The Righteous and The City
1. There is a direct connection between the well doing of righteous men and the condition of the city…
a. This would go for any community… town… state…country… etc.
b. The same could be said of a family or a church.
c. When righteousness flourishes, the city rejoices… the family rejoices… the country rejoices… the church rejoices.
2. When those who do RIGHT are treated well, the entire community benefits.
a. Some countries suppress those who do right—and the whole nation suffers for it.
b. Other countries reward the righteous (hard workers; honest men; law-abiding citizens) and the country does well.
3. This proverb also seems to imply that the entire city benefits from God’s blessing on the righteous living in it.
a. This is a principle often repeated in the Scripture… and is true today.
b. Gen. 18:23-26 – The Lord promised not to judge the city if there were 50 righteous men found there. The city would have benefited from the presence of righteous men in their midst.
c. Jer. 5:1 – God would have pardoned the city if it contained righteous men!
d. Ezek. 22:30 – God sought for a righteous man so He wouldn’t have to judge the city—but didn’t find one!
e. Those cities would have REJOICED had they allowed the righteous to flourish in their midst. Too often, the righteous were persecuted and chased out of the city.
f. The presence and well being of righteous men give the community good reason to rejoice! The city benefits from their presence.
4. The world today benefits from the presence of the church.
a. Believers today serve as salt—a preservative. Salt keeps flesh from rotting too fast. It slows down the process of corruption.
b. The presence of the believer in the world today has the same effect.
c. As soon as the church is taken away, the full manifestation of sin takes over—the Tribulation Period. (II Thess. 2:7-8)
• The presence of the Holy Spirit indwelt Body of believers (church) in the world today HINDERS the mystery of iniquity—the full manifestation of sin.
• We are the salt of the earth…
• The world SHOULD rejoice because of the presence of righteous men, but it does not. The world refuses to give the glory to God.
• BUT—people in the world today—in our country today ARE glad because of the overall EFFECT of righteous men in the world.
» Could you imagine what Hollywood would be like were it not for the presence of righteous men in the land?
» Could you imagine what would happen in the medical world were it not for the presence of righteous men? (not only abortion, but euthanasia, assisted suicide; legalization of drugs—God help us!)
» That seems to be the way things are headed—but the presence of righteous men slows down the process.
» People with sense in the city REJOICE because of this influence.
5. Solomon keys in on an unusual phenomenon in the world:
a. While the world collectively is evil and anti-God; and while individuals in the world are sinners and do not come to the light… they still acknowledge the benefits of doing things RIGHT.
b. I know folks in the world today who never read the Bible; never go to church; tell dirty jokes; swear; watch filthy movies; have a live in lover—and then lament over how bad the lyrics in the rock songs are… or how vile TV has become!
c. There are folks out there who drink, smoke pot—and lament over the drug problem in the country… and all the violence associated with it.
d. They are PART OF the problem… and yet at the same time, they acknowledge how awful the consequences of that kind of behavior are upon the nation.
e. And while they are part of the problem, they rejoice—they are grateful that there are some righteous folks out there preventing the entire culture from immediately going down the tubes.
6. The whole community benefits from the presence… the convictions… the actions… the lifestyles… the prayers… and the overall influence of righteous men…
a. While they would revolt against anyone telling them personally that their life is headed in the wrong direction—they are grateful for leaders who direct the nation as a whole in the right direction.
b. It is the kind of thinking we hear often in America: Everybody agrees that we need a new power plant—but not in my back yard! “We all agree that we need righteousness in the land—but don’t you dare tell me how to live!”
c. It is part of human nature:
• Folks always want to enjoy the benefit but they do not want the cost.
• They want the blessing of God without the behavior that results in the blessing.
• Sort of like what we are seeing today: God bless America—keep on praying for us all you churchgoers!
1. When wicked people perish—it brings relief to the city, especially if that wicked person was a ruler.
a. Even though the city is full of sinners, who lie, cheat, and steal, they don’t want their rulers to lie to them… or steal from them!
b. There is a great sense of relief when wicked ruler perishes.
c. Prov. 28:28 – when the wicked perish, the righteous increase!
2. Wicked rulers DO oppress people… cheat…lie… steal… plunder…
a. When they perish—or are chased out of office, the people rejoice!
b. Consider the many people who have had to live under the rigors of cruel dictators. Such nations have always abounded, and still do today! Cuba; Romania; Bosnia; Philippines; Chile; Haiti…
c. When the Taliban was destroyed, most of the people of Afghanistan rejoiced! Girls can go to school! Women can take those blue sheets off their heads! The soccer stadium is no longer used for public executions, but for soccer! Music is no longer illegal!
d. What happened in Afghanistan is an extreme example, but it is just what Solomon is talking about!
3. Even in free countries wicked men sometimes gain power… and when they are gone, the people shout for joy!
a. We have had leaders who have promoted wickedness in our land.
b. We will probably have more of them in the future.
c. When they are out of office—the godly can rejoice!
d. As a side note: whether we like their policies or not, we are commanded by God to honor the king… good or bad!
1. Prov. 29:2 – When the righteous are in positions of authority, the people can rejoice.
a. But the people mourn when the wicked rule.
b. Whether they are believers or not is irrelevant. What matters is that they do things RIGHT!
c. The city is exalted when its leaders are upright men.
d. When choosing a surgeon, I am not looking for one who is born again. I want one who knows his stuff… and is skilled… and performs his duties correctly… right.
e. The same thing with a politician. It’s nice if he is a believer, but I would be more concerned about what he does… what he promotes… the wisdom he demonstrates. (Not all believers are wise!) (There was no way I would have voted for Pat Robinson a few elections ago when he ran.)
f. PRAY for those in authority that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty… and REJOICE!
2. Thus, Solomon is saying that the people rejoice when:
a. The righteous do well… and the wicked are removed!
b. Both are cause for joy to the city… or the nation.
c. In Israel they had good kings and evil kings. They had good prophets and evil prophets. And the people in the land either benefited or suffered as a result!
3. The same truth holds in the local church:
a. When God blesses with a godly board of elders who want to do things right, godly people will rejoice! God has given us good men to serve here. Pray for them! It’s no fun having men in leadership positions who oppose that which is right! But it happens.
b. And if men are in a leadership position that do NOT want to do things right, the people will mourn under their leadership… but will rejoice when they are gone!
1. II Sam. 15:1-6 – Absalom stole the hearts of the people away from David his father.
a. Absalom was a selfish, proud man who turned the nation against David—a man after God’s own heart!
b. Through his deceitful and wicked mouth he overthrew the kingdom of his own father, David.
c. The kingdom was NOT in better hands under his leadership.
2. Note the obvious contrast in the verse:
a. Through the upright, the city is exalted.
b. Through the wicked, the city is overthrown.
3. Overthrow: to tear down; break down; overthrow; beat down; break; break through; destroy; pluck down; pull down; throw down; ruined.
a. Whether it is a city, a village, a state, a nation, a business, a family, or a church… wicked men in positions of leadership will either build it up or tear it down.
b. Ecc. 9:18 – one sinner destroys much good! One leader without wisdom… without integrity… without faithfulness can undermine so much good that others have worked so hard to produce! Building up takes time. Destroying takes but no time at all!