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February 2014: Proverbs 14 by Doug

Death is coming. Death is coming for you, and death is coming for me.

The real question is not whether death comes. It is how death comes, and when death comes. It is further a question of whether or not death as we see it is the end.

So we come to Proverbs 14:32 and the contrast of the wicked and the righteous. The considerations are these: what is it to be wicked, and what to be righteous? This is what we must know, because the results follow the actions.

This seems like common sense, but so often we do not quite get things that are common sense without talking them out. So, here it is plainly: understand the results you want. Define them. Write them down.

Then figure out how to get there. Now, I know that ideally we want to worship God because it’s the right thing, it’s the thing we are created for, and even if there is no other benefit, truth for truth’s sake matters. Let us be realistic: most of the time, we do not start from there. We do not start to pursue righteousness because we want good things for their own sake.

We are motivated by our need. One of our greatest needs is to address the question of what happens after death. What becomes of us? Are we nothing? Do we return to cosmic matter and fracture into oblivion?

If we are seeking a refuge for those times, then we should consider walking in righteousness. How? By serving God. As we do so, we see just how challenging that is—and see our need for a Saviour. Then we recognize God’s grace and serve Him because He first loved us. It is a chain.

The wicked, though, go down, and down hard, by their own faults. It is so often that we want to blame others for our failings, but in the end, it is no one’s fault but our own.

The reality is that many times we have exactly the results we have sought. We either get the destruction we have wrought, or we have a refuge when it all goes wrong.

Catch that concept? It does not always go right for the righteous. The righteous just have a refuge. If that is what you seek, then consider your ways now, before calamity comes on you.

There are some intriguing issues here about rendering and that final phrase. It could be taken as “in his misfortune” instead of “when he dies.” I’m not sure where I would settle that—I’ve gone with the reading used by the NASB team.


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