Proverbs 16:5-8

In Proverbs 16:5-8 Solomon reminds us that God isn’t fond of pride or arrogance.  In fact, God resists the proud and regards them as an abomination. The proud man or woman imitates Satan in his proud rebellion against God.  It isn’t something that we should expect to get away with. “Everyone who is arrogant in heart is an abomination to the Lord; be assured, he will not go unpunished.” One proud man or woman cannot succeed against God, but neither can many proud men or women. God simply won’t tolerate pride, which is really pushing God off His rightful place as King of Kings and putting self on the throne that only belongs to Him. Even if they join forces against God as they did at Babel will not go unpunished, as God demonstrated at Babel.

Sin carries a price.  It can never just be overlooked or ignored by a righteous God.  But God in His mercy and truth has provided atonement for sin. God’s mercy prompted the great sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross, and His truth made it necessary to make atonement in a way that honored the righteousness of God. This is the only way to cover our sin.  We can’t earn our way out of it on our own. “By steadfast love and faithfulness iniquity is atoned for, and by the fear of the Lord one turns away from evil.” The great principle of the fear of the LORD is not only the beginning of wisdom, it is also the foundation of a God-honoring life. To live in the fear of the LORD is to depart from evil.

Solomon reminds us that it is possible for a man or woman to live a life that pleases God. This isn’t the idea that we can be perfectly pleasing to God before our salvation is completed in resurrection and glorification. Instead the idea is that in general, a man or woman can honor and please the LORD with their life. We really can live a life that pleases God if we walk in obedience to His Word and His leading. “When a man’s ways please the Lord, he makes even his enemies to be at peace with him.” One of God’s blessings on the man or woman who pleases Him is to give them peace with others, even extending to their enemies. God smiles on us when we walk with Him.

Solomon also makes it clear that having stuff is not the measure of a good life. Sometimes those who are righteous in this world have little of the material comforts of this world. “Better is a little with righteousness than great revenues with injustice.” Someone who has great wealth (revenues) but little righteousness is worse off than the righteous man or woman who has little materially in this world. Vast revenues without justice can never give a peaceful conscience, freedom from guilt and sin, the love and joy of God, and a hundred other things the righteous enjoy. It isn’t that the only two options in life are to have either little with righteousness or great revenues without justice. It’s that when those two options are compared, the first is clearly better.

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