We know that harm and ill will do fall upon the good and bad people. The disciples were somewhat righteous, and yet they had harm and ill will fall upon them. I know both good and bad people both suffer; harm and ill will fall upon them because we live in a fallen world from the time Adam and Eve were sent out of the garden of Eden.
Proverbs 12:1 - 28
ESV - 1 Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, but he who hates reproof is stupid. 2 A good man obtains favor from the Lord, but a man of evil devices he condemns.
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Proverbs 12:21 “no harm” or “ill” Pro 12:21 No harm befalls the righteous, My understanding is this. No matter what we going through its FINAL EFFECT is no harm and no illness. Everything happens for a good reason. It may appear bad but it cannot be for God is our Protector. What happens to us is what He allows and it will always be for a good reason. Heb 12:5-10 and a good ending. Harm is only harm in its final victory and so is illness. But our harm and illness is victory 2Co 4:17 For our present troubles are small and won't last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever! Rom 8:28 And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purpose for them. Gen 50:20 You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good. He brought me to this position so I could save the lives of many people. Psa 119:67 Before I was afflicted I went astray, But now I keep Your word. The second part of the verse “But the wicked are filled with trouble”. There is no good purpose in their good and in their trouble but destruction is their end. The righteous harm is not harm and illness is not illness. The final verse of chapter 12 gives us the answer. Pro 12:28 In the way of righteousness is life, And in its pathway there is no death. 1Co 15:55 "O DEATH, WHERE IS YOUR VICTORY? O DEATH, WHERE IS YOUR STING?" God bless
Thank you for this timely question. Christian's s around the world are being tortured and killed for Christ sake every day. How does this line up with this Scripture? First I would like to take us to the very first New Testament Christian slain: Stephen. Stephen had given the Word of God to the Jewish leaders and was being Stoned for his efforts. He looked up into Heaven, why? To forgive the offenders! Jesus was STANDING to receive him. Not many things in our lives receive a standing ovation from Jesus. Forgiving those that torment you is at the top of the list. Now, was it evil that befell Stephen? I am sure his tormentors believed it was. What about that beautiful Scripture that states: To be absent from the body is to be present with the LORD? 2 Cor 5: 6-8. In light of this, would anyone accuse God of evil upon Stephen? If we suffer with Him we will reign with Him. 2 Tim 2:12. Now who are we not to expect this? In Pro 12: 21, the word evil does not mean misery or affliction. It means FATHERLESS. can you imagine being without a Heavenly Father? Unspeakably sad! Be Blessed Lena
“For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.” (Romans 15:4) “It shall greatly help you to understand Scripture if you mark not only what is spoken or written, but ask of whom and to whom, with what words, at what time, where, to what intent, with what circumstances, considering what goes before and what comes after” Miles Coverdale (Myles Coverdale was a 16th-century Bible translator who produced the first complete printed translation of the Bible into English.) "Why does Proverbs 12:21 state that " no harm" or "ill will" will fall upon the righteous?" I personally see no reason to spiritualize or understand this verse metaphorically but accept it as stated, literally. The problem is not misinterpretation but misapplication. The question, is to whom does it apply? I believe Proverbs 12:21 finds its foundation in Deuteronomy 7, specifically verses 11-16 and please notice in verse 12 that it is conditional (I.e. I will "if" you will.) "11. Thou shalt therefore keep the commandments, and the statutes, and the judgments, which I command thee this day, to do them. 12. Wherefore it shall come to pass, if ye hearken to these judgments, and keep, and do them, that the LORD thy God shall keep unto thee the covenant and the mercy which he sware unto thy fathers: 13. And he will love thee, and bless thee, and multiply thee: he will also bless the fruit of thy womb, and the fruit of thy land, thy corn, and thy wine, and thine oil, the increase of thy kine, and the flocks of thy sheep, in the land which he sware unto thy fathers to give thee." 14. Thou shalt be blessed above all people: there shall not be male or female barren among you, or among your cattle. 15. And the LORD will take away from thee all sickness, and will put none of the evil diseases of Egypt, which thou knowest, upon thee; but will lay them upon all them that hate thee. 16. And thou shalt consume all the people which the LORD thy God shall deliver thee; thine eye shall have no pity upon them: neither shalt thou serve their gods; for that will be a snare unto thee. The writings of Proverbs are accredited (primarily) to King Solomon of whom 1 Kings 4:32 records: “And he spake three thousand proverbs: and his songs were a thousand and five.” God breathed? Yes! Can we make direct application of all his writings to all people of all ages, No; we have a Jewish king, under the superintending ministry of The Holy Spirit reminding Jewish readers of God's covenant promises to them, personally. My point is this, if there is no distinction made between the Jewish economy and the church, all sorts of error, misinterpretation and misapplication will result. Although applicable in principle (God rewards righteousness and obedience), Proverbs 12:21 was not written to Church age believers but to Israel. The misapplication of this passage and similar in the professing Christian church opens the door for all sorts of judgmental assumption and accusation; for instance: "They must not be living for the Lord, they lost their home in a fire". "They must have done something terribly out of God's will, their baby died". "They must not be tithing or serving God; otherwise they wouldn't be in such financial distress". See where this leads? Proverbs 12:21 contains no contradiction to New Testament teaching, the error is in misapplication.
