than the rich whose ways are perverse.
Better is the poor that walketh in his uprightness, than he that is perverse in his ways, though he be rich.
I highlighted two words up there for us to focus on. Let's take the second one first (I know, I know, I'm squirrely.) What are a person's "ways"? Is Solomon talking about a person's attitude, their manner of living, the way they handle crises, or the way they treat others? Let's go exploring, shall we?
You shall walk in all the ways which the Lord your God hath commanded you, that you may live, and that it may be well with you, and that you may prolong your days in the land which you shall possess. Deuteronomy 5:33In this verse, "ways" is a reference to the Law, and the Hebrew people's obedience to it. Now let's fast forward to the book of Job, and read:
Job 31:4 Does not he see my ways, and count all my steps?So, a person's ways are how he or she lives, day by day, when people aren't watching, and when true character shows through. Of course, our ways are often quite different from God's ways. In fact, the help of the Holy Spirit is the only solution for making our ways mirror God's ways.
Now, I highlighted another word up there . . . if you search the Hebrew meanings for "perverse" in this verse, the first one that was listed in my commentary was "false." That set the gears to turning. Someone who is false, though he/she is rich.
Have you ever thought about how rich we are, as Christians in this country? I believe that the majority of our readers are in the United States and the UK, where there are many, many churches, and you don't need to be registered with the government to attend one. We can walk into stores and purchase a copy of God's word, and we can read it anywhere we like -- we don't have to hide. There are radio stations that we can listen to, that only play gospel music or hymns. There are television stations that have a constant supply of preachers and evangelists for us to listen to and learn from. Wow!
Compare that to a person in China who must attend secret services in another Christian's home. Compare that to a poor person in Sudan, who will be tortured, exiled, or killed, if they mention their faith in Christ. How about another person in the Philippines, who is forced to endure hunger, disease, and persecution, in order to share a Bible and walk miles to hear the Word preached (again in secret).
Those people who are poor in situation or environment, but are faithful to Christ, are better than the "rich" Christian whose ways are "false." The one who forgets to pray until a crisis looms. Or goes days, weeks, even months without opening the Bible beside their bed. Or the one who joins in worldly activities and attitudes, instead of standing up for righteousness.
I've stepped on my own toes here, so I hope you will forgive me if I happen to have bruised yours as well. While I hunt for the box of bandaids, give a listen to this old hymn that was a standard for George Beverly Shea . . .