I. THE TEMPTATION TO ENVY THE PROSPERITY OF THE WICKED. It is very marked in the Old Testament. It is a common temptation. For we look at the outside of man's condition, and are deceived by illusions. A pirate's venal in the distance, a mansion built and inhabited by infamy, are beautiful objects of aesthetic contemplation. So it is that the show and bravery of success master our senses.
II. THE ANTIDOTE TO THESE FEELINGS. (Ver. 20.) "Consider the end" - darkness and the blackness of darkness. The wicked have no future. When this is once clearly seen, the charm on the surface fades away, and the edifice of proud but godless prosperity sinks almost into a smoking ruin.
III. RELIGION AND MORALITY THE ONLY FOUNDATION OF SECURITY AND BLESSEDNESS. (Vers. 21, 22.) The one comprehensive word for religion is the "fear of Jehovah," reverence for God, and for all that, being true, is of the very nature of God. And obedience to the king includes all those civil and social duties which we incur as members of an ordered commonwealth. Religion and loyalty go together; and the best way to make good subjects to the queen is to make men good servants of God. They will not make conscience of civil duties who make none of Divine. - J.
Rejoice not when thine enemy falleth.
Homilist.Johnson makes a distinction between vengeance and revenge. Injuries, he says, are revenged; crimes are avenged. The former is an act of passion, the latter of justice.
I. The OBJECT of revenge. "Thine enemy." Men are enemies to men. Humanity is not as it came from the hand of the Great Father of mankind. Sin has made the brother a foe. If man had no enemy, he would have no revenge. In heaven no such passion burns.
II. The GRATIFICATION of revenge. "Let not thine heart be glad when he stumbleth." The fall, the ruin of the enemy, is bliss to the revenging soul. But if unmanly, still more un-Christian. What said Christ? "If thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink," etc.
III. The AVENGER of revenge. "Lest the Lord see it, and it displeaseth Him, and he turn away His wrath from him."
1. Man's revenge is displeasing to God. It is opposed to the benevolence of His nature; it is contrary to the teachings of His Word.
2. Man's revenge may cause God to interpose, and relieve its victim. "He turn away His wrath from him." Coverdale renders the words thus, "Lest the Lord be angry, and turn His wrath from him to thee." Thus it was with the enemies of Samson (Judges 16:25-30).
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