“The wicked flee when no one pursues, but the righteous are bold as a lion.” (Proverbs 28:1)
I love coming across contrasts when I’m reading my Bible. To me it’s kind of like driving along on a road and suddenly there are signs warning us to watch our speed, beware of uneven pavement, construction ahead. And if you’re ever driving with instructions from your GPS it even warns you of “speed traps ahead. And there’s the contrast, warning of things ahead for good, and one warning us that if we keep speeding, we will be ticketed. All about the state of your conscience.
When Proverbs says that “the wicked flee when no one is pursuing,” and, “the righteous are bold as a lion,” it does not mean that there aren’t any bold wicked people, and no times when the righteous are as “bold as a lion”
The wicked flee when no one is pursuing because their conscience condemns them. On the other hand, the righteous are “bold as a lion,” because their conscience is made clean by the righteousness of God imputed to them through faith in Jesus Christ, and there is no condemnation.
We know this is true because, for example, in Proverbs 14:16 it says that the fool “rages and is bold” This is the exact same Hebrew word as used here for what the righteous do….they’re as “bold as a lion”
There are some translations that use the word careless, “fool rages and is careless.” In other words, it is possible for a fool who doesn’t even believe in God, let alone the gospel, to act in a bold and reckless way, and even…….. risk his life.
But what is it about the wicked that makes them so often flee (in the presence of justice) when no one is pursuing? The answer is: a bad conscience. When you see a police car in your rear view mirror, is your response one of confidence and peace, or is it one of fear and avoidance, even when he has no intention to pursue you?
Have you ever start defending yourself in a conversation before anybody even criticizes you of something? We flee when we’re not even being pursued because we have a bad conscience.
Face it, there are enough stored up bad things we’ve done, that a voice inside tells us someone is after us even when they are not.
Guilt is the parent of fear., and when we feel we are being followed around by our guilt and a bad conscience, it’s Gods way of leading us to come clean with Him. We can never have peace with God and true liberty in our lives until we tune into what God is showing us that leads us to pursue righteousness or we become entangled in the web of a bad conscience.
In 1 John 1:9 God gives us the remedy for a bad conscience saying:
“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
You can keep on living a life looking over your shoulder thinking that someone is pursuing you, or you can have the bold confidence of a lion knowing that with Christ Jesus you have a new life to live for.
“Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ therefore , if anyone (A)is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.”
(Philippians 3:13-14- 2 Corinthians 5:17)
I love this illustration:
‘When Sgt. Ray Baarz of the Midvale, Utah, police department opened his wallet, he noticed his driver’s license had expired. Embarrassed at having caught himself red-handed, he had no alternative. He calmly and deliberately pulled out his ticket book and wrote himself a citation. Then Baarz took the ticket to the city judge who fined him five dollars. “How could I give a ticket to anyone else for an expired license in the future if I didn’t cite myself?” Baarz asked.’
And so when your conscience creates a pursuer that ought not to be there, it’s like a road sign warning us of impending danger with instruction to overcome it. It’s time to take heed and ask God, ‘Lord, what are You doing here that you want me to see?’ Maybe it’s time to come clean and bring all you have that’s been chasing you and keeping you from moving ahead with what God is calling you to do. Trust Him with it, confess it and ask Him to take hold of your heart and make it His own.