The righteous is delivered out of trouble, and the wicked cometh in his stead.
If I’m reading this correctly, this proverb states that the righteous are saved from trouble and the wicked take their place.
There are stories we might think of, like the time when Haman was hung in gallows that he had prepared for Mordechai (Esther 7).
There are many times throughout history when wicked men who killed others were killed themselves, and the people they persecuted were saved.
However, as a Christian, one of the first things that comes to mind is Jesus—who fulfilled the opposite of this proverb.
Jesus—who is perfectly righteous—was delivered into the hands of His enemies and was killed for the sake of sinners. He took our place.
Because of His sacrifice, we who are wicked can live. Though we die, we are not bound to death because Jesus promises to raise us up at His coming.
What more can we say about this proverb?
We could also read it to say that when the righteous are removed, the wicked take their place. Meaning, without the righteous to hold back the wicked, the wicked simply move in and take over.
We have a recent example of this in Afghanistan due to the extreme negligence of the current president of the United States. What a horrid situation.
When I first heard about this, one of the things that came to mind was this command from Jesus:
“Occupy until I come.”
What happens when those who serve the Lord of Hosts fail to occupy properly? The wicked take over. “You are the salt of the earth, but if the salt has lost its flavor, wherewith can it be salted? It is good for nothing but to be cast out and to be trodden under foot of man.”
What a horrid situation.
Some like to say that the false Christ comes after a rapture of the church, but not so. He is revealed after the falling away of the church, as Jesus stated, and Jesus will overthrow Him with the brightness of His coming.
This is true in more than one way. Jesus overthrows that wicked one in our heart when He comes to us by His Spirit, and He will overthrow that wicked one and the fallen away, whore church when He returns to establish His rule. Knowing this, who should we be loyal to?
What will He find His servants doing when He comes? “Watch ye therefore because you know not when the master of the house cometh.”
Jesus—who was perfect and took the place of sinners—gave us the high ground, so to speak. He took the land away from our greatest enemy: Sin and Death. He took that land and made it into a holy city, and we were instructed to occupy until He returns and put all things under His feet once and for all.
How well have we done? Not so well, by my estimation. Yet, thanks be to God that there are many who remain faithful to Him—or at least want to learn how to be more faithful—and we serve a God who is in full control and nothing can remove His chosen from His hand.
Though some repentance is in order, we still have time to turn to the Lord more fully, trusting that He will strengthen us. He will make a way just as He always has.
“Rejoice, O ye nations, with his people: for he will avenge the blood of his servants, and will render vengeance to his adversaries, and will be merciful unto his land and to his people.” – the Song of Moses, Deuteronomy 32