In Proverbs 29, we see the difference in lifestyle, actions, and attitude between those who choose wisdom and those who do not, and the results of their choice. They include:
- The man who seeks wisdom will be a blessing to his parents, but the man who rejects wisdom wastes his money on wild living (v. 3).
- The wise king who seeks to do right and rule justly will bring blessings to the nation, but the corrupt ruler will destroy it (v. 4).
- Those who choose evil will find themselves trapped by it, but those who choose wisdom will find joy (v. 6).
- Those who reject wisdom stir up trouble with their mocking and careless words, but the wise will bring peace (v. 8).
- Those who reject wisdom are filled with pride but will ultimately be brought low, while the wise remain humble and will ultimately be honoured (v. 23).
Besides contrasting the actions and fruit of those who choose or reject wisdom, Proverbs 29 also makes several observations about those who choose to live foolishly:
- Their stubbornness and repeated refusal to heed wise corrections will lead to their destruction (v. 1).
- Their use of flattery (perhaps to trap others) will eventually land them in a trap (v. 5).
- Those who choose evil will always be opposed to those who choose good (v. 10).
- The undiscerning ruler who does not seek to distinguish between truth and lies will breed corruption and evil (v. 12).
- The servant who is lazy, rebellious, or stubborn will not listen to verbal correction, and may need stronger discipline to make him turn away from his foolishness (v. 19).
- Impulsive, hasty speech make for fools of the worst kind (v. 20).
- Those who become accomplices in crime will find themselves in a bind when told to testify: either they tell the truth and incriminate themselves, or lie and break their oath (v. 24).
By contrasting the outcomes of those who live wisely and those who don’t, and by showing us the consequences of those who live foolishly, Proverbs 29 makes clear what we should do-and should not do-to avoid living in a manner that contradicts God’s ways. It ends with a strong note that the righteous and wicked will always be at odds with one another (v. 27). There is no middle ground. This irreconcilable conflict between good and evil can be seen in the repeated use of the expression ″the Lord detests″ throughout Proverbs (3:32; 11:1, 20; 12:22; 15:8-9, 26; 17:15; 20:10, 23). Just as the Lord detests evil, the wise will reflect His righteousness and detest all that is wicked too (29:27).
In 2 Corinthians 6:14-18, Paul stresses the believer’s solidarity with God, noting that righteousness and wickedness cannot have anything in common. He goes on to quote Leviticus 26:12 and Isaiah 52:11, which call us to walk in God’s ways and to be holy, to separate ourselves from unrighteousness.
Jesus makes the same call. In John 8:44, He warns those living in solidarity with their father, the devil. In contrast, the family of God lives in solidarity with the Father and does the Father’s will (Matthew 12:49-50).
Take another look at the contrasts between those who choose wisdom and those who do not in Proverbs 29. Which ones can you apply to your life?
What does it mean to be in union with Christ? What changes can you make to live in solidarity with Him and the Father’s will?