STANDING FIRM, NOT GIVING WAY
“Like a trampled spring and a polluted well Is a righteous man who gives way before the wicked.” (Proverbs 25:26)
A polluted well is no good to anyone. Its function—to support life—has been compromised. Like a trampled spring, a compromised person pollutes the stability and justice of a society. They become a curse to society because they cannot help in times of need. “The earth is also polluted by its inhabitants, for they transgressed laws, violated statutes…therefore, a curse devours the earth, and those who live in it are held guilty” (Is. 24:4-6a).
The evil count on this. If you want to make people a prey, the righteous must be compromised, polluted, and corrupted otherwise they will interfere because they love their neighbors. To this end, satan arrays a massive campaign of bribes and threats to compromise and subdue the righteous from taking a stand against evil in their communities. To bribe is to “persuade (someone) to act in one’s favor...by a gift of money or other inducement” (Google Dictionary).
Satan makes “progress” against God’s will by getting people to compromise themselves through “incentives” to collaborate with him, often cloaked in “love,” “tolerance,” or “acceptance,” but it is all an effort to “justify the wicked for a bribe, and take away the rights of the ones who are in the right!” (Is. 5:23) This “long-con” breaks down your strength and the protections of the innocent and vulnerable: “A man who takes bribes overthrows it [the land]” (Pro. 29:4). It often begins simply enough—perhaps you are encouraged by your friend, boss, or your government to do something you know is wrong, or not do something you know is right. Maybe they want you to ignore evil, lie in a small way, cheat, or steal. The point is that they get you to “justify” evil or do evil yourself. And if you do what they ask, you are rewarded by favor—maybe you keep their friendship, they “owe” you, or maybe you get a promotion or protection. If you don’t collude, your friendship may end, your career stall, or your “benefits” stop. If they’ve made some progress already and have enough power in your community, they threaten, fire, or imprison you.
Accepting a bribe “blinds the clear-sighted and subverts the cause of the just” (Ex. 23:8). Do you know temptation is a bribe—an incentive to collude with satan’s rebellion? “Each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust. Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death” (Ja. 1:14-15). In Eden, Satan tempted Adam: “Be like God (what Adam wanted) by rebelling against God (what satan wanted).” The result of this bribe was the complete overthrow of Eden. When we sin, we get what we think we want—the will of our flesh, but satan has gotten us to rebel against God’s Word and bring his corruption into our community.
In contrast to Adam, Jesus rejected satan’s bribe—all the kingdoms of the world in exchange for rebelling against the Father’s will (Matt. 4:1-11). He stood strong against satan’s larger game by speaking the Word of God in reply: “You shall worship the Lord your God, and serve Him only” (Matt. 4:10b). There is no room to collaborate with the devil, “submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you” (Ja. 4:7). Jesus did not give way before the wicked. He is a pure spring of living water, untrampled and unpolluted Who helps and nourishes all who come to Him. And by His righteousness, we who are not righteous because of sin, are made righteous when we entrust ourselves to Him. While we still fall into rebellion at times, we are to confess it, imitate Christ, and stand with Him through the power of the Holy Spirit working God’s will into the world through us.
May we stand up to evil in our communities, doing what we know is right by the Word of God, not giving way to satan in the face of bribes or threats. Even so, Amen.