Proverbs 15:29 – “The LORD is far from the wicked: but he heareth the prayer of the righteous.”
A proverbial statement might be defined as a short, meaningful saying that expresses a significant, substantial truth for life. In the book of the Proverbs, a proverb is often constructed with two lines, presenting a comparison or contrast. Proverbs 15:29 presents a truth of contrast. Whereas the Lord our God separates Himself far from the wicked, He abides close to the righteous in order that He might hear and answer their prayers.
The subject in both lines of this proverb is the same. In both cases, the Lord our God is the subject; and each line presents our Lord God’s relationship to the category of individuals presented in each line. Thus the first line presents how the Lord our God chooses to relate unto the wicked, and the second line presents how the Lord our God chooses to relate unto the righteous.
The first contrast of this proverb then concerns the particular activity of our Lord’s relationship to the wicked and to the righteous. The first line indicates that the Lord our God is and remains “far from the wicked.” This reveals that the Lord has no fellowship with and favor toward those who walk in wickedness. In fact, their wickedness is a hateful offense to the all-holy Lord God. Therefore, their wickedness creates a great separation between them and the Lord. (See Isaiah 59:2) Due to the hateful offense of their wickedness, the Lord our God separates Himself far from them, such that He does not hear the cry of their prayers and does not help them in their time of need.
On the other hand, the second line indicates that the Lord our God faithfully “heareth the prayer of the righteous.” This reveals that the Lord has close fellowship with and favor toward those who walk in righteousness. In fact, their walk in His righteousness is pleasing in His sight. Therefore, their walk in righteousness moves the Lord to graciously draw nigh unto them. (See Psalm 34:15, 18) Due to His divine pleasure in their righteousness, the Lord our God draws night unto them, specifically that He might hear their prayers and help them in their need. The Lord our God separates Himself “far from the wicked” and thus rejects their prayers. Yet the Lord our God draws nigh unto the righteous and thus “heareth” their prayers.
Even so, the second contrast of this proverb concerns the character of the two categories toward whom the Lord our God demonstrates His far separation or His close fellowship. The category of the first line is described as “the wicked.” The category of the second line is described as “the righteous.” The wicked may be defined as those who walk in their own ways and who thereby walk in disobedience to the Lord’s Word. The righteous may be defined as those who walk in the fear of the Lord and who thereby walk in obedience to the Lord’s Word. Thus an individual’s daily fellowship with the Lord is directly determined by that individual’s daily walk in selfish disobedience or in godly obedience.
Three other verses in Proverbs 15 also deal with the contrast of our Lord God’s relationship toward the wicked and toward the righteous. Verses 9 & 25 reveal the reason that the Lord separates Himself so far from the wicked – because their thoughts and their ways are a hateful abomination in His sight. Even so, the opening portion of Proverbs 15:25 declares, “The thoughts of the wicked are an abomination to the LORD.” In addition, the opening portion of Proverbs 15:9 declares, “The way of the wicked is an abomination to the LORD.” Thus the opening portion of Proverbs 15:8 reveals the result that the Lord finds the religious service and sacrifice of the wicked also to be a hateful abomination in His sight – “The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the LORD.”
On the other hand, these three verses also help to define the character of the righteous and help us to understand how greatly the Lord our God finds delight in the righteous. Indeed, from Proverbs 15:8, 25 we learn that the righteous are those who maintain an upright and pure character; and from Proverbs 15:9 we learn that the righteous are those who fervently and faithfully pursue righteousness in their conduct. Furthermore, we learn from verse 9 that the Lord our God loves the righteous. Even so, the closing portion of Proverbs 15:9 declares, “But he loveth him that followeth after righteousness.” We learn from verse 8 that the Lord our God delights in the prayers of the righteous. Even so, the closing portion of Proverbs 15:8 declares, “But the prayer of the upright is his delight.” Finally, we learn from verse 26 that the Lord our God finds pleasure in the words of the righteous. Even so, the closing portion of Proverbs 15:26 declares, “But the words of the pure are pleasant words.”
So then, we must ask ourselves if we truly desire to walk in our Lord’s fellowship and under our Lord’s favor. We must ask ourselves if we truly desire for our Lord to hear the request of our prayers and to help us in our time of need. If we do truly desire these things, then we must ask ourselves how we intend to walk before the Lord our God.
Even so, we must examine ourselves whether we are walking in wickedness or in righteousness before the Lord our God. We must examine ourselves whether we are walking after our own ways and in disobedience to our Lord’s Word, or whether we are walking in the fear of the Lord and in obedience to our Lord’s Word.
Finally, if we have been walking after our own ways and in disobedience, then we must repent thereof with a broken and contrite heart. On the other hand, if we have been walking in the fear of the Lord and in obedience, then we must maintain full assurance of faith that our Lord’s loving favor is upon us and that He delights to hear our prayers.
Posted in Proverbs for Life, Fellowship with the Lord, Hatred of the Lord, Delight of the Lord, Prayer, Rebellion against God, Fear of the Lord, Walk in Righteousness