1 Whoever remains stiff-necked after many rebukes
will suddenly be destroyed—without remedy.
2 When the righteous thrive, the people rejoice;
when the wicked rule, the people groan.
Criticism is a form of help, but it is often hard to take. How else can you warn someone of the trouble they are causing themselves? Criticism accepted is a remedy, but there is no remedy when destruction arrives. The stiff-necked person is given many opportunities to change, but he rejects them all. He makes himself a victim of foolishness, but he sees himself as a victim of circumstance. Take criticism as an opportunity to improve, and do what you can to grow from it. Otherwise you will remain on the path of regret.
“When the righteous thrive, the people rejoice; when the wicked rule, the people groan.” The righteous need not rule to thrive, but they use the power they have to benefit others. They are generous with their money, and honest in their conduct. They are grateful for what they’ve been given, and they use it wisely and without prejudice.
The wicked, however, seek control. They use their power for their own benefit, and are indifferent to the groans of the people. They greedily collect taxes, and waste the money on monuments to themselves. They bend justice in their own favor, giving no hope to the oppressed.
How do you use your influence? Are you more attentive to your own desires, or to the needs of those around you? Are you looking for opportunities to be a blessing, or do you prefer to bless yourself? If you were rich, how would you live? If you were in charge, how would you govern? The righteous love others and use things, but the wicked love things and use others.