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Blog - Proverbs 1:31

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For all the blogs in this series, click here: Proverbs Commentary.

Proverbs 1:31

"Therefore shall they eat of the fruit of their own way, and be filled with their own devices." (Pro 1:31)


After having pronounced that those who reject wisdom's counsel and despise her reproof will be judged severely with calamity, fear, desolation, destruction, distress, and anguish (Pro 1:26-27), the LORD now explains how and by what means the judgment will be executed: by letting the fools suffer under the weight of their own foolish ways. This world operates under numerous immutable laws such as gravity and other laws of physics which are unforgiving and cannot be overruled. If a man swings from a rope that has not the strength to counterbalance the force of gravity, the rope will break and the man will suffer the consequences of his foolish decision. When a child disobeys his parents' instruction forbidding him to touch the stove and gets burned, he suffers the just desert of his rebellion. These are called natural consequences and are one of God's methods of punishing sinners. Consider some natural consequences of sinful, foolish, or unwise decisions and actions: AIDS and other STDs are the judgment for sodomy, fornication, and adultery; cirrhosis of the liver is the judgment for alcoholism; poverty is the judgment for undisciplined spending and going into debt; obesity is the judgment for gluttony; emphysema or lung cancer is the judgment for smoking cigarettes; divorce is the judgment for unfaithfulness, selfishness, unkindness, not spending enough time at home, not appreciating one's spouse, etc; losing one's children is the judgment for not training them up in the way they should go; and being fired is the judgment for being lazy, late, disrespectful, etc. on the job. While there is not always a direct cause and effect relationship between the things just mentioned, oftentimes there is, and a wise man will consider his ways.

Making sinners eat the fruit of their own ways and be filled with their own devices is one of God's signature judgments. Using the wickedness, lust, or backsliding of men or nations as the means of correction is poetic justice on the LORD's part. One of the worst forms of punishment God inflicts upon His children is to let them have things their way. The scripture is full of warnings regarding this oft used method of judgment by God.

Pro 14:14 - The backslider in heart shall be filled with his own ways: and a good man shall be satisfied from himself.

Psa 94:23 - And he shall bring upon them their own iniquity, and shall cut them off in their own wickedness; yea, the LORD our God shall cut them off.

Jer 2:19 - Thine own wickedness shall correct thee, and thy backslidings shall reprove thee: know therefore and see that it is an evil thing and bitter, that thou hast forsaken the LORD thy God, and that my fear is not in thee, saith the Lord GOD of hosts.

Jer 6:19 - Hear, O earth: behold, I will bring evil upon this people, even the fruit of their thoughts, because they have not hearkened unto my words, nor to my law, but rejected it.

Psa 81:11 But my people would not hearken to my voice; and Israel would none of me.
Psa 81:12 So I gave them up unto their own hearts' lust: and they walked in their own counsels.

Jer 14:16 - And the people to whom they prophesy shall be cast out in the streets of Jerusalem because of the famine and the sword; and they shall have none to bury them, them, their wives, nor their sons, nor their daughters: for I will pour their wickedness upon them.

Oftentimes, men mistake God's judgment for the precursor of it. Christians often say that God will judge our nation for things such as sodomy, fornication, abortion, broken families, debt, and wicked leaders. What they fail to realize is that all these things are the judgment of God. Romans 1:18-32 declares that God gave men up to fornication, sodomy, wickedness, being without natural affection, and all manner of evil because they rejected the knowledge of God. These things are not the cause of God's judgment; they are His judgment.

A man will reap what he sows. If a farmer sows the seeds of briars and thistles, he will in time reap briars and thistles. A child who fails to observe his father's warning and sows weeds expecting to reap vegetables will learn a very difficult lesson at the time of harvest. The same principle applies to God's dealings with His children. When He warns them against making foolish decisions and they stubbornly refuse, they will be made to reap what they sow.

Job 4:8 - Even as I have seen, they that plow iniquity, and sow wickedness, reap the same.

