn what it looks like to live a life of wisdom.
Proverbs 25:28: A man without self-control is like a city broken into and left without walls.
The lack of self-control is a mark of a fool, that is, with no means of defense against enemies. Remember God’s law is good for us because it helps us get the most joy out of life. It sets up barriers to keep things that could harm us out. However, someone that lacks self-control does not have these barriers and sets himself up for failure because he will never know which way he is being attacked from because he will be too busy pursuing his own pleasures before he realizes it is too late to take defense. The fools thinks that the barriers that God places around him restricts his pleasure; however, when the enemy arrives he finds himself defenseless.
Proverbs 27:6: Faithful are the wounds of a friend; profuse are the kisses of an enemy.
At first, this verse might be confusing for you. You might ask, why would a friend wound me and an enemy kiss me. This is because if someone really cares for you they will tell you when you are doing something wrong, however, an enemy although seeing you are getting ready to make a mistake will tell you that you are right because they want to see you fall. Therefore, listen to your true friends even if they are telling you something at the time you do not want to hear.
A practical example of this is when you are getting ready to be in a relationship. Do your friends like him or her, do your parents like him or her? Do they get along with teachers and other authorities well? Since, Nothing can sabotage your life mission faster than a wrong relationship. You need to listen to your true friends and your parents when it comes to making these kinds of decisions because in cases of love you might be blinded by infatuation, that everyone else might be able to see your getting ready to make a big mistake.
Proverbs 27:17: Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.
As a coach, this is a very practical principal to live by. When I coached wrestling, although I wanted my better wrestlers to work with the weaker wrestlers, to help them get better, however, if that is all I had them do they would eventually dull their skills. Therefore, I had to make sure that they had adequate time against each other and against me. Because as the verse says iron sharpens iron. Some moves will work every time against a weaker opponent, but when tried against someone good you realize it is not a good move.
Therefore, we should take this example and apply it our spiritual lives. If we are always hanging out and teaching weaker Christians then we will eventually become dull. Therefore, we need to make sure that we are spending adequate time with mature brothers and sisters in Christ that will encourage us and challenge us to become sharper.
Proverbs 28:1: The wicked flee when no one pursues, but the righteous are bold as a lion.
In other words, there is a correlation between wickedness and fear on the one hand, and righteousness and courage on the other hand. And the gospel is a message about how wicked people can get right with God through Jesus Christ so that they have a righteousness that makes them as bold as a lion.
Let us begin our thinking about this verse by removing a misunderstanding. When Proverbs says that “the wicked flee when no one is pursuing,” and, “the righteous are bold as a lion,” it does not mean that there are no bold wicked people, and no times when the righteous become timid. It means that in general there is something about wickedness that leads to fear and something about righteousness that leads to boldness.
For example have you ever done anything wrong and you try to hide it and you spend the rest of the day paranoid that someone is going to find you out. Even though no one is pursuing you, you are still paranoid that someone is going to find out what you have done. However, the righteous person is bold, they have nothing to hide. Even when they mess up they confess it because they never claimed to be perfect, so it does not hurt their ego to admit that they were wrong. Therefore, they are bold because they live a life of openness instead of trying to conceal things.
But what is it about the wicked that makes them so often flee when no one is pursuing? The answer is: a bad conscience. When you see a police car ahead, is your response one of confidence and peace, or is it one of fear and avoidance—even when he has no intention to pursue you? Does the way you play basketball or soccer or football have anything to do with how you feel when a whistle blows, even when it is not blowing for you?
Do you ever start defending yourself in a conversation before anybody even criticizes you of something? We flee when we are not even being pursued because we have a bad conscience. There are enough stored up bad things we have done, that a voice inside tells us someone is after us even when they are not. Guilt is the parent of fear. Our conscience creates the pursuer that ought to be there even when he is not there.
“The wicked flee when no one is pursuing [because their conscience—the echo of God—condemns them], but the righteous are bold as a lion,” because their conscience is made clean by the righteousness of God imputed to them through faith in Jesus Christ, and there is no condemnation. May the gospel of God’s free righteousness take us, and radically free us from fear, so that we can be as bold as a lion for the sake of the gospel!
The straightforward man, like a lion, has not need to look over his shoulder. What is at his heels is not his past, but his rearguard is God’s goodness and mercy.