When the wicked increase, transgression increases; but the righteous will see their fall. Proverbs 29:16
There is a principle at work here - and one that has been seen again and again in the world. The more the wicked increase in a society, the more that the society will turn toward wickedness. This is not a recent phenomenon - it has been happening ever since the fall of man. In fact, one of the most powerful examples of it was not long after man fell into sin.
We read in Geneis chapter 6 of this kind of situation. "Now it came about, when men began to multiply on the face of the land, and daughters were born to them, that the sons of God saw that the daughters of men were beautiful; and they took wives for themselves, whomever they chose." The progression here is fascinating to see. First the wicked began to multiply. You might wonder why I think the wicked multiplied - and not the godly. The reason for this is because man is sinful - and will always orient himself toward his sin and ungodliness unless God intervenes by His grace to change things. The next step was that the wicked began to modify - and they modified God's intention for marriage. They married at will - based on something other than God's plan. This led to the wicked multipliying even more. The god-desired role of the family was perverted and rather than pass on godliness - men began to pass on and even grow in his wickedness.
We read in verse 5 of that same chapter of Genesis, "Then the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great on the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually." Two more things began to happen. The wicked began to magnify their wickedness. God saw that the wickedness of man was great on the earth. The original intent for creation was to magnify the Creator, God. Now it was filled with men who magnified the creation, man. The second thing that happened was the the Wicked began to meditate on their wickedness. Every intent of the thoughts of their heart became evil continually. God's desire was for men to meditate on Him and His Word - instead, they meditated on their godless desires - which led to even worse conditions.
The wicked then turned to mayhem and murder in their wickedness. God said the following to Noah about this in verse 13 of chapter 6 of Genesis. “The end of all flesh has come before Me; for the earth is filled with violence because of them; and behold, I am about to destroy them with the earth." James warns us in chapter 4 of his letter that the cause of our fighting is our lusts that wage war within us. This leads us to even kill so that we can fulfill our lusts that rage for more within us. The sad ending of all this is that the choices of the wicked led to the condemnation of the wicked. God destroyed that generation.
As we turn our attention back to our proverb - we see just what Solomon is communicating to his sons - and to all who would read these words. When the wicked increase, transgression among men increases as well. But in the end the righteous will see their fall. Wickedness cannot reign long in a land - it consumes it to a point of catastrophe. It did so in Noah's day - and we read that as it was in the days of Noah, so also it shall be in the days of the coming of the Son of Man. The ungodly will always be ungodly - and the wicked will seek to multiply their wickedness. But what is there for us to learn from this - just don't be wicked? No, there is a message for us today - one that will magnify the grace of God in the gospel.
How can we keep the wicked from increasing? Every time a child is born - another ungodly heart enters the human race. We are fallen - and we multiply into more fallen men and women over time. The answer lies in the gospel of Jesus Christ. This is the ONLY way that we can stem the tide of the wicked multiplying on the earth. We must multiply! We must be about sharing Jesus Christ with all who are around us. We must take the one thing that can take a wicked heart and transform it into a godly one. That one thing is the gospel of Jesus Christ! Jesus sent us into the world to make disciples of all the nations. As the early church took that mandate seriously they multiplied disciples - leading them to Christ - baptizing them as they identified with Christ - teaching them to obey all Jesus commands - and then doing it in each and every generation until the end of the age. This, and only this, can stand against the wicked and their wickedness multiplying in a society! May God give us grace to accept no substitutes in this matter - no political or social or military option which in the end will only fail. May we see that the glorious mandate to minister the gospel - and make disciples IS God's only answer for our world!
He who digs a pit will fall into it, And he who rolls a stone, it will come back on him. Proverbs 26:27
This is not a proverb that explains why bad things happen to Wylie Coyote - even though at first glance it might. It is actually about those who plan to do evil to others. Those who set traps to catch others and have bad things happen to them are warned in this proverb that what they do will eventually happen to them. Let's take a look at what this means - and also see an example or two.
