Proverbs 13:9 (NKJV) 

9The light of the righteous rejoices, But the lamp of the wicked will be put out. 

Paul writes in Romans 8:29 that God has predestined His people to be conformed to the image of His Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. The Proverbs assist us in that process, directing us in the way of wisdom and teaching us what it is to imitate our Lord’s character. Today we are reminded that God’s law is a blessing not a burden.

When we are in sin and running away from God, His laws appear to us as limits on our freedom and self-expression. Why can’t I worship whomever I want, however I want? Why can’t I say whatever I want? Why must God restrict my work one day a week? Why must I honor my father and mother? A woman should have a right to choose what she does with her body. Sexual restrictions are passe. The oppressed have the right to steal from their oppressors. Greed is good. Who are you to tell me what to do?

But when God in His mercy grabs hold of us and reconciles us to Himself through faith in Jesus, He begins transforming our perspective on His law. We come to see His law as life and light – as the perfect law of liberty (James 1:25). God’s moral law is the operator’s manual for us individually and societally. We come to see that to cast off His law is to invite upon ourselves destruction. It is, like a fool, to put water in one’s gas tank, to flip pancakes with an icepick, or to dry one’s car with coarse sandpaper. None of those things – water, gas tanks, pancakes, icepicks, etc. – are bad in themselves – but they aren’t meant to go together and putting them together results in destruction not freedom.

So our Proverb reminds us, “The light of the righteous rejoices, But the lamp of the wicked will be put out.” The Reformation Study Bible notes explain, “The metaphor presents two kinds of houses: one brightly lit and happy, the other dark and deserted. These houses symbolize human lives: one person prospers and lives long while another is cut short” (948). So whose house is brightly lit and happy? The house of the righteous. Why? Because he knows the way that God designed him to live and endeavors to conform his life to that design. And whose house is dark and deserted? The house of the wicked. Why? Because he is in rebellion against God’s design, fighting against the way he was meant to live.

So what of you? Do you delight in God’s moral law? Do you see it as the pathway of life and light? As the way you were meant to live? Or has your heart been poisoned by unbelief? By the deceitfulness of the world? Do you see God’s law as repressive, thwarting your self-expression and cramping your style? Then beware, if you continue in that path, your lamp will go out and your home will be filled with darkness.

Reminded that we often view God’s moral law as a burden rather than a blessing, a drudgery rather than a delight, let us return to God, confess our sin, and pray that He would enable us to see His moral law for what it is: light and life. And as you are able, let us kneel together as we confess our sin.