18“The wicked earns deceptive wages,
but one who sows righteousness gets a sure reward.
19 Whoever is steadfast in righteousness will live,
but he who pursues evil will die.
20 Those of crooked heart are an abomination to the Lord,
but those of blameless ways are his delight.
21 Be assured, an evil person will not go unpunished,
but the offspring of the righteous will be delivered.” – Proverbs 11:18-21 (ESV)
In the book of Proverbs are found many promises. Proverbs has a concentration of parallel lines, or antithetical parallelism. These proverbs look at the same truth from opposite perspectives. One line promises results of blessings and the other line promises the converse results of loss and even death. All the verses in Chapter 11 are such proverbs. Each one promises results from righteous living compared to results from the ways of evil living.
- Verse 18 – The efforts of the wicked deceiver do not yield the riches his deception seeks, but the righteous receive a reward from God.
- Verse 19 – Righteous living is rewarded with life and the wages of sin is death.
- Verse 20 – The abominations defined throughout Scripture and especially in Proverbs, involve attitudes and behaviors which God hates*.
- Verse 21 – Individually or in collaboration, the wicked cannot be freed from duly and just punishment, while the unassisted children of the righteous find deliverance because of their relationship with God.
God gives us here and in other passages the clear promise that wicked living has a losing result. However, righteous living is what He wants and will help us have. The wisdom is easy to see.
*What are the abominations? Proverbs 11:20; perverse living, (means crooked or distorted); Proverbs 12:22; lying; Proverbs 15:8; hypocrisy; Proverbs 15:9; wicked conduct; Proverbs 15:26; wicked thoughts; Proverbs16:5; pride; Proverbs 17:15; injustice; Proverbs 20:10, 23; dishonesty in business;
“The wicked plots against the righteous and gnashes at him with his teeth. The Lord laughs at him, For He sees his day is coming.”
“Better is the little of the righteous than the abundance of many wicked. For the arms of the wicked will be broken, But the LORD sustains the righteous.” Psalm 37:12-13, 16-17 (NASB)
Still more great promises from Psalm 37 that will bring delight to us Christian believers. The futility of the evildoer’s activity is well pictured here. This counterbalances the seeming success that the wicked has enjoyed. Despite their efforts against God, His Anointed, His Spirit and His adopted children. His attempts to destroy will ultimately fail. The Lord God laughs at the wicked and their efforts. God know and sees the day coming when the evildoers will be vanquished. The righteous and the wrongdoer are contrasted in the second pair of verses. This contrast refutes the very thought of the prosperity of the evildoers. How can it be said they will flourish when their arms will be broken? They will be powerless, crippled, disabled beyond handicapped. The advantage is and always will be on the side of the righteous because we have the LORD God sustaining us. We may face and suffer trials and tribulations but it is only for a little while which we won’t call meanwhile but will call it ‘Godwhile’ . God promises we will be sustained. Easy as ABCDE the evildoers will be Annihilated, Bested, Crushed, Deposed and Eliminated.
“Yet a little while and the wicked man will be no more; And you will look carefully for his place and he will not be there. But the humble will inherit the land and will delight themselves in abundant prosperity.” – Psalm 37:10-11 (NASB)
We continue with the promises in Psalm 37 ⸺there are many. Fretting, as we learned yesterday in the previous verses, is nothing more than being sorely irritated. We used to say an irritated person was ‘vexed,’ but like ‘fret’ we don’t use these good words much anymore. Today we have further reasons for avoiding irritation from worry. Summed up, they amount to a twofold assertion: the wicked or evil doers will be gone. The verse says ‘yet a little while.’ We might think otherwise but we’re on God’s time which is not bound by earth time. There is a point in time when all evildoers shall be no more. They simply will not be here. If we were to look for them, they would not be found. No detective will be able to expose what is not. This may be long after we are gone from this earth but it is a promise from God that we can take and believe as absolute truth. Those who humbly trust God’s words and obey His instructions have a different outcome ⸺abundant prosperity. It is part of our “reserved in heaven” inheritance. It is a promise that will bring us Godly delight.