“The fear of the wicked, it shall come upon him: but the desire of the righteous shall be granted” (Proverbs 10:24).
Proverbs 10 contains many proverbs which directly contrast the wicked and the righteous, though not every proverb in the chapter falls into that category. We’ll just look at one of those contrasts in today’s post and the next, from verse 24.
The Fear of the Wicked
I remember as a boy saying to kids who mis-behaved, “Oh, you’re gonna get it!” And if they truly had done wrong, they were afraid, because they knew it was true — they were “gonna get it.”
You often don’t really have to tell the wicked they are “gonna get it” — they pretty well know that is true. They may try to pretend it isn’t, or claim what they are doing is ok, or pretend God doesn’t care, but deep inside they know there is a problem. They may “sear their conscience,” somewhat deceiving themselves, but they know — they are doing wrong. That is why so many people who do wicked things are so bent on trying to convince you that what they are doing is ok. If they had the courage of their convictions, they wouldn’t care what you think.
With wickedness comes fear. If you betray your friend, you are afraid he will find out, and afraid of what he will do if he does find out. If you cheat on your spouse, you don’t want him/her to know. If a child disobeys his parents, he generally wants to hide it. (That’s why no one has to teach a child to lie — they figure it out quite effectively on their own.) If you steal from your employer, you are afraid of both him and the law. If you rebel against your God, you fear what He will do. Thus, fear is a natural by-product of wickedness, and this is one of the points of this Proverb. When you are wicked, fear comes on you.
This Proverb tells us more, though. It is not just that fear comes on the wicked, but that the thing feared comes upon him — “he’s gonna get it.” That doesn’t mean that everything he fears may happen. But ultimately, judgment falls.
Your boss, your spouse, your friend or neighbour, may never find out what you’ve done, but God knows. The consequences of wickedness are not limited to this life. If you only fear the temporal consequences of what your boss or your friend might do, you are not only wicked, but a fool. God knows it all, and He’ll not fall short in administering justice. You may fear as a result of your wickedness, but you don’t fear enough, or you would repent and seek His forgiveness.
The wicked receive fear in this life. They will receive, for all eternity, that which they fear, and much more.
Update (part two): The Desire of the Righteous.