Wise Saying #28:
“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.” (24:17-18)
Do you ever hope bad things will happen to your enemies? Or, have you ever felt a cathartic satisfaction when they “Get what they deserved”? If you answered yes to either of the questions then know this, God watches how you treat your enemies (even in your heart), especially when they fall into calamity. The kindness God requires us to show those who hate us extends to all facets of life (cf. 25:21-22; Luke 27-36). Following the promise in Saying #27 that the wicked will fall, the Wiseman now counsels us to not gloat over their punishment. The Lord finds such jubilant rejoicing so repulsive that he would rather turn away from his retribution than to look at your abhorrent gloating. Remember, in God’s economy, reveling over the disaster visited on the immoral is just as wicked as the evil they inflict on the righteous. Therefore the scriptures say, “He who is glad at calamity will not go unpunished” (17:5). I realize this is a hard test of character; our natural inclination is to hate our enemies and celebrate their demise but let’s embrace the Wiseman’s challenge. So, rather than nursing malignant revenge, let’s cultivate lives that reflect the heart of God who takes no pleasure in the disasters that befall the wicked (cf. Ezekiel 33:11). Rather, let us resolve to do good to them always, to pray for them continually and to overcome their evil with good (Romans 12:18-21).
This week’s theme: The Thirty Sayings of the Wiseman