“The light of the righteous rejoices, but the lamp of the wicked goes out.”Proverbs 13:9
Some of Proverbs’ sayings are, well, not quite what we should do! In Proverbs 13 :24 the writer urges “the rod” to be used in disciplining children. I believe that to be bad advice and contrary to how Christian parents should guide their children. Certainly Jesus warned against harming any child! But in Proverbs 13:9 we have an echo of a parable Jesus told of wise and foolish bridesmaids (Matthew 25:1-13) in which the wise bridesmaids had sufficient oil in their lamps and to spare while waiting for the bridegroom (Jesus) to come. The foolish were not so prepared. Their lamps went out and they were not admitted to the bridal feast. The point of the proverb stands in the parable Jesus told.
Two lessons I believe are here. First we must always read the Old Testament in light of the New. Jesus protected children warning against abuse and in Matthew 19:14 invited the children to come to him. We need to heed this method of interpretation in all things, including our penchant to use the laws of a former time to divide the church today.
And we also need to understand that there are consequences to what we do, and do not do. Righteous living brings light to our pathways. Wicked living produces darkness. Jesus said “I am the light of the world,” and he invites us to be similar lights shining in the darkness. Both points are important for following Jesus!