Proverbs 16:7

An Exposition of the Book of Proverbs
Charles Bridges

"When a man's ways please Yahweh,
He makes even his enemies to be at peace with him."

Often is the favor of God and man combined to the man of God. Yet he will always have his enemies -- if from no other source, then from "his own household" (Matt. 10:36). To seek peace with them by compromise of principle would be to forfeit his character at a dreadful cost. Let him hold fast his principles in the face of his enemies. "Though they mean him no good, they shall do him no harm," says Bishop Sanderson.

How then do we explain the persecution of the saints, of Him especially whose ways always pleased the Lord? Each statement limits the other. The one shows the native enmity of the heart, the other its Divine restraint. It shall be let loose so far as is for the glory of God. Beyond this, it shall be restrained. His Church had her season of rest. He has all tongues, all hands, all hearts under his power. The one who walks in the fear of God, what need has he to fear man?

The best way for our enemies to be reconciled to us is for us to be reconciled to God. All our danger lies in his wrath, not in their anger. No creature can touch us without his permission. Laban followed Jacob as an enemy, but was constrained to be at peace with him. Esau, when about to execute his long-brooded threat, was melted down into brotherly endearment. Israel's lands were preserved from invasion while they were engaged in the service of God. The enemies of the godly kings were manacled and bowed before them. Often has the majesty of the godly brow commanded the reverence, and even bound up the hands, of the wicked. And such will be the ultimate victory of the Church over all opposition.

But even if the enemies be let loose, yet if their harm be overruled to larger good, is not the promise substantially fulfilled? Bishop Sanderson observes: "No wise man will tax him with breach of promise who having promised a pound of silver gives a talent of gold. Or who can truly say that that man is not so good as his word who is apparently much better than his word?" God will take care of his people. Peace or war shall turn to their everlasting good.

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