Whoever pursues righteousness and love
finds life, prosperity and honor. Proverbs 21:21
In today’s passage from Proverbs Solomon is telling us that if we pursue or chase after righteousness and love, then we will find life, prosperity and honor. When Solomon wrote that we are to chase after or pursue righteousness he is telling us that we are to be pursuing a life that is lived according to God’s standard, doing what is right and being in the right. And when Solomon wrote that we are to pursue or chase after “love” he is really telling us to be pursuing grace and mercy, which are the very things that God shows to us. Which is why many years after Solomon wrote these words the prophet Micah would write these words, “He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God” (Micah 6:8).
After telling us what we should be pursuing in our lives Solomon goes on to tell us the rewards for pursuing righteousness and love. The first thing he tells us we will find is life. The second thing he tells us we will find is prosperity. But the Hebrew word that Solomon uses here that is translated as “prosperity” does not mean what you think it does. The word in Hebrew is the same word that was used in the first line of this Proverb for righteousness. What Solomon is telling us here is that when we pursue righteousness we will find righteousness. And the last thing Solomon tells us we will find is honor. When we think we of honor the vast majority of us think of being held in high respect or great esteem. But there is so much to the word honor than that. The word “honor” in Hebrew literal means to give something weight, worth or value. Which means that if we wish to be “honored” we have to be willing to give someone weight, worth or value. In other words we have to show love to others in order to find “honor”.
When we put all these things together we find that we have the kind of life that Jesus wrote in John 10:10. “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”