Those who dig a pit do so to catch someone in it. In biblical times people would dig pits and cover them for the purpose of catching more than just animals who would fall into them. These pits would be dug and covered with camouflage as well as wetted down on the sides so that whoever was caught in them would not have opportunity to escape. Those who caught the person would then either take them captive as a slave - or kill the one who fell into the pit. The reason a stone would be rolled is to be put on a steep hill so that it could then be rolled down to kill or badly injure someone who was coming through the valley. This was a tactic of thieves who wanted to steal what travellers would have as they went through valleys and along roads that were next to hilly or mountainous areas. The idea with a pit or with a stone was to injure or kill someone for evil purposes.
God warns that those who do such things will fall into a pit themselves. God also warns that the stone that is rolled with come back on them. This is not a reference to an actual pit or an actual stone rolling on them - but was a warning that God was going to hold them responsible for their wicked actions. A good example of this would be the story of Joseph and his brothers. The brothers threw Joseph into a pit with the original intention of killing him because of their jealous hatred of him. Joseph and his stinking varicolored coat reminded them every day that their father loved him more than them - so why not teach the little runt a lesson. Of course killing your brother is a little intense. In the end they decided just to sell him into lifelong slavery (their sibling rivalry was way more intense that what I remember with my brothers). They covered their tracks by dipping the hated coat in blood and telling their father that a wild animal killed Joseph. But the pit they dug - and the rock they rolled was going to come back on them one day.
The first "pit-experience" was when their father almost died from grief. Then there was the famine that came and caused them to have to go to Egypt where they had to ask for food from . . . wait for it . . . their snotty little brother who was now the second ruler of Egypt. What was very good for them was that their brother had far more mercy on them in their pit that they had on him when he was in theirs. They had rolled their stone on him - but he refused to roll his on them. He chose forgiveness rather than revenge.
The varied pits that you can fall into are as numerous as the ones you dig for others. It is amazing as I grow older to see all the various pits that people have fallen into after they've dug ones for someone else. It is a fact of life that what goes around comes around. That is the simple, one-sentence way to define this particular proverb. I just hope that we all remember that the next time we grab our shovels and start digging for someone else.
A man who wanders from the way of understanding Will rest in the assembly of the dead. Proverbs 21:16
To wander from God's way of understanding is a very dangerous thing to do. Here in today's proverb we see just how dangerous this can be. According to Solomon the eventual end of the man who does this is a final resting place among those doubly dead.
The word "wander" is key to understanding this passage. This is the Hebrew word "taah" which means not just to wander off - but to err and go astray. The primary meaning is to err and to make a mistake. This word is used most often of thos who err or who are being misled in a moral or religious sense. It is the word used in Isaiah 53:6 when the prophet tells us, "All of us like sheep have gone astray, Each of us has turned to his own way; But the LORD has caused the iniquity of us all To fall on Him." To wander is to go astray of God's moral path - and to incur iniquity in His eyes. Therefore to wander is to go astray of God's path and God's will for us. The wandering going on here is that of erring from the "way of understanding." This phrase speaks of someone who no longer has discernment or any kind of spiritual insight. And since the phrase begins with the word "way" - it refers to someone whose very way of life turns from any spiritual insight and discernment gained from a relationship with God or from His Word. Instead, this guy chooses a life guided by selfish desires and longings. There is a biblical word for this - it is the flesh. A life guided by our flesh is never going to end well.
The picture we get now is not just someone wandering away from a single situation where advice is offered, but rather a situation where as a way of life he is turning from God's will and Word. This is basically the condition of a lost person. They reject the wisdom of God - the Word of God - and the way of God. They instead choose the world, their flesh, and the lies of the devil.
This proverb is given as a warning. We are told what happens to someone who lives this way. The man who lives this way "will rest in the assembly of the dead." For those who think this is a reference to spiritual death - or a lack of spiritual life and blessing here and now - the actual word for death here is, "departed spirits." This is a warning to turn from rebellion and purposeful rejection of God's will and way. The end of such a lifestyle is a life spent with those who are "doubly dead." They have died in this life losing their physical life - but infinitely worse they are devoid of spiritual life when they die physically - so - the place of their eternal dwelling is hell. That is why it is so important to reject the heart and mind that reject God's Word and way. To continue in it is to continue toward an abyss where there is no return. Far better to embrace God's way and Word now - to embrace repentance from our own fleshly mindset - to embrace a turn from ourselves to God - from our way to His. To reject this is to choose to "rest" in the assembly of the dead. If you know anything about hell as it is described in Scripture, you know that this eternal destination will be anything but restful.
