Considering Proverbs 11:23

The desire of the righteous is only good: but the expectation of the wicked is wrath. – Proverbs 11:23

I’m not sure how to read this proverb. Is it saying that the righteous should expect to receive good, or is it saying that the righteous focus on that which is good? Is it saying that the wicked should expect to receive nothing but wrath, or is it saying that the wicked focus on that which brings wrath?

Both are true, but I’m leaning more towards the second.

The righteous are focused on bringing good to others while the wicked are focused on bringing vengeance and destruction.

Justice is a good thing, and sometimes justice requires vengeance. However, in Christ we know that vengeance belongs to God. If He says that it is time for vengeance and wrath, then it’s time for vengeance and wrath. However, as those who want to be righteous, our focus should be on brining blessing, not cursing.

Jesus says, “Bless those that curse you and pray for those that hate you and persecute you, that you may be the children of your Father which is in heaven. For He causes the sun to shine on the evil and the good and brings rain to the just and the unjust.”

Until He doesn’t.

“The sun will be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood before the great and terrible day of the Lord comes.”

“These have power to shut heaven, that it rain not in the days of their prophesy, and have power over waters to turn them to blood and to smite the earth with all plagues, as often as they will.”

The above quote refers to the two witnesses in Revelation 11. I bolden that last bit, “as often as they will” for emphasis. Perhaps they will choose not to, but I don’t know. I hold space for that because I believe that it is good for the righteous to focus on bringing good, not wrath.

Even so, there is a time for all things and as wicked men grow worse and worse, and as the world forgets that God is He who holds all things in balance that we take for granted, a reminder might be called for. God will shake the heavens and the earth. He will give man into the delusions of a false god, so perhaps calling our attention to Him is warranted in those times.

It is good to remind mankind of all that He does for us as many hate Him, slander Him, and kill His people. It is good to remind mankind that all things were created by Him and for Him. It is good to remind mankind that blessings are from Him, the power that upholds all things is from Him, true wisdom and righteous judgment is from Him, and Jesus is the only name by which man can be saved from the death that we all have coming because of the destruction we have wrought on the earth.

What are a few plagues compared to the coming of a false christ and the wrath of God that follows? It might be that these things will cause some to wake up and turn to Jesus. That would be good.

Jesus will let us know all things in His time, but I am somewhat moved fearfully as my perceptions of this start to change. “As often as they will” might be often indeed because man will wholesale forget God and follow another, including many who professed the faith of Jesus Christ. Mankind cannot be allowed to forget God, because when they do, He will show Himself and they cannot withstand it.

However, in any time we find ourselves, we can strive to bring blessing. Maybe we bring blessing in the midst of bringing trouble just as God remembers mercy in the midst of judgment.

However, I do not expect any blood-thirsty to receive any such thing from God.

This world is full of blood-thirsty people who jump at any occasion to destroy someone, especially when they feel justified in doing so.

What’s worse is when good becomes evil and evil becomes good. Then, people are happily condemning and destroying the righteous, all the while thinking that they are justified in doing so.

Let us not think that we are better, because we know that any good thing we have comes from God.

Without Him, we would corrupt judgement too and we would condemn the guiltless. This is the nature of man, and the erosion of our Christian culture shows us how great an impact the teachings of Jesus have had on mankind. When abandoned, there is nothing but destruction.

In a world of destruction, we can still do our upmost to bring good and look for that which is good in the world, in others, and most importantly focus on the good things of God in Jesus.

We can bring the gospel of Jesus Christ and we can seek Him so that we can live out the gospel as servants and sons freed by His blood and made alive in His Spirit.

We can praise Jesus despite troubling times and be lifted in spirits as necessary, look inward and repent sorrowfully as necessary, and rejoice in knowing that all things are working together for our good and we will live in the end.

We can focus on that which is good no matter how wicked the world gets, because Jesus provides us with many good things that will never be removed from us, because He and His Kingdom are forever.

“Whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.”

PREVIOUS STUDY: Considering Proverbs 11:22 – As a jewel of gold in a swine’s snout, so is a fair woman which is without discretion.

The purpose of this bible study in The Proverbs is to consider present-day events in terms of the teachings and wisdom of Jesus ChristFollow in WordPress or subscribe by email (red button at the bottom of each page below the comments) if you would like to join this discussion and receive updates of future postsVisit the link above for easy access to all posts within this series.

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