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Grace to the afflicted

Do not envy a man of violence and do not choose any of his ways. For the devious are an abomination to the Lord; but He is intimate with the upright. The curse of the Lord is on the house of the wicked, but He blesses the dwelling of the righteous. Though He scoffs at the scoffers, yet He gives grace to the afflicted. The wise will inherit honor, but fools display dishonor. Proverbs 3:31-35 NASB

In the short term, it can appear that evil and violent men get ahead. Perverse and ungodly people seem to mock God with impunity while enjoying the best the world has to offer. You can be tempted to envy their prosperity and question whether it pays to be godly. The Psalmist expresses his frustration when it seems to him that the wicked are not struggling in life. “For I was envious of the arrogant as I saw the prosperity of the wicked” (Psalm 73:3). You may wonder why God allows so much evil in the world. In the long run, however, their crimes do not pay. “Until I came into the sanctuary of God; then I perceived their end” (Psalm 73:17). From our text, Solomon admonishes us to think twice before we become envious of the wicked. Their sins offend the LORD who knows all things; they “are an abomination to the Lord” (Proverbs 3:32). Their prosperity will be short-lived. He will judge them and they will be dishonored in the end (v. 35b) because “God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble” (James 4:6). Apart from God’s grace, we would all be excluded from the blessings of having godly wisdom. Jesus has come to give us wisdom and life. He lived a life of perfect wisdom towards both God and men. He endured the curse (v. 33) of the punishment and dishonor we deserved because of our sinfulness. He took upon Himself the punishment of our sin (Isaiah 53:5; 1 Peter 3:18). Now through him we have been made wise unto salvation. We are partakers of the tree of life (Proverbs 3:18). Some of us may be in the same tragic dilemma as that in which Solomon’s first readers were. Maybe we have been playing along with the world to the point that we are starting to neglect God. God’s light may be barely flickering somewhere deep down our lives but the grace is that God does not allow us to put it out. So, stop trusting in yourself and trust God alone. He created us to find fulfillment only in Him. His grace is made available by the work of His Son, Jesus Christ, on the cross. His grace waits patiently, lovingly, for our return.


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