He that followeth after righteousness and mercy findeth life, righteousness, and honour. Proverbs 21:21 KJV
This saying is rare because finding life etc. was not a popular activity. That’s like saying Noah’s salvation (he saved the world) was through faith in the Crucified. Neither Solomon nor any of his generation (or any in the previous generations of Jewish people) believed in the Lord Jesus Christ. They persecuted his prophets just as the modern wise ones in Christendom persecute and reject apostolic teaching. They did not believe Moses. Solomon followed neither David nor Abraham.
The chances of anyone finding these three – life, righteousness, and glory – is slim in deed.
• Life: you cant say I’m alive therefore I’ve found life
• Righteousness: we have none except that given us through expiation
• Honour (glory), none exists beside the glory of the incarnate Word
The attraction to Solomonic maxims in the modern era is disturbing. Did Solomon not know that ISRAELITE RIGHTEOUSNESS was doing everything God required?
And it shall be our righteousness, if we observe to do all these commandments before the Lord our God, as he hath commanded us. Deu. 6:25
There was no pursuit of this kind of justice (tsedeqah) and grace (chesed, חסד ) the king’s lifestyle. Sure, he completed the building project his dad wanted, but we are not familiar with the temple as a place where life was the priority. Since blood is the face of life then righteousness never enters the picture with Israelite covenants (neither circumcision, nor the Tablets, nor the host of statutes and judgments) brought any life, righteousness or lasting glory.
Someone who pursues righteousness and mercy is a fool if he has heard that there is a Saviour for all men. Or do we want to propose that our pursuit of righteousness and plea for mercy are our contribution to salvation.
Israel sought righteousness by saying, at Sinai, “we will do everything Yawheh says”. Israel also sought righteousness by insisting that they can do all that God commanded, when Joshua plainly told them that was not possible. They had spent the years from Sinai up to the borders of Canaan going after other gods. Joshua saw the whole shebang. At thep time of the entry into Canaan, Joshua was still saying to them “Choose today: make up your mind”. Joshua knew what he was saying.
Who do we suppose Scripture describes in Romans 3:10-18 as (1) unrighteous (2) ignorant (3) not seeking God (4) out of the way (5) unprofitable (6) bad (7) death-throated (8) liars poison- lipped (9) murderous (10) unfamiliar with peace and (11) irreverent?
As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one. Their throat is an open sepulchre; with their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips: Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness: Their feet are swift to shed blood: Destruction and misery are in their ways: And the way of peace have they not known: There is no fear of God before their eyes.
I would rather take it from Yeshua, who said many righteous men and prophets desired to see a slice of messiah’s operations but did not see it. I’d rather take it from Paul who made a personal choice to discard his Jewish treasures for the excellence of getting to know Christ.