Today's proverb has to do with the payoff for both evil and good. There is a pay day for living in a way that is morally wrong. God uses quite an interesting picture of the one who is planning and devising evil. The word used here is "haras" which means to plow or to till the soil. The kind of plowing that is being done is plowing and planting evil. The evil is both moral and ethical in its reach. The fool spends his time plowing this way - and planting a very morally perverse crop into the ground of his life. The proverb tells us that the ones who live this way - will err. They will wander about and go astray. They will be intoxicated with their sin and as a result wander off not really realizing the danger of their actions. In the end they go the wrong way and wander into a moral wasteland.
Unfortunately I've watched this kind of moral wandering many times. They begin to plow the fields of their life with questionable morals and ethics. As they do this they speak of their freedom to do what they want - and usually disparage the Word of God for its straight-laced moral views. But in the end they wind up wanding off into things they did not intend to do. They only realize this when they've gone much father than they expected - or when something devastating happens to them because of their moral blindness. It is a sad thing to watch - because as those counselled by Scripture, we see where they are going. That is why this is voiced to us in a rhetorical way. The rhetorical question is that they are going to wander and err who plan and plow evil in their lifestyle.
To counter this erring way, we are also given a strong statement about what awaits those who plow what is good in their lives. This good (Hebrew word "tobah") is something that is well-pleasing, fruitful, proper, and morally correct. Of course all these things are referring to how God's Word affirms the moral direction that they are taking. What is promised to those plowing in this way is mercy and truth. Let's take a closer look at these two words.
Kindness is the Hebrew word "chesed." That word means to receive mercy and lovingkindness. The word is used of God's love constantly in the Old Testament. It is the closest kin to the Greek word agape in the New Testatment. It refers to God's covenant love with His people. When we choose to plow in a way that is morally in agreement with God's Word, God loves us - and will shower us with His grace, mercy, faithfulness, and goodness. That is what awaits right moral choices. The second word is "truth" which is the Hebrew word "emet." It refers to faithfulness - and is often combined with ideas like God's righteousness and peace. When we plow our lives with godliness and moral rectitiude, there will be a harvest of peace and righteousness that will come to us. Rather than the wandering destructive ways that come to those who plow evil, there is a blessing that showers on those who seek a crop of good things. That blessing is a righteous life - a peaceful existance where we know where we are going. There will be the smile of God and the light of His presence upon this person's path. He sows to godliness and reaps an abundance of joy, light, and life as a result.
When I consider this proverb I cannot but come away from it without remembering the promise of God that we will reap what we sow. To the one who is plowing and sowing evil this comes as a warning that his ways are not good. He will eventually be led to wander and even be destroyed by his ungodly moral choices. To the one plowing and sowing good there is the confident expectation that a good crop will grow - yielding 30, 60, and 100 fold fruit to the glory of God - and to his own blessing and welfare. So the question to ask is simply this, "How are you plowing the fields of your life and future?"