No Evil to the Just – Proverbs 12:21

Proverbs 12:21 "There shall no evil happen to the just: but the wicked shall be filled with mischief."

This verse does not mean that if you live right, that life will be a bed of roses. One only needs to briefly examine the lives of Joseph, Elijah, the Apostles, Stephen, and other great men and women of the faith to understand that life is not a bed of roses for the just. If you want a current example of this truth, read the news. The Christians over in Iraq are being slaughtered by the wicked ISIS terrorist group. Some are being crucified, yes, CRUCIFIED for their faith! I thought crucifixion was dead. Please pray for these Iraqi Christians! Since we see that those who live Godly in Christ Jesus WILL SUFFER persecution, Solomon clearly is driving at something else (2 Timothy 3:12). If living right was a breeze, there would have been no need for the Apostle Paul to tell Timothy to endure hardness as a good soldier of Jesus Christ (2 Timothy 2:1-3). What then is Solomon pointing out?

A proper interpretation of this passage requires a proper understanding of the Hebrew words for "evil" and "mischief." We must also ask ourselves, "What is God’s purpose in telling us this?"

Evil (H205) – from an unused root perhaps meaning properly, to pant (hence, to exert oneself, usually in vain. False, mischief, vain, vanity, iniquity. – Strong’s Hebrew and Greek Dictionary

This Hebrew word is only translated once as "evil" of its 78 occurrences and is most commonly translated as "iniquity" (47 times). Iniquity is having one’s own way versus following God’s way. No evil happening to the just, means that the bad things that happen to them are beneficial. As Joseph, the just can say, "But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive." (Genesis 50:20). God always brings good out of our trials. God does not allow His children to go through trials in vain. The glorious benefits are available for the child of God who follows the Holy Spirit’s leading and not their own desires which is iniquity. Another way of looking at this verse, is that God saves the just from their own iniquity or way. The just follow the Just One (Acts 7:52).

Mischief (H7451) – adversity, affliction, bad, calamity.

These definitions are very similar, Hence, the point of this passage points to the motive and purpose of the evil. What happens to the just is not in vain. God is accomplishing a mighty work in a just person’s life whether it is through good times or trials. Yet we often we do not believe it practically when trials come.

Today whatever comes your way, know that God is just, trust Him, and obey Him. There is no better way to show that you believe than to trust and obey. No evil happens to the just, or put in other words, no evil happens to the just in vain (Phil. 1:6).

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