The foolishness of man perverteth his way: and his heart fretteth against the LORD.
Men have trouble in life due to their own foolishness, but then they blame God for it! What profane wickedness! He will not live by God’s wisdom, for he wants to do things his way. But when the consequences of his foolish choices bite him, he murmurs and blames God for the difficulties. What a miserable, rebellious, ungrateful wretch!
God is good to all, and His mercy is over all. He offers wisdom freely to all who want it (Pr 8:1-5,32-36; 9:1-6). But fools laugh at wisdom; they think they have a better way. They shall eat the fruit of their folly (Pr 1:29-33). The miscreant in the proverb accuses God that His ways are not equal, but it is the fool’s ways that are not equal (Ezek 18:25)!
Dear reader, has this proverb ever been true in your life? Have you chosen your own way and met with pain and trouble because of it? Have you ever thought the Lord was unfair? Have you ever resented Him for not delivering you or answering your prayers? Have you allowed angry, discontented, fretting, or self-righteous thoughts before the LORD? It is your fault that consequences have come home to roost for your terrible choices in life.
Notice carefully that it is the heart of the fool that frets. It is your inner thoughts that must be examined, and your pious speech in church will not cover for them. How have you thought in your heart, where all those around cannot see? How do you think? The Lord sees all your fretting. He sees your angry, despairing, or discontented thoughts. You should direct your fretting against yourself and your foolishness rather than against God.
Such fretting is sin! Nothing you are or have is yours. It is a gift from heaven. God gave you your station in life, abilities, parents, health, children, job, spouse, time, and anything else you can name. Why chafe against Him about these gifts? These things are not yours; they are His. He loaned them to you, and He expects a good return. You owe Him! He owes you nothing but the eternal torment of your soul. Anything less is pure mercy.
But when you fret against Him after perverting His gifts through slothfulness or foolishness, your murmuring thoughts are the rebellious poison of hell seeping out of your heart. You add wickedness to your sins. Crush those sinful thoughts. Humble yourself before God. Find your joy and contentment in Him, rather than the gifts He gives. Accept Him withholding gifts. Confess your folly that led to your predicament.
Adam brought shame and death on himself in Eden, and he blamed God for it (Gen 3:11-12). Cain was cursed for killing his brother, and he blamed God for his punishment being too great (Gen 4:13-14). Ahab found himself at war for the vicious murder of Naboth for his vineyard, and he blamed God for not ever blessing him (I Kings 22:8). Where are these three men today? Likely where all three belong! Where will you be tomorrow?
Most of the problems you have are your own fault. You neglected to keep God’s Word faithfully. You foolishly chose your own way. Your zeal for following wisdom was lukewarm. Can you not see that? Confess your foolish stewardship in taking care of what He had given you. If you do not, your pain is going to increase (Job 36:16-18).
Where are you being foolish in life? It will come back to haunt you. If you blame God for the trouble, you add greater sin to your folly. No wonder your life is a mess. The Bible says, “This is the way, walk ye in it” (Is 30:21). If you have rejected instruction and wisdom, because you had a better idea, because the pastor was too extreme, because the Bible is too old fashioned, or because your daddy did not do it that way, then beware.
God is not mocked; do not be deceived. If you compromise His Word in your marriage, family, thoughts, speech, or any area of life, you will reap painful results (Gal 6:7). He made man upright, but they have sought out many inventions (Eccl 7:29). What have you invented against His commandments? His ways are equal; your ways are unequal. If you add fretting to your sin, He will come with even greater chastening or judgment.
If you have lived foolishly and you have problems, there is only one thing to do. Elihu gave you a good prayer to God for forgiveness, “He looketh upon men, and if any say, I have sinned, and perverted that which was right, and it profited me not; He will deliver his soul from going into the pit, and his life shall see the light” (Job 33:27-28). If you have been foolish, this should be your prayer, and you should not fret against God at all.
If there were ever a man who could have fretted against his lot in life, it would have been the blessed Lord Jesus Christ. But when facing the most arduous and horrifying task of His difficult life – to pay for your wickedness – He said, “Nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done” (Luke 22:42). He never perverted God’s way, but had to pay for you perverting yours. And He still did not fret. Praise the blessed and perfect Son of God.