Only with your eyes shall you behold and see the reward of the wicked.
A very comforting text to all believers, when beset by temptation.
I. THE SNARE OF THE FOWLER.
1. It is intimately connected with Secrecy (Proverbs 1:17). Many a man has been entrapped into sin by Satan, not knowing that it was evil! Some one has hinted to him in business, for instance, "You may very safely do such-and-such a thing; all the shopkeepers in the street have done it; it is not actually dishonest; it improves the article; and although you can thus sell an article at a dearer rate than you ought to sell it, yet you need not tell the public; and if the article is all the better for it, it is quite fair and safe that you should adulterate it." And so the good easy man, not opening both his eyes, I think, but shutting one of them a little, lest he should see too well to be able to fill his pockets in the dark, is a little taken aside; and by and by he is led to discover that the act which he has done is the taking of him in the snare of the fowler, for he has been sinning against his God, and his God therefore punishes him for it with many stripes, and lays his rod upon him.
2. It is generally noted for its adaptation. A cunning enemy we have to deal with; he knows our weak points; he has been dealing with men for these last six thousand years; he knows all about them. He is possessed of a gigantic intellect, though he be a fallen spirit; and he is easily able to discover where our sore places are, and there it is he immediately attacks us. If we be like Achilles, and cannot be wounded anywhere but in our heel, then at the heel he will send his dart, and nowhere else. He will find out our easily besetting sin, and there, if he can, he will attempt to work our ruin and our destruction. Let us bless God that it is written, "Surely He shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler."
3. It is frequently connected with pleasure, profit, and advantage. Cleopatra's asp was introduced in a basket of flowers; so are sins often brought to us in the flowers of our pleasures. Satan offers to the drunkard the sweetness of the intoxicating cup, which rejoices him, when his brain is rioting in frolic, and when his soul is lifted up within him. He offers to the lustful man the scenes and pleasures of carnal mirth, and merriment, and delight, and so he leadeth him astray with the bait, concealing the hook which afterwards shall pain him. Let us remember that the snare of the fowler is generally connected with some pretended pleasure or profit, but that Satan's end is not our pleasing, but our destruction.
4. Sometimes the fowler very wisely employs the force of example. We all know the influence of the decoy-duck, in endeavouring to bring others into the snare. How very often Satan, the fowler, employs a decoy to lead God's people into sin! You get with a man; you think him to be a true Christian; you have some respect for his character; he is a high professor, can talk religion by the yard, and can give you any quantity of theology you like to ask for. You see him commit a sin; ten to one but you will do the same, if you have much respect for him; and so he will lead you on. And mark, Satan is very careful in the men whom he chooses to be decoys. If he wants his errand well done, he sends one to me whom I call brother; and so through the brotherhood of profession I am apt to give him credence and pay him respect; and then if he goeth astray the force of example is very powerful, and so I may easily be led into the net too. Take care of your best friends; be careful of your companions. Choose the best you can; then follow them no farther than they follow Christ. Let your course be entirely independent of every one else.
II. THE DELIVERANCE. Two thoughts here: from — out of. First, He delivers them from the snare — does not let them get in it; secondly, when they do get in it He delivers them out of it. The first promise is the most precious to some of us; the second is the best to others.
1. He shall deliver thee from the snare. How does He do that?
(1) Very often by trouble. I doubt not, many of you have been saved from ruin by your sorrows, your griefs, your troubles, your woes, your lossest and your crosses. All these have been the breaking of the net that set you free from the snare of the fowler.
(2) At other times God keeps His people from the sin of the fowler by giving them great spiritual strength, a spirit of great courage; so that when they are tempted to do evil they say, with decision, "How can I do this great wickedness and sin against God?"
2. God delivers His people, even when they get into the snare. Alas! you and I know something about the net; we have not only seen it spread, we have been in its folds. We know something about the cage, for we have, unfortunately, been in the cage ourselves, even since we have known the Lord. The fowler's hand has been upon our neck; it has only been the sovereign grace of God that has prevented him from utterly destroying us. Poor Christian and Hopeful got into the fowler's net when they entered into the castle of Giant Despair; but the key of promise picked the lock, and they escaped. They were in the fowler's net, too, when Flatterer cast a net over them, and left them in the lane; but there came one who, after he had beaten them full sore, took the not off, and they went on their way, better men than before. O backslider, be cast down, but do not despair; God will restore thee yet.
III. "SURELY." The assurance of every truth of Scripture is just the beauty of it. Now, it says "surely He shall deliver thee." Why? First because He has promised to do it; and God's promises are bonds that never yet were dishonoured. Secondly, because Christ Jesus hath taken an oath that He will do it.
( C. H. Spurgeon.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Only with thine eyes shalt thou behold and see the reward of the wicked.