Jump Start # 3085
Proverbs 17:25 “He who justifies the wicked and he who condemns the righteous, both of them alike are an abomination to the Lord.”
Our verse today shows how backwards our world is. In fact, this ancient Proverb reminds us that not only has the world been broken for a very long time, nothing is new these days. The wicked is praised, justified and given a pass. The righteous is scorned, ridiculed, blamed and condemned.
Several lessons can be seen here:
First, justifying the wicked does not put the wicked in the clear, at least not with the Lord. Some get away with murder, literally. They do for now. But our Lord is a righteous judge. He can not be bribed, bought off or pressured into changing what is right and just. Our times are filled with corruption, political agendas and one sided justice. Things are not right and not fair. Those that justify the wicked are committing an abomination to the Lord. He sees. He knows that it is not right. The wicked may laugh and scoff at how they escape the arm of the law, but God knows. We must stand with the Lord and not allow the voice of the public to determine what is right or wrong.
Second, condemning the righteous does not make sense nor is it right. The righteous are just that, right. They are the ones that stand with the Lord. They are the ones that walk with grace, dignity and fairness. They love all, help all and are the ones who make a community bright and hopeful. Yet, here in our passage, the righteous are condemned. They condemned Jesus. They condemned the apostles. Stephen, Antipas and a host of early disciples went to their graves because society had no tolerance for them. God knows. God sees.
Third, our verse is constructed as if it is describing two different people. One justifies the wicked and the other condemns the righteous. Both acts are wrong. Both choices are the wrong choices. Both men have committed abomination or sin with God. Which is worse, justifying wrong or condemning the right? Both are wrong. There is not a more wrong and a lesser wrong. Missing the right answer by one point is still missing the right answer. Some sins have greater consequences than others. Some sins are more visible than others. Some sins have a longer impact than others. But let’s not try to lessen one sin by putting it beside a greater sin. Murder is bad. Hating someone that leads to murder is just as bad. The victim of murder is dead. He’s not coming back. The hatred may never manifest itself into violence. Hatred is wrong. From our perspective, murder seems worse than hatred. Both are sins. Both rebel and disappoint God. Both lead to spiritual death. Justifying wrong and condemning right—both are wrong.
Fourth, there would also appear to be an imbalance in the thinking that leads to these conclusions. Justifying the wicked takes some effort to shift the blame, point the finger at others, find an excuse, all along knowing that this person is guilty but someone is working hard to justify him. And, on the other side, there is nothing in the righteous that would make them guilty. So, someone has to come up with something. A lie is told. Something is blamed on them that they didn’t do. To condemn the innocent or righteous, something is made up that isn’t true. On both standpoints, a lot of effort went to change the facts and hide the evidence and shift the blame. The wicked is justified and the righteous is condemned.
Although I do not think many of the Proverbs are intended to be Messianic, this one sure points that way. The wicked justified, sounds like Barabbas. He was guilty. He likely was to be in the Calvary spot between the thieves. The crowd cried for his release. The wicked was justified. And, innocent Jesus went to the cross. Pilate knew there was nothing in Jesus worthy of death. The righteous was condemned.
This crooked justice that allows the wicked to be cleared and the righteous to be condemned places a lot of burden and hardship upon those who want to see things right and fair. Things are not right and fair. What ought to be, isn’t. And, it is the citizens and especially, the righteous that suffer. However, our suffering is but for a moment. In time, God will bring all to justice and God’s will always prevails.
We must continue to do what is right. We must realize that some have turned things inside out and upside down, but in time, God will straighten all of this out. Not only will the wicked find the justice of God, but those who have justified the wicked will receive a punishment from the Lord. And, the righteous will be rewarded and those that condemned the righteous, they will see the justice of God.
All of this makes us thankful that “This world is not our home.” Things are not right here. But we are not from here. Our home is Heaven and that’s where everything will be right.