Finding Favor with God
Category : General
Proverbs 12: 2 (KJV)
2A good man obtaineth favour of the Lord: but a man of wicked devices will he condemn.
“The man who covers selfish and vicious designs under a profession of religion or friendship, will be condemned.”
We are really as we are with God. Those are happy, truly happy, forever happy, that obtain favor of the Lord, though the world frown upon them, and they find little favor with men; for in God’s favor is life, and that is the fountain of all good.
Here we come face to face with the characteristics of both the classes of men. There is a beautiful relation of the man of wisdom to God. He is in favor with God, whereas the man of unwisdom is condemned of God (Proverbs 12:2). We need to take noted that the ethics of Proverbs is most deeply religious. All moral obligations derive from the Creator, and the foundation of wisdom is over and over again stated to be in the fear of the Lord. Many a moral teacher fails because he tries to induce men to act right without first setting their hearts right.
However, we need to understand that it is God who makes him good; for every child of Adam is bad till the grace of God changes his heart. Moreover, while he walks in the path of obedience he increases in goodness, and consequently in the favor of the Lord. As we live and interact with our society, we come to see that there is a vast and marked difference between the righteous and the wicked both in their characteristics and in their condition. Here we first notice the teachings of the passage regarding the blessing of the righteous. There are several things to note; the righteous has the favor of the Lord (12:2). In the Divine favor, there is the guarantee of all good. The righteous is firmly fixed (12:3). He is wiser in his speech (12:6). His blessings are continued to his children (7). He wins the confidence of his fellow-men. In spiritual privileges, at least, the good man gains advantages of inestimable worth.
Then we see that the wicked are marked by a dislike for reproof. Their very sinfulness is an indication that they are void of understanding. They are self-conceited. An indifference to the opinions of others, a certain self-assurance, an unwillingness to learn, these are some of the characteristics of the wicked. Another almost certain indication of wrong-doing is the keeping of bad company. The wrong-doer “followeth after vain persons.” He naturally seeks those of his own kind. His conduct is all in the line of injury to others. Selfishness has in it the seeds of cruelty. Self is steadily seeking its own gratification and does not stop at any injury to others who chance to stand in its way.
The passage also pictures the misery of the wicked. This consists, first of all, in the disapproval of God; then in the disapproval of his fellow-men. By their mean-spiritedness and misdeeds, the wicked forfeit the esteem of the public, and this is a blow they find hard to bear. A wrong course of conduct is also sure to ensnare one in difficulties. Each sin is a misstep which brings one into new entanglements. One lie necessitates another to bolster it. The immediate results of sin may not be seen to be evil. But the end is sure to come. Sin persisted in bringing ruin. The end of unrepented wrong is sure. Let it be known that the law of moral turpitude cannot be broken.
As Henry pointed out, we are with God as we are with men, as we have our conversation in this world. Our Father judges of His children very much by their conduct one to another; and therefore, a good man, that is merciful, and charitable, and does good, draws out favor from the Lord by his prayers; but a malicious man, that devises wickedness against his neighbors, He will condemn, as unworthy of a place in His kingdom. The longings of the child of God are so controlled and directed that in time they are fully met. They keep themselves within the channels of the Divine will, and so are never stranded and wrecked by their self-will.
Let us remember, “He that is good shall draw grace from the Lord; but he that trusteth in his own devices doth wickedly.” This is only another way of saying that God will reward righteousness and condemn wickedness. This is the basic assumption of holy religion.
Have a great and godly day!