Sowing and Reaping Seen in the Book of Proverbs

5 Mins read

The book of Proverbs is full of helpful, practical application points. In the midst of the broad category of practical application points (i.e., do this; don’t do that; this is how you do this; this is how you avoid that; if you do this, the outcome will be this; if you do not do this, the outcome will be this; etc. ) flows the warnings found within the book of Proverbs.

Warnings can be very helpful for the Christian. Governmental laws, for instance, are followed up with warnings for those who break those laws. If someone murders another person, he will either receive the death penalty or a long prison sentence. This warning has curbed the murder rate as a result.

God’s law is somewhat similar. God gives His law to His creation. When God gives His law, He also informs people what will happen if they do not obey. The only problem is that people do not heed God’s warnings as much as they should.

The normal flow of God’s dealings with mankind is that God is patient toward mankind. His patience is clearly on display in most cases. However, there are instances when God’s punishment was swift. Take the story of Ananias and Sapphira. This husband and wife lied about the money they gave and in an instant, God struck them dead. In the Bible, there was also a man by the name of Uzzah. This man put out his hand to catch the ark before it fell to the ground. God struck him down on the spot. The reason for this is that he was commanded not to touch the ark.

These cases are not the norm. This brings about a sense of complacency with God and His commands. People have a tendency to believe that they can continue down a path of rebellion without extreme consequences. Quick forms of punishment resulting in death are not the norm. The normal cause and effect of sin is typically different. Nevertheless, there is another way in which God works among His creation that may not be as obvious as it was for Ananias, Sapphira, and Uzzah.

The believer must recognize that there are consequences for his sin. The believer must also recognize that there is a way out of his sin. Proverbs 1:29-33 paints a marvelous portrait for the Christian.

The Christian must learn to love knowledge

In Proverbs 1:29-30, there are four negatives that are discussed. These negatives lead to a “therefore” statement (in other words, a cause and effect). The first negative is that there will be people who hate knowledge: “For that they hated knowledge…” (Prov. 1:29). Turning negatives into positives can be helpful. This is why the header is, “The Christian must learn to love knowledge.” Leaving the Christian with negatives may not be as helpful as adding positives in instructional teaching.

The Christian must learn to put off sinful behaviors. However, the Christian cannot simply learn to put off sin; he must also learn to put on Christ. The only way to defeat sin is by the Spirit.

It is the one who hates knowledge that will find himself reaping the consequences of his actions. In the same way, the one who learns to love knowledge will find himself reaping spiritual benefits.

The Christian must learn to fear the Lord

Scripture says that some “…did not choose the fear of the Lord” (Prov. 1:29). God warns against those who hate knowledge. Then God transitions into those who do not choose the fear of the Lord. The Christian must “choose” the fear of the Lord. Here, the Bible makes it clear that the Christian must not wait around for the fear of the Lord to fall in his lap. He is to choose the fear of the Lord.

Without a fear of the Lord, a person will not be wise. The book of Proverbs states in simple terms that the fear of the Lord is the foundation that wisdom is built upon. The Christian must therefore learn to fear the Lord. Proverbs 2:1-5 is a great place to start for those who want to learn how they can fear the Lord.

The Christian must learn to listen to God’s counsel

Scripture says, “They would none of my counsel…” (Prov. 1:30). The Christian must learn to love knowledge and fear the Lord, and he also must learn to listen to God’s counsel. In the world, there are a number of people who do not heed God’s counsel. They will reap what they sow. Yet in the world, there are also a minority who are walking a narrow path and heeding God’s counsel.

The word “counsel” in the Hebrew language is “etsah,” which denotes the meaning of advice or advisement. God desires to give advice to His children. He is a loving Father Who does not want His creation to be left in the dark. Rather, the Father’s will is that His children would know the direction they ought to go. God makes the correct path known in His Word. People have the option of either listening to God’s advice or refusing to listen.

The Christian must learn to love reproof

Scripture says, “…they despised all my reproof” (Prov. 1:30). This last point may be hard for some (or at least the positive component involved with it). Here is a picture of a group of people that despised (hated) God’s reproof.

When the Bible speaks of reproof in this verse, the Hebrew word “towkechah” is used. This word bears the meaning of chastisement, correction, and rebuke. This can be one of the hard realities of one’s relationship with God. Yet again, God is pictured as a Father Who makes sure to discipline His children.

Discipline is good for the Christian. Yet discipline hurts. Discipline can turn some people sour. For others, it will mold them into a better person. The Bible says, “Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby” (Heb. 12:11). Discipline in the moment does not produce joy. Instead it produces pain. Part of the discipline is, in fact, to remove joy and inflict pain.

It is, nevertheless, God’s reproof which the Christian must not despise but rather learn to love.

The Christian must learn that whatever he sows, he will reap

After the four negatives of hating knowledge, not fearing the Lord, not listening to God’s counsel, and despising God’s reproof comes the Bible’s “therefore” statement. Scripture says, “Therefore shall they eat the fruit of their own way, and be filled with their own devices” (Prov. 1:31). The Bible goes on to make the following comments:

• When the simple turn away, they will be slayed
• When fools prosper, they will be destroyed
• When someone turns to the Lord, he shall be safe from evil

What the Bible reveals in this last portion of Scripture is also what can be seen throughout the Word of God. The concept of sowing and reaping is undoubtedly stated. The norm is not for God to do what He did with Ananias and Sapphira. Nor is the norm for God to do what He did to Uzzah. Rather, the norm is for God to allow people to sow into their own lives and, overtime, reap what they sow.

This passage tells us that people will eat the fruit of their own ways. It is important that people recognize that God is not mocked. Galatians 6 gives the following warning. Paul says, “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap” (Gal. 6:7). Man can be deceived into thinking his actions do not matter because God’s punishment is not quick. Do not be deceived, the Bible says. God is not mocked, resounds the Word.

The seed that the believer sows this day will begin to sprout at another time. Love the knowledge of God, choose the fear of the Lord, listen to God’s counsel, and love His reproof. Sow to the Spirit and put to death the deeds of the flesh.

Final prayer

Father, I thank You for the warnings that You have given me in Your Word. Help me to heed Your warnings and trust in You as my faithful Father. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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