Recompenses And Consequences

February 19, 2015

                                                   Recompenses y consequences

“Behold, the righteous shall be recompensed in the earth: much more the wicked and the sinner.” “Proverbs 11:31).

This verse is reminding us that life on this earth has its recompenses and consequences. Both the righteous and the wicked get what they have coming to them. He is saying we get what we deserve, whether it be rewards or chastisement.

Sometimes this doesn’t seem to be true. In Psalm 73 we see that David struggled with what seemed to be an injustice. In verse three he wrote “For I was envious at the foolish, when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.” In verses 6-9, in speaking of the wicked, he said, “Therefore pride compasseth them about as a chain; violence covereth them as a garment.   Their eyes stand out with fatness: they have more than heart could wish.  They are corrupt, and speak wickedly concerning oppression: they speak loftily.   They set their mouth against the heavens, and their tongue walketh through the earth.” In verses 17-18 we see that he found an explanation for what seemed to be an inconsistency. “Until I went into the sanctuary of God; then understood I their end.   Surely thou didst set them in slippery places: thou castedst them down into destruction.”

Knowing that there will be recompenses and consequences should guide us in making decisions in life. As a general rule, we get what we have coming to us, whether it be good or bad. Sometimes, in our estimation, we get more than we deserve; sometimes it’s less.

To the righteous, God gives favors in the form of his mercy. That means we don’t always get what we deserve. I learned one of my first lessons about that when I was a student in high school. During the week those of us who were from out of town stayed in dormitories. There were no school busses. One day two of my friends invited me to go with them to a movie in another town. I accepted their invitation. We went without getting permission from the school. The next day we had to face the consequences. We were called into the principal’s office and were told that we couldn’t stay in the dormitory for the next three months. When school was out that afternoon I packed my belongings. I was met at the door by the dorm matron. She told me that she pleaded with the principle on my behalf, and that he had given me permission to stay in the dormitory. She said she did it because she felt sorry for me because I had been a good boy, and that this was my first offense. The other two boys were kicked out.

There is a scientific law in life that is called “cause and effect.” That means for every effect there is a cause. If you fall of a roof, there is good reason to expect that you will get hurt. Even though the law of cause and effect is not as fixed in human life as it is in science, it is still to our advantage to live as though it was.

Several times, in the book of Proverbs, we find axioms that make it appear as though human choices are just as fixed as the scientific law of cause and effect. The following are some examples. “The wicked are overthrown, and are not: but the house of the righteous shall stand” (Proverbs 12:7). “The soul of the sluggard desireth, and hath nothing: but the soul of the diligent shall be made fat” (Proverbs 13:4). “Wealth gotten by vanity shall be diminished: but he that gathereth by labour shall increase” (Proverbs 13:11). A similar expression is found in Galatians 6:7-9. “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.  For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.   And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.”

We have reason to expect that sooner or later God will even the score. That is what gave consolation to David when he was troubled because it appeared as though some prospered in spite of the fact that they were wicked. God doesn’t always give us what we deserve in this life. He has all eternity to complete his promises. Proverbs 3:35 says, “The wise shall inherit glory: but shame shall be the promotion of fools.”

God, in his grace and wisdom, often saves the best for our life in heaven. One of the last promises of Christ is that he shall return. Take heed to what he will bring with him when he comes. “And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be” (Revelation 22:12). The good thing about heavenly rewards is that they will be with us forever. What we receive in this life is temporary. That is the thought behind Colossians 3:1-2. “If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God.   Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.” Jim Elliott, the missionary who was murdered by the Auca Indians in 1953, wisely said, “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.”

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