“I would run for exercise, but Proverbs 28:1 says, ‘The wicked flee though no one pursues…’”
It’s good for a smirk, isn’t it?
I’ve told people at times that if you ever see me running, pick me up. Something is wrong! Equally good for a smirk, right?
Proverbs 28:1 does indeed say part of that. Of course, we can all figure out it’s not talking about literal running.
In its entirely, it reads:
The wicked flee though no one pursues, but the righteous are as bold as a lion.Proverbs 28:1
New International Version
There is a paranoia found in those who are without Jesus. Let’s remember that when Scripture uses terms like “wicked”, it’s referring to those who do not know the Lord as their Master.
They are lost and they do what lost people do. The first phrase of Proverbs 28:1 observes this. People without the Lord have an attitude of fear—as if their “fight or flight” response is always active.
The response to calamity reveals the attitude of our hearts.
Let me just jump to what’s happening in our world today: the pandemic. I’m not surprised when people who claim to not follow Jesus are afraid and hide in fear. This Proverb (among many other passages) assures us fear grips the lost.
No. I’m not surprised by them. I’m surprised by the fear among those claiming to be mastered by Jesus.
The second phrase of Proverbs 28:1 states, “the righteous are as bold as a lion.”
Fear is not associated with lions, is it? In ancient times (and even today), lions were associated with power, courage, tenacity, and might.
So, I’m surprised when Christ-followers are frightful and running away when the world needs our courage. They need our steadfastness. They need us to show them why we have faith.
Billy Graham famously said, “Courage is contagious. When a brave man takes a stand, the spines of others are often stiffened.”
Those brave men and women who stand and stiffen the spines of others are those following the call of Jesus. There is more expected from us. And the Lord has filled us with the Holy Spirit to ensure this happens.
Does that mean we jump off buildings to see if the Lord will protect us? No, that’s putting Him to the test.
But it does mean we don’t run for the hills in light of what faces us, even a virus. It means we are at our strongest when we give up the desire to save ourselves and everything we have. It means we live the most when we give ourselves away.
History has shown us those who have done the most for this world were those who had their eyes fixed on the next. We live the boldest when we give up the most.
In his journal entry on October 28, 1949, missionary Jim Elliot (who lost his life serving the Lord) wrote, “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose.”
May we never forget the words of our Master Jesus who said, “Whoever tries to keep their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life will preserve it” (Luke 17:33, NIV).
Be brave, dear Christian; you are made of sterner stuff than you know.