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Proverbs 1:31 (Mini Sermon)

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31. Pro 1:31 - "Therefore shall they eat of the fruit of their own way, and be filled with their own devices."
A. God first pronounced the judgment 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).
B. Now He explains how and by what means the judgment will be executed: by letting the fools suffer under the weight of their own foolish ways.
i. This world operates under numerous immutable laws such as gravity and other laws of physics which are unforgiving and cannot be overruled.
a. If a man swings from a rope that is not strong enough to counterbalance the force of gravity, the rope will break and the man will suffer the consequences of his foolish decision.
b. When a child disobeys his parents' instruction forbidding him to touch the stove and gets burned, he suffers the just desert of his rebellion.
c. These are called natural consequences, and they are one of God's methods of punishing sinners.
ii. Consider some natural consequences of sinful, foolish, or unwise decisions and actions:
a. AIDS and other STDs are the judgment for sodomy, fornication, and adultery.
b. Cirrhosis of the liver is the judgment for alcoholism.
c. Poverty is the judgment for undisciplined spending and going into debt.
d. Obesity is the judgment for gluttony and undisciplined eating.
e. Emphysema and lung cancer are the judgment for smoking cigarettes.
f. Divorce is the judgment for unfaithfulness, selfishness, unkindness, not spending enough time at home, not appreciating one's spouse, etc.
g. Losing one's children is the judgment for not training them up in the way they should go and not giving them the time and attention they need.
h. Being fired is the judgment for being lazy, late, disrespectful, etc. on the job.
iii. 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.
C. Making sinners eat the fruit of their own ways and be filled with their own devices is one of God's signature judgments.
i. Using the wickedness, lust, or backsliding of men or nations as the means of correction is poetic justice on the LORD's part.
ii. One of the worst forms of punishment God inflicts upon His children is to let them have things their way.
iii. "There are two kinds of people: those who say to God, 'Thy will be done,' and those to whom God says, 'All right, then, have it your way.'" (C.S. Lewis)
iv. The scripture is full of warnings regarding this often used method of judgment by God (Pro 14:14; Psa 94:23; Jer 2:19; Jer 6:19; Jer 14:16; Psa 81:11).
D. Oftentimes, men assume that God's judgment is the precursor of it.
i. Christians often say that God will judge our nation for things such as sodomy, fornication, abortion, broken families, debt, and wicked leaders.
ii. What they fail to realize is that all these things are the judgment of God.
iii. Rom 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.
iv. These things are not the cause of God's judgment; they are His judgment.
E. A man will reap what he sows.
i. If a farmer sows the seeds of briars and thistles, he will in time reap briars and thistles.
ii. 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.
iii. The same principle applies to God's dealings with His children.
iv. When He warns them against making foolish decisions and they stubbornly refuse, they will be made to reap what they sow (Job 4:8; Pro 22:8; Gal 6:7).
F. The Almighty will often give rebels the very thing that they so obstinately desire against all good counsel as a judgment against them.
i. He did this with Israel when they clamored for flesh to eat after He had already given them manna from heaven to meet their needs.
ii. It was flesh they wanted, and it was flesh they got; and they got it in such abundance that they loathed it (Num 11:18-20).
iii. In addition to the judgment of the overabundance of flesh, the LORD added affliction on top of it (Psa 106:14-15; Psa 78:29-31).
G. 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; 2Th 2:10-12).
H. 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 God has said.
i. Balaam was greedy of gain and "loved the wages of unrighteousness" (2Pe 2:15).
ii. He desired to go with Balak the king of Moab in order to curse Israel and be financially rewarded (Num 22).
iii. After receiving the offer, Balaam went to the LORD hoping to get God's rubber-stamp on His plans.
iv. But wisdom cried and said, "thou shalt not go with them; thou shalt not curse the people: for they are blessed" (Num 22:12).
v. After relaying the LORD's message to Balak and receiving a better offer, Balaam rejected the counsel of God and returned to the LORD hoping that He had changed His mind (Num 22:13-19).
a. The LORD had already cried unto Balaam to turn at His reproof (Pro 1:23).
b. Balaam would none of it and despised it (Pro 1:24-25).
c. 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).
d. He told 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).
e. This was the opposite of what the LORD had told Balaam previously, which would have spared him trouble.
f. 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 (Num 22:22).
g. 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).
h. 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).