While the last chapter largely contained practical insights and common-sense teachings, this chapter gives greater focus on the deeds of God’s righteous people and how they will live in a covenant relationship with Him. Proverbs 28:1 tells us that the wicked flee-no doubt because of their sinful deeds-but the righteous are secure because of their relationship with God.
Verses 4 and 7 tell us how the righteous live-heeding God’s instruction. Some Bible versions translate the word ″instruction″ as ″law″, reflecting some scholars’ belief that the instruction here refers to the law that God gave His people after redeeming them at the Passover and delivering them from Egypt. The law showed them how they were to live as His redeemed people; obeying the law was not the way to earn redemption-″do this and live″-but the fruit of redemption-″live and do this″.
Unlike those who mix with bad company (v. 7), the discerning son keeps the law. If we neglect the law, however, God will not hear us (v. 9). Our prayers become detestable because we are not hearing and obeying Him. Psalm 66:18, too, says: ″If I had cherished sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened.″ Obedience is never easy, nor is it always advantageous; it is thus an act of trust. To trust in the Lord is to live in the fear of the Lord, walking in accordance with His ways and wisdom. It also means listening to Him and being sensitive to sin, confessing and renouncing it instead of hiding it (Proverbs 28:13).
Trusting in the Lord and walking in His ways will lead to true prosperity and safety (vv. 18, 25-26). Those who do the opposite-hardening their hearts against God and pursuing a sinful life-will fall into trouble (vv. 14, 18). Verses 12 and 28 note that the character of leaders-whether good or evil-will have a great impact on the people under them. Today, the rejection of God and His ways shows itself in the lack of respect for life (murder), body (adultery), goods (stealing), reputation (false testimony), and self (covetous consumerism). Nations suffer when the wicked rise to positions of authority.
Our only hope is in the redemption that God alone gives. Only He can turn the wicked into the righteous, the disgraceful into the discerning, the troubled into the blessed, the perverse into the blameless, and the self-centred into the faithful. It is little wonder, therefore, that Paul calls Christ our wisdom from God-″our righteousness, holiness and redemption″ (1 Corinthians 1:30).
What practical instructions does Proverbs 28 give on how we can live a righteous life (vv. 4-5, 7, 13-14, 25-26)? How can you put them into practice in your own life?
What would trusting in the Lord look like in your life?