One of the most famous films of 1989 was entitled “Do the Right Thing.” We could give our scripture reading for today that same title.
Proverbs 21 is full of advice to behave righteously. But, unlike the movie, this Bible passage states that the way that seems right to our human logic frequently isn’t. Only by following the Lord will be able to know what is right, as well as to do what is right.
As you read these verses below, pray that you will become less confident in yourself, and more confident in the Lord in your quest to, “do the right thing.”
1 In the Lord’s hand the king’s heart is a stream of water
that he channels toward all who please him.
2 A person may think their own ways are right,
but the Lord weighs the heart.
3 To do what is right and just
is more acceptable to the Lord than sacrifice.
4 Haughty eyes and a proud heart—
the unplowed field of the wicked—produce sin.
5 The plans of the diligent lead to profit
as surely as haste leads to poverty.
6 A fortune made by a lying tongue
is a fleeting vapor and a deadly snare.
7 The violence of the wicked will drag them away,
for they refuse to do what is right.
8 The way of the guilty is devious,
but the conduct of the innocent is upright.
9 Better to live on a corner of the roof
than share a house with a quarrelsome wife.
10 The wicked crave evil;
their neighbors get no mercy from them.
11 When a mocker is punished, the simple gain wisdom;
by paying attention to the wise they get knowledge.
12 The Righteous One takes note of the house of the wicked
and brings the wicked to ruin.
13 Whoever shuts their ears to the cry of the poor
will also cry out and not be answered.
14 A gift given in secret soothes anger,
and a bribe concealed in the cloak pacifies great wrath.
15 When justice is done, it brings joy to the righteous
but terror to evildoers.
16 Whoever strays from the path of prudence
comes to rest in the company of the dead.
17 Whoever loves pleasure will become poor;
whoever loves wine and olive oil will never be rich.
18 The wicked become a ransom for the righteous,
and the unfaithful for the upright.
19 Better to live in a desert
than with a quarrelsome and nagging wife.
20 The wise store up choice food and olive oil,
but fools gulp theirs down.
21 Whoever pursues righteousness and love
finds life, prosperity[c] and honor.
22 One who is wise can go up against the city of the mighty
and pull down the stronghold in which they trust.
23 Those who guard their mouths and their tongues
keep themselves from calamity.
24 The proud and arrogant person—“Mocker” is his name—
behaves with insolent fury.
25 The craving of a sluggard will be the death of him,
because his hands refuse to work.
26 All day long he craves for more,
but the righteous give without sparing.
27 The sacrifice of the wicked is detestable—
how much more so when brought with evil intent!
28 A false witness will perish,
but a careful listener will testify successfully.
29 The wicked put up a bold front,
but the upright give thought to their ways.
30 There is no wisdom, no insight, no plan
that can succeed against the Lord.
31 The horse is made ready for the day of battle,
but victory rests with the Lord.