"A wise man scales the city of the mighty and brings down the stronghold in which they trust." (Proverbs 21:22)
The ace beats the king, and godly character beats ungodly strength. Character matters and this proverb speaks to that truth. Too often the church has brushed aside the necessity of strong moral integrity, but not the Proverbs. Throughout the Proverbs, the message is clear; godly wisdom leads to powerful lives. Without it, destruction occurs. With it, victory and blessing flow.
In this particular proverb, the wise man is pictured climbing the walls of a fortified city. With cunning and strategy, the wise man knows how to tear down the strongholds in which the wicked trust. The secondary point is that strategy can overcome strength. The primary point is that godly wisdom can overcome ungodly strength.
The fortress the church is up against is, indeed, impressive. The world system is strong, cultivated to educate and disciple and produce masses enslaved to its system and way of life. People swim in it, drink it, breath it. How can the church possibly make headway? How can we possibly fulfill the great commission Christ gave us?
A strategy will be necessary, but more so will godliness, for Proverbs always casts wisdom as something godly, holy, and righteous. You cannot separate methodology from morality or intentionality from integrity. In the work of the church, character matters.
When the holy people of God live like the holy people of God should, ever increasingly, great power flows. Soon, the strategies turn to victories, for the power of a clean life begins to manifest itself. We should try this or that strategy, we say. But we should also try holiness. Achan and Ananias lost battles for God’s people in years past. No one knew of their secret sins. But they were known through public defeat. Perhaps our proverb shows us the same truth. With godliness, the wise man gains the victory, for godly character bests ungodly strength.