1. Proverbs 28:1 (ESV) The wicked flee when no one pursues, but the righteous are bold as a lion.
RAF: Unresolved guilt in the heart leaves men timid and suspicious in their unrest. Liars always suspect they are being lied to. Adulterers and adulteresses often accuse their spouses of being unfaithful. Thieves constantly imagine they are being ripped off. Gossips just assume they are being talked about all the time. Cheaters constantly worry about being cheated. The mind of those who are walking with Christ in uprightness do not spend their days in such turmoil. If you are constantly worried about what other people think of you, put it down to being one who is constantly judging others in your own heart.
2. Proverbs 28:2 (ESV) When a land transgresses, it has many rulers, but with a man of understanding and knowledge, its stability will long continue.
RAF: An increase in civil government is a direct result of a nation which is moving away from God. Government must increase to try and make up for the lack of self-government. It is a vicious cycle. The less responsibility each person takes for themselves before God, the more imposition from the outside becomes necessary to keep chaos from taking over. The problem is that over time, the governmental structure becomes so inflated, it must collapse under its own weight. Fewer and fewer people take responsibility for themselves before God, and that corruption extends to the government since the government is but – people. Those trying to enforce the rules and regulations themselves have abandoned personal responsibility – and thus a self-imposed judgment is inevitable. Our men and women in leadership will continue to reflect the populace in general, and will grow more and more corrupt over time. Only the Holy Spirit reigning in the hearts of men can reverse such a state of affairs. No governmental system is capable. Sin can only be dealt with in Christ – not by any external structure.
3. Proverbs 28:5 (ESV) Evil men do not understand justice, but those who seek the Lord understand it completely.
RAF: And so the morning newspaper carries the sotry of a Montreal “Pastor” will serve but 49 months in jail (reduced from 5 years for time served while the trial progressed) over his sexual relations with his 10 year old “wife”.
Those who seek the Lord, have some real sense of the true gravity of sin. Thus they understand the nature of what justice truly demands. They have felt conviction as it comes from God through His Spirit. They have seen justice at the Cross. They know their own sin is due such a death and eternal penalty. They understand mercy and grace are not simple dismissives – that justice meted out is awesome both in scope and magnitude. They understand nothing less than the full extent of the Law is required – and that grace must take that into account in making a way of redemption. They understand it, because their Redeemer, has paid their price. The wicked, make a pitiable attempt at it – and as demonstrated above – fail tragically.
4. Proverbs 28:7 (ESV) The one who keeps the law is a son with understanding, but a companion of gluttons shames his father.
RAF: Gluttons are an interesting lot in Scripture. And they are not what one might suppose. Often, the concept is related to characterizing one who simply overeats. But this is not the Biblical model. Gluttons in Scripture would be better understood as “party animals” in today’s parlance. “Riotous eaters” is closer to the original. Those who give themselves up to worthless pursuits and in laziness produce nothing of profit. They are the bored effete. Tanned and toned, average or obese, they move from party to rave to soiree to one mindless amusement after another. Whatever next appeals to their sense of fun and fancy. They care for nothing other than pleasure, fun and ease. Duty is bondage in their eyes – even sinful to them. They can be as skinney as a rail – and living off the largess of any and all who are foolish enough to sustin them. No ambition. No goals. No self-discipline. Apathetic. Leeches. They take, and do not contribute. They are shameful and yet remain unashamed.
5. Proverbs 28:13 (ESV) Whoever conceals his transgressions will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them will obtain mercy.
RAF: The secrecy of sin is its power to bind. What is forced underground, hides and cannot be easily rooted out. This is why confession of sin is a key to breaking its grip. Just as certain bacteria are killed by exposure to light, so sin which is not hidden, gets dealt with by virtue of it detection. Many a fatal condition goes untreated without exposure and detection – claiming the life of its host. Father, give me a heart that detects and acknowledges my sin quickly. May there be nothing between us. May I quickly and freely expose my every corruption to the light of your countenance. Cleanse me.
