No one is established by wickedness,
but the root of the righteous will never be moved.
My Bible reading plan has me going through the book of Proverbs right now. My prayer is that God would impress on my heart the beauty of holiness. I hope that the intentional repetition of these wise sayings and moral instructions would sink into me not so much a love of rules, or even of wise words, but of truth, beauty, and goodness, Christ himself!
The word from this morning that struck me was the forceful conviction with which the wise man makes his statement. It’s as if to say, “don’t let anyone tell you otherwise: no one ever benefits or prospers by doing what is wicked, by despising or rejecting God.” To use the analogy further, it’s as if he’s saying that the tree of the righteous may even look hopeless: his branches dried up, some of its leaves withering, etc. But his root will never be moved. The wicked may look all prosperous on the outside. But his roots are shallow. He will be gone in a moment. He’s to be pitied not envied.
The old Charles Bridges has this to say about this verse in his commentary (1847):
Firm and unshaken is the condition of the righteous. Their leaves may wither in the blast. Their branches may tremble in the fury of the tempest. But their root–the true principle of life-shall not be moved. They “are scarcely saved,” not without many tossings. But they are surely saved, beyond the powers of hell to destroy. Does not thy faith–Christian–sometimes faint in the wearisome assaults of thy implacable enemy? Rejoice in the assurance, that it cannot fail. (Luke, xxii. 31, 32.) Thou art “rooted and grounded” in a sure foundation. (Eph. iii. 17. Col. ii. 7.) Let “the Lord, who is thy strength,”- be “thy song.”–‘He only is my Rock and my salvation; I shall not be greatly moved: I shall not be moved at all.’ (Isa. ii. 2. Ps. lxii. 2, 6. Mic. vii. 8. Rom. viii. 31-39.)
And how bright is this prospect for the Church! It shall not be moved. (Ps. cxxv. 1, 2. Isa. xxvi. 1.) Triumphant is her confidence in the day of conflict. “The gates of hell shall not prevail. No weapon that is formed against her shall prosper.” (Matt. xvi. 18. Isa. liv. 17.)