17 Surely in vain the net is spread in the sight of any bird.
18 And they lay wait for their own blood; they lurk privily for their own lives.
19 So are the ways of every one that is greedy of gain; which taketh away the life of the owners thereof.
Do those who plot the destruction of others succeed? According to this proverb, if I’m reading it correctly, their plans are as useless as catching a bird with a net.
Although they hope to take away something of value from someone else, what they are robbed of in the end is their very own life.
That does not seem to be the case when we look at the world does it? Very often it seems like those who plan to destroy and rob others are successful. Not always, of course. The legal system is proof of that. In any case, when we consider this in terms of the wisdom of God, we can see that those who seem to get away with murder are eventually condemned.
God is just and He does not allow those who love violence and robbery to go unpunished forever. Jesus states, “He that leadeth into captivity shall go into captivity: he that killeth with the sword must be killed with the sword. Here is the patience and the faith of the saints.” (Revelation 13:10)
It can be so difficult to wait on the justice of the Lord. However, it helps if we consider ourselves honestly. If the Lord were to come right now and judge us, apart from the blood of Jesus, how might that go for us? The Day of the Lord is a dreadful time, and we should not rush it.
We should strive to be thankful for the grace given to us and hold hope for others, no matter how difficult it can be to do so. In extreme cases, we might seek the Lord to either turn the hearts of our enemy towards Him or turn them away from us, but we can always hope for good.
I think it helps if we understand a bit more.
Violence and robbery can take many forms. Some people are threatened by the happiness, intelligence, compassion, beauty, prosperity, or sincere relationships that other people have. Some people are compelled to rob others of these things, either consciously or unconsciously. Why might a person do this?
From my understanding, however limited it might be, there are people with deep seeds of shame, self-loathing, resentment, and envy. Some people want to feel superior to others at any cost. Some people hold onto a false version of themselves and would do most anything to protect that image. Some people hate anything that they perceive as good or better than themselves, so they have to tear it down or take it for themselves.
As with all things, the manner in which this plays out can vary to a great degree. Some people have some of these traits because of early life trauma. They are aware of it and they work hard to overcome. If they are Christians, then the Lord will help them. So, we keep this in mind, knowing that some people are deeply wounded and no matter how sinful they are or have been, Jesus can work wonders in their life!
Some people are not granted this grace of God, so they rob and destroy to greater and lesser degrees depending on the circumstance and the power given to them. Some people tear people down emotionally or mentally, some physically. Some people act alone, and in other cases you have an entire group of people who plot to destroy another group.
If we encounter a person, a small group, or a massive-scale movement that is robbing and destroying others, there are things we can do. We can always pray. We can pray that the Lord turn their hearts or deliver us from them. We can pray that the things they plan in secret are brought to light. We can thank the Lord for His wise judgement, mercy, justice, and His perfect timing as we rest in the knowledge that God’s wisdom provides us: They will not ultimately succeed.
Those who plot to rob and destroy others, in lesser and in greater measure, will face their own destruction.
So, I want to consider myself.
Do I have hidden pain that causes me to lash out at others in any measure? Do I have personality traits that cause me to feel better by tearing other people down in any measure? Has the Lord shown me mercy and forgiveness for doing similar things in any measure? How should I respond, either literally or in my heart, to those who would tear me or those I love down? Do I have faith and patience that comes from knowing that Jesus will judge all things one day?
These are questions I will be thinking about today.