4 November 2021

Proverbs 24:23-26

These also are sayings of the wise:

To show partiality in judging is not good:
24 Whoever says to the guilty, “You are innocent,”
    will be cursed by peoples and denounced by nations.
25 But it will go well with those who convict the guilty,
    and rich blessing will come on them.

26 An honest answer
    is like a kiss on the lips.

Partiality in judging happens because of fear or greed. There is fear of repercussions by the wicked. They are often powerful and usually ruthless. There is danger in opposing them. There is greed for the bribe offered by the wicked. Being a “friend” of the wicked can lead to wealth and high position.

But the proverb is right. If it is known that a judge rules in favor of the wicked, he is usually maligned by the public. He may get his money and secure his safety, but he loses the blessing of a good name. He may save his body, but lose his soul – both figuratively and literally. He helps to spread cynicism and discouragement in the population. Others lose faith in the justice system and many give in to corruption. The wicked only sink further into their wickedness, since they go unchecked and their belief that there is no one good is reinforced.

It is in such a climate that an honest answer is like a kiss on the lips. Like the kiss that refreshes and delights, so an honest answer refreshes and delights the soul. “There is someone honest, someone who will speak the truth and face the cost. If so, there must be some good in this world. And if one person can speak honestly, then I can as well.” And so, just as partiality poisons the environment, so honesty can restore it.

What will you do today – poison or refresh the people around you? Will your speech be as a dagger or a kiss?


Psalm 99

The Lord reigns,
    let the nations tremble;
he sits enthroned between the cherubim,
    let the earth shake.
Great is the Lord in Zion;
    he is exalted over all the nations.
Let them praise your great and awesome name—
    he is holy.

The King is mighty, he loves justice—
    you have established equity;
in Jacob you have done
    what is just and right.
Exalt the Lord our God
    and worship at his footstool;
    he is holy.

Moses and Aaron were among his priests,
    Samuel was among those who called on his name;
they called on the Lord
    and he answered them.
He spoke to them from the pillar of cloud;
    they kept his statutes and the decrees he gave them.

Lord our God,
    you answered them;
you were to Israel a forgiving God,
    though you punished their misdeeds.[a]
Exalt the Lord our God
    and worship at his holy mountain,
    for the Lord our God is holy.