“If the righteous will be recompensed on the earth,
How much more the ungodly and the sinner.” – Proverbs 11:31
Even those living in faithfulness to God and His word will stumble and fall, and just like for any other sinner, there are consequences for them. Sin has a way of causing so much hurt and lasting problems, and it affects all people, whether or not they actively seek out evil deeds.
We can see examples of righteous people in the Bible being brought low with sin, and God allowing or bringing about consequences for the evil:
– Abraham slept with Hagar, his wife’s female servant, in order to get the child he feared he would never have with Sarah. Hagar had a boy, who was a source of jealousy for Sarah, and a threat to the first-born status of Isaac. (Genesis 21:8-11)
– God declared to King David that he would lose the son he conceived with Bathsheba, for his sexual sin with her, and his murder of Uriah, her husband. He was spared death himself, though. (I Samuel 12:9-15)
In these cases, we see a generally faithful servant of God suffering from the result of their sinful actions.
I believe the proverb is arguing that just as the righteous receive due reward for sin, so much more do the wicked for their lives of sin.
The Bible has examples of the wicked receiving punishment for their actions before God:
– Because he killed Abel, Cain was cursed to be a fugitive wherever he went, but was spared being murdered by his siblings with a mark given by God. (Genesis 4:8-15)
– Every human, but for Noah and his family, were drowned in a world-wide flood, for as the Lord said, “The earth is filled with violence through them.” (Genesis 6:9-13)
– King Belshazzar glorified himself and not the God of the Bible, and the Lord brought utter destruction on him and his line with the invasion of the Medes and Persians. (Daniel 5:22-31)
If it is the case that when even the faithful sin, they are punished, how much more so that those who utterly reject God and live life in complete rebellion will suffer.
Now, what can we learn as Christians?
Sin is not to be trifled with. It is destructive to every life, and God does not deal lightly with offenders. There is great mercy and grace in a believers life, though, and God does spare us from his punishment. He instead disciplines us as a father disciplines his children, wanting us to grow to despise the sin as He does. This idea comes out in Hebrews 12:3-9 (sorry for so many links!) where the writer argues that we should receive God’s chastening well.
While we should expect people who reject God with their lives to suffer a lot, I doubt we have any good reason to gloat over them. We were once like them, under God’s anger. May we not so easily forget our beginnings. Amen.
-Thanks for reading! – Pedrozki (Pete)
Thoughts or questions? Have your say in the comments section!
Note: All scripture is taken from Bible Gateway and is the New King James Version. I am using a commentary by John A.Kitchen for help with difficult concepts and words.