There is a fear that the wicked have at the end of their lives - and it is a fear that will come upon them. Though they spend their days mocking God and living as they choose, they come to the end of their lives facing the same reality anyone does. That reality is that they are going to die - just like anyone else. They forget this during their youth and even in their adult years - but then sickness and the day of their death comes near. It is in these moments that we see that even the most strident atheist or agnostic have to face their fears concerning death. We read of the wicked, that what they fear WILL come upon them. They are going to die - and there is a fear of what is on the other side of death.
This begs the question, "What is on the other side of death?" For the wicked man, he is hoping either that God is as immoral as He is or that God does not exist at all. For the tolerance-god the hope is that whatever god there may be that he or she has no standards. This god usually only has one intolerance - and that is for anyone to have intolerance. Everyone makes it into the afterlife. The other option is that there is no god - and that when we die - we just die. There is nothing after death. We just cease to exist. If either of these scenarios are true - the wicked man has nothing to fear. But we read that what he fears comes upon him. What is he fearing? The wicked man fears that there is a God - a holy God like the one presented by the Scriptures. He fears that the urgings of his conscience were right - that there are standards he is breaking. His ultimate fear is that there is indeed a recompense for these wrongs.
These fears will be realized. That is what our proverb today tells us. Later in the next verse we read that when the whirlwind passes - the wicked is no more. The whirlwind is a testing. What it is testing is what foundation a person has. We would call a whirlwind a tornado in Arkansas. When this whirlwind comes - the foundation of the wicked man will reveal that he cannot stand that testing - that judgment if you will accept it.
This passage has a counterpart in Scripture - and in all honesty it is one that is terrifying when you realize it. In the book of Job a conversation was going on between Job and three of his friends. They said that Job was wicked and that was why his troubles came upon him. Job held fast to his righteousness - but made the mistake of questioning God's wisdom in what was happening to him. In the end, God Himself came to address Job personally. When God did this guess how He chose to reveal Himself? If you guessed in a whirlwind, you guessed right. God came to a moment of truth with Job by coming in a whirlwind. He then questioned Job extensively about the whole idea of wisdom. When it was over Job withdrew all of his comments and repented in dust and ashes. God then blessed Job for his faithfulness - and called his friends to account for their rash and improper words about Job. Now, let us bring this event into focus on our proverb today. When the whirlwind comes - the wicked are no more. The judgment will reveal their faulty foundation - and they will be swept away in judgment. If a godly Job could not stand when the whirlwind came with God's presence and His withering questioning - what hope do the wicked have of being able to stand in that day.
The proverb for today leaves a wonderful hope for the righteous though. Their desire will be granted - and their foundation will stand. This begs another question. What is that desire? What is that foundation? Biblically the only man who will be righteous is the one who gets this way by faith. Righteousness is not given to a man by his works. The only way a man can be righteous before God is by faith in what God will provide, from an OT view, and what God has provided, from a NT one. God's promise in the Old Testament was that Messiah would come. He would come first as a suffering servant - as the lamb slain for sin. In the New Testament we meet Messiah. He is Jesus Christ, Who came to pay for our sins to make us righteous in God's sight. The hope of the righteous is that God will fulfill His promise. The desire of the righteous will be realized as his foundation stands firm. As the sand foundations of this world crumble – the foundation of Jesus Christ, crucified, buried, and resurrected from the dead will stand. So the final question for today is simply this, “Are you resting on that foundation?”