Proverbs 24: 2020 Bible Challenge

Devotional Text and Meditation for the Day

Marty Orcurto

Proverbs 24:17-18

Do not rejoice when your enemy falls, and let not your heart be glad when he stumbles, lest the Lord see it and be displeased, and turn away his anger from him.

You are driving down a road and out of nowhere a car goes speeding past you darting in and out of the traffic narrowly avoiding your car as they careen ahead. What is your response? Then as you round the next turn you see them pulled over by a police car.  What is your response now?

Proverbs 24:17-18 warns us to guard our hearts against the sin of haughty self-righteous judgment lest God turn his anger towards us. 

When we rejoice at the misfortune of others, we have forgotten our own sinful heart and instead foster an attitude that puffs us up, believing we are better (more righteous) than them. When we judge another person, it is to exalt ourselves for our gratification at their expense. In contrast, when our holy and righteous God turns His anger toward a person, it is to bring them to repentance – He takes no pleasure in it, but He does it for their good much like a parent who rightfully disciplines their child, pointing them to righteousness. (Heb 12:5-11; Ezek 33:11)

God’s response provides both a stated and hidden consequence.  God may turn His anger away from that person allowing them to prosper, but the more dire unwritten warning is He may turn His anger on you to deal with your sinful, arrogant, and judgmental heart! (Heb 10:31 Prov 17:5)

What should we do?

  • Watch out for pride.  When we mock the other person, we are enacting our own vengeance upon them and saying we know what they deserve better than God – if He would just listen to us. Our arrogance will cause God to humble us instead. (James 4:6)
  • Leave it to God. As one writer said, “Vengeance is only safe in the hands of a holy God.”  If we truly see God as who He is, then He is big enough to handle the hurts and slights made against us. (Gen 50:15-21; Rom 12:19-21)
  • See through eyes of compassion. Remember that you are a sinner who found mercy from your Savior.  Do not be like the servant who quickly forgot what he had been forgiven, only to refuse forgiveness to another (Mt 18:23-34). Instead, we are to overcome evil with kindness (Rom 12:20-21). Rather than pronouncing judgment, consider mercy and pray for them. That will put your heart in the right place.

Now back to that road (or fill in your circumstance) . . . What should your response be?

Read Proverbs 24: BibleHub.com | Bible.com

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