My Son, Fear the Lord!

Proverbs 24:11–22 (NKJV)

11 Deliver those who are drawn toward death,
And hold back those stumbling to the slaughter.
12 If you say, “Surely we did not know this,”
Does not He who weighs the hearts consider it?
He who keeps your soul, does He not know it?
And will He not render to each man according to his deeds?
13 My son, eat honey because it is good,
And the honeycomb which is sweet to your taste;
14 So shall the knowledge of wisdom be to your soul;
If you have found it, there is a prospect,
And your hope will not be cut off.

15 Do not lie in wait, O wicked man, against the dwelling of the righteous;
Do not plunder his resting place;
16 For a righteous man may fall seven times
And rise again,
But the wicked shall fall by calamity.

17 Do not rejoice when your enemy falls,
And do not let your heart be glad when he stumbles;
18 Lest the LORD see it, and it displease Him,
And He turn away His wrath from him.

19 Do not fret because of evildoers,
Nor be envious of the wicked;
20 For there will be no prospect for the evil man;
The lamp of the wicked will be put out.

21 My son, fear the LORD and the king;
Do not associate with those given to change;
22 For their calamity will rise suddenly,
And who knows the ruin those two can bring?

Verses 11 – 14 speak of the responsibility of the wise to look out for and rescue those headed for destruction.  One cannot claim ignorance and be absolved of responsibility for saving others.  In the same way, believers must seek the wisdom of God and use that wisdom to witness to the lost to save them from sudden and utter destruction.  Conversely, in verses 15 – 16, Solomon warns the evil not to lie in wait to harm or steal from the righteous.  Even if they fall numerous times, the righteous will rise again and the wicked shall fall.  It is a losing game!  In verses 17 & 18, the writer says, “Do not rejoice over the demise of your enemies.”  Even when evil people fall, it is not Godly to mock them or rejoice over their pain or death.  The evil face an eternal punishment, therefore the righteous should mourn for them, not rejoice.  In 19 & 20, Solomon tells the righteous that they should not worry about evildoers, though, because they will not win.  Their riches are not worth envy, for they will disappear.  Finally, in 21 & 22, the reader is instructed to respect and obey the Lord first, and the king second, for they can bring great ruin to their enemies.  Be on the winning side!

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