The fear of the LORD is a fountain of life, That one may avoid the snares of death. Proverbs 14:27
Ours is a society that craves safety. Some think that carrying a gun at all times or having a top notch security system will provide them safety. But for the man of God these things, although providing some measure of safety are nothing compared to the fear of the Lord. According to today's proverb that is the most effective security system known to mankind.
The fear of the Lord is described here as a fountain of life. The Hebrew words used for the phrase, "fountain of life" are "mekor chaiyim." This phrase literally means, "the vein of lives" and referred to the aorta which is the artery which carries the blood from the heart as it seeks to pump it throughout the entire body. Without our aorta we would be dead. I remember a very terrifying moment when my own father was found to have a seven inch long annuerism on his aorta. It was a life threatening condition of the worst kind. If my father's aorta burst - the very fountain of life in him would be cut off - and he would have died within seconds. The medical staff were able to do surgery and repair his aorta. But it was a reminder to me that without the "vein of lives" functioning, we will not live long. I am not saying that without the fear of the Lord we will die in mere seconds, but I am saying that the fear of the Lord is essential to us having the life that God provides. Here in today's proverb we read that the fear of the Lord is what helps us to avoid the snares of death. What are these "snares" that are mentioned here?
The Hebrew word for "snares" is very telling. The word is "moqesh" and it refers not so much to the snare itself, but to the bait which is placed in the snare. The word literally means the bait placed within a snare or trap - without which the animal would never come near it. It is the bait that makes the trap effective. The bait tempts the animal to come near even when his own instincts tell him the situation is dangerous. Unable to quell his own lusts for the free food, the animal draws near. The end is a trapped or dead animal. This parallels our problem with sin. Our desires draw us toward things that will eventually damage and destroy us. But we cannot seem to shake the lusts of our flesh, eyes, and prideful love of the world enough to turn away. We are bllind due to our sin. But this is where the fear of the Lord becomes a life-giving fountain to us.
The fear of the Lord is the respect and honor that we have of Him and of His Word. It is the willingness to respond to the Holy Spirit when He warns us about something we are about to do. We listen and obey when we fear the Lord - but we ignore Him when we have no repect or honor toward the God who made us. For those who do this, there is only death in the end. They may have an initial experience of pleasure in their sinful choice - but be warned that they will stand in the judgment for their actions. Any sinful action will be eternally regretted on that day. But know also that sinful choices, although their poison may not be felt immediately - also have consequences here and now as well.
Today's society, and unfortunately many in the church, think that the fear of the Lord is a thing of the past. They ignorantly say that we are a people of grace in the New Testament. The Old Testament idea of fearing God is out of step with who we are supposed to be. What I find interesting is that the book of Acts tells us that the church benefited greatly from the fear of the Lord. In Acts 9:31
we read the following, "So the church throughout all Judea and Galilee and Samaria enjoyed peace, being built up; and going on in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit, it continued to increase. " The fear of God is a New Testament truth that will bless God's church. In fact the fear of the Lord is linked here with the "comfort of the Holy Spirit." It was the combination of these two that worked together by God's grace to cause the church to increase. But there is one more thing that will bless us as we look at the proverb for today.
The fear of the Lord is said to be a "fountain of life." There is another parallel that is such a blessing to see here. In John chapter 7 Jesus spoke of the way that the Holy Spirit would come to those who believed in Him. He used the picture of fountains of living water that would flow from the innermost being of those who experienced the ministry of the Holy Spirit. This is what we have learned today in Proverbs. It is another way that the Holy Spirit is linked directly to the fear of the Lord. We need to realize that one of the ways that the Holy Spirit works in our lives is to bring us the fear of the Lord. We have a respect for God - a desire to honor Him and not to displease Him. This makes us very receptive to His Word which tells us what He wants us to know. Both are the same fountain. As we fear God the Holy Spirit works in us to teach us God's Word - and then to urge us to listen and respond to what God has said. All this comes together to turn us from the snare - from the bait of Satan which seeks to lure us into His traps and his snares of death. May God give us grace to fear Him - to experience the Holy Spirit's teaching and warning - and to avoid sin as a result.
