Be Righteous and Receive the Blessing – Exploring the Passages

Below are some preliminary questions to assist in the study of this passage. For a comprehensive study of the passage, download the Study Guide (PDF download).

1. How is the righteous man described in comparison to the evil man? See Proverbs 29:6 (printed below)

An evil man is snared by his own transgression; but a righteous man can sing and rejoice. (Proverbs 29:6)

The man who chooses to commit a sin is portrayed as an animal that goes for the bait, only to be snared by the trap. The point is that you cannot control sin; on the contrary, it controls you (note John 8:34). The righteous man, on the other hand, is pictured as being as free as a songbird. He is free from guilt and free from condemnation.

2. What does Proverbs 15:8 (printed below) tell us about the prayer of the upright?

The sacrifice offered by the wicked is detestable to Jehovah; but the prayer of the upright is his delight. (Proverbs 15:8)

The Lord not only listens to the prayers of His people as they endeavor to live lives that are pleasing to Him, He “delights” in their prayers; they are precious to Him. Note: in the Old Testament tabernacle the altar of incense (representing the prayers of God’s people) was the article of furniture nearest to the immediate presence of God, it was placed squarely before the ark of the covenant, with only the curtain separating the two, thereby showing that the prayers of His people are exceedingly precious to the Lord. We tend to view prayer as a duty to be performed; but may the Lord help us to also view prayer as a time of communion with the Lord, a time that is desirable and precious to the Him.

3. Consider Proverbs 12:21 (printed below.) In what sense is this true? Does this mean the righteous will live lives that are free from all adversity?

No harm shall befall the righteous, but the wicked will be filled with calamity. (Proverbs 12:21)

The Scriptures make clear that the way of righteousness will not be left unopposed by the forces of evil present in this world (note 2 Timothy 3:12). Yet Proverbs 12:21a assures us that “no harm shall befall the righteous.” This does not mean that the righteous man will be free from the attacks of the devil and evil men; Psalm 34:19a informs us that “the afflictions of the righteous are many;” rather, what it means is that no wicked attack shall prevail against the righteous so as to destroy him. As Proverbs 24:16a testifies, “a righteous man falls seven times, but rises again.” The righteous, even though exposed to the attacks of evil, are preserved by the Lord and finally delivered by Him.

4. What promise is given to the righteous in Proverbs 29:16 (printed below?)

When the wicked increase in number transgression increases, but the righteous shall see their downfall. (Proverbs 29:16)

When wicked men increase in number and influence and power, there is an increase in transgression: they promote evil and suppress righteousness. But the Lord has appointed a day in which He will overthrow the wicked, and the righteous shall have the satisfaction of seeing that day and sharing in that triumph (note Psalm 37:34).

5. What assurance is provided for the righteous in Proverbs 14:32 (printed below?)

The wicked man is thrown down by his calamity, but the righteous man has a refuge in his death. (Proverbs 14:32)

There is a refuge for the righteous in the hour of his death. Death may be portrayed here as a rising flood water: as the wicked struggle to survive its onslaught they are thrust under its current and swallowed up. But for the righteous a refuge is provided to convey him safely through those deep flood waters, that Refuge is the Lord Jesus Christ, the Savior in whom the righteous trust. Indeed, death itself is a type of refuge for the righteous because it removes him from the presence of evil and ushers him into the immediate presence of Christ (note Isaiah 57:1-2 and 2 Corinthians 5:8).