When the wicked spring as the grass, and when all the workers of iniquity do flourish; it is that they shall be destroyed for ever:
Spring as the grass. In Eastern countries, after a time of drought, the grass responds with marvellous suddenness to the refreshing rains. But the grass which grows so swiftly is as swiftly cut down by the blazing sunshine or the scorching wind. The sudden success of the ungodly was a surprise and distress to God's people, who looked on temporal success as a special sign of Divine approval. It seemed to them as if, after all, God was practically on the side of the wicked. In drearier moments they might even think that God made fair promises to the good, but gave the actual blessings to the ungodly. The relief which the saints of olden time found for this their distress is not just the relief which we should provide now. They, like Asaph, went into the sanctuary of God, and there they came to understand the end of the wicked. Really, their high places were slippery places; and in God's time they were "cast into destruction." There is a certain measure of comfort in the thought that things gained by unrighteousness are insecure. But it is a higher standpoint that enables us to see that no success is worth having that has no righteousness at the heart of it. God is the secret of all stability, and God is not in a thing, unless goodness is the characteristic of the thing. Goodness always tends to permanency. Bible history is full of illustrations of the instability of all success attained by the ungodly. If a man's gains are secure for his own life, they are squandered by his sons. In the north of England the uncertainty of sudden prosperity is enshrined in a popular saying, "The first generation buys the carriage; the second generation rides in the carnage; the third generation pawns the carriage." See the cases of Pharaoh, Nebuchadnezzar, Haman, Herod; and note also our Lord's parable of the "rich fool."
I. THE SUCCESS OF THE WICKED IS UNSTABLE IN THE NATURE OF THINGS.
1. They who overreach are always in danger of being overreached.
2. The wicked are always making enemies, who are quick to avenge themselves, if opportunity offers.
3. The wicked make mistakes which dissipate all their gains.
II. THE SUCCESS OF THE WICKED IS UNSTABLE BECAUSE, SOONER OR LATER, GOD IS SURE TO DEAL WITH IT. He tests foundations; if they are not found righteous, the grandest houses of attainment will surely fall. - R.T.
Parallel VersesKJV: When the wicked spring as the grass, and when all the workers of iniquity do flourish; it is that they shall be destroyed for ever: