Do you struggle with some besetting sin? Have you tried with all your might to kill it, but then it surfaces again like a noxious weed that will not die? Do you face a spiritual obstacle in your personal life? In your family? Have you failed in something you greatly desired to achieve? Is there a fractured relationship that will not heal?
This verse holds forward a great promise. The just man falls down seven times, but he rises again.
Who is the just or righteous man? "There is none righteous, no, not one" (Romans 3:10). All our righteous deeds are as "filthy rags" (Isaiah 64:6). We are only just in God’s eyes to the degree that we share in the righteous life of Christ (see 2 Corinthians 5:21). The just man is the justified man. The one who believes in Jesus Christ falls down seven times, but he rises again.
Why seven times? Does he fail to rise the eighth time he falls? No. Seven is a fullness of times. Peter asked Jesus if he had to forgive his brother seven times, and Jesus answered not seven times, "but, until seventy times seven" (Matthew 18:22). Though a Christian man falls a multitude of times, even seven times or more, yet, by God’s grace, he will rise up again.
Now, this is not to excuse our stumbling. If I repeatedly trip over the same object, perhaps I would do well to remove the object or alter my steps. This proverb is not meant to embolden brazen sinners but to comfort those who sorrow deeply over their sin.
The promise here is of perseverance in the faith. Are you struggling? Have you fallen over and over again? If you are truly saved, then do not despair. Your fall is not like that of the wicked man, who stumbles and does not rise again. God will not leave you on the ground. By the grace of God, get up and begin your walk anew and afresh.
Grace and peace, Pastor Jeff Riddle