This week in Proverbs is about discipline. Discipline is necessary because our hearts are wicked and inclined in the wrong direction. Through discipline comes wisdom and from wisdom comes righteousness and peace. In all this we must remember that Christ is our wisdom and righteousness and the Bringer of Peace. 

Proverbs 29:16

When the wicked increase, transgression increases,
but the righteous will look upon their downfall. 

Israel in the Old Testament was warned against the wicked influence of their neighbors, "the inhabitants of the land." They too frequently fell under that influence, but even worse their own kings looked to other gods and nations for power and rescue. The prophets seemed often to be a lone and ineffectual voice of the LORD, but God always had his remnant of the righteous. Tremper Longman, III says, that the predominance of the wicked is always temporary. That "temporary" may seem to go on and on, but God promises the demise of the wicked. 

While the wicked may be powerful and influential, God says the kingdom of heaven belongs to the poor in spirit; those who mourn, shall be comforted; the meek shall inherit the earth; those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, shall be satisfied; the merciful, shall receive mercy; the pure in heart shall see God; the peacemakers, shall be called sons of God. This is the army that God raises up to crush Satan and his forces, the church militant. 

"The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet" (Romans 16:20). Ultimately, it is the feet of Christ under which all things are subjected (1 Corinthians 15:27; Ephesians 1:22; Hebrews 1:13). This is where our confidence rests. 

Reflection for Today

Are you overwhelmed by the rising wickedness you see? Listen carefully to God’s instructions (the beatitudes) to his disciples; pray that God’s kingdom would come and that his will would be done on earth as it is in heaven; and rest in his promise:  the righteous will look upon their downfall.  

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