When a man is in rebellion against God he is seeking only evil in his life. What a fascinating statement this is - and yet, because it is Scripture, we know that it is true. So let's learn some lessons from the rebellious man so that we will not find ourselves visited in the same way that he is visited in this proverb.
The rebellious man is the one who is obstinant - stubborn - and rebellious. But there is one very important thing about his rebellion. It is against God and His laws and ways. The term was used often to describe the way that Israel was determined to go their own way - stubbornly refusing to obey the precepts and laws that God gave them in His Word. It is used also of Saul's reusal to carry out the Lord's command concerning the Amalekites. This man wants nothing to do with what God desires and calls for from us. Thus he sets himself in a direction that only agrees with what he wants. We read here that this man, while in this sad spiritual condition, seeks only evil. Until he comes to the place where he will submit himself to God and to what God says in His Word - it matters not what he does - because it is evil. Turn from God and you turn from anything that is truly good. Turn from God and you will ultimately turn away from anything useful - at least in eternal matters. And since everything in this life and this existance will be destroyed with fire in the end, anything not laid up in eternity will be first consumed by moth and rust - but in the end it will be destroyed by fire.
A promise is given to the rebellious man - one that is pretty frightening. God says that because of his rebellion, this man will receive a messenger from the Lord. We read that a "cruel messenger" will be sent against him. The word for cruel here is "akazarty" and it means someone whose cruelty is contrasted with a person who is merciful and righteous. What God is saying here is that a messenger who knows no mercy is going to come against the rebellious man. There is coming a day for the rebellious man - a terrifying day. God refers to such days in the prophets of the Old Testament. He calls such a day, "the cruel day of the Lord.
Isaiah 13:9 tells us of such a day when God says, "Behold, the day of the LORD is coming, Cruel, with fury and burning anger, To make the land a desolation; And He will exterminate its sinners from it." In order to grasp what is said here - and what kind of things will come with this cruel day I want to take a few moments and exegete this verse for us. The "cruel" day of the Lord is described for us in five ways here. Each will help us understand better the cruel messenger that is going to be send against the rebellious man.
1. Cruel - this day is going to be one that is "cruel" The Hebrew here - akazary - means lacking mercy or kindness. This is the day - the day Jehovah removes mercy from the scene - in other words, man is going to receive what He deserves. He has deserved such cruelty - but God has withheld it - even pouring it out upon His Son for forgiveness to be given - but now - only cruelty is left. This word was used to describe the utter savagry of the cruel warriors of Babylong - now - that savagery is returning upon their head!
2. Fury - Hebrew is "ebrah" meaning an overflowing fury, wrath, and anger. God is overflowing with wrath. He has withheld it for the most part - but now, no longer. It is released - and like a dam breaking - it comes with power - crushing all that is before it.
3. Burning Anger - The word here means a fierce anger that is like an uncontrolled fire burning and consuming all that is before it. God is no longer holding back this fury and wrath - now it burns in all its measure upon the wicked.
4. Desolation - The land is now a desolation - a waste - a horror to behold. Those who would look upon it would do so with a sense of being appalled!
5. A Day of Extermination of Sinners - The end of this is to "exterminate" the sinners from it. The word means to destory, eraditcate, exterminate - to totally or utterly destroy or wipe out. That is what is awaiting those who grieve and anger the Lord of the universe!
When we read these words, the wise among us tremble in fear of God. We also do all that we can to abandon any way that God would describe as rebellious. We want nothing to do with the rebellious man - or his ways. He is truly a stupid man for living in this way. Some might accurately go as far to say that he is close to insane for living in rebellion against God. Others (actually the rebellious themselves) will laugh all this off - rejecting God's warning and His holiness and justice.
It is sad to say that the cruel messenger that will come to them to awaken them out of their spiritual lethargy and rebellion will be death. In that moment they will move from rebellion to terror. But in that day it will be too late. God will have already sent His final message to them - and what a cruel, absolute message it will be. No mercy will be available in that day. Just the opposite will be true. Having rejected God's mercy all their lives, these rebellious fools will have only the fiercest of the wrath of God as the reward for a life that sought only evil during the few brief years given to them. May God give us grace that we will reject such a stupid and foolish choice. May we look at rebellion and rebellious ways toward God as we would look at a vile of beubonic plague - as that which will bring certain death and destruction.