(31) Envy thou not the oppressor, and choose none of his ways. (32) For the froward is abomination to the LORD: but his secret is with the righteous. (33) The curse of the LORD is in the house of the wicked: but he blesseth the habitation of the just. (34) Surely he scorneth the scorners: but he giveth grace unto the lowly. (35) The wise shall inherit glory: but shame shall be the promotion of fools.Pro 3:31-35
There is a short term gain that can come when you live unjustly. This is the reason why people steal, lie, defraud, and cheat those around them. There are industries set up to cheating people out of their resources. There are businesses designed to oppress the poor. A temptation that we can run into is thinking that it is unfair that they are getting away with it and that there is no consequence to what they are doing. We may be tempted to think that God is unjust by letting unjust people get away with oppression.
Even worse, there may also be the temptation to get involved in their oppressive activity. We may be tempted to mimic their plans, thinking that this is a “get rich quick” scheme that will work for us.
Solomon tells his son to avoid these kinds of temptations, and he gives him reasons why he should. All of the reasons he gives are grounded in the character, attitude and response of God to the unjust.
Reason #1- The unjust are an abomination. The Hebrew word translated here as “abomination” is defined by Strong’s Concordance as “properly something disgusting (morally), that is, (as noun) an abhorrence.” God resists people that are characterized by being unjust.
Reason #2- The unjust are cursed. The idea here is that they are not going to prosper long term in their oppression. They may get away with it for a time, but they will ultimately not prosper because of their oppression. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow said, “Though the mills of God grind slowly, yet they grind exceeding small; Though with patience He stands waiting, with exactness grinds He all.”
Reason #3- The unjust are scorned. Those that scoff at the justice of God will find themselves subject to it.
Reason #4- The unjust are shamed. Though there may seem to be a pride and arrogance by those that seem to be getting away with their schemes, there will come a day when their deeds will be exposed, and their prosperity will turn to poverty. They will pay for what they have done.
Yet notice the converse response of God to those who are wise and just.
1. The just are intimate with God. While the unjust are an abomination, God draws near to the just.
2. The just are blessed. While the unjust are cursed, the whole house of the just are blessed by God.
3. The just are given grace. While the unjust will feel the full wait of God’s justice, the just are given unmerited favor from God.
4. The just are glorified. While the unjust will be brought to shame, God will lift up the estate of the just.
Again, one must take the genre into consideration when interpreting these verses. The Bible says that there is no one righteous. None of us have lived lives free from being oppressors or from being unjust. Solomon is teaching his son that when one chooses the lifestyle of oppression and defrauding others they are putting themselves in the position of opposition to God.
The good news is that God loves His enemies. When we trust in Christ as our Savior, we acknowledge our sin and ask God for His forgiveness. When He forgives us, He sends His Spirit to indwell us and to begin to change us from the inside out. We can then partner with God as He sanctifies us. He can take unjust people and make them to love justice. He can help the foolish become wise.
If you are living a life characterized by oppressing those around you, it may be an indication that you have no relationship with God. God loves you and sent His Son to die for you. Repent and accept him as Savior today.
If you know Christ as Savior, partner with the Lord in His desire to make you someone who loves wisdom and understanding, and therefore justice, equity, righteousness, grace and mercy.
James Strong, S.T.D., LL.D. Strong’s Hebrew and Greek Dictionaries. Public Domain, 1890. E-Sword.
Longfellow, Henry Wadsworth. Quote by Henry Wasdworth Longfellow on Goodreads. n.d. 14 May 2020.