As I have been reading and studying the book of Proverbs, not only do I see the gift of God giving us wisdom through these words, but I have found this book and particularly this chapter to be a reflection, giving insight into my own self. This is one of the beautiful things about Scripture—it shows us how wretched we are and how good God is. It is a mirror into our lives, showing us who we are apart from Christ, and also how we, through His grace, can become more Christ-like. That is the beautiful conviction of Proverbs 28.
Verse 1 begins by saying that “the wicked flee when no one pursues, but the righteous are bold as a lion.” What does this mean when we break it down? I am all too familiar with what is going on here. Here we are looking at those who suffer from a guilty conscience. Have you ever noticed when someone may have something to hide, or maybe their conscience is weighing on them, they tend to isolate themselves? A guilty conscience will isolate you, yet when someone is righteous, we see someone who has a sense of boldness because in righteousness there is no shame, and we can face our accusers with a clean slate.
Another thing that we can see in verse 1 is that Jesus makes our conscience clean. Though we are imperfect sinners, we don’t have to run from our accusers. People may lie about us, people may point out our flaws and shortcomings, but we don’t have to run from them because Jesus wipes our slate clean in what He did for us on the cross. When the great accuser and father of lies come before us, we understand we don’t have to live in condemnation (Romans 8:1).
As we move into verse 13, the Word teaches us that because we don’t live in condemnation, we are free to confess our sins and move on. Proverbs 28:13 states, “Whoever conceals his transgressions will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them will obtain mercy.”
The best Biblical example we can see of this situation is the well known story of David and Bathsheba. Long story short, in 2 Samuel 11, David sees a married woman, Bathsheba, bathing on a roof. He summons her, sleeps with her, though she is married, and she becomes pregnant…her husband Uriah is at war, so it obviously isn’t his. David starts the snowball of trying to cover up his sins by first trying unsuccessfully to get Uriah to sleep with his wife, calling him off the battle field, and even getting him drunk. Uriah is so faithful to his soldiers that he refuses to go to his wife, so David goes to plan b and has him murdered.
At this point, David is in a panic, but he probably feels he has the problem resolved. God, however, doesn’t let David get away with his snowball of sins. He loves him too much, so he sends Nathaniel, a prophet, to confront him. Nathaniel exposes David’s secret, and as a consequence to David’s actions, the Lord takes their child. From this season in David’s life, he then wrote out a beautiful confession to God in Psalm 51, penning one of the most poignant examples of repentance, forgiveness, and grace.
Proverbs 28 shows us that there is no merit in concealing our sin. When we bring things out of the darkness into the light, we have a God who is faithful to forgive us (1 John 1:9). There may be consequences to our sin, but to live hidden in the isolation of sin has a much more dire outcome.
As we continue to read, verse 18 ties up the theme of walking in righteousness and not living in secret sin. Proverbs 28:18 says, “Whoever walks in integrity will be delivered, but he who is crooked in his ways will suddenly fall.”
We may be able to get away with a particular sin or sinful lifestyle, but like David, our ways will always eventually catch up with us. God loves us too much to allow us to walk in wickedness. When we live in a “crooked way” as this verse say, there will always come a time when sin is exposed, and it is never pretty.
It is so important to look to Jesus and try to live a life that mirrors Christ. A life of integrity and right living will always outweigh the sometimes temporary appeal of sin. We will never live in perfection this side of Heaven, but that is the beauty of what Christ did for us on the cross. Because of Jesus we can live a life of honesty, of humility, and of repentance. What a beautiful thing to think about as we think about our daily walk. We can try to hide, however, there will always be consequences. Sisters, look to God, live a life of integrity, repent when need be, and never live in condemnation. That is the beautiful wisdom we find in Proverbs 28.