The Just and the Wicked
Blessings are upon the head of the just (v. 6)
1. The term for blessing here is a general term, which is translated lots of different ways: blessing, prosperity; praise of God; a gift, present; treaty of peace.
2. God delights in bringing blessings upon the head of the just… the righteous… those who live right before Him.
3. The just are mentioned often in Proverbs.
a. 3:33 – God blesseth the habitation of the just.
b. 4:18 – But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day.
c. 10:20 – The tongue of the just is as choice silver:
d. 10:31 – The mouth of the just bringeth forth wisdom:
e. 11:9 – through knowledge shall the just be delivered.
f. 12:13 – The wicked is snared by the transgression of his lips: but the just shall come out of trouble.
g. 20:7 – The just man walketh in his integrity: his children are blessed after him.
h. 29:27 – An unjust man is an abomination to the just
4. The “just” here is an Old Testament expression of salvation.
a. It speaks of those who are justified by faith… like Abraham.
b. It speaks of those who are just before God and demonstrate it by righteous living.
c. A similar term translated “the righteous” also refers to the saved… and it appears 47 times in Proverbs.
d. Without all the technical revelation on the subject of salvation that we possess today, the Old Testament did say much about the “just”… those justified.
e. The Old Testament (like the New Testament) also makes it clear that the just lead righteous lives!
f. Paul puts it this way: II Cor. 5:17 – if you are in Christ, you are a new creature… the old has passed away.
g. We are not saved BY good works, but we are saved UNTO good works. (Eph. 2:10)
h. Once saved, God EXPECTS a righteous lifestyle… God expects to see fruit in our lives… holiness… godliness…
5. Those who are just… and live like it can expect God’s blessing in their life.
a. A simple principle: God honors those who honor Him.
But violence covereth the mouth of the wicked. (v. 6)
1. The wicked – another Old Testament term for the unsaved.
2. Proverbs has lots to say about the wicked too… (Occurs 73 times in the book!)
3. The just can expect blessing… the wicked who live wickedly can expect violence… cruelty… injustice…
4. Remember this is a proverb… not a guarantee.
a. Sometimes innocent folks do suffer violence… and are shot… murdered.
b. But most often, those who suffer violence are those who live and walk with the wicked.
c. The mob kills members of the mob… one violent gang kills members in another violent gang… the Hell’s Angels have no reason to attack you or me, but they do attack other biker gangs… where there is much adultery there are love triangle murders… often the violence is associated with drugs…
d. In other words, wicked people associate with the wicked… and thus place themselves in harm’s way.
e. A simple way to avoid violence is to obey Psalm 1 – walk not in the counsel of the ungodly… nor stand in the way of sinners… nor sit in the seat of the scornful!
5. The New American Standard translates this: “the mouth of the wicked conceals violence.” (If so, the meaning is that you just can’t trust wicked men. They say one thing, but violence and trouble is what they are really up to!
a. Either way, Solomon is linking together the wicked with violence.
b. The wicked and violence are associated. To avoid one—avoid the other!
The memory of the just is blessed (v. 7)
1. In this verse, Solomon switches from the lives of the just and the wicked to their death.
2. During the life of a just man, he can expect God’s blessings.
3. After his death, his memory will also be blessed… in the eyes of those he leaves behind.
4. This has reference to a person’s legacy. How will people remember you when you’re gone?
a. Will they remember your temper or a tender heart?
b. Will they remember you as a tightwad or generous?
c. Will they remember you as caustic and abrasive or gracious?
d. Will they remember you as one who stands or who waffles?
e. Will they remember you as one who is honest or one who stretches the truth?
f. Will they remember you as one who builds up or tears down?
g. Will they remember you as a troublemaker or a peacemaker?
h. Will they remember you as a murmurer or an encourager?
5. Solomon states that those who are just (justified by faith and demonstrate it by living a righteous life) will leave behind a fragrant odor from their life.
6. Matt. 26:6-13 – the Lord made sure that the memory of this woman was blessed!
a. She gave sacrificially to the Lord. She gave her all for the Lord.
b. At first the disciples had evil thoughts of her. They saw it as a foolish act. The Lord made sure that her memory was blessed!
7. Prov. 31:28 – Children will have blessed memories of a godly mother. So will her husband.
a. Be sure you are leaving good memories for your children… to remember you by!
b. Be careful about TODAY… don’t be snappy… irritable… grouchy… moody… That’s how they will remember you! Leave them good memories.
c. Before you know it, those kids will be off on their own… and you can’t go back and erase their memory of growing up.
d. Live godly and justly before them and you will leave them with blessed memories.
8. Heb. 13:7 –blessed memories of godly leaders!
a. I have some wonderful memories of godly leaders in my life.
b. I will be eternally grateful for their godly influence.
c. Pastors, missionaries, Bible speakers, and Sunday school teachers…
9. Psalm 112:5-6 – the memory of good men—an everlasting remembrance.
10. Barrow: “No spices can so embalm a man; no monument can so preserve his name and memory, as a pious conversation, whereby God hath been honored, and man benefited. The fame of such a person is, in the best judgments, far more precious and truly glorious, than is the fame of those who have excelled in any other deeds or qualities.”
11. Consider these good memories:
a. Jehoida: 2 Chronicles 24:15
b. David – II Kings 19:34 – For I will defend this city, to save it, for mine own sake, and for my servant David’s sake.
c. Mary – Luke 1:48 – from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed
But the name of the wicked shall rot. (v. 7)
1. The godly leave blessed memories behind. The name of the wicked shall rot!
2. Name: Strong’s = name; reputation, fame, glory
3. The godly leave behind a reputation. So do the wicked.
4. The reputation of the wicked shall ROT!
a. What graphic language… the odor of their reputation is like a smelly, rotting corpse…
b. As the body rots in the grave, so their name shall rot… perish…
c. They lived in corruption… their name continues in corruption.
5. Psalm 9:5-6 – “thou hast put out their name for ever and ever.” (their name is put out)
a. No one wants to remember the wicked.
b. Consider how many men name their sons Paul… and how few name them Judas.
c. Consider how many women name their daughters Mary… and how few Jezebel!
6. Ecc. 8:10 – the wicked are buried and are then forgotten. (what a sad ending!)
7. Presidents are concerned about their legacy in their last days in office.
a. The point of this passage is that they should be concerned about their legacy their first day in office!
b. We too should be concerned about our lifestyle and behavior NOW… that we might leave behind pleasant memories.
c. Our emphasis is NOT on building a reputation, but rather building character… which will of itself leave a godly reputation.
d. The godly… the just who lead righteous lives will leave behind blessed memories. The reputation of the ungodly shall rot.
e. Consider it in terms of odors:
• The woman who anointed the Lord with a fragrant ointment will be remembered by that fragrant odor.
• The ungodly will leave behind a rotting odor.
• What kind of odor will you leave behind? How WILL people remember you?
• They will remember what you were… mean or kind; stingy or generous; lazy or hard working; self-centered or Christ-centered; a sharp tongue or a soft tongue; a servant or one who expects to be served?
• How will you be remembered?