The Righteous Rise Again

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For though the righteous fall seven times, they rise again,
    but the wicked stumble when calamity strikes.
—Proverbs 24:16

We continue with devotional thoughts from the Book of Proverbs every Friday. One of the 11 books in the Torah known as the Ketuvim, Hebrew for “writings,” Proverbs is part of the “wisdom tradition,” which also includes Job and Ecclesiastes.

Before the ongoing war in Ukraine began, I would often travel to the former Soviet Union to distribute food and supplies to help elderly Jews survive the harsh winter. And every year, before I went, I would have doubts about going.

I had doubts about if I’d be safe on the icy roads and in the freezing temperatures. I had doubts about if my kids would be okay at home in the Holy Land without me. I had doubts about if my trip really made a difference in the world. And usually, along with these doubts, there were unforeseen obstacles and logistical problems that stood in the way.

During the preparations for one trip, when the doubts and issues started to arise, I had a thought that got me through. I thought about the long journey of the Jewish people throughout our long and difficult history. How many doubts and obstacles did they encounter? How did they keep going?

As soon as I thought of this, I laughed at myself. Of course, they kept going. That’s the power of faith. Faith enables us to keep going when we realize that we are doing the will of God. Faith gives us the strength to press through all obstacles, and even rise up after the mistakes we make along the way. Faith allows the righteous to rise again.

The Righteous Rise Again

Proverbs teaches us about the strength to move past adversity in the service of God. We read, “For though the righteous fall seven times, they rise again, but the wicked stumble when calamity strikes.”

In Hebrew, the first phrase in the verse is written in the future tense, literally “though the righteous will fall seven times.” But the next phrase is in the past tense: “they have risen again.” While this might seem inconsistent, it teaches us a powerful lesson about adversity and faith.

When we press forward in the service of God, even before we stumble and face difficulties in our path, we have already been filled with the strength that we need to stand up, to rise again. It’s as though the Bible is telling us, “You will face obstacles and make mistakes, but when you do, remember that you have already risen. God has already granted you the strength you need for victory.”

As people of faith, we know that good will ultimately win over evil. Victory is assured. We must never let doubts and obstacles stand in our way. Keep going!

Your turn: Are you struggling with a task God has given you? Are you questioning your own strength to press on? Have faith that He is with you and will lead you to victory.

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