Click this link to hear an audio version of the below text narrated by SOTH member Jerry Rhinehart:
Proverbs 21:16-31 (ESV)
16 One who wanders from the way of good sense will rest in the assembly of the dead. 17 Whoever loves pleasure will be a poor man; he who loves wine and oil will not be rich. 18 The wicked is a ransom for the righteous, and the traitor for the upright. 19 It is better to live in a desert land than with a quarrelsome and fretful woman. 20 Precious treasure and oil are in a wise man’s dwelling, but a foolish man devours it. 21 Whoever pursues righteousness and kindness will find life, righteousness, and honor. 22 A wise man scales the city of the mighty and brings down the stronghold in which they trust. 23 Whoever keeps his mouth and his tongue keeps himself out of trouble. 24 “Scoffer” is the name of the arrogant, haughty man who acts with arrogant pride. 25 The desire of the sluggard kills him, for his hands refuse to labor. 26 All day long he craves and craves, but the righteous gives and does not hold back. 27 The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination; how much more when he brings it with evil intent. 28 A false witness will perish, but the word of a man who hears will endure. 29 A wicked man puts on a bold face, but the upright gives thought to his ways. 30 No wisdom, no understanding, no counsel can avail against the Lord. 31 The horse is made ready for the day of battle, but the victory belongs to the Lord.
Today’s reading encourages us to put energy into righteous living. This can be a confusing teaching. We are to passively accept Jesus’ perfect life as a substitute for our wicked lives, and trust that Jesus’ righteousness makes us acceptable to God. At the same time, we are to actively and aggressively strive to do the right thing to others (21:21, 26, etc.). The idea is that as God has blessed us with undeserved salvation, we are to do everything in our power to bless others.