Proverbs 21:28-31

28 A false witness will perish,

   but a careful listener will testify successfully.

29 The wicked put up a bold front,

   but the upright give thought to their ways.

30 There is no wisdom, no insight, no plan

   that can succeed against the Lord.

31 The horse is made ready for the day of battle,

   but victory rests with the Lord.

 

 Whatever the false witness hopes to gain through deceit, it will cost him more dearly than he thinks. The contrast here is between the false witness and the careful listener, which suggests that deceit begins with a failure to listen. The liar may not realize that he is also deceiving himself, ignoring the voice of conscience is a foolish thing to do. The first thing he loses is his credibility, which may never be regained. But successful testimony begins with listening, as those who listen are worthy of being listened to.

 

 “The wicked put up a bold front, but the upright give thought to their ways.” There is a superficiality to the wicked, who love to intimidate others, but they “flee though no one pursues.” They may be bullies, but behind the bold front they are thoughtless, “they do not know what makes them stumble.” By contrast the upright concern themselves with purpose, regardless of appearances, though they are “bold as a lion” when necessity demands. Wisdom may look foolish at first glance, but it is competence in action, let the results speak for themselves.

 “There is no wisdom, no insight, no plan that can succeed against the Lord. The horse is made ready for the day of battle, but victory rests with the Lord.” Anything which calls itself wisdom while standing in opposition to the Lord is vanity. “The Lord scoffs” at such folly, let us not be intimidated, as victory belongs to him. Even the most prepared and well equipped of his enemies stand no chance against his will, which he loves to accomplish through meek and lowly means. Who would have bet on a nation of slaves against the mighty Pharaoh? On Gideon’s three hundred against the multitude of Midianites? On the boy David against fearsome Goliath? Surely the Lord is worthy of our confidence, no matter how slim the odds may seem.

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