A righteous man falling down before the wicked is as a troubled fountain, and a corrupt spring.
Stand up and be counted! Resist the wicked by a holy life and godly principles. Do not compromise in lifestyle or influence. Contend against them by keeping God’s commands (Pr 28:4; Ep 5:11-17). Deliver the oppressed by opposing the wicked (Pr 24:11-12; 31:8-9). Fulfill your role by being salt in the earth – a purgative and preservative (Matt 5:13).
Fountains and springs in the Middle East were important. The scarcity of rain in certain locations made them very important (Gen 26:18-22; Judges 1:15). A troubled fountain was one that inconsistently gave water. A corrupt spring was one that gave impure water. Such fountains or springs lost their value as assets and were a frustrating disappointment.
Righteous men, or wise men, are to be fountains of life and trees of life to those around them (Pr 10:11,21; 11:30; 12:18; 15:4,26; 16:24; 18:4). But if they compromise their conduct or their influence, they are as disappointing and frustrating as an inconsistent fountain or an impure spring to those needing water (Pr 15:4; 17:7; 25:19; Eccl 10:1).
The righteous fall down when they do not maintain a holy lifestyle before the wicked and when they do not stand up against the wickedness of the wicked. Two aspects of this falling of a righteous man provide another example of inspired ambiguity, which allows for God’s commandments to be exceeding broad (Ps 119:96; Matt 5:21-32).
Paul taught Timothy this same double rule (I Tim 4:16). A righteous man – a minister of Jesus Christ – is duty bound to carefully guard both his personal life and his doctrine. He is to live a holy life, and he is to stand immoveable on Holy Scripture. It is by diligent zeal in both matters that a minister saves his own life and his hearers’ from shipwreck.
If a wise man is foolish even in a small way, it is like leaving dead flies in perfume, which causes it to stink instead (Eccl 10:1). Of course, the wicked rejoice to see a righteous man fall. They overlook all the sins of the ungodly, but they will spread a single sin of the righteous far and wide. David’s adultery, though a common sin among the wicked, gave an opportunity for the enemies of the LORD to blaspheme (II Sam 12:14).
You must live and work in the world, which loves to mock Bible Christianity for any hypocrisy they find in the character or conduct of Christians. It is your duty and privilege to shut their mouths by a virtuous life that allows for no such criticism of your Lord or His religion (I Tim 5:14; 6:1; Tit 2:1-10; I Pet 4:14-16). Live carefully to be without fault like Daniel and Jesus (Dan 6:3-5; Luke 23:4,14), so that any accusations against you must be false and without supporting facts (I Pet 2:18-20; Matt 5:10-12). Stand up for Jesus!
If a righteous man in a position of authority does not resist the wicked, then who will? He is bound by God’s blessings of wisdom and leadership to use his influence for good and against evil (Pr 17:15; 18:5; 24:11-12,23-24; 28:21; 31:8-9). Job, David, and others were examples of this virtuous role in society (Pr 12:6; Job 29:17; Ps 82:4; Is 58:6). There is no excuse for falling down before the wicked. Stand up and be counted as a son of God!
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