"Those who forsake the law praise the wicked, but those who keep the law strive with them"
This proverb is about the constant struggle in a fallen world to maintain order and moral boundaries. People are not naturally good; they are naturally sinful. Therefore they will try and push against the boundaries of decency and morality that God has told us to enforce.
If Christian people do nothing in their society, then the forces of wickedness will have their way and destroy the society by pushing the boundaries of decency until wrong is right and right is blamed for the ills of society.
Those who forsake the law praise the wicked
There are those who are in the midst of forsaking the boundaries of the moral law of God. Their forsaking of God's limits on behavior is marked outwardly by praise for those who live outside the boundaries of God.
Remember the wicked are those who live outside the Ten Commandments. There are three types of sin in the Bible. First, sins of omission: where a person should have done something but did not; this is called missing the mark; not living up to God's standard. Second, trespass sins: where a person does what God says not to do but then stops and moves back into moral living. But the third type of sin in the Bible is wickedness: where a person moves out into open defiance of God by constantly doing what God says is wrong. This could be lying, stealing, murder, adultery, coveting, false religion, contempt for all authority. A person is biblically defined as wicked when he/she lives outside the boundaries of the Ten Commandments.
In our culture, we only define people who murder, or rape children or multiple people as wicked. But that is not God's definition.
Our society is being given over almost completely to the experiments of the wicked because those who are righteous forsook the law. We are reaping the kind of society that comes when those who want the freedom to be wicked move into the positions of power. In less than forty years our culture has learned to praise people for committing forms of murder; we have learned to encourage a lack of sexual self-control and come to embrace adulterous perversion that will spread disease, depression, and shorten life spans. We have learned to tolerate and even encourage rebellion against parents and authority. We have come to tolerate, embrace, and encourage – through advertising, debt, and gambling – coveting on a scale seldom seen in the history of the world. Numerous other examples of wickedness becoming the norm abound in our society.
The first step in reclaiming the country is not a protest march but Christians who live within God's moral boundaries themselves. If you are committing adultery, stop and practice purity. If you have murdered through abortion, repent and promote life. If you envy everyone else, stop and give thanks for the blessings God has given you. If you are stealing at work, return the items and work hard to make your company profitable. If you swear and curse, stop and learn to say positive things about others instead. There is a powerful testimony awaiting those who will begin living within basic moral boundaries.
Now are we bound by the law as a way of salvation? No, we use the Ten Commandments as an outer limit. We really strive to cooperate with the Holy Spirit to produce in our lives the fruit of the spirit: Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Meekness, Faithfulness, Self-Control.
but those who keep the law strive with them
It must be clear that there will always be people who want to live past the boundaries of God's moral law. When they do, there must be a group of people who strive with them to protect and defend the society against the wicked. If the wicked triumph in pushing the boundaries of morality to the ridiculous levels they want, then the society will begin to consume itself until utter destruction.
It is not possible for righteous people to sit by and watch the wicked drag a whole society into ruin without saying and doing something. Remember, the wicked are those who want to live outside the boundaries of the Ten Commandments.
God will raise up champions to fight against each of the groups that seek to violate His law. Righteous people must join the fight and resist the work of the devil in the world system.
Ask yourself if there are particular issues of encroaching wickedness that God is prompting you about and what you can do to get involved to stand for righteousness. Write a letter, join a group, pray more specifically, place a call, give money to help, volunteer time, etc. Remember if the righteous do not strive with those who would destroy morality, there will be no peaceful society to live in.
This proverb states that if we are not willing to strive with the wicked, then we have an area where we also forsake the law. For if we kept it, we would fight against the wicked. We would point out the consequences of immorality.
It is interesting that the word strive is used rather than put down or destroy. The righteous will not always win in their struggle against wickedness, but the striving must be present or wickedness will just destroy a whole society by eliminating peace, safety, security, and prosperity. It is the responsibility of the righteous to shine the light of truth into the actions of those who are wicked and thereby strive or meddle or conflict with them. Slowing them down and allowing others to see what is taking place – do we really want this to take place? Shouldn't this be stopped?