Warnings and Instructions
Proverbs 28; I die daily devotional.
1 The wicked flee when no one is pursuing, But the righteous are bold as a lion.
After reading the commentary for this verse provided in our resource, I appreciated the connection between the wicked flee when no one is pursuing, and guilt.
"Guilt in the conscience makes men a terror to themselves, so that they are ready to flee when none pursues; like one that absconds for debt, who thinks every one he meets a bailiff."—Matthew Henry
As I meditate on this verse and commentary, think to myself, “how does it apply to me.” In my head this exercise works, but now, how to articulate it into writing where it makes sense? That’s quite the psychological exercise because it’s no longer about me, but the relationships between: God, the author to this proverb, Matthew Henry (17th/18th century biblical commentator), myself, and you. However, I’ve already hinted at the focus, “How does this apply to us?” And a deluded paranoia comes over me by the thought that I’ve done something so terribly wrong that it’s impossible for me to be forgiven and reconciled to a holy God.
“Why is that—” I ask myself, and then remember my guilt. I remember how I was sexually abused. I remember how I was physically abused; psychologically abused; spiritually abused. But then I also remember how all that abuse—much like a virus invading cells—invaded to reprogram my psyche, and a lot of what happened to me convinced me of a different identity. I’d become the virus. I’m guilty! So now that the virus has successfully reprogrammed me, I flee. I make excuse after excuse to avoid the truth because the truth is pursuing me. … Is it?
BOLD AS A LION
It’s time to face the virus. I won’t forget my wife Laura in agreement to the encouragement of our friends, “go to this ‘re:generation‘ program” that my church provides, which is basically like going to A.A. meetings, but on steroids—so I thought. Okay maybe not steroids, but I think you get the point. I also won’t forget how Laura decided to go along with me as though she didn’t need it, and well—I’ll let her tell you that story—because that woman was dead wrong up-in-dis-house. As soon as we arrived at our first meeting, we’re separated (women with women and men with men), it felt sketchy the first couple of sessions, but it was a safe place. After I’d “graduated” the first six weeks, I was given a dedicated group of other adult men with issues all across the spectrum. It came about after 5 months in, all that testosterone was like a bomb going off and we all killed each other! I’m ghostwriting you right now… Are you paying attention? These guys dumped all their heavy weight of sin on the floor to watch it burn—because nothing can separate us from the love of Christ.
“Romans 8:38 For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
To continue in our guilt is to continue in our very … insecurely … wicked behavior, that virus of sin—that does separate us from God. This is why the Word of God is preached and the gospel available to believe because it’s a miracle. You are a miracle! Yes, you could give me reasons to prove against that fact; it only makes sense, when we feel convicted by whatever sin separates us from God. And you might say to me, “But Nathan, you don’t understand what I’ve done! You don’t know the skeletons in my closet!” and you’d be right, but I can tell you this! Nor-do-you-mine! And if I’m here preaching a victory over my sin to you, do you dare challenge the validity of the Lion in me? Because shoot… bear with me another mile, and let me tell about this gospel!
It wasn’t a Lion that conquered the sin in you, but a Lamb. The Lamb of God—given as the sacrifice to atone for not only the “virus” of your enemies if their faith reveal it so, but for you, your sin. And if God were to have it be that your enemies be turned back to Him even after the injustice done against you, who are you oh man to talk back to the Lion of God—Jesus Christ. Is it not righteous to hope for those guilty of injustice to experience remorse, a conscience convicted, and forgiveness extended being reconciled to God? Is that not what it means to be as bold as a lion?
Don’t be afraid or a coward to confess the nature of what is hidden deep within you. If you believe in God through Jesus Christ then you have a Lion inside you, willing to help clean up all your mess. Find someone you know in the Lord, someone you can trust with all your soul, and let them pray over you—be healed.
James 5:16 Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.
Proverbs 28 (NASB)—blueletterbible
1 The wicked flee when no one is pursuing, But the righteous are bold as a lion. 2 By the transgression of a land many are its princes, But by a man of understanding and knowledge, so it endures. 3 A poor man who oppresses the lowly Is like a driving rain which leaves no food. 4 Those who forsake the law praise the wicked, But those who keep the law strive with them. 5 Evil men do not understand justice, But those who seek the LORD understand all things. 6 Better is the poor who walks in his integrity Than he who is crooked though he be rich. 7 He who keeps the law is a discerning son, But he who is a companion of gluttons humiliates his father. 8 He who increases his wealth by interest and usury Gathers it for him who is gracious to the poor. 9 He who turns away his ear from listening to the law, Even his prayer is an abomination. 10 He who leads the upright astray in an evil way Will himself fall into his own pit, But the blameless will inherit good. 11 The rich man is wise in his own eyes, But the poor who has understanding sees through him. 12 When the righteous triumph, there is great glory, But when the wicked rise, men hide themselves. 13 He who conceals his transgressions will not prosper, But he who confesses and forsakes them will find compassion. 14 How blessed is the man who fears always, But he who hardens his heart will fall into calamity. 15 Like a roaring lion and a rushing bear Is a wicked ruler over a poor people. 16 A leader who is a great oppressor lacks understanding, But he who hates unjust gain will prolong his days. 17 A man who is laden with the guilt of human blood Will be a fugitive until death; let no one support him. 18 He who walks blamelessly will be delivered, But he who is crooked will fall all at once. 19 He who tills his land will have plenty of food, But he who follows empty pursuits will have poverty in plenty. 20 A faithful man will abound with blessings, But he who makes haste to be rich will not go unpunished. 21 To show partiality is not good, Because for a piece of bread a man will transgress. 22 A man with an evil eye hastens after wealth And does not know that want will come upon him. 23 He who rebukes a man will afterward find more favor Than he who flatters with the tongue. 24 He who robs his father or his mother And says, “It is not a transgression,” Is the companion of a man who destroys. 25 An arrogant man stirs up strife, But he who trusts in the LORD will prosper. 26 He who trusts in his own heart is a fool, But he who walks wisely will be delivered. 27 He who gives to the poor will never want, But he who shuts his eyes will have many curses. 28 When the wicked rise, men hide themselves; But when they perish, the righteous increase.
See here, (28:1—Matthew Henry Commentary)
1. What continual frights those are subject to that go on in wicked ways. Guilt in the conscience makes men a terror to themselves, so that they are ready to flee when none pursues; like one that absconds for debt, who thinks every one he meets a bailiff. Though they pretend to be easy, there are secret fears which haunt them wherever they go, so that they fear where no present or imminent danger is, Ps. 53:5. Those that have made God their enemy, and know it, cannot but see the whole creation at war with them, and therefore can have no true enjoyment of themselves, no confidence, no courage, but a fearful looking for of judgment. Sin makes men cowards.
Degeneres animos timor arguit- Fear argues a degenerate soul.—Virgil Quos diri conscia facti mens habet attonitos- The consciousness of atrocious crimes astonishes and confounds.—Juvenal
If they flee when none pursues, what will they do when they shall see God himself pursuing them with his armies? Job 20:24; 15:24. See Deu. 28:25; Lev. 26:36.
2. What a holy security and serenity of mind those enjoy who keep conscience void of offence and so keep themselves in the love of God: The righteous are bold as a lion, as a young lion; in the greatest dangers they have a God of almighty power to trust to. Therefore will not we fear though the earth be removed. Whatever difficulties they meet with in the way of their duty, they are not daunted by them. None of those things move me.
Hie murus aheneus esto, nil conscire sibi-
Be this thy brazen bulwark of defence,
Still to preserve thy conscious innocence.—Hor.
-One verse at a time.