"The evil will bow down before the good, and the wicked at the gates of the righteous"
This is the Hebrew word ra, which means bad or evil. This is the person who ethically desires the harm of others in order to advance his own cause or just the harm of others. Those who are merely selfish and do not specifically intend to harm or destroy others are sinners and wrong, but they are not in the same category as those who are evil. The evil actually demand or plan that others be harmed. They enjoy the destruction of others as much, if not more, than the benefit they will derive.
This is the Hebrew word shachach, which means to bow or be bowed down, humbled. There will come a time when those who have been all about being on top – even if it meant the degrading of others – will have to bow to the superiority of the truly good.
This is the Hebrew word tob, which means pleasant, good, agreeable. The idea in this proverb is the one that actually performs the good for others. This is usually the need that the person has. Good could be a synonym for unemotional love. Love meets needs – when a person realizes that God has put us here to discern the needs of another and meet those needs where appropriate.
It is this kind of goodness that triumphs over evil. It is positive goodness. Goodness is not just the absence of badness. In fact, goodness can be accomplished in the presence of badness. Goodness means that the real need of the person is met. The real crisis is solved.
Solomon wants us to be the living embrace of the first and second great commandment. He wants us to realize that it is worth it. It is easy to let hatred and selfishness take over your being. It is easy to watch the quick success of those without moral boundaries and to wonder if it is worth it to be righteous. The answer is, yes, it is worth it. God will, in this age or in the one to come, make the evil bow down before the good. You have to see this with the eyes of faith. But it is true.
Are you holding on to the reality that God is bringing a day of reckoning? He will open the accounts and books. He will reward those who lived out His values and His goals. Do not forget. Yes, it seems like the evil and wicked are triumphing; but they will not win. Chose to remain an agent of good in the world instead of becoming one more agent of selfishness.