Proverbs in 365 Devotions
Proverbs 28:4 Those who forsake the law praise the wicked, but those who keep the law strive against them. 5 Evil men do not understand justice, but those who seek the Lord understand it completely. 6 Better is a poor man who walks in his integrity than a rich man who is crooked in his ways. 7 The one who keeps the law is a son with understanding, but a companion of gluttons shames his father. 8 Whoever multiplies his wealth by interest and profit gathers it for him who is generous to the poor. 9 If one turns away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer is an abomination.
In today's passage Solomon mentions the law by name four times. I take that to mean Gods law which Israel lived under which seems to be linked to some other things he mentions like justice and integrity, understanding and generosity along with numerous negatives in relation to being disobedient to God.
So why do people respond differently to Gods law.
Well, Verse 4 starts us out by saying how those who disobey God are not praising him… they are not worshipers of God… I say that because he says they praise the wicked; while those who obey God are at odds with them.
That's a heart issue. We’ve talked a lot about that… how the heart bone is connected to every other bone in our body.
I don’t think most of us are accustomed to thinking like this... that is… when from the heart we forsake Gods word, our praise or… our worship goes not to the only one who is righteous, (God) but to those who are wicked. Solomon has a way of putting his finger on the truth of it… and most of the time the one who forsakes God’s law seeks to bring praise to his own self… you see we are bent towards sin and verse 4 rings true how those who forsake Gods word praise the wicked or they seek to glorify themselves over God. Of course, that was satan's sin which caused his fall and that was the temptation he brought to Eve which led to Adam and Eve’s fall and ours as well.
Nest Solomon says how evil men don't understand justice but seekers of God do so completely… then it seems there is an example of this very thing in verse 6.
6 Better is a poor man who walks in his integrity than a rich man who is crooked in his ways.
I believe it’s pretty clear that this evil man who praises the wicked is the same one who does not understand justice. He has decided in his heart that it is just plain better to be dishonest and keniving than honest and poor. For him, wickedness seems better than integrity… and not only does lots of money trump having only a little money… but it trumps honesty and good relationships and loving your neighbor as yourself. His definition of what is right and fair is corrupt. He looks out for himself and rationalizes his choices. Even when he knows he is in the wrong he thinks it is ok as long as no one else knows of his wrong doing and he can become overly defensive and judgmental against those who question his actions. These are some of the ways I believe the meaning of justice escapes him.
Solomon provides us another example of one who loves Gods law compared to one who forsakes it:
7 The one who keeps the law is a son with understanding, but a companion of gluttons shames his father.
The son who is a keeper of the law understands… in keeping with verse 5, he understands justice; while the companion of gluttons brings shame to his father… and according to verse 4 he praises the wicked. That makes sense right? To hang out and love the company of those who self seeking are praising or even worshiping… not God but wickedness.
8 Whoever multiplies his wealth by interest and profit gathers it for him who is generous to the poor.
We actually covered this verse in a Proverbs 13:22-23 devotion called Wealth, Poverty, Injustice and Giving. (The link is in the transcript) But this is definitely another example of praising wickedness or praising God and obedience to his word.
Finally Solomon says:
9 If one turns away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer is an abomination.
This fits nicely with the rest of the passage. I mean if a person forsakes Gods law and praises the wicked… how can he sincerely pray to God if he is praising someone else? He worships something else… wickedness. He does not understand being just and he does not understand the justice of God.
In Romans 3 Paul talks about Gods justice and how he can show mercy and still be just.
In Romans 3:23-24 he says: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus,
So Gods justice for those who believe comes by grace through Jesus redeeming us.
Paul goes on to explain how God has reserved his final judgment with 100% justice until after a time when his only Son came to do what no man has ever done… that is to live a perfect righteous life… then to take the wages of sin we deserve in his death…
Finally in verse 26 we can see how Gods righteous justice comes to those who have faith in his Son who was just on our behalf.
26 It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.
That’s the justice of God that the wicked persons eyes are closed to… and in so being they are unable to grasp the fullness of how to live a life full of justice practically towards their neighbor and instead are bent on praising the wicked.