22 The blessing of the LORD, it maketh rich, and he addeth no sorrow with it. 23 It is as sport to a fool to do mischief: but a man of understanding hath wisdom. 24 The fear of the wicked, it shall come upon him: but the desire of the righteous shall be granted. 25 As the whirlwind passeth, so is the wicked no more: but the righteous is an everlasting foundation. 26 As vinegar to the teeth, and as smoke to the eyes, so is the sluggard to them that send him. (Proverbs 10:22-26 KJV)
This list of maxims in Proverbs make some pointed statements about life in general. Verse 22 tells us that when we receive riches that are from the Lord, they do not come with sorrow. Prosperity that comes from God is given to those who follow and obey God. Many people who are prosperous find that their wealth has sorrow attached to it. When people have not given their money to God, they are continually fearful of losing it. Fear has torment and is a form of sorrow. Some wealthy people are surrounded by people who are not true friends. For the wealthy, friendship and companionship are often bought, and are not based on love and respect. Their money attracts people who are continually trying to con them to out of it. Wealth that does not come from God is many times a replacement for God in their lives. Those with riches can buy anything they want, so they feel they do not need God. Their riches are really a curse, because they are missing the true riches from God -- love, peace and joy in the Holy Ghost.
Verse 23 makes a comparison between a fool and a wise man. Those who are self confident fools are always getting into mischief and making sport of it. They love the attention. However, because they lack wisdom, they end up in trouble. I remember a number of years ago, we were visiting a coastal city during a hurricane warning. The news reporters were tracking the storm, and interviewing a crowd of young people who were drinking and having a "hurricane party" on a nearby island. They were warning people to leave the island as the hurricane was soon to strike there, before hitting the mainland. One particular young man was drunk and making sport of the whole thing in a very prideful and vocal way. He declared he was not leaving, nor was he afraid of a windstorm! He simply scoffed at the warnings.
A few hours later, the same television reporter stayed on the island and filmed the hurricane as it hit the hotel where the party was going on. He filmed a very terrifying scene. The large plate glass windows in the hotel that were facing the ocean suddenly were blown out when an explosion of glass and water sent all the party goers and the reporter running for cover to the basement. As the reporter was getting the last shots of this horrific scene, I noticed the same kid who had challenged this storm with his foolish words was running in fear, with the most terrified look on his face. He no longer was a mocker. The thing that he had scoffed was now a terrifying reality and he had no control over it. He was the epitome of the self confident fool the Bible speaks about. Many people today who scoff about God and mock Him will find themselves in the same predicament. They will eventually have to bow their knee to the Almighty God! The wise man, on the other hand, will have understanding and heed the warnings in the Word of God and kneel at His feet now.
Verse 24 says the fear of the wicked will come upon him. When men are out of the will of God, they experience fear. Most of them know that something bad can happen to them when they are sinning. If we are in rebellion and are disobeying God, we are in Satan's territory and we leave a door open for the devil to attack us. When bad things happen to us, it is not God punishing us, but rather the result of us leaving the protection of God. Fear is the opposite of faith, so if we allow fearful thoughts to rule our minds, we will believe the lies of the devil. Those bad things can happen, if we do not know how to overcome them with faith and repentance. However, if we repent and trust in God, the devil will have to flee with his temptations and we can walk in the Lord's mercy and grace. We are promised, as God's children, that we may have the righteous desires of our hearts.
James 4:7-8: "Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded."
Verse 25 tells us that just like a tornado destroys everything in its path, the devil will destroy the wicked the same way. However, the righteous cannot be destroyed as we are eternal beings and we shall live forever with the Lord.
Romans 6:23: "For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord."
Proverbs 10:26(Amp): "As vinegar to the teeth, and as smoke to the eyes, so is the sluggard to those who employ and send him."
This verse states how the "sluggard" affects people. What is the definition of a "sluggard?" It comes from the same root word as "sluggish" and it means someone who is habitually lazy or idle. We can see in this verse why we would not want to give the responsibility of sending a person like this to do a job. God does not choose people like this to do a job for Him either. If we desire to be used of God, we must first learn to work and do a good job for others. God is looking for faithful people who will take responsibility, so He may commission His work to them.
Prayer for the Day:
Dear Father, Thank You for giving us such good advice in the Bible. Give us the grace to heed it. Lord, help me to do a good job at each task that is before me. I want the works of my hands to glorify You. Lord, I ask You to keep Your hand of protection on me and my family and my loved ones. I pray for all who read this devotional that You will also protect and guide them. Reveal Yourself to them in a deeper way. Touch and heal them and bless each of them this very day. Give us all the grace to overcome the things in our lives that are not pleasing to You. You are so good to us, Lord. I am very thankful for all You are doing in my life and the wonderful work You are doing in the lives of Your people all over the world. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.
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