Proverbs 29:1-14 (NIV)
29 Whoever remains stiff-necked after many rebukes will suddenly be destroyed—without remedy. 2 When the righteous thrive, the people rejoice; when the wicked rule, the people groan. 3 A man who loves wisdom brings joy to his father, but a companion of prostitutes squanders his wealth. 4 By justice a king gives a country stability, but those who are greedy for bribes tear it down. 5 Those who flatter their neighbors
are spreading nets for their feet. 6 Evildoers are snared by their own sin, but the righteous shout for joy and are glad. 7 The righteous care about justice for the poor, but the wicked have no such concern. 8 Mockers stir up a city, but the wise turn away anger. 9 If a wise person goes to court with a fool, the fool rages and scoffs, and there is no peace. 10 The bloodthirsty hate a person of integrity and seek to kill the upright. 11 Fools give full vent to their rage, but the wise bring calm in the end. 12 If a ruler listens to lies, all his officials become wicked. 13 The poor and the oppressor have this in common: The Lord gives sight to the eyes of both. 14 If a king judges the poor with fairness, his throne will be established forever.
What might the righteous person in verse 6 sing about?
Loving Lord, You have created us with free will. That freedom can be a blessing or a snare depending upon our hearts. People can become enamored with power, fame, position, and wealth. When those things are the driving force in their lives, they make unwise choices. Those with an evil character, will cheat, lie, steal, participate in bribes, abuse others for their own selfish gain. They think they are celebrating life and freedom through their immoral behavior, but it will eventually be a trap to snare them. Their selfish pride makes their heart hard and cold. They will always need to watch their back in fear of retaliation, exposure, and justice for their evil deeds that could ruin them. If transgression belongs to the evil man, then singing and rejoicing belong to the righteous. The singing and rejoicing are an expression of what is inside them, just as much as the transgression is an expression of what is inside the evil man. The righteous repent of any wrongdoing and know that You forgive them. Therefore the righteous person has a clear conscience, is filled with gratitude, and can sing and be glad. The righteous do things for the benefit of the entire community, not just their own interests. The righteous respect life and the rights of other people. It requires great integrity and moral courage to withstand the temptations of worldly policy and self-interest. Being righteous provides the freedom to enjoy each day, not looking back, but hoping for the future, released from fear and regret, and confident and secure in Your love. One mark of the righteous is thoughtful compassion for the poor and needy. I am inspired by the examples of churches, individuals, and organizations that care deeply about justice for the poor, oppressed, and innocent. Lord, I thank You for Your grace and forgiveness that has freed my heart from the burden of my past and the weight of my sins. Let me stand strong in my faith, follow laws, obey the authority of the land, and from Your Word. Help me to make a real difference in this world as I make choices that honor you, to generously use my life for good, and bring justice to those in need. I rejoice in the joy of Your salvation and I want my life to reflect Your love to all. Let my life be filled with songs of praise. Amen