The way of the LORD is a stronghold to the upright, But ruin to the workers of iniquity. Proverbs 10:29
There is a lifestyle that comes with knowing and walking with the Lord. That lifestyle is laid out for us in the Scriptures as we read of the things that God loves and also the things that He hates. The proverb for today refers to these things as "the way of Jehovah." Let's take a look at this today and hopefully become wiser as a result.
The word "way" here is the Hebrew word "derek" which refers to a way, a path, a road - and is used often to speak of a way of walking or living. That is why when we see this word we should think of a lifestyle that one has due to the daily choices they make. The way or lifestyle of which we speak is that of the Lord. This word is Jehovah - which is the covenant name of God. So often in Scripture God will speak with His chosen people and lay out a covenant promise. These are usually worded as "if-then" statements. If you will follow the Lord, then He will bless you. What God seeks to do when He says these things is not set up a works mentality in our relationship with Him. What He is seeking to do is to encourage us to understand that making choices consistent with His Word and way will bring great blessing to our lives.
We are told here that this way of Jehovah - is a stronghold to the upright. The word for stronghold is the Hebrew word "maoz." It speaks of a fortress. That fortress is considered a shelter, a refuge, and a place of great safety. It is one that often worked in two ways. It provided natural defense points - but also was situated in such a way that one could easily see the enemy approaching. This gave those in the stronghold protection - and it gave them time to prepare for the coming enemy onslaught. Scripture indicates that God is that fortress - as well as our strength and defense (Psalm 27:1
). As we walk with Him in His way - we will find a natural defense against sin - as well as warnings about the enemy and how he will seek to tempt us and get us to rebel against God. As we learn that "way" our lives will be changed by God's Word and His power. We will be delivered from sin - and will better know how to escape the lies of the devil daily.
But the same "way of the Lord" that is a stronghold to the upright - is ruin to those who choose to rebel against God. The word "iniquity" is very important for us to understand if we are to grasp the protection of God afforded to us by walking in His way. The word is from the Hebrew word "awen" and it means, "nothingness, mischief, emptiness, and vanity." The word is used to signify those who pursue meaningless things. They do not walk in God's Word or in God's way. They choose instead ungodliness - which leads them to chase after falsehood. God told us His Word is truth. That protects us - but it also speaks ruin for those who decide they prefer deceit and the lies of this world and of the devil. Another way "awen" is used is to signify an idol - which tells us clearly that those who run after iniquity have made a god of their own. They are worshipping an idol they have created - and prefer to have their idol confirm "their own" truth - as opposed to living by the truth of God - His Word. This is the ruin of the ungodly. They will receive no protection from God's way. Instead they will run headlong into God's wrath and judgment for their disobedience and deceitful choices.
Two ways are put before us in today's proverb. There is the way of making your own god and deciding your own truth. Such a way is foolish because it only amplifies the rebellion that is in the human heart due to the Fall of man. That way will ruin those who follow it. The other way is to choose a truth outside of ourselves. It is to realize the truth is not in us - it is in God. Therefore we choose to turn to Him. We choose to turn to the way He has given us His truth - the Word of God. We also choose daily to walk by His truth (the truth) knowing that by doing so we will have a refuge, a protection, indeed a stronghold to keep us from evil - and to keep us FOR fellowship with our loving, gracious God.
The rich man's wealth is his fortress, The ruin of the poor is their poverty. The wages of the righteous is life, The income of the wicked, punishment. Proverbs 10:15-16
To rightly understand the first proverb here in verse 15, we must push on to read it with the proverb in verse 16. If we do not do this, we will think that the acquisition of money is the end of man's existance. Although God encourages us to prepare for the future and to work hard so that through His blessing we may leave an inheritance to our children's children, this does not mean that gaining wealth is to be our highest aim.
