At thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore (Ps. 16: 11)
A righteous man falling down before the wicked is as a troubled fountain, and a corrupt spring.Proverbs 25:26
The thing rejected here is the spectacle of a righteous man giving way before wicked men. The righteous ought not to be flexible in that way. When it comes to compromise with evil, they should be as rigid and unyielding as Daniel’s three friends refusing to bow before Nebuchadnezzar’s statue, or Mordecai refusing obeisance before Haman. When it comes to deference, the righteous must notdefer to those who are evil.
But what is the consequence if they do? This proverb compares it to two things. The first word indicates the source or the headwaters of a stream. When the righteous give way to the wicked, that action fouls the water at the source. When the righteous give way to the wicked, that sin corrupts the spring.
When you combine fresh water and polluted water, what you get is not half and half. What you get is still polluted water. What James tells us about our individual behavior applies to the corporate societal level as well.
“Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be. Doth a fountain send forth at the same place sweet water and bitter?” (James 3:10–11).
Water does not work that way. And notice that what causes this corruption in public discourse is the righteous surrendering or giving way to the wicked, letting them do it their way. And this in our day is one of our besetting sins—righteous individuals in positions of influence refusing to use that influence to resist those who would corrupt everything.