Proverbs 24:16 “For a righteous man falls seven times, and rises up again, but the wicked stumble under adversity.”
As I was taking a walk one day this past winter with my camera taking pictures of the beautiful snow fallen land around me a scripture popped in my head, Isaiah 1:18 “Come now, and let us reason together, says Hashem; though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.” But then I looked into the wooded area along my walk and I took the above photo and it is the inspiration of this blog.
The photo above represents the passage from Proverbs 24 to me. As I pondered that my sins would be made like snow then I saw a place where there was brown dead leaves penetrating the soft white snow to show their ugliness. As I continued to look upon this sight and meditate on the message the Creator was showing me this is what I came away with.
The righteous are not perfect and are never called perfect by their Master but they remain righteous before Him though they fall. The failures of the righteous are like the brown dead leaves, but as you can see the deadness is surrounded by white snow all around them. The righteous reach their heights by standing up and using their failure to reach the next level of righteousness never letting their failures overcome them, it is the wicked that stumble in their failure for they do not rise up as the righteous do – it is because of this truth that I despise the Christian phrase, “Sinner saved by grace” that statement keeps a person down and he continues all his life claiming they are a sinner. They never rise above being a sinner and thus it traps them into the pit of being wicked. A righteous person sees and acknowledges their failure or sin and then stands up and uses that failure as a stepping stone to his next spiritual level. As Rabbi Shalom Arush puts it, your current failure is higher than your last ascent.
The righteous do not see that they are surrounded by dead rotting leaves but the opposite, look at all the pure snow around the dead leaves. Yes the righteous is not perfect – they are righteous no matter how much deadness may be seen by others, to them the deadness are only stepping stones along the path of righteousness that they are called to walk. Though the righteous may fall, it is their rising up that is their life and that life is like the pure white snow, and they stand beautiful before their Master.
Terry W. Hayes