We first learn of the fact that money can provide a measure of protection. The rich man's wealth is his fortress. There is much that a rich man can do to protect himself from harm due to his wealth. He is protected from much in life due to this. A fortress is a place one stays during an attack - it was a place of safety. For the rich man - his wealth can prevent him from a quick ruin by difficult circumstances. One example for us to remember is the wisdom of setting aside money for problems that we know will come in the future. The man who acquires some wealth can set aside money for problems that ARE going to come. In our society, if you own a car or other mechanical item, you are assured that a breakdown of some sort is in your future. If you spend everything you have - you will not have anything set aside for this difficulty. The wise man acquires wealth for this very purpose. He puts money away for the repair and replacement of such items. Therefore when a difficult time comes, he has money for these things. The poor man often is ruined by such situations. He does not know what to do and often sees ruin come to his financial picture because of debt he obtains seeking to fix or replace things or he just has to do without, which could be a very problematic hardship. Wealth can be a protection for us.
The problem with this proverb is that one might think wealth is the ultimate protection. Therefore we must gain wealth however we can. Such thinking is ungodly - and will lead to ruin, if not now - then in eternity. Therefore we have a clarification in the next verse. We are told that the wages or income of the righteous is life - which the income of the wicked is punishment. If we are seeking righteousness - a life that pursues God and desires to do what God says is true and just - we will be blessed. We may not have a tremendous amount of money - but we will have what is necessary at the end of the age. We will have life! The wicked though, however rich they may become, have a serious problem. Their income will be punishment. Thus a man may be tremendously wealthy by all outward appearances - but he may be dirt poor in spirit. The rich farmer in the gospels had enough to tear down his old barns and build new ones to fill with even more earthly riches - but the very night his soul was required - he was found destitute.
Remember that wealth and riches are defined in a number of different ways in Scripture. They may be physical wealth - or they may be spiritual riches in Christ Jesus. It is wise to remember that to be physically wealthy according to James is to be put in a humble place by God. It is difficult for an earthly rich man to enter heaven - because he has a bad tendency to trust his riches. To be poor is also defined different ways. Whereas it may be a bad thing to be financially poor - it is a blessed state to know that we are poor in spirit. Realizing these things will help us better define true wealth and true poverty.
On the lips of the discerning, wisdom is found, But a rod is for the back of him who lacks understanding. Wise men store up knowledge, But with the mouth of the foolish, ruin is at hand. Proverbs 10:13-14
A godly mouth can be a great blessing to anyone who has one granted to him by the grace of God. Such a mouth, though given by God, must be disciplined to follow Him only - and not the foolishness of the natural man.
The wisdom of God is found on a certain kind of man. He is called a discerning man. The Hebrew word used here is "bin" and it speaks of someone who through the use of the Scriptures is able to determine the difference between what is of God and what is not. This discerning heart and mind instructs the lips of the wise man. We learn later in verse 14 that this man stores up knowledge. This knowledge is a practical knowing of God and of the world that is around him. Thus this wise man instructs his mouth with this knowledge. He learns to know much, but not always speak what he knows. He has learned that he can NOT say things and be a blessing. Thus he seeks to quell within himself words and statements that will unnecessaily disburb the peace in relationships. Many an argument and fight could be prevented if one or the other of the two combatants would have practiced this wisdom. They would keep their words to themselves - knowing that sharing their "knowledge" would be done more from pride than from love. We know from the New Testament that knowledge puffs up - but love edifies. We can share all our knowledge - and by doing so cause a disturbance as others react to our pride. The wise man stores up knowledge within - and only brings that knowledge out at the direction of the Holy Spirit - Who will direct him to use that knowledge to build up and encourage others.
We are also told of the fool - and his mouth. These two verses go together because they speak of the speech of one - and then the consequences of the other. The next verse reverses this order - trading the wise man for the fool in his speech - and the fool for the wise man in the reward or retribution that results. The consequences of the fool is a rod for his back. His words are the source of his punishment - for they evidence his foolishness and lack of regard for what is right. A proverb from the Talmud expresses this wonderfully when we read there, "that which a wise man gains by a hint, a fool only obtains by a club." The wise man learns - instructs his mouth and heart with that wisdom - and therefore avoids problems and public discipline. The fool chooses to let his mouth run - and with that overactive mouth - ruin comes to him.
