Many of Solomon’s Proverbs have served as warnings in their applications; however, the closing verses of Proverbs 21 serve as a call to action for God’s people. Proverbs 21:21 states the threefold reward for those who pursue righteousness and mercy.
Proverbs 21:21 – “He that followeth after [pursues; chase] righteousness [right; just] and mercy [goodness; kindness; steadfast love] findeth [meet; get; attain] life, righteousness [right; just], and honour [glory; majestic reputation].”
I know of none who start life aspiring to become a disheartened, guilt-ridden failure. However, that is a lost sinner’s standing before God apart from the righteousness of Christ. “Life, righteousness, and honor” belong to the man who pursues God’s righteousness and knows His mercy. We know the Bible declares all are sinners by nature (Romans 3:10, 23) and “all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags” (Isaiah 64:6). There is nothing a sinner can do to merit God’s favor apart from Christ’s imputed righteousness put to their spiritual account (Romans 3:20, 22-24; 5:1).
Proverbs 21:22- “A wise [cunning; discerning] man scaleth [ascend; climb; overpower] the city [town; encampment] of the mighty [powerful; giant; tryant], and casteth down [bring down; take down] the strength [might; boldness] of the confidence [security; trust; object of confidence] thereof.”
The backdrop of Proverbs 21:22 is that of an army attacking an enemy that has sought shelter behind the walls of a fortified city. The enemy believes he is safe like drunken Belshazzar behind the great walls of Babylon (Daniel 5), but he underestimates the wisdom and cunning of his enemy.
A wise man studies his enemy and knows his strengths and weaknesses. Perhaps lacking in physical numbers and at a disadvantage in position he, by wisdom and caution, overcomes his enemy’s confidence and position.
Ecclesiastes 9:16 – “Then said I, Wisdom is better than strength…”
Copyright 2015 – Travis D. Smith