Proverbs 21:11-21 – The Great Pursuit

Read Proverbs 21:11-21

Did you picture a movie scene with one car in hot pursuit of another? Screeching tires and dust billowing all over?! There is no question, you see a definite intention to catch up with the other vehicle. It’s not just for fun, it’s serious. Or perhaps you thought of some of your own pursuits, a college degree, a career, wealth, fame.

Solomon has some great wisdom for us in verse 21. He says, “Whoever pursues righteousness and unfailing love will find life, righteousness, and honor.” Have you ever thought about pursuing righteousness or unfailing love? In some translations, unfailing love is referred to as loyalty. As I understand it, the word used for “pursue” here is stronger and more intentional than just a whim or something we’d “like” to have. We are to chase or follow, full of energy and definite intention. We are not to just search for but to conquer and overtake. This is serious business. Why righteousness and unfailing love?

What do you think of when you hear the word righteousness? I always think of being “right” with God. It is that, but it comes from living a life with focus on being obedient. Righteousness is a way of life. Are we more concerned with ourselves or with the needs of others? Are we more focused on fame or in having a relationship with God? When we think of righteousness, it is not necessarily following what is “politically correct.” We are to immerse ourselves in being who God wants us to be based on the promises found in his word.

We also need to earnestly seek unfailing love or loyalty. We can understand this as the love Jesus has for us, the grace he so freely gives us. It is undeserved but exactly what we need. I love how this Old Testament proverb of wisdom is giving us a glimpse into righteousness and grace, often thought to be New Testament promises fulfilled in Jesus. We will be hard pressed to find such love and grace in other humans. Our earnest search will lead us to Jesus and the cross.

So, what will we find? Solomon suggests we will find life, righteousness, and honor. Think of the eternal life Jesus secures for us. When we seek righteousness and grace, we find Jesus who is the truth, the way, and the life. Other translations have glory in place of honor. In either case, we receive glorious rewards for seeking righteousness and unfailing love.

What are you doing to pursue these things? Do you need to arrange for a search party? Take some time today to reflect on what is important to you. The bottom line of this proverb is to seek God!

Let’s pray … Lord, I come to you feeling a little overwhelmed and weary. I do want to search for you and find life. I realize there is no greater love than your love for me. I want to honor that, respect that, and show my gratitude overflowing. Continue your work in me. Use me to share your message of love and mercy. In Jesus’ name. Amen.  

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