Proverbs 21: 2020 Bible Challenge

Devotional Text and Mediation for the Day

Tom Fox

Proverbs 21:21

Have you ever seen someone running really fast down a city street, and wonder, are they chasing after someone, or are they being chased? Either way, pursuing or chasing requires much energy and perhaps a sense of urgency. As the visual picture of a chase could be positive or negative, so one’s pursuits can be positive or negative. Disaster pursues sinners (Prov. 13:21) and those pursuing evil will die (Prov. 11:19). Twice Proverbs warns of following worthless pursuits (Prov. 12:11; 28:19). However, by stark contrast, God loves those who pursue righteousness (Prov. 15:9).

Our text today concentrates on the concept of pursuing righteousness and kindness, thus finding life. On the surface, this all sounds logical and rational; but, the danger in reading about pursuing righteousness is the reality we may fool ourselves into thinking we are something that we are not. Or worse yet, that we can fool ourselves into thinking I can do something to earn favor with God. The Apostle Paul warns that Israel pursued a law that would lead to righteousness but did not succeed in reaching the law because they did it based on works and not faith (Romans 9:31-32a).

What Jesus wants us to present to Him is not goodness, or right behavior, but our sin. In exchange He gives righteousness. We must relinquish any pretense of bringing anything other than our sin. We have nothing to offer God, nor are we worthy of anything.[1] Is it possible that your pursuit of righteousness is based on doing something for God to gain favor? The Word of God is clear that we need to approach God with humility and reverential respect (fear) with a heart of obedience. As we meditate on 21:21 today, ask yourself: Am I approaching God humbly and submissively? Is there anything in my motivation or thinking where I am trying to please God superficially? Have you examined your motivation for pursuing righteousness? Does it include daily confession of sin to cleanse our unrighteousness (1Jn. 1:9)?

Read Proverbs 21: |

[1] Chambers, O. (1963). My utmost for His highest: selections for the year: the golden book of Oswald Chambers. Westwood, NJ: Barbour., p. 68.


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