When a wicked man dieth, his expectation shall perish: and the hope of unjust men perisheth.
The wording of this is a little strange.
We might say that when a wicked man dies, his hopes die with him. When he dies, the hope that others had in him also perishes.
For example, a wicked leader has plans for himself and the people he leads. Because he is wicked, his plans are futile and amount to nothing once he is dead. Let’s say that people looked to this wicked leader and trusted in him in some way. Once the leader is gone, the hope they had dies with him.
We could also say that everything a wicked person hopes to accomplish die with him and all the things he put his trust in also die.
For example, a wicked person might hope to build a life that is enriched with money, houses, lands, social status, etc. They trust that if they form alliances with other wicked people and place their trust in them, they can achieve this goal. Instead, they die and the wicked people that they trusted in die also because they do not know God.
This makes me think of a parable that Jesus taught. We call this parable, The Parable of the Rich Fool found in Luke Chapter 12.
15 And he said unto them, Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth.
16 And he spake a parable unto them, saying, The ground of a certain rich man brought forth plentifully:
17 And he thought within himself, saying, What shall I do, because I have no room where to bestow my fruits?
18 And he said, This will I do: I will pull down my barns, and build greater; and there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods.
19 And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry.
20 But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided?
21 So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.
The “rich fool” trusted in his riches. He thought that because he had plenty, he would take it easy from now on. Instead, he died. Once dead, his expectation of a life of ease and plenty died with him.
This also makes me think of something written about the Great Whore of Mystery Babylon in Revelation 18 that states, “the fruits that thy soul lusted after are departed from thee, and all things which were dainty and goodly are departed from thee, and thou shalt find them no more at all.”
Whether we are considering the plans of the wicked, trusting in the wicked, or wicked pursuits in general, the end will be death. How futile and foolish, but without the knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ, many of us would do just that.
The expectation and hope of a Christian is in the promises of Jesus Christ, and these will never fail because everything He says is true and He is always faithful to do as He says.
Sometimes hoping in Jesus means doing things that seem foolish in the world and sometimes it means making sacrifices or suffering in some way. One day the shame and suffering we endure for hoping in Jesus will vanish away and all the hopes of the wicked will perish also.
Far better to be a fool for His sake and to trust in Him than to trust in the wicked, riches, and all things that seem to be good and wise in the eyes of this world.
It all belongs to Jesus anyway.
Our riches. Our friends. Our families. Our time. Our lives.
All things were made by Him and for Him, so if we think we own anything or can hope in anything other than Him we are behaving foolishly.
All that we have is at His full disposal to use as He deems. Realizing this is liberating and brings peace. We want to build up our lives, and to some degree we have to. Yet, if we are His servants, all that we have is His.
We should be willing to give it all up for His use and walk away from our lives in this world should He call us to because He gave all and He can take away—and this is His right—and “all things are working together for the good of those who are called according to His purposes.”
Another scripture comes to mind from James 4:
14 Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.
15 For that ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that.
16 But now ye rejoice in your boastings: all such rejoicing is evil.
God is in control. The more we realize this and submit ourselves to His service, the more peace we will have and the more expectation of good things we can have also.
Our faith in Jesus is made stronger because we know that we are in His service and He will give us all things as necessary to perform His work, and when our work is done, our lives are forfeit until He returns and raises us again.
I believe that striving to live in this manner is what it means to walk after the Spirit of God. We go where He goes, do what He says to do, and live as those who are willing to lose it all for His sake—trusting in Him to provide us with the guidance and strength along the way. This is not a foolish hope or expectation, but the calling of the Christian whose hope is Jesus Christ.
6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.
7 Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.
8 The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.
Let us keep seeking Jesus so that He is our expectation and our hope. Let us keep seeking Him so that we can walk more after the Spirit and less after the ways of this world—a world whose expectation and hope only leads to death.