In order to be clear what is being stated in Proverbs 12:21, it seems important not to presume that we already know what the words translated 'harm' and 'righteous' actually mean. They mean something to us in English, but Hebrew paints a picture using specific words that really clarifies the Holy Spirit's meanings. אָוֶן (Hebrew: 'āven') is a word that describes a man panting from repeated frustration and failure. The image is of someone 'never learning' from his experiences and continuing to try over and over again to accomplish something in a vain or useless way. The 'righteous man' is the one following Yahweh's holy law, (today called the 'law of Christ,' 'law of liberty,' 'law of burden bearing,' 'law of the Spirit of life,' (Galatians 6:2, James 1:25, 2:12, Romans 8:2). We are actively learning how to love GOD with everything we are and demonstrating this by 'loving our neighbor exactly as we love ourselves.' When we face trouble or difficulty, we have been given a 'burden' and we are supposed to 'share' it until it becomes 'light and easy' (Matthew 11:28-30). The greater the shared burden, the greater the opportunity to glorify Christ and demonstrate His new liberty. So not only do the righteous never avoid 'burdens' but we thrive on facing them together. The closer we are to Christ's Holy Spirit, the more skilled we become at 'overcoming' these obstacles. The less skilled and the more disobedient we are to Christ, the more like the 'unrighteous' we become. Life gets very tough for us. However, even this is viewed as a 'Fatherly discipline' that confirms our genuine adoption as His children, (Hebrews 12:5-11). In fact, we gain 'strength' through even being reminded of this: "....[Paul and Barnabas] were strengthening the souls of the disciples, encouraging them to continue in the faith, and saying, ‘Through many afflictions we must enter the kingdom of God.’” (Acts 14:22). We also need look no further than Job who faced horrendous persecution from Satan and lost everything he had, yet his 'trial' ended with him vindicated and restored 'seven-fold.' Jobs 'friends' were little help or consolation to him and he represents what none of us will ever have to face 'alone' again, since Christ's work has now made 'righteousness' a collective activity and no longer an individual pursuit. We each stand in the perfect righteousness of Christ alone, not in our own works. We express this together. Yet even this great turmoil of Job's and that of the holy prophets of GOD in the Old Testament glorifies Christ, because their suffering was the result of being judged by the perfect individual standards of Christ and not measuring up to it, just as we as individuals cannot either whenever we try to 'go it alone.' Know that if you or anyone else who confesses Christ is experiencing 'harm,' it is not the kind being described in Proverbs 12:21 which is a vain and pointless frustration with no hope and no connection to a holy collective work of 'burden-sharing.' As individuals who refuse to be a part of this collective work of love for others: "Yahweh looks down from heaven upon the sons of men To see if there is anyone who has insight, Anyone who seeks after God.They have all turned aside, altogether they have become worthless; There is no one who does good, not even one." (Psalm 14:2-3). And you should note in verse 1 just above this what always causes this isolation and lack of love: "The wicked fool says in his heart, ‘There is no God.’” (Psalm 14:1).
Proverbs 12:21 is very clear in meaning; it says that no harm or ill will will befall the righteous. Who do we know who have gone through life without suffering? (that's rhetorical) Everyone suffers ill will and harm in this life. So what does that tell us? Proverbs 12 is written to contrast the value of wisdom and the foolishness of wickedness. Solomon is telling us just how valuable it is to live life God's way. So what's the problem? "None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks God. All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one" (Romans 3:10,11). What about Jesus? No harm or ill will overtook Jesus! No one ever laid a hand on him until the time of his passion had come. We don't read where he was ever sick, hurt, or harmed in any way before he was taken into custody on "Good Friday." (Being hungry and thirsty after being in the wilderness for 40 days, tempted of Satan, are natural circumstances of living as a human; it doesn't register as harm and ill will). "For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life that I might take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This charge I have received from my Father" (John 10:17,18). Jesus willingly submitted himself to the Father, who gave his only begotten Son, that whoever would believe in him would not perish but have everlasting life (John 3:16). Our sins, the sins of mankind were placed on Jesus by design, because God loves the world! Praise God! Jesus is the Righteous One! Praise the Lord! Solomon set the bar where it belongs; we have a mark at which to aim. The mark is perfection. It wouldn't be right to not show us the level at which we are to aspire. It causes us to reach for higher heights! It also paints a good picture of who the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are. Let's clear up something that's said in the statement to explain the question: there's no such thing as "somewhat righteous." (I'm tempted to state the lame adage about being a little bit pregnant); I couldn't stop myself! (lol) "No harm or ill will will fall upon the righteous," is not a word to be used to judge others. It isn't a measuring rod or a scale on which to weigh God's people. Neither is it a misspoken word on Solomon's part; it's really quite clear: Righteousness is a garment that no weapon on earth can penetrate! Isaiah wrote this: No weapon formed against you will prosper (Isaiah 54:17). This is another one that causes some of us to wonder about its meaning. Did he say, 'No weapon?' There's another level of understanding needed for comprehension of the loftiness of scripture. Without it, doubt in the truthfulness and divinity of the Word is inevitable. We also do ourselves a disservice when we learn part of a scripture and don't read the whole of it. "this is the heritage of the LORD, and their righteousness is from me, says the LORD." That's the rest of vs 17, the part that is seldom given much attention. No weapon formed against a person who has God's righteousness imputed to them, will be able to penetrate and sever that right relationship with God. Again: righteousness is a garment given by God to the redeemed, that nothing on earth can penetrate. Oh, Praise the Lord!
We can pray, "Keep watch over me and keep me out of trouble; Don’t let me down when I run to you." --Proverbs 25:20 I often use this verse from the Message Bible and ask people, "Are you keeping out of trouble?" And maybe they'll ask me, "Are you keeping out of trouble?"" I tell them, "Yes, but only because I've prayed, 'Keep me out of trouble, God. Don't let me down when I run to you.'" But Proverbs 12:21 is a general promise, not a universal one. Moreover, "What the believer is promised is that no permanent or ultimate evil will befall him. No evil will beset us out of which God cannot bring some greater good (cf. Gen. 50:20; Rom. 8:28)." --Geisler & Howe And see Frederick Thomas' fabulous answer about this point.
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