I occasionally enjoy manipulating digital images and photos with some of the photo editing software that is becoming increasingly more powerful as well as affordable for average hacks like me. Many of these programs have a feature by which it is possible to increase or decrease the contrast of the image. Increasing the contrast darkens the dark pixels of the image, and lightens the lighter pixels. If one pushes the contrast all the way to the max it turns the entire image into pure black and white making the image look more like a line drawing. When the contrast is entirely removed if renders all the pixels in the same grayish neutral tone and the image essentially disappears into the mist. Without contrast we are unable to see the different nuances of colors and shades. In today’s proverb, Solomon turns up the contrast to help us to see the difference between those who live according to godly principles and those who choose not to.
27 Fear of the Lord lengthens one’s life,
but the years of the wicked are cut short.
28 The hopes of the godly result in happiness,
but the expectations of the wicked come to nothing.
29 The way of the Lord is a stronghold to those with integrity,
but it destroys the wicked.
30 The godly will never be disturbed,
but the wicked will be removed from the land.
Proverbs 10:27–30 (NLT)
In order to recognize the shapes and faces on a photograph there must be enough contrast between the light and dark areas of the photo for us to be able to discern what the image is about. Similarly, it is helpful to recognize the contrast between spiritual light and darkness, to be able to discern good from evil, or truth from deception. These proverbs help us to see the contrast more clearly, as Solomon observes the good things that tend to come to those who fear God and walk in integrity, while those who ignore God or rebel against Him ultimately suffer the consequences of their choices.
Once again the foundation of all this is wisdom which begins with the fear of God. When we allow a healthy fear of God to influence our thoughts and actions, it causes us to make wiser choices. When we make wiser choices, it results in our life beginning to make more sense and run more according to how God designed it. When we begin to fulfill the purpose for which God created us, we find the fulfillment, joy and contentment that we long for in His presence, which provides a sharp contrast in comparison to those who walk in rebellion and ignorance of God.