Biblically we can remember the difference between Solomon and his son, Rehoboam. Solomon began his reign seeking God and requesting wisdom from Him. His son Rehoboam had an opportunity to win over the people - but chose the foolish counsel of his friends. That led him to speak harsh, unkind, oppressive words to the people. In the end he lost all but one tribe - which God granted to him because of His promise to David. But how the foolish mouth granted him much destruction and difficulty. The wise mouth, though, was blessed in many wonderful ways. So take the time to listen - and allow God's wisdom to sink deep enough into your heart so that it instructs your mouth on what to say. Doing this promotes blessing.
He who loves transgression loves strife; He who raises his door seeks destruction. Proverbs 17:19
There are those in this world who love rebellion - whether against God or against "the man." These people, because of this rebellious bent, also love strife. Theiy love a good fight where they can quarrel with others and contend with anyone who holds an opinion other than theirs. This kind of insolent, arrogant attitude brings such a one into multiple situations where they fight and where violence is almost certainly to break out eventually. I remember a friend of my youth - who just loved to fight, whether it was with words or fists. This happened weekend after weekend as he would drink and party. One weekend he went too far and was shot a couple of times at a bar where he had previously picked another fight. Fortunately for him he was not killed in the incident. But this is what the proverb is trying to get us to see.
The second part of the proverb here is a Hebraism. It speaks of the one who "raises his door." The habit of the Jews was to make the front door of their compound very low to the ground so that no one could get in without permission. They also would intentionally not make their doors ornate - so as to draw attention to themselves - and unintentionally draw the attention of thieves or those who would seek to plunder their homes and compounds. Over time this practice eventually came to speak of someone who was ostentatious and filled with pride. Those to "raise their door" came to mean those who act with excessive pride and arrogance. We are warned that doing this is dangerous and destructive. When we live with such excessive pride and arrogance - even one that fights with everyone - and that loves sin - we are setting ourselves up for destruction.
The wise man is a peace-maker, not a fighter. He is one who loves righteousness, peace, and humility. True, these things will not make him stick out - won't make him noticed by the standards of men. Yet, for the believer, this is not a good thing - to try to be noticed by men. We want God to be the One who promotes and gives us favor with others. The favor we crave and desire is not that of men (which often means we will have to love sinning as they do). We crave with an ever-increasing intensity the favor of God! And that kind of promotion does not draw the attention of men unduly - as does arrogant self-promotion does.
The one who commits adultery with a woman is lacking sense; He who would destroy himself does it. Proverbs 6:32
This passage deals with the stupidity of committing adultery, plain and simple. Several years ago Randy Alcorn wrote a book called, "The Purity Principle." In it I felt that Alcorn made a statement that is one for the ages. "Purity is always smart, impurity is always stupid." That is what the Holy Spirit is trying to tell us today in Proverbs. "The one who commits adultery with a woman is lacking sense." This is a very genteel way of saying what Alcorn said. We could restate his principle by saying that faithfulness in marriage is always good, adultery is always stupid.
The actual words used here are the ones that are used often in Proverbs. The one who commits adultery with a woman lacks heart. We are being told that adultery shows that we have a heart problem more than anything else. We've allowed our hearts to be captured by lust and sexual immorality rather than by God. While reading a series of purity prayers I've run into the statement again and again where the puritans asked God to capture their heart so that they would not be satisfied by trifling affections. The heart can be captured in this way - and given to things that are so far less than what God wants to give us. The truth is what He wants to give us in Himself. We settle for so much less and so less fulfilling things than Him. And that is what the fool has done - he has settled for adultery rather than finding in God and in His provision of his wife true fulfillment.
We are also warned in this passage that, ". . . he who would destroy himself does it." The literal Hebrew says that the destruction is in this man's soul. He finds his mind strangely drawn and lied to by the enticements of the adulterous woman. He finds his emotions stimulated by a false love and false promises of intimacy and pleasure. As he foolishly begins to embrace these thoughts and these concepts he also begins to lose the war within his will to continue in God's ways and in God's path. Soon he gives in to the onslaught that is coming toward his soul. He no longer lives out of his spirit - where the Spirit of God would give him strength to resist and overcome temptation - but instead allows himself to be taken over by his body and its lusts. As he does this He submits himself to the adultery - and in so doing he "destroys" himself in the process and the sinful choice. Destroy here is the Hebrew word, "sahat" and it means to spoil, ruin, destroy, pervert, or corrupt. When you look at these ways of translating this word they all fit this passage - and all take place as this man acts foolishly by committing adultery.
