Sad, But True.
“When the wicked die, their hopes die with them, for they rely on their own feeble strength.” – Proverbs 11:7 NLT
The Scriptures can be blunt. Sometimes just reading through God’s Word can cause us to cringe at what appears to be the politically uncorrect nature of some of the statements that flow from its pages. The Word of God pulls no punches. It takes no prisoners. It isn’t afraid to get up-in-your-face and tell you what you need to hear, whether you want to hear it or not. It’s painfully honest at times. But honest is exactly what it is. It is the word of God and it speaks truth – refusing to sugarcoat the hard facts or soften the impact of its message on the souls of men. Verse seven of Proverbs 11 is one of those I-can’t-believe-you-just-said-that kind of statements. “When the wicked die, their hopes die with them, for they rely on their own feeble strength.” The Message puts it this way, “When the wicked die, that’s it — the story’s over, end of hope.” There is not more. Their petty efforts at achieving success in life are proved to be what they have always been – futile and pointless. Any happiness they have enjoyed is short-lived and temporal, rather than eternal. Rather than trust God for their eternal well-being, they have relied on their own “feeble strength” and learned that no amount of money, success, achievements, accolades, or toys will help them when this life is over.
“Evil people get rich for the moment” (Proverbs 11:18 NLT). They live for this life. Their actions and attitudes are self-focused and temporally-based. They may enjoy all that this life has to offer, but this life is not all that there is. “The reward of the godly will last” (Proverbs 11:18 NLT). Those who choose to live their life according to God’s standards and in His strength, not their own, will discover that their reward is long-lasting. “Godly people find life; evil people find death” (Proverbs 11:19 NLT). “The godly can look forward to a reward, while the wicked can expect only judgment” (Proverbs 11:23 NLT). Wow! That’s blunt. That’s cold and seemingly heartless. But it’s the truth. It is a matter-of-fact wake-up call designed to remind us that we are eternal creatures, not temporal ones. Our focus needs to be on eternity, not the fleeting promises of this life. When we have an eternal perspective, we can give freely because we aren’t looking to the things of this world to satisfy us or keep us safe. We don’t look to money to bring us happiness or fulfillment. “Trust in your money and down you go!” (Proverbs 11:28 NLT). No, those who have their eyes focused on God see life differently. Generosity comes naturally. Holding loosely to the things of this world is easy. They inherently know that “riches won’t help on the day of judgment, but right living can save you from death” (Proverbs 11:4 NLT).
These truths are hard to hear and even harder to accept. We hear a steady stream of propaganda telling us that this life is all that matters. We are told to grab all we can while we can because there’s nothing else after this. We are constantly reminded that our own happiness is all that matters. We’re number one. It’s every man for himself. But God has a different perspective. And the godly recognize that there is more to life than pleasure, possessions, popularity and prosperity. There’s eternal life. This world is not our home, we’re just passing through. The best is yet to come.
Father, it’s hard to think about the destiny awaiting those who reject You. It’s difficult to wrestle with the reality that millions of people are willing to sacrifice their eternity for a little temporary pleasure. Give me an eyes-wide-open perspective on life. Let me see it from Your vantage point. Keep me focused on eternity. But at the same time, don’t let me get so heavenly focused that I’m no earthly good. Amen
Grow Pastor & Minister to Men