Proverbs 12:2-3

A good person obtains favor from the Lord,
but the Lord condemns a person with wicked schemes.
No one can be established through wickedness,
but a righteous root cannot be moved.

“I shall not be moved. I shall not be moved. Just like a tree that’s planted by the water, I shall not be moved.” I don’t know if you sang that in your old country church growing up, but I remember singing it a time or two. I remember some of the older folks really liking that one too. Of course, I think they thought it meant that they should stick in their traditions and ruts instead of wisdom…

You can’t plant roots with wickedness. You especially can’t plant roots of righteousness, the kind of roots you’ll need to be able to stand before God someday. There is no foundation being laid by the wickedness that you plant. There is nothing to be gained by being wicked.

However, the righteous person does have a place to stand before God. The righteous person obtains favor from the Lord. The Lord condemns the wicked person and the schemes they conjure up. But the righteous person obtains His favor.

Don’t confuse my sarcasm with condemnation for some of those older generation who were a little misguided in their thinking. I just don’t think tradition has anything to do with righteousness. I don’t see that in Proverbs. Of course there are many traditions described in the Old Testament, but not so many in the New Testament.

Part of what I see as living the Proverbious life is being able to live in the world and make a difference in it. This is what we need in current culture. We need men and women who are firmly planted in their walk with Christ, firmly planted in their righteousness and wisdom, but who are able to handle the changes in the stream as it flows by.

When the storms come and storm waters rush by, we need to be able to stand on the deeps roots of our righteousness (which is rooted in Christ – not anything we do). When the stream is flowing gently, we need to be able to go with the flow. When the stream changes course, we need to be able to adjust so we are still where we need to be. While trees may not be able to move when the stream changes course, trees do continue to send out new roots looking for water and nourishment.

The point is, righteousness roots us deep. And it is that depth and foundation that will help us find favor with the Lord. Of course, all of this through the work of Christ and his redemption in our lives. But, just because Christ died for us, doesn’t mean we don’t have a responsibility to learn to live rightly for him.

In fact, we must.