Its been awhile since I blogged about Proverbs 16 but wanted to continue on with verses six and seven. It says:
By steadfast love and faithfulness iniquity is atoned for,
and by the fear of the LORD one turns away from evil.
When a man’s ways please the LORD,
he makes even his enemies to be at peace with him.
As we have already established in the blogs before this we see that God is in control of all things. The plans we make and the intentions of our heart are already known and judged by Him. The Proverb even goes as far to say that God has made the evil for punishment. Now as we enter verses six and seven we are given a look at what it means to be wise and repent. Where the first few verses speak of God’s glory and control we see in these verses how to avoid the wrath of an obviously powerful God.
There are few things that need to be pointed out.
The first is found in verse six in which we see sacrificial language being used. The phrase “atoned for” specifically would have brought up images of temple sacrifice to its hearers. So what does the proverb say atones for iniquity? Steadfast love and faithfulness. These two words are the responses of our hearts for a God that we love. But what does that love look like?
The statement that gives us a clearer picture is, “by fear of the LORD one turns from evil”. We must realize that within all love is an amount of fear. However many times we have to redefine what fear is in order to understand why this is true. We to often relate fear to horror movies and scary moments. Instead we should understand fear of the Lord to be much like the fear you had/have for your parents as a child. By this I mean that when your mother or father told you to clean your room or take out the trash you were expected to do so and the result of not doing the task was punishment. If we are honest there was, and might still be, a loving fear or your parents. You knew as a child that they could, if they choose too, take privileges and things away from you if you disobeyed. It seemed like a bad thing for them to do when you were a child, but you can now hopefully see it was them loving you and teaching you. The same is true for the Lord. If you do not have a healthy fear of the Lord you will continue to sin because you do not think that there is any real punishment for your sin.
As we move into verse seven we see a curious verse about our enemies. The Proverb is consistant and points out that, as we have seen in previous verses, that God is in control and when one’s ways please Him he will “make even his enemies be at peace with him.” I think that we should start off by stating that this does not say that when you follow God you will have no enemies. In fact any study of scripture would prove that wrong. However what it does seem to point to is that if one is continually concerned with doing Gods will, which is a will that many times urges us to make peace with all people and to live at peace, it will be hard for anyone to be your enemy simply based on the fact that you have done nothing wrong. This verse should bring us both hope and comfort because it points to God’s control and plan in our lives.
With all this being said I leave you with these two questions to ask yourself:
1) Do you have a healthy fear of the Lord? How does your life reflect this?
2) Do you have any enemies? If so is there something you can do to repair this so that you can say that God made even my enemies be at peace with me.