Here’s another wise saying of typical Hebrew poetry with parallel statements – one positive, the other negative – contrasting “the blameless” and “the wicked.” But, while the verse talks about what happens to them, it’s actually more about who they are.
It should be noted that “blameless” doesn’t mean “sinless!” Instead, it suggests the idea of right focus and commitment to what is good and appropriate.
This verse says it’s their “righteousness” that sets the “blameless” up for good things – it “makes their paths straight.” And righteousness always centers more on attitudes than actions.
These straight paths would be flatter, smoother, easier to navigate and take a safer route to appropriate places. It’s not that there will never be trouble on these paths, but traveling this way is a natural benefit to being such a person.
Conversely, it’s by “their own wickedness” that the “wicked are brought down.” Sadly, they will ultimately pay a price for their attitudes and choices.
While this wise saying doesn’t mention God at all, I don’t doubt His active involvement in the lives of both characters. He will watch over the “blameless” and deal with the “wicked.”
Yet, I will suggest that so much of what happens to both is simply the natural consequences of their own choices – good or bad.
So this wise says suggests I have the opportunity to think and do right and, consequently, set myself up for good things to happen. But, even beyond that – God in Heaven is watching and, for sure, He’s got my back!