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Adversity and the Righteous Man

Lessons from Proverbs

  1. The Righteous, are at times, delivered from adversity
    1. Proverbs 11:4-9
      Riches do not profit in the day of wrath,
      righteousness delivers from death.
      The righteousness of the blameless keeps his way straight,
      but the wicked falls
      by his own wickedness.
      The righteousness of the upright delivers them,
      but the
      treacherous are taken captive by their lust.
      When the wicked dies, his hope will perish,
      and the expectation of wealth perishes too.
      The righteous is delivered from trouble,
      and the
      wicked walks into it instead.
      With his mouth the godless man would destroy his neighbor,
      by knowledge the righteous are delivered.

      1. A general truth, not an absolute. The wicked and their predicament is contrasted with the righteous and their deliverance. It is generally true that those who are wicked find themselves in trouble. Trouble with the law. Trouble with family. Trouble with work. The wicked in this passage are focused on riches (v 4), lust (v 6), and wealth (v 7).
      2. Day of wrath (v4) –obviously refers to a crisis in one’s life.” S. Mitchell
        1. In the times of crisis, righteousness delivers
      3. Wicked falls by his own wickedness (v5)
        1. Have we ever observed this? Ever seen a wicked person fall because of his own wickedness?
          1. The wicked person by their actions is condemned. Are imprisoned. Etc.
        2. If the wicked falls by his own wickedness, do the righteous remain upright because of his own righteousness?
      4. Truth of verse 8– Vindication-Have you ever seen the wicked walk into trouble? Ever seen them make matters worse? Ever seen them literally walking into what the righteous have escaped?
        1. Mordecai is delivered from the gallows. Daniel from the lion’s den. The Israelites from the Red Sea. In each case the wicked walked into it instead.
      5. Compare: vs 9 with Proverbs 12:6, 13
        1. Delivered and condemned through speech- Proverbs 12:6, 13
          The words of the wicked lie in wait for blood,
          but the
          mouth of the upright delivers them.
          13 An evil man is ensnared by the transgression of his lips, but the righteous escapes from trouble.
        2. How often do wicked words lie in wait for blood? Words with bad intentions? Words we use for the purpose to hurt?These words can ensnare the wicked. They can come back to haunt them (Facebook is a powerful example).
          1. The words of the wicked lie in wait. But if we are righteous in our speech we are not going to fall into this trap.
    2. Point # 1– Often times, the righteous are delivered. We should find comfort in the promise of deliverance.
  1. The Righteous are to be strong before the wicked
    1. Proverbs 24:10
      If you faint in the day of adversity, your strength is small.

      1. A basic truth.
      2. The righteous are called to be strong.
        1. Dt 11:8 tells us to keep the commandments THAT WE MAY BE STRONG
          1. There is strength in obedience
        2. Over and over in Deut and Joshua we are called to be strong and courageous
        3. Shecaniah encouraged to “be strong and do it” (Ez 10:4)
        4. A man of God came to King Amaziah and warned him of joining with Israel. Told him he should not, but then said, “but go, act, be strong for the battle” (2 Chron 25:8)
        5. Ezra encouraged the people to avoid sin that they may “be strong” (9:12)
          1. There is strength in avoiding sin
        6. Paul told us to “act like men, be strong” (I Cor 16:13) and “be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might” (Eph 6:10)
    2. Proverbs 25:26
      Like a muddied spring or a polluted fountain
      is a righteous man who gives way before the wicked.
    3. Compare with I Kings 22:1-4, 44, II Chron 19:1-2
    4. Too many times men who are supposed to be strong. Supposed to stand for and fight against the wicked have yielded. They have “given way” to them. A man who is viewed as righteous has polluted his reputation when he fails to stand for what is right. When he yields before the wicked.
    5. Church that I know where good men yielded
    6. Solomon reminds us that as righteous followers of God we need to be strong in the day of adversity. To not give way before the wicked. Christian’s are supposed to be strong because there is strength in righteousness. There is strength in holiness. There is strength there because that is where God is.
  2. The Righteous are strong and brave in times of adversity
    1. Proverbs 28:1
      The wicked flee when no one pursues, but the righteous are bold as a lion.

      1. Criminals run at sight of cop
    2. Proverbs 24:16
      for the righteous falls seven times and rises again, but the wicked stumble in times of calamity.
    3. Proverbs 10:25
      When the tempest passes, the wicked is no more, but the righteous is established forever.

      1. The righteous are not moved by the storms of life- or at least if they do fall in these storms, they rise again! Their falls are momentary not a lifetime.
      2. Contrast Judas and Peter
    4. Point # 2– Be strong in the face of adversity and wickedness. We are strengthened by the comfort and promise of deliverance. We are strengthened by the reality that these hardships are but for a moment. Therefore, do not fear what the wicked or adversity can do to you.
  3. The Righteous do not fret at the adversity caused by the wicked
    1. Proverbs 24:19-20
      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.

      1. We should not fret because of them. We should not worry about what they can do to us, nor should we be consumed about their apparent success in life because ultimately the wicked have no future.
      2. Do we ever find ourselves fretting over the wicked? We resent their money and success. We resent their power – Don’t be envious of them.
      3. Personally this is difficult for me. The reality is we should pity them, because they have no future.
    2. Point # 3– Do not fret about the wicked
      1. They will fall
      2. They will be destroyed with Satan and his angels
      3. God knows- Psalms 34:15-19
        1. He knows their wickedness
        2. He knows the acts of the righteous as well
      4. Since God knows, we have only to “be still” and “wait”- Psalms 37:7-13
  4. The Righteous are kind in adversity
    1. Proverbs 24:28-29
      Be not a witness against your neighbor without cause, and do not deceive with your lips. 29 Do not say, “I will do to him as he has done to me; I will pay the man back for what he has done.”

      1. Our attitude towards the evil doers: We should not fret over them, nor should we rejoice when they fall (see 24:17-18). Rather, the righteous should be kind to the wicked. Kind when they are bringing adversity in our lives.
      2. It is so human to seek revenge. To hope for the fall of your enemy. To repay for what he has done to us. But that should not be the way of the righteous.
      3. It was not the way the Lord wanted his people to treat each other (Love your enemy- Lev 19:18). It was not how Christ responded. It was not how Stephen responded and it cannot be how we respond.
      4. Are you kind in times of adversity or do you lash out? If you were called as a witness would you respond differently if one was your family and one your enemy?
    2. Point # 4– Do not allow adversity/evil to dictate your life
  5. Adversity will come. 
    1. How we respond to adversity is a reflection of the man we are.
    2. How we respond to it helps to shape the man we will become.
      1. What will become of you when the storm passes over your life?
      2. Will you let it dictate your response to others?
      3. Will you let fret creep into your life through adversity?
    3. Handle the storms in your life with the wisdom of Solomon and you will be delivered.
    4. End with Psalm 37:37-40– Note:
      1. There is a future- a hope –vs 37
      2. There is a punishment for the wicked- v 38
      3. There is deliverance and salvation in those who seek refuge in God- vs 40