For the next several days we will look at the terrible consequences and the wise warnings that God gives us in this area. Remember that this entire conversation is one that takes place between a man and his sons. How wise we would be to have this kind of conversation with our sons as they get older and begin to face the temptations of this present world. How wise we would be to also have these kinds of conversations with our adult sons who are married, as well as with our brothers in Christ with whom we share fellowship in God's church. Since these things are written about so many times in Proverbs - it is a reminder that the wise also warn one another with the very warnings given to us by God.
I will also laugh at your calamity; I will mock when your dread comes, when your dread comes like a storm And your calamity comes like a whirlwind, When distress and anguish come upon you. Proverbs 1:26-27
As we look at the wisdom of including negative messages in teaching - and not just trying to accentuate the positive at all times - these verses almost slap us in the face. That is because what they say to us about God seem to contradict much of what is taught about Him. They definitely do not fit the normal way that people want to think of God. Yet, these verses are part of God's revelation of Himself to us in Scripture. We would do well to read such verses - and allow ourselves to be instructed by them.
God says to those who reject His counsel and His reproof that He will laugh at their calamity and mock them when their dread comes upon them. As I said at the outset of these verses, they do not seem to fit very well with the average person's view of God. Yet, these are accurate verses that describe the God that we serve. God is not a pushover, and He is not One who sits in a corner crying and grieving when He is rejected or ignored. He remains the Lord of the universe Whose power and majesty cause men to cower in fear and terror. He is also a God Who, according to the book of Psalms, is angry every day with the wicked. So it should not shock us to learn that when He is ignored and mocked by the wicked - that He too mocks at their calamity when their wicked behavior comes upon their own head. This is not the only place such language is used of God. In Psalm 2:4
we read, "He who sits in the heavens laughs, the Lord scoffs at them." We read in Psalm 37:13
that, "The Lord laughs at him, for He sees his day is coming."
There will be a day when God's vengeance will fall upon the wicked in humanity. There will be a day when His perfect justice and righteousness will be dealt out with absolute purity. That is a day about which the wicked should tremble - for there will no longer be any mercy - but judgment will fall and it will be passed out with shocking accuracy. Those who think God will never act with vengeance should only have to look to the cross of Christ to know that God will judge those who are guilty of sin. The joy for those of us who know His grace is that what Jesus paid upon the cross pays for our judgment in full.
God also knows that the longer one remains in rebellion - the more judgment will be coming like a storm. God warns in these verses of a dread that will come like a storm - of calamity that will come like a whirlwind. Mankind will be promising peace and good fortune to each other - yet they canont stop the hand of God that is gong to fully act in justice and judgment.
Four words are used to describe what it will be like when God's judgment falls upon those who persist in their rebellion. The first word dread. This meant a terror or trembling that would come upon men as they were being prepared to come in to the very presence of the Lord. Next is calamityshich speaks of a time of disaster or trouble. Then there is distress and anguish. These two are put together. Distress speaks of a specific episode of trouble and anguish. This trouble is a kind that man cannot rescue someone from though the power of mankind. One needs God in this incident - and without Him, there will be no deliverance. How poignently this speaks of our spiritual situation before God. How perfectly represented is our sinful state before a Holy God and the corresponding reality that we need a Savior Who is far more than just a man.
Man may mock now - but there will be a day when the tables are turned upon the mockers and those who now laugh at the Lord. This is not a day that I look forward to or treasure in any way. It is a day that should seriously sober every one of us and make us realize the absolute necessity of knowing that our sins are taken away because of what Jesus Christ has done for us at the cross. May God give us the wisdom to tremble before a holy God - rather than to take the position of fools who mock at Someone Whose power they cannot even begin to grasp.