Proverbs 13:21 Disaster pursues sinners, but the righteous are rewarded with good.
RAF: As a result of our fallen condition – disaster chases us all. Trials come to all of us, whether we are God’s people in Christ or not. But those who have found righteousness in Christ, find those difficulties redeemed for their good. Herein is the vast distinction between those who have been redeemed by the blood of the Lamb, and those not. And this is specifically one of the ways God chooses to mark the difference between the two.
When Moses was charged with leading the people of Israel out of Egypt, the Lord determined it be done through a series of judgments poured out on the Egyptians in the form of 10 plagues. The first 3 of these were universally felt in the whole land. The plagues of the water turned to blood, the infestation of the frogs and then that of the gnats appear to have troubled the Israelites as well as the Egyptians. It isn’t until the 4th plague – that of the flies, that the texts notes: “But on that day I will set apart the land of Goshen, where my people dwell, so that no swarms of flies shall be there, that you may know that I am the Lord in the midst of the earth. 23 Thus I will put a division between my people and your people. Tomorrow this sign shall happen.” ’ ” (Exodus 8:22–23)
As Christians, we live as much in a fallen world as all those who are not – a world groaning under the first pains of God’s judgment upon humanity and the earth due to sin. But that is not the end of the story. At some point God lets His distinction between the lost and the redeemed known. While disaster continues to pursue the Unbeliever, the righteous find reward with God. We are not given up to the disasters, but rather find ourselves given the means to experience the very same plagues as part and parcel of God’s deliverance.
For instance – Christians can endure times of economic crisis as opportunities to be separated from the World’s value system, and to cling to spiritual things instead. Christians can face times of natural disaster as reminding them of the temporary nature of this natural world, and to long only for the permanence and glory of Heaven. Death itself which will eventually come to us all (should Christ tarry), is converted from the portal to eternal judgment, into the entrance to our eternal reward.
The plagues may be seen and felt by all – but the Believer knows them as means of God’s deliverance, as well as judgment. And thus we are allowed to rejoice in what others can only dread.
What a great God we serve!
Proverbs 13:25 The righteous has enough to satisfy his appetite, but the belly of the wicked suffers want.
RAF: Adam and Eve had everything. Literally. Everything bar one. A single tree marked out by God whose fruit they were to refrain from. And still they were not content. Heaven help me, for I still suffer from their disease.
The truth is, lack of contentment with God’s provision is a sign that wicked desires are ruling one’s heart. If we are not content with His providential provisions, we must ask ourselves why? What is it that is so important that we are driven to distraction until we get it? What is it that we “think” we are missing out on that is so necessary to our well-being? More, as Hebrews 13:5 reminds us: “Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” Did you catch the comparison there? The Spirit did not tell us “just be content without” – but to be content “with” what we have. And what does He go on to say we have? Him! The One who has said “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” Be content with the Creator and Maker of all things, and you can never suffer lack. It is the lie that we are lacking some-THING, when we have the very source of ALL things, the some-ONE with us at all times and in all places. What a glorious reality! And oh, how we need to learn to mortify these lusts by the Spirit, in reveling in Who is ours.
Holy Spirit – satisfy us with revelations of the glories of Christ.
Reid, this is so true. Sometimes, believers do not understand that one of the things our gracious God has given us is a still natural connection to all of humanity. We can know and suffer anything that anyone may suffer as it is in the providence and wisdom of God, so that we may grow in the grace and knowledge of Christ our Savior and, be a help to others as we are able and as we may be sought out for having lived through such difficulty with a different mindset in the end of it all. To even think that these things are ordained of God for His glory is something, too often, too many believers just don’t grasp because of a “weak” and too humanistic theology.