Rejoicing for The Wrong Reasons

“If your heart takes more pleasure in reading novels, or going to the movies, or talking to friends, rather than just sitting alone with God and embracing Him, sharing His cares and His burdens, weeping and rejoicing with Him, then how are you going to handle forever and eve … More

Rejoicing

People who are being taken to death and slaughter probably are victims of unjust oppression rather than guilty people being condemned (v. 11. Some people may claim they are ignorant of others’ plights, but God knows who is guilty of willful ignorance and He will judge it. We learn here about the method of execution that was once prevalent in Palestine (v. 12). Historians tell us that when a criminal was led to execution there was a crier who went before him and proclaimed the crime for which he had been accused. He would also ask that anyone who could  say anything in behalf of the condemned to come forward. Just as honey, the sweetest substance known in the ancient Near East, is good and tastes sweet, so wisdom is beneficial and desirable to the soul because it gives a person future hope (vv. 13-14). A warning is given that it is futile for the wicked to attempt to destroy the righteous and his possessions (vv. 15-16). Because of God’s protection the righteous person recovers from robberies and attacks but the wicked who instigate such schemes find that they are the ones who suffer.

We are not to rejoice over the sorrows of others, even though the one who is suffering has been a bitter foe (vv. 17-18). Rejoicing over an enemy’s failure may cause God to withdraw His wrath from that person even though he has done wrong. God makes it plain that He hates our laughing at another person’s suffering because it suggests a superior attitude over others. The envy of sinners is condemned (vv. 19-20). Fretting over what sinners have and do and wanting to join them is wrong because they have no future hope. We are to beware of men who are revolutionaries and have a greed for power (vv. 21-22). They will bring sorrow to themselves  and to those they seek to overthrow. We need to stay away from such a man or we will share in his sorrow.

Application

It is so easy to be guilty of rejoicing in another person’s mistake. Here are some verses that I need to keep handy when such a temptation comes my way (vv. 17-18).

Proverbs 24:11-22 (English Standard Version)

Rescue those who are being taken away to death; hold back those who are stumbling to the slaughter. If you say, "Behold, we did not know this," does not he who weighs the heart perceive it? Does not he who keeps watch over your soul know it, and will he not repay man according to his work? My son, eat honey, for it is good, and the drippings of the honeycomb are sweet to your taste. Know that wisdom is such to your soul; if you find it, there will be a future, and your hope will not be cut off. Lie not in wait as a wicked man against the dwelling of the righteous; do no violence to his home; for the righteous falls seven times and rises again, but the wicked stumble in times of calamity. Do not rejoice when your enemy falls, and let not your heart be glad when he stumbles, lest the LORD see it and be displeased, and turn away his anger from him. Fret not yourself because of evildoers, and be not envious of the wicked, for the evil man has no future; the lamp of the wicked will be put out. My son, fear the LORD and the king, and do not join with those who do otherwise, for disaster will arise suddenly from them, and who knows the ruin that will come from them both?

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