He that diligently seeks good procures favor: but he that seeks mischief, it shall come to him.…
I. MEN FIND WHAT THEY SEEK. (Ver. 27.) The favour of God, which includes all the elements of happiness by well doing, or sorrow by ill-doing. This law of antecedence and consequence in moral things, thus so reiteratedly pressed upon us, cannot be too constantly before the mind. Every moral action is a prophecy before the event; every moral result, a fulfilment of a previous prophecy.
II. THE CAUSES OF DECAY AND OF PROSPERITY. (Ver. 28.) Trust in riches leads to moral downfall (comp. Proverbs 10:2; Psalm 49:6, 7). By trust in riches is meant the habit of depending on them and their accessories - luxury and ease - as the main good in life. It is in this sense that "riches slacken virtue and abate her edge." The laxity and dissoluteness of the mind may well be compared to the limp and falling leaf. He, on the other hand, whose trust is in spiritual resources - the treasures of the kingdom of God - is like a tree full of sap; his foliage is abundant; his leaf ever green (Palm 92:13; Isaiah 66:14).
III. THE RETRIBUTION OF GREED AND OPPRESSION. (Ver. 29.) The man who "troubles his house" is the close-fisted and greedy, who in his covetousness keeps his household upon scant fare or withholds from them their due pay (Proverbs 15:27). Ahab is thus charged by Elijah as a "troubler of Israel" (1 Kings 18:17, 18). But he reaps the wind, i.e. nothing from his misplaced care and exertion (Isaiah 26:14; Hosea 8:7). Nay, he so comes down in the scale as actually often to fall into slavery to just and merciful lord (ver. 24). These reversals in human life - more marked or easily observable, perhaps, in ancient times than with ourselves - remind men of a superior judgment, which constantly revises and corrects the short-sighted and superficial judgments of men.
IV. THE PRODUCTS OF RIGHTEOUSNESS. (Ver. 30.) All that the good man says and does becomes a source of blessing and life (a "tree of life") to many. He exercises an attractive power, and gathers many souls to his side for the service of God and the cause of truth.
V. THE CERTAINTY OF RECOMPENSE. (Ver. 31.) This may be taken as an argument from the greater to the less. The sins of the righteous do not escape chastisement; how much less those of men unreconciled to God! "If the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?" (1 Peter 4:18). - J.
Parallel VersesKJV: He that diligently seeketh good procureth favour: but he that seeketh mischief, it shall come unto him.