Pro 22:8 - He that soweth iniquity shall reap vanity: and the rod of his anger shall fail.

Gal 6:7 - Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.

The Almighty will often give rebels the very thing that they so obstinately desire against all good counsel as a judgment against them, as He did with Israel when they clamored for flesh to eat after He had already given them manna from heaven to meet their needs. It was flesh they wanted, and it was flesh they got; and they got it in such abundance that they loathed it. In addition to the judgment of the overabundance of flesh, the LORD added affliction on top of it.

Num 11:18 - And say thou unto the people, Sanctify yourselves against to morrow, and ye shall eat flesh: for ye have wept in the ears of the LORD, saying, Who shall give us flesh to eat? for it was well with us in Egypt: therefore the LORD will give you flesh, and ye shall eat.
Num 11:19 - Ye shall not eat one day, nor two days, nor five days, neither ten days, nor twenty days;
Num 11:20 - But even a whole month, until it come out at your nostrils, and it be loathsome unto you: because that ye have despised the LORD which is among you, and have wept before him, saying, Why came we forth out of Egypt?

Psa 106:14 - But lusted exceedingly in the wilderness, and tempted God in the desert.
Psa 106:15 - And he gave them their request; but sent leanness into their soul.

Psa 78:29 - So they did eat, and were well filled: for he gave them their own desire;
Psa 78:30 - They were not estranged from their lust. But while their meat was yet in their mouths,
Psa 78:31 - The wrath of God came upon them, and slew the fattest of them, and smote down the chosen men of Israel.

Sometimes, God takes a more active role in judging sinners for their foolish rejection of His call to repentance and wisdom by sending them a strong delusion to cause them to believe a lie because they refused to receive the truth.

Isa 66:4 - I also will choose their delusions, and will bring their fears upon them; because when I called, none did answer; when I spake, they did not hear: but they did evil before mine eyes, and chose that in which I delighted not.

2Th 2:10 - And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.
2Th 2:11 - And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie:
2Th 2:12 - That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.

The story of the false prophet Balaam is a good example of God's dealings with headstrong fools who are determined to do whatever they desire regardless of what the Almighty has said. Balaam was greedy of gain and "loved the wages of unrighteousness" (2Pe 2:15), dearly desiring to go with Balak the king of Moab in order to curse Israel and be financially rewarded (Num 22). After receiving the offer, Balaam went to the LORD hoping to get God's rubber-stamp on His plans; but wisdom cried and said, "thou shalt not go with them; thou shalt not curse the people: for they are blessed" (Num 22:12). After relaying the LORD's message to Balak and receiving a better offer, Balaam, rejecting the counsel of God, returned to the LORD hoping that He had changed His mind (Num 22:13-19). Having already cried unto Balaam to turn at His reproof (Pro 1:23), which cry Balaam would none of and despised (Pro 1:24-25), the LORD then answered the fool according to His folly (Pro 26:5), and made Balaam eat of the fruit of His own ways and be filled with his own devices (Pro 1:31) by telling him what he wanted to hear, saying, "if the men come to call thee, rise up, and go with them; but yet the word which I shall say unto thee, that shalt thou do" (Num 22:20). This was the opposite of what the LORD had told Balaam previously, which would have spared him trouble; but because Balaam would have none of God's counsel, the LORD gave him what he wanted as a judgment against him and then opposed him as His enemy: "and God's anger was kindled because he went: and the angel of the LORD stood in the way for an adversary against him" (Num 22:22). After several failed attempts to follow his own lust in disobedience to God, Balaam ended up dying for his iniquity by being slain with the sword (Num 31:8). Balaam was a victim of his own devices, as will be all fools who disregard wisdom's cry and are given over to their own way as a judgment against them, for "the turning away of the simple shall slay them" (Pro 1:32).


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For the previous blog in this series, click here: Proverbs 1:30.
For the next blog in this series, click here: Proverbs 1:32.

For all the blogs in this series, click here: Proverbs Commentary.