If you’re following the schedule, you should read these chapters today: Leviticus 14, Psalm 17, Proverbs 28, 2 Thessalonians 2. Click on any of those references to see all the passages in one long page on BibleGateway. If you can't do all the readings today, read Proverbs 28.
A number of years ago I read a newspaper story about a man who was arrested in Chicago for a crime he had committed in Boston. I don’t remember all the details—and I haven’t been able to find the article online again—but whatever crime he committed was serious and something like 10 or 20 years had passed between the crime and his arrest. If my memory is correct, he said he was relieved when they finally arrested him. Though he had managed to build a new life for himself and live undetected for a long time, the witness of his conscience and his fear of being captured weighted on his heart during the entire time. This is what verse 1 of Proverbs 28 means when it says, “The wicked flee though no one pursues….” It is the fear of being caught and the witness of one’s conscience that makes us panic when we’ve done something wrong and “gotten away with it.” The contrast in verse 1b is, “…but the righteous are as bold as a lion.” This boldness is boldness in daily living, it is the confidence that comes from a clean conscience.
As sinners, we all know how nerve-wracking it is to have sin in your life that you’re trying to cover. So, while “the righteous are as bold as a lion,” we have many moments in our life when we lack that boldness. What should we do to recover a clean conscience? Fortunately, this chapter in Proverbs answers that question as well in verse 13: “Whoever conceals their sins does not prosper, but the one who confesses and renounces them finds mercy.” Only confession and true repentance can restore a clean conscience. It is incredibly hard to voluntarily confess your sins, especially if there are consequences—even criminal penalties—that may result from confessing. But, God is “rich in mercy” (Eph 2:4) and offers us forgiveness in Christ. Often people will be merciful, too, especially when someone voluntarily confesses without getting caught and demonstrates true repentance.
These verses remind us not only to repent of our sins; they give us good reasons to avoid sinning in the first place. There is moral power in living a righteous life and, by the grace of God, we can choose to do what is right and enjoy the freedom of a clear conscience.
Now for your thoughts: What stood out in your Bible reading for today? What questions do you have about what you read? What are your thoughts about what I wrote above? Post them in the comments below or on our Facebook page. And, feel free to answer and interact with the questions and comments of others. Have a great day; we'll talk scripture again tomorrow.