The wicked flee when no man pursues: but the righteous are bold as a lion.
The righteous are those who do right. Saxon of righteous is "right wise." Before man had fallen the righteous were those who were conformed, in all respects, to the known will of God. Now, as fallen creatures, none can claim to be righteous, according to the strict requirements of the law. Some, however, may be spoken of, in a comparative sense, as righteous. The eleventh article says, "We are accounted righteous before God, only for the merit of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, by faith." A certain quality is ascribed to such persons: they are "bold as a lion." This is a proverbial expression from ancient times.
I. BOLDNESS IS INDISPENSABLE AT THE VERY BEGINNING OF THE CHRISTIAN COURSE. Does it require no boldness to obey the gospel call? Let those answer who have gone through with the painful struggle which it costs before the mind can be brought to a decided stand.
II. BOLDNESS IS REQUIRED IN THE DISCHARGE OF THE DUTIES WHICH MUST BE MET DAY BY DAY. What bright examples of courage have been placed before us in the lives of the saints of God — Moses, Caleb and Joshua, David, Elijah, etc.; and in the history of the martyrs and confessors of the Church — e.g., , Ridley, and Latimer. Those brave souls are now acting the same noble part who, in these days of blasphemy and rebuke, are not afraid to show favour to God's children who may be under a cloud of reproach and trodden underfoot by the mighty. In more ordinary matters, the same boldness is indispensable.
III. THE BOLDNESS OF THE RIGHTEOUS IS MANIFESTED AT THE APPROACH OF DEATH. There is something in human nature which instinctively shrinks back at the thought of dissolution. But when the righteous man actually draws near the border-line, the fear of death is gone. Then let us all cultivate the decision, the boldness, and the endurance, which our profession demands.
(John N. Norton.)
Parallel VersesKJV: The wicked flee when no man pursueth: but the righteous are bold as a lion.