God's wayI will consider three proverbial contrasts for our devotional today taken from Proverbs 13:18-19, 21.  The first proverb stresses how a man’s attitude toward discipline and correction sets the course of his life and journey’s end.

Proverbs 13:18 – “Poverty and shame [disgrace; dishonor; reproach] shall be to him that refuseth [dismisses; avoids] instruction [correction; discipline; warning]: but he that regardeth [observes; heeds; accepts] reproof [rebuke; correction] shall be honoured [honorable; rich; promoted].”     

Do you ever wonder how the man or woman holding a sign that reads, “Homeless, will work for food” ended up on that street corner?  Granted, some deserve our charity because they are homeless as a result of sickness, unemployment or a family crisis.   My heart goes out to them and I have stopped, given them money and a tract [while the church I pastor has often offered aid and comfort to those genuinely in need].homeless

Let’s be honest, many who end up in “poverty and shame” fulfill the spiritual reality Solomon taught his son—rebel in your youth, disregard your parent’s counsel and you chart a course of sorrow and self-destruction!

By contrast, men and women who achieve success and have honors bestowed on them were generally learners in their youth and accepted correction and rebuke.

Proverbs 13:19 – “The desire [delight; satisfaction; things you set your heart upon] accomplished [satisfied; come to pass] is sweet [pleasure; pleasant; pleasing] to the soul [heart; person; desire; spirit]: but it is abomination [disgusting; repugnant; extremely offensive] to fools [silly, self-confident, proud sinners] to depart [turn; give up] from evil [sin; wickedness; adversity].”

Success is sweet to the soul that does not lose hope (Proverbs 13:12) and sees the reward of God’s grace and blessing (13:19).  The foolish, however, live for the fleeting pleasure of sin and are left wanting.

God rewards the faithfulProverbs 13:21 – “Evil [wickedness; sin; mischief; distress] pursueth [follows; persecutes] sinners [guilty; a criminals]: but to the righteous [just; lawful; those who have integrity with God] good [favorable; pleasing] shall be repayed [rewarded].”    

We often think of sinners in pursuit of sinful pleasures; however, verse 21 portrays sin as the hunter, not the hunted!  Sin is an enemy of the soul and a troubled conscience and fear of discovery follow some to their graves.  Make no mistake…sinful pleasures come with a payday (Galatians 6:7).

The righteous obeys God’s Law and He promises to reward them with His loving favor.

Copyright 2015 – Travis D. Smith