18 The path of the righteous is like the first gleam of dawn, shining ever brighter till the full light of day.
19 But the way of the wicked is like deep darkness; they do not know what makes them stumble.
Proverbs 4:18-19 (NIV)
I am back to write on Christian stuff again. It has been a memorable week here in Singapore. This is the first time as far as I can remember where all Singaporeans (represented by 1,414 courageous women) stand together speaking in one voice against our common enemy – religious extremists who resort to unethical means to take over a secular organization and tried to impose their religious laws on us. Although the participants in the agenda are all women and the background is a women NGO, I believe it affects all Singaporeans who believe in mutual respect and harmony among us in this nation.
Enough of current affairs. Let us start with the above verses. Verse 18 speaks of the path of the righteous. Who is the righteous mentioned in this verse? It refers to those who choose to believe in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. In other words – Christians. As Christians, we are righteous not because of what we have done. We are righteous because we have received Jesus’ righteousness by faith.
16I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile.
17For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.”
Romans 1:16-17 (NIV)
This means as Christians, our righteousness comes together with our salvation. It is our birthright and no one can take it away from us. It is not something we must do to earn. No matter what we do or don’t do, we are always righteous in God’s sight. Let me put this in another way. A dog will always be a dog regardless of whether it barks or not barks.
So, Proverbs 4:18 tells us that our path is like the first gleam of dawn, shining ever brighter till the full light of day. Dawn marks the beginning of a new day. It is the time where we can see the light of the sun overcoming the darkness of the night. Dawns will not stay dawn forever. The sun will rise higher and higher until it come a noonday sun. At noon, we have the greatest intensity of light and heat from the sun.
The above is a simple description of believers’ life story. Most of us do not live perfect lives. Even today, I have a visitor reminding me that the Bible says we have persecutions and trials on earth as though I don’t know about it. Let me get this straight. We Christians have many problems on earth today. Many of us have problems relating to finances, health, relationships and any other areas we can think of. However, this does not mean God has abandon us or God is the pervert who caused those problems to show us his “sufficient grace”.
The truth is, God is always on our side helping us to overcome all our problems. It is the will of God for us to turn our poverty into prosperity, sickness into health and failures into success. This truth will never change no matter how the theologians try to pervert it.
Let us focus on the “first gleam of dawn” in Proverbs 4:18. This tells me that a Christian’s path can never be in total darkness. There must be some gleams somewhere. If you happen to be in a very bad situation where you cannot see any way out, this verse is for you. God is telling you that you are not in complete darkness. There is some light somewhere and that somewhere is inside you.
The Bible tells us that the moment we were saved, we were sealed with the Holy Spirit until the day of redemption. In other words, all Christians are stuck with the Holy Spirit (or is it the other way round?) until we get to heaven. Is this good or bad? This is good because the Holy Spirit is not a spy whose job is to gather up evidence of our sins so that he can use it to condemn us in the future. The Holy Spirit is our friend and he wants to help us. He is the “first gleam of dawn” in Proverbs 4:18 to show us the way out of our darkness.
This may sound offensive to the theologians but the truth is the Holy Spirit wants to help us to be rich, healthy and be successful in every area in our lives. However, that is not all.
The second part of Proverbs 4:18 tells us that this dawn will shine brighter until the full light of day. This means progression in life. Let me give you a real life example on this. If you are poor right now, it is not wrong for you to ask God for some basic necessity in life. However, God’s will for you to get rich so that he can use you to provide for many other poor people with basic necessity in life out there. So, if you are poor, God wants you to be rich.
What if you are already rich? God wants you to be richer in order to shine brighter. Assuming that you are so rich now that you have been providing for 100 poor families every month. God’s will for you is for you to get richer so that you can afford to provide for 1,000 poor families. After, you are able to achieve that, God wants you to rise higher to provide for 10,000 poor families. This is the will of God to all believers. He wants the poor to get rich and the rich to get richer. God wants the light of the dawn to shine brighter and brighter.
Therefore it should not be a surprise to us that every true Christian wants to get richer and richer.
The subsequent verse (Proverbs 4:19) tells us what happens to those who refused God’s righteousness and choose to rely on their own self-righteousness. God calls them the wicked. The way of the wicked is like deep darkness; they do not know what makes them stumble. Those who are in deep darkness do not know what makes them stumble. This means they will keep repeating their failures.
This reminds me of a recent event in Singapore in which a group of female crusaders took over a secular woman NGO. They could not understand why the women who were not members of their church were so hostile to their “holy crusade”. Those crusaders must have thought the entire nation will be grateful for what they have done until they had a rude awakening last Saturday. Suddenly they have realized that they have become the most hated people in Singapore. If they do not repent and turn to Jesus, they will repeat their mistakes.
In conclusion, a believer can never be in total darkness. There are some gleams of light inside you. Seek it and use it to find a way out. After that, amplify it and make it shine brighter and brighter. Do not limit your focus on being rich alone. After you are rich, get richer and richer. This is the will of God for all believers.