Since God Created humans, only God can provide specific understanding of human behavior. God gave Solomon Divine Wisdom (1 Kings Chapters 3 and 10) to explain what and why behavior is as it is, andProverbs 10:1-24:34 are randomly written, as if they were Solomon’s judgments about individual cases brought to him, or simply God-given explanations about life. New Testament passages may help see the continuation of Wisdom offered through Jesus Christ.
Proverbs 14:2: “He who walks in his uprightness fears the LORD, But he who is perverse in his ways despises Him.”
To “walk in uprightness” shows a person who is not just acting right, talking right, promising to be right, but someone who actually makes his conviction his lifestyle. “He who trusts in his own heart is a fool, But whoever walks wisely will be delivered” (Proverbs 28:26). “Little children, let no one deceive you. He who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous” (1 John 3:7). One who truly “fears the LORD” will have an on-going practice of respectful obedience. Other proverbs that discuss this same theme include: “The fear of the LORD is the instruction of wisdom, And before honor is humility” (Proverbs 15:33); “In mercy and truth Atonement is provided for iniquity; And by the fear of the LORD one departs from evil” (Proverbs 16:6);“The fear of the LORD leads to life, And he who has it will abide in satisfaction; He will not be visited with evil”(Proverbs 19:23); “By humility and the fear of the LORD Are riches and honor and life” (Proverbs 22:4). “The fear of the LORD” doesn’t mean being scared of God, but rather to deeply respect and bow in awe before the LORD because of what He has done, does, and will do on our Earth. That “fear” causes one to walk uprightly, learn the “instruction of wisdom,” depart from evil, and be blessed with “riches and honor and life.” Both the “righteous” and “perverse” will be held accountable for their “walk,” and Solomon will later say: “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God and keep His commandments, For this is man’s all. For God will bring every work into judgment, Including every secret thing, Whether good or evil” (Ecclesiastes 12:13-14).
Conversely, one who is “perverse in his ways despises” (lightly regards, turns up the nose, profanes) God. Other proverbs show being “perverse” is the way of feeling “guilty,” and is more difficult because of “thornsand snares:” “The way of a guilty man is perverse; But as for the pure, his work is right” (Proverbs 21:8); “Thorns and snares are in the way of the perverse; He who guards his soul will be far from them” (Proverbs 22:5). The New Testament upholds the danger of remaining “perverse,” that is, contrary to God’s Will, for Paul said: “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life. And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart” (Galatians 6:7-9). The choice for everyone is to “fear God,” or fool our own self, but God will reward us accordingly.
All Scriptures and comments are based upon the New King James Version, unless otherwise noted.
-John T Polk II preaches for the Dover (TN) Church of Christ