When we sin, we are setting loose a nemesis who will hunt us down to bring us the adversity that our sin produces. That is a rather disconcerting thought - but still one that is true. When we decide to depart from the Lord for a period to pursue the fleeting pleasures of sin, we are paving with our own hands the road that adversity and retribution will walk to our door. This is why the wise man considers the end of a choice before he makes it.
Consider David in regard to this matter. He thought he was only lingering on the sight of Batsheba bathing for a lustful look. He did not know that the look would lead to a desire which would lead to a choice to bring her to his chambers. He did not know that this choice would lead to adultery with another man's wife - which would lead to a pregnancy that promised a scandal in the kingdom. He did not know that asking her husband to return from battle would lead to seeing Uriah's character and godliness far exceed his own. He did not know that this would lead to his order to have Uriah killed by the hand of the Ammonites as he reacted in panic about what to do. He had no idea that all of this would lead to a year of his life spent in spiritual agony as the Holy Spirit convicted him of his sin - and drained him of life itself. He couldn't even imagine that his little look - his brief indiscretion of lust would lead to two dead sons, a raped daughter, and 10 women locked away as widows for life. He did not see in his departure from pure eyes that several men would be killed with Uriah at the wall - and that thousands would die in a battle between himself and his rebellious son. If anything David thought this "little look" might result in a brief departure from God's will. He had no idea that he was paving a superhighway for adversity, pain, and regret that would last for many years to come. He was clueless that in that moment he was releasing a beast that would pursue him relentlessly until adversity would nearly overwhelm him as he trudged up a mountainside, cursed by a fool, and feeling that he was one because of the sin that had finally caught up with him. Indeed adversity pursues sinners.
We are not left hopeless though with this proverb. We are also reminded that the righteous will be rewarded with prosperity. David was pursued with adversity by his sin - but he was also blessed for his godly obedience. He deserved death for his transgressions, yet God showed him mercy. He was able to amass tremendous riches and wealth for the construction of the temple during the time of his son Solomon. He was blessed not just during his time on earth - but for all time by the fact that one of his descendents would be the Messiah. There is tremendous blessing that will come to the godly.
There is no better illustration of this than the gospel message itself. We read here that "the righteous" will be rewarded. Yet our problem is that we are sinners - not righteous. There is no way we can be righteous by our works or by God's law. But when we were helpless Christ died for the ungodly. He can make us righteous - having been the One who became sin for us - so that we might be made righteous because of God's gift of salvation. Because of the gospel we are righteous in God's sight - but only because a gift of God's grace was bestowed on us when we responded in repentance and faith to the gospel message. Our passge here reminds us that the righteous will be rewarded with "prosperity." The word for prosperity here means entering into a wholeness and restored relationship with God. Too many think prosperity means money and wealth - but we must remember that the greatest riches we can have are those that come in spiritual blessings arising from a renewed relationship with God.
We face one of two choices - which results in one of two ends. We can choose sin and rebellion which sets off a chase in which the sinner or rebel will be hunted down for a visit from adversity. We can also choose to embrace God's way of righteousness through the gospel. This will set off a much different kind of pursuit. This sets in motion the grace of God working in us throughout out lives here on earth. His grace will bless us with spiritual prosperity here on earth - but also will culminate with His blessing on the day of judgment as well. The wise man knows that sin and rebellion set loose the hounds of adversity. That is why he chooses instead to set loose the spirit of blessing in his life by the gospel.