That the wicked is reserved to the day of destruction? they shall be brought forth to the day of wrath.
The expositions of these verses are various, and all true homiletics must be based on true exposition. But there is no diversity of opinion amongst expositors as to the final judgment of the wicked. Whatever, therefore, may be the aspect in which it is viewed by the argument of this chapter, it cannot be too loudly declared that judgment upon the wicked is reserved. That a final day of adjudication will come has its aspect of warning to the wrong-doer who temporarily escapes punishment, and its aspect of encouragement to the patient doer of that which is good, who is nevertheless called upon to suffer affliction. The reservation of the Divine judgment -
I. A WARNING TO THE WICKED NOT TO PRESUME ON A PRESENT EXEMPTION FROM CALAMITY. "Because sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil." Thus is man perverse, blind, foolish. The declaration of a final, inevitable judgment is the effectual check upon foolish presumption. The wicked man is a weak man, whose own conscience makes a coward of him. The appeal to his fear and dread is the effectual check upon his carelessness.
II. In the reservation of the Divine judgment, THE OPPRESSED RIGHTEOUS ONES MAY FIND A TRUE GROUND OF CONSOLATION. Revenge is not a pious sentiment. To desire punishment upon the wicked from vindictive feelings is far from the pure mind; but he that is unjustly traduced may abide in hope that one day a Divine judgment will bring hidden things to light, and make the righteousness of the falsely accused shine as the light. The Divine judgments being always wise and good and just - the judgments of the loving God - they will find their echo of approval in the heart of every wise and just man. The final Divine judgments will commend themselves to the utmost tenderness of the human heart; for their absolute rightness will be apparent.
III. The reservation of the Divine judgment against wickedness WILL AFFORD OPPORTUNITY FOR THE FINAL VINDICATION OF THE DIVINE WAYS. In his great condescension it may please God to vindicate his dealings with the sons of men, when each will have evidence of the righteousness of his doings. Clouds and darkness may now hide the Divine purpose and the Divine methods of procedure; but all will be clearly revealed, and hidden iniquity be exposed and oppressed goodness vindicated and the Divine ways justified. The certainty, the strictness, the equity, the unbiassed rectitude of the Divine judgment, are causes for dreading it. A lowly, reverent, obedient spirit is the true preparation for the final award. Judgment, though delayed, will not be forgotten. "God shall judge the righteous and the wicked." - R.G.
Parallel VersesKJV: That the wicked is reserved to the day of destruction? they shall be brought forth to the day of wrath.