A good man obtaineth favour of the LORD: but a man of wicked devices will he condemn.
God can raise beggars up out of a sewer and put them on the throne of glory, and He can put the greatest monarch in world history out to pasture, literally (II Sam 7:8; Dan 4:27-33). The true God rewards your conduct in this life – think David and Nebuchadnezzar; and He rewards it in the next life – think Lazarus and the rich man (Luke 16:19-31).
Dear reader, it would do you good to read Hannah’s prayer of praise (I Sam 2:1-10). She knew the LORD was a God of knowledge and that He weighed the actions of men. She praised Him for His great work of putting one person up and putting another down. He made a great difference between her and her adversary (I Sam 1:4-8,17-20; 2:18-21,26).
The LORD’s favour is wonderful. It is better than the mythical touch of Midas, better than friendship with Bill Gates, and better than the Presidential Medal of Freedom with Distinction. There is nothing like it in this world or the next (Ps 4:6-8; 16:11). How can you measure having the Lord as your Friend, Comforter, Benefactor, and Protector?
His favour can make all the difference in the world in a man’s life. Can you fully comprehend it? How can you describe it? If He blesses your soul, your body, your marriage, your children, the work of your hands, and your eternal destination, what else is there (Ps 1:1-6; 73:23-27; 128:1-6; 144:11-15)? Thank you, blessed God and Father!
But His condemnation is a horrible thing. It far exceeds any personal or natural disaster, for the Creator God becomes your enemy and will torment you in this life and the next. He can torment your soul with fear and trembling that is indescribable (Deut 28:65-68). Terminal cancer and annihilation would be a relief from what He can do to you. How can you measure the horror of the LORD God chasing you into eternity (Ps 35:5-6)?
Jesus told His disciples that pain and death were nothing at all. Why fear men, He asked? They cannot do anything of serious or lasting harm. He taught them the only true Person to fear was His Father, Who was able to kill the body in this life and then send both body and soul to hell for eternal torment. You should fear Him, Jesus warned (Luke 12:4-5).
What makes this difference – the great distances between God’s responses? Your choices today, reader. That is right! Your choices today will either be good in His sight, or they will be wicked. You think you can do what you want? You think you have a right to your own life? You think you can protect yourself from Him? You think you can avoid the consequences of your sin? You think He does not see? Does not care? Guess again, fool!
A good man is made good by God’s grace (Ps 14:1-3; Gal 5:22-23), but God’s grace must be used to be the good man here (I Cor 15:10; II Cor 6:1). A good man finds the favour of the great God by laying hold of wisdom and obeying it (Pr 8:35). A foolish man rejects wisdom and by doing so wrongs his own soul and chooses death instead (Pr 8:36).
The defining difference between the two persons is how they treat wisdom – God’s instructions for living found in the Bible. Reader, do you tremble before the words of God yet? Will you even take enough time to read and consider the warning of this proverb? Will you do anything about it? What will you do to obey God better? Today?
Reject wisdom, and God will tear you in pieces, and there will be no one to save you (Ps 50:22; Hos 5:14; 13:8)! He will turn your life upside down and inside out (Ps 146:9). He will smash your face and break out your teeth (Ps 3:7; 58:6). If you think for one second God has changed, try Hebrews 10:26-31; 12:28-29; and 13:8. When He comes in anger, men beg for mountains to fall on them and hide them (Rev 6:16-17). Do not be a fool!
Beware, lest you think it is your idea and measure of what makes a good man. Do not let anyone, even your dear mother, flatter you into thinking you are a good man. The holy God has no regard for such foolish thoughts. He will only favour the man who trembles before His word and keeps His commandments with a humble heart (Ps 112:1-4; Is 66:2).
The difference in His response is enormous; it is immeasurable. Do you see it clearly? He can bless so abundantly and so kindly, and He can destroy so horribly and so painfully.
Did the LORD’s favour make a difference in Joseph’s life? An incredible difference! How about Abraham? Ruth? Esther? Job? David? Daniel? Mary Magdalene?
Did the LORD’s condemnation make a difference in Saul’s life? What tormenting misery! How about Cain? Lot? Eli? Nabal? Jehoram? Uzziah? Judas? Herod?
Humble yourself in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up (Jas 4:10). There is precious favour to be obtained from the LORD God. Some men walked with Him as their Friend, others walked straight into heaven without dying, and yet others had His benevolent care and protection around and upon them wherever they went and whatever they did. Do good, and you will love life and see good days (I Pet 3:10-12)!