6. Proverbs 28:14 (ESV) Blessed is the one who fears the Lord always, but whoever hardens his heart will fall into calamity.
RAF: DO NOT resist the work of the Spirit in pricking your heart regarding sin. Hardness against His work will result in an eventual fall into calamity you will not be able to bear. At the first twinge of conscience, relent. The repeated habit of turning a deaf ear to the Spirit’s inward work results in not hearing God at all. If we do not care for the music or message coming through our radio or television, we can change the channel. God has but one channel – and so when we shun the message, we can only turn down the volume. The problem is, you lose the ability to hear ALL He is saying, not just the one thing you do not like at the moment. If you will not hear Him concerning your sin, you will not be able to hear His comforts or counsel either. It is all or nothing. Holy Spirit, give me always ears to hear what the Spirit says to the Churches.
7. Proverbs 28:16 (ESV) A ruler who lacks understanding is a cruel oppressor, but he who hates unjust gain will prolong his days.
RAF: Oppressive leadership – especially in the Church, is a sign of a severe lack of understanding. A lack of understanding what true leadership is, and how it functions. One thing is for certain, it does not oppress. If this is its tactic, then something is wrong. The addition of humanly imposed weight over and above what Scripture requires of us constitutes oppression. Jesus’ description of it is best in Matthew 23:4 “They tie up heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on people’s shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to move them with their finger.” This is one of the key aspects of Phariseeism. And it must be guarded against in the Church in every generation.
8. Proverbs 28:19 (ESV) Whoever works his land will have plenty of bread, but he who follows worthless pursuits will have plenty of poverty.
RAF: How often do we hear: “If I only had X, or if Y were the case – THEN I could serve God well” ?
Work with what God HAS given to you, rather than pining after and chasing what He hasn’t. There is fruitfulness in His appointments. There is fruitlessness in mourning what we do not have, or endless yearning and churning over what isn’t. If we will not work “the land” He has given to us, it is no wonder then if our spiritual lives remain lean.
9. Proverbs 28:20 (ESV) A faithful man will abound with blessings, but whoever hastens to be rich will not go unpunished.
RAF: There is no shortcut to spiritual growth and maturity – faithfulness alone takes the day. How we long for some spiritual experience which will immediately catapult us to some new level in Christ. It is a foolish fancy. The old proverb that “a journey of a thousand miles begins with one step” isn’t Scripture, but it is true. More than that, a journey of a thousand miles is completed by repeated stepping – every inch of the way. Heavenly Father, make us faithful men and women – faithful to keep walking the road to the Celestial City. As Jesus set His face toward this earthly Jerusalem, may we be known as those who have set ours faces toward the Heavenly Jerusalem to come.
10. Proverbs 28:21 (ESV) 21To show partiality is not good, but for a piece of bread a man will do wrong.
RAF: A man’s weakness is whatever he thinks he cannot do without. Here is where he is most vulnerable. This is the price we set upon ourselves. This is how much we determine we are worth in our own eyes. Father, may our hearts be willing to do without anything and every thing in this life – that we may gain Christ. Philippians 3:8 “Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ.” Make this heart mine.
11. Proverbs 28:25 (ESV) A greedy man stirs up strife, but the one who trusts in the Lord will be enriched.
RAF: People who stir up strife – want something. Follow the “money”. As James 4:1 reads: “What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you?” Be sure of it – if there is a quarrel, a fight, strife of any kind – someone is after something, and the quarreling will not stop until they get it. Some perceived gain is being denied them. And they cannot rest – they WILL rage. Examine your own heart and it will soon be evident – you are most angry, when you imagine you are denied what you value – be it money, recognition, fame, respect, love, consideration, understanding – name it. Father, make us desire only you – for no one can deny us that, and then we will be satisfied all the days of our lives.