24 The path of life leads upward for the prudent
to keep them from going down to the realm of the dead.
25 The Lord tears down the house of the proud,
but he sets the widow’s boundary stones in place.
26 The Lord detests the thoughts of the wicked,
but gracious words are pure in his sight.
The upward path may be steep and exhausting at times, but altitude accumulates with each step. With this comes greater perspective of where one has come from, and confidence that the ascent is achievable. Every destination is reached one step at a time, whether life or death. In the end neither feelings nor intentions matter, direction is everything. “There is a way that appears to be right, but in the end it leads to death.”
“The Lord tears down the house of the proud, but he sets the widow’s boundary stones in place.” There have been many movements throughout history to overthrow the proud, the advocates of which claim justice as their cause. But in the ensuing chaos, the weak are trampled and the vulnerable abused. The Lord does oppose the proud, and we may be tempted to follow his example, but let us not forget that he also upholds the dignity of the dispossessed.
“The Lord detests the thoughts of the wicked, but gracious words are pure in his sight.” Proverbs exposes the folly of wicked plans (14:22), their deceitful (4:19) and often ruinous outcome (5:22), and here the disgust they deserve. There is no end which justifies wickedness as a means, the cost of which is always greater than the wretched benefit. Contrast this with the life of wisdom, of which gracious words are one of many fruits. It may be difficult and at times unpleasant, but the costs are not even worthy to be compared with the benefits.