Let not thine heart envy sinners: but be thou in the fear of the LORD all the day long. For surely there is an end; and thine expectation shall not be cut off.Proverbs 23:17-18
There are times in life where those who do the right thing look around and see all kinds of people doing the wrong thing and enjoying themselves. It seems at times that those who are evil are prospering. It is true that there is a pleasure in sin, and if we’re not careful we will forget that the pleasure of sin is just for a season. This is what the Father is pleading with his son to remember. He tells his son not to envy those who do wrong, but rather to fear God “all the day long”.
The father gives a really practical motivation for the son not to envy sinners. That motivation is the “hereafter.” He says “surely there is an end.” There is a life after this life. There is a day of judgement for those who sin against God without repentance. He also says “thine expectation shall not be cut off.” The idea is that honoring God now by not participating in the pleasure of sin reflects the fact that the son believes in the hereafter. The father is telling him to remember that there is an eternity, and that then he will be glad that he honored God. In the end, God will judge him rightly. The wrong that sinners do will not go unpunished. God is just.
No one envies the consequences of sin that people endure, so we should not envy the pleasure of sin that they experience for a season. There are two remedies for envying the sinner in this passage.
- The fear of the Lord. We must seek to honor God when we are tempted to go along with those who are enjoying the pleasure of sin in the moment.
- The hope of eternity. When we are tempted to envy sinners we must remember the hope and reward that we have in eternity and do the right thing.
Take some time today to imagine what eternity will be like.
Thank God for His forgiveness of our sin by His Son, and the hope that we have of heaven because of Christ’s sacrifice.