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Proverbs 24:1-22 (ESV)
24 Be not envious of evil men, nor desire to be with them, 2 for their hearts devise violence, and their lips talk of trouble. 3 By wisdom a house is built, and by understanding it is established; 4 by knowledge the rooms are filled with all precious and pleasant riches. 5 A wise man is full of strength, and a man of knowledge enhances his might, 6 for by wise guidance you can wage your war, and in abundance of counselors there is victory. 7 Wisdom is too high for a fool; in the gate he does not open his mouth. 8 Whoever plans to do evil will be called a schemer. 9 The devising of folly is sin, and the scoffer is an abomination to mankind. 10 If you faint in the day of adversity, your strength is small. 11 Rescue those who are being taken away to death; hold back those who are stumbling to the slaughter. 12 If you say, “Behold, we did not know this,” does not he who weighs the heart perceive it? Does not he who keeps watch over your soul know it, and will he not repay man according to his work? 13 My son, eat honey, for it is good, and the drippings of the honeycomb are sweet to your taste. 14 Know that wisdom is such to your soul; if you find it, there will be a future, and your hope will not be cut off. 15 Lie not in wait as a wicked man against the dwelling of the righteous; do no violence to his home; 16 for the righteous falls seven times and rises again, but the wicked stumble in times of calamity. 17 Do not rejoice when your enemy falls, and let not your heart be glad when he stumbles, 18 lest the Lord see it and be displeased, and turn away his anger from him. 19 Fret not yourself because of evildoers, and be not envious of the wicked, 20 for the evil man has no future; the lamp of the wicked will be put out. 21 My son, fear the Lord and the king, and do not join with those who do otherwise, 22 for disaster will arise suddenly from them, and who knows the ruin that will come from them both?
Perseverance is an important theme in the New Testament. Many people will follow Jesus for a short time, but only a few will keep following, even through trials and challenges. (see Mark 4:13-20). Many of today’s proverbs look forward to these themes. Meditate on 4:16-17. God wants us to keep getting up when we stumble, but also to have compassion when our enemy stumbles. This is a powerful example of how true Christians live in ways that are radically different from others. When people see these qualities in us — how we keep getting up after falling, and how we never delight in the falling of others, even our enemies — they take note, because they are seeing the fruit of the Holy Spirit. Pray for the Holy Spirit to increase these qualities in your life.