Whoso despiseth the word shall be destroyed: but he that feareth the commandment shall be rewarded.
Do you love Bible preaching? Do you prepare, pray, focus, and review? Do you read the Bible humbly and meditatively? Or do you daydream and wish the preacher would hurry up and finish? Do you resent the Bible as a confusing and difficult book to take or leave?
How great is the difference between being destroyed and being rewarded? How great is the difference when it is God that does both the destroying and rewarding? The difference is enormous. But the conditions for being rewarded are clear and easy. Thank you, Lord.
This proverb is similar and typical of many other proverbs by Solomon. He constantly reminded his son and you of the blessing for obeying God’s word and the punishment for not obeying it. If you despise the Bible, you will be destroyed. If you respect and keep what the Bible says, you will be blessed. This is a fundamental axiom for your life.
The God of heaven is holy and jealous (Josh 24:19). He will not forgive or overlook those who despise or reject His word. Since He is the Creator of all things, including every man, woman, and child, He expects their total submission and obedience to Him. His first commandment justly demands your absolute and total love for Him (Deut 6:4-5).
About 1,650 years after creation, or about 4,400 years ago, God drowned and suffocated the earth with a flood of water (Gen 7:4,23). What brought His great destruction on the earth and the human family? They had despised His word and corrupted His way on the earth (Gen 6:5-7,11-12). He sent Noah to preach and warn them, but they rebelled against the commandments of their Creator, so He destroyed them (I Pet 3:18-20; II Pet 2:5).
God sent another preacher to Pharaoh, King of Egypt, about 3,500 years ago. The Hebrews, worshippers of the living and true God, were slave laborers for Pharaoh. Moses gave God’s request for Pharaoh to let His people go into the wilderness. When Pharaoh despised the word, God ravaged the land with ten plagues and destroyed his army and him in the Red Sea (Ex 5:2; 12:29-36; 14:28). The lesson of the proverb should be clear.
King Ahab despised the word of the Lord, so God destroyed him in battle with a chance arrow (I Kgs 22:1-40). King Uzziah despised God’s word that only the priests were to serve in the temple, so God destroyed him with leprosy (II Chron 26:16-23). King Jehoiakim thought he could burn the word of God and get rid of its warnings, so God destroyed him and his family and gave him the burial of an ass (Jer 36:1-32; 22:18-19).
But the proverb also promises reward to those who fear God’s commandments. This fear is not servile terror, but rather eager reverence to know and do His will (Ps 1:1-2; 112:1; 119:47-48; Is 6:8; Acts 9:1-6). Though the LORD God is very great, He will bless and reward those who humbly tremble before His word (Is 66:1-2; Acts 17:11; Heb 11:6).
Fearing God and keeping His commandments is the whole duty of man (Eccl 12:13-14). But there is also great reward in keeping them (Ps 1:1-6; 19:11; 37:4; 84:11; 112:1-3; Jas 1:25), which the children of God have known in all circumstances, like Abram in Canaan (Gen 13:1-6), Isaac in Canaan (Gen 26:12-14), Joseph in Egypt (Gen 39:1-23), Ruth in Bethlehem (Ruth 2:3), Rehoboam in Jerusalem (II Chr 12:12), Manasseh in Babylon, (II Chr 33:12-13), Esther in Shushan (Es 2:17), and Daniel in Babylon (Dan 1:1-21).
What have you done with the preachers God has sent you? Paul warned against despising prophesying, or preaching (I Thess 5:20). And he foretold irremediable judgment on those who despise or neglect it (Heb 2:1-4; 10:26-31; 12:25). It is your solemn duty and great reward to fear and love the word of the Lord. The lesson of the proverb is clear.