"The righteousness of the blameless will smooth his way, but the wicked will fall by his own wickedness"
This is a contrasting proverb designed to show the stark difference that choices make. There is a multiplying effect with good and bad choices. Every good choice opens up more good choices and the blessings that result from good choices. Every bad choice results in more bad choices that were not available before the bad choice was made, and then the consequences of that bad choice come along also. So there is at least a four-fold multiplying effect for every choice.
Let me spell it out this way. If I choose the right choice then, first, I gain the blessings of that good choice; second, I have new good choices available to me; third, I do not have the consequences of the bad choice I could have made; fourth, I do not have new bad choices available to me.
the righteousness of the blameless will smooth his way
There are results from choosing wisely. All of us believe that, but we need to be reminded of that from time to time because at times it seems that the wicked get all the good stuff. But this is not true. Their way is hard and full of difficulty.
The word righteousness, sedeq, means conformity to an ethical or moral standard. What is that moral or ethical standard in the Scriptures? It is the Ten Commandments. So if you make choices to stay within the boundaries of the Ten Commandments, then you have made choices to be righteous.
Let's just review what these are...
You shall have no other gods before Me
You shall not make for yourself any idols
You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain
Remember the Sabbath Day to keep it holy
Honor you Father and your Mother
You shall not murder
You shall not commit adultery
You shall not steal
You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor
You shall not covet your neighbor’s goods
These ten mark the edge of acceptable behavior. They each also point to a much deeper, ethical behavior. Instead of playing around the edge of what is allowed, we want to please God by being in the center of His will. Let's take a look at the hoped-for opposite behavior that each commandment implies.
You shall love the Lord your God with all you heart, soul, mind, and strength.
Understand and contemplate the wonder, infinity, and transcendence of God and never reduce Him to something in this world.
Let your actions match your words and become a testimony of the integrity of a person who walks with God. Do what you say you will do.
Live a balanced life full of work, worship, rest, and relationships.
Add value to everyone around you, especially authorities who keep watch over you.
Develop a flexibility in the face of life and opposition that does not strike back or seethe, instead looking for a new option in the face of the reality of the situation.
Work hard to build abundance that you can generously share with others. Be honest in your dealings with others.
Enjoy the blessings and relationships that you already possess, maximizing their contribution to your life.
This verse claims that when we make choices to stay within the boundaries of the Ten Commandments, our lives will smooth out and not have many of the obstacles, difficulties, and problems of those who live outside of these moral boundaries.
the wicked will fall by his own wickedness
We need to hear that wicked choices bring difficulty. Unfortunately the TV, movies, and magazines hide the difficulties of those who live outside of God's boundaries. We see mob bosses who don't have problems. We see sexually promiscuous men and women who never get diseases or are deeply lonely or have multiple alimony payments or emotionally break down under the weight of their broken relationships. We see thieves who live in rich houses and never get arrested or have to deal with unsavory characters or get cheated themselves. We see envious people who always get what they want instead of destroying what they are after in the lives of others and their own life in the process of pursing the great prize they must have. We see foul-mouthed hero types whose verbal filth does not limit job opportunities, earning potential, relationships, or team cohesiveness. All these unreal images are constantly driven into the minds of our children and ourselves until we really believe that there are not consequences to wickedness.
Do not believe that; limit your exposure to these lies and remember that wickedness brings consequences: spiritually, emotionally, mentally, physically, relationally, and in a whole host of ways beyond this.
It is important to say, at this point, that this verse points out that it is not God who curses the wicked; it is their own wickedness. Their own choices bring consequences. Many people will scream at God and ask, "Why are you against me?" I believe that He answers, "I am not against you; you are against yourself. Repent and come to me that you may live and enjoy My blessings."
Too many people want to continue to make the choices that they have been making and that they are comfortable with and get a different result. It won't happen.
What trips up those who make bad choices? The bad choices that they make.