August 05, 2023
Does the number and spirituality of believers in a community, city, or nation affect its well-being? Apparently, God thinks so.
The righteous are concerned for the rights of the poor. The wicked does not understand such concern. Scorners set a city aflame, but wise men turn away anger. (Proverbs 29:7-8)
ADDRESSING, NOT IGNORING
A righteous man (not just in name only but in reality) loves people. The word "righteous" means to be right--right with God, right with man, right with the situation. This is not a snobbish, hypocritical attitude but a profoundly spiritual understanding that longs to bring in what is good, beneficial, and holy.
Therefore, he is concerned for everyone's well-being. He has a particular concern for the "rights of the poor." He does not see this from a "welfare state" mentality but is concerned with finding legitimate, Biblical means of helping those less fortunate. He longs to help them encounter Christ and then be lifted into a lifestyle that will help them care for themselves and others around them.
A recent illustration is my friend, Shane Fore, who has planted a church in a small town in Arkansas that was known as the meth center of the state. He has a 3-fold ministry that includes a vibrant church, a Celebration Recovery program, and a homeless shelter and thrift store. He finds that all of these components are getting people experiencing homelessness off the streets. He sees many come to Christ, delivered, trained, and working. Righteousness is exalting that town!
BUILDING, NOT BURNING
Also, a rebellious, scoffing man can "set a city aflame" in his anger, giving no thought to what it has taken to build such a city over decades. His main concern is himself and his selfish desires. Watch the riots we see and the destruction that follows.
Godless men can set a community aflame literally or through their words and actions, creating incredible turmoil and destruction, even if it is just among relationships or with political rancor.
God says that "righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people" (Proverbs 14:34).
Lord, make us righteous men and women who leave a legacy of building, not destroying; loving, not hating; unselfishness and growth, not selfish destruction.
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