Proverbs in 365 Devotions
Proverbs 24:17 Do not rejoice when your enemy falls, and let not your heart be glad when he stumbles, 18 lest the Lord see it and be displeased, and turn away his anger from him.
Where Is My Rejoicing?
Solomon seems to want us to take note of where our joy has moved to… where it is now focused. Did you catch that in the text? What are we rejoicing in? What makes our heart glad?
17 Do not rejoice when your enemy falls, and let not your heart be glad when he stumbles,
Has someone hurt or wounded you… Have you been treated wrongly? We all have of course… In fact we’ve been on both sides of the equation… even the one dishing it out. But how does our heart respond when those who have offended us experience pain or hardship themselves? Our initial response may be to be happy about it… right? Maybe you’ve been treated poorly in some way recently or even 30-40 years ago… Dose it ever haunt you? Do you ever replay the tape of wrongs done to you? And do you rejoice at that persons downfall when it comes and think they got what they deserved?
As believers who have the righteousness of Jesus we are glad for the justice of God on Judgment day… But while in this life, it is a great evil for us who have been shown mercy and grace and forgiveness… been adopted into the family of God with an inheritance and riches galore with eternal life… etc and etc… to wish evil on others knowing that even to this day we ourselves are still sinners. Our Father loves us and like an earthly father he disciplines his children in love when their affections turn away from him. In the old testament we see many times when God postpones judgment on evil nations and instead he brings his own people into bondage to that very nation until their affections turn back to the Lord. And as we learn in the old and new testament, those who refuse to take joy in God and his mercy… will have to be judged according to their own righteousness in relation to Gods law and all of mankind would winds up guilty under this trek.
You may remember the analogy Jesus gave in Matthew 18. Here’s what he said beginning in verse 23
23 “Therefore the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who wished to settle accounts with his servants. 24 When he began to settle, one was brought to him who owed him ten thousand talents. 25 And since he could not pay, his master ordered him to be sold, with his wife and children and all that he had, and payment to be made. 26 So the servant fell on his knees, imploring him, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you everything.’ 27 And out of pity for him, the master of that servant released him and forgave him the debt.
That's a nice story… right? If you are now a child of God with a promised inheritance full of riches then this is a picture of you… God forgave you of all your sins and rescued you from prison and slavery to sin through faith in Jesus.
But in this telling by Jesus… the story turns sour. The servant did not have a truly repentant heart. He did not see the glory of God in the mercy that was shown him. He did not learn mercy or truly understand it because it had no transforming effect on his own life. His heart had not been changed.
28 But when that same servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii, and seizing him, he began to choke him, saying, ‘Pay what you owe.’ 29 So his fellow servant fell down and pleaded with him, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you.’ 30 He refused and went and put him in prison until he should pay the debt. 31 When his fellow servants saw what had taken place, they were greatly distressed, and they went and reported to their master all that had taken place. 32 Then his master summoned him and said to him, ‘You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you pleaded with me. 33 And should not you have had mercy on your fellow servant, as I had mercy on you?’ 34 And in anger his master delivered him to the jailers, until he should pay all his debt. 35 So also my heavenly Father will do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother from your heart.”
None of us have the ability to amend for our own sins. We cannot impute righteousness into our own heart where there has been sin that must be paid for. Good works won’t atone… Justice is not a balance system between good works and evil deeds. And even if it were those good works would have to be motivated by a good heart to be called good… No matter how we look at it there is only one hope for us.
In Matthew 9:13 Jesus said this: Go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, and not sacrifice.’ For I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.”
Father may we not wish evil upon those who have done us evil… Help us to walk in your love and pray for and encourage and help others in this broken world as you have helped us and shown us that you are the greatest treasure in the Universe worth loosing our hands on all the worlds promises and finding our delight in you. Your word says how you are not wishing any should perish, but that all should come to the knowledge of the truth and reach repentance. Thank You Father for showing us how that comes by your mercy through Your Son Jesus. Please give us this same heart towards others…