CANDLES THAT GO OUT
“Fret not thyself because of evil men, neither be envious at the wicked; for there shall be no reward to the evil man; The candle of the wicked shall be put out.” (Proverbs 24:19-20).
Here is a very common problem which the children of God face, but along with assurance that the end of the wicked is not going to be good.
In many ways we are prone to fret because of evil men. It may be that we fret because they, seemingly, are getting along better in this world than we are. No doubt this is the main thought Solomon had in mind. We must understand the way God deals with men to escape fretting. God said, “it rains on the just and on the unjust.” (Matthew 5:45). God does not take away a man’s life because he refuses to serve him. There was a time during the days of the Jewish economy when this was done. We need to remember, however, that in those days God was dealing with these people as a nation. He was personally directing their national affairs. Thus, he provided capital punishment for those who rebelled against him. God leaves matters of this kind up to man in our day. He deals with us based on eternal salvation. So, God will not strike a man dead because he refuses to obey him.
Because of this it is possible for the wicked to enjoy much of what the world can produce. What we need to realize, as followers of the Lord, is that we have something that is more than physical blessings. The time will come when the accumulations of men will be worthless to them. When that time comes the Christian has that which will care for him in eternity.
God’s spiritual blessings are withheld from those who refuse to obey him. All spiritual blessings are in Christ (Ephesians 1:3). The man out of Christ has no right to expect these blessings. God has made no such promise to him. All the promises of God are in Christ Jesus. (2 Corinthians 1:20). The Christian who knows enough about the Lord in serving him, will realize this. Those of us who take our minds off the Lord and center them on things around us are those who will fret because of evil men. The child of God, without a cent, is much richer than the man of the world, even though he might own all the world. Jesus taught us that one soul is greater than the world. He said, “what shall it profit a man if he gains the whole world and lose his own soul, Or what shall he given exchange for his soul?” (Mark 8:34-38). A man who refused to serve the Lord would gladly trade all he had for one day in heaven with Christ and those that love him. We have no reason to fret because of evil men (Psalms 37:1; Proverbs 24:19).
Not only do we have no reason to fret because of the prosperity of evil men, but we have no reason to fret because of what they might be able to do to us. We are taught that nothing can harm us if we are living for the Lord. He is our shield and our exceeding great reward (Genesis 15:1). If God is for us no one can be against us (Romans 8:31). There is no power in all the world that can work us harm, “for greater is he that is in you than he that is in the world.” (1 John 4:4). When the Lord wraps his mantle around his people there’s no power in heaven nor on earth that can harm them.
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We are assured that the candle of the wicked will go out. (Psalms 9:17). It may seem to burn brightly for a time. He may seem to get along well in the world. Men of the world may bow in his presence and worship him. But all of this shall fade as the flower of the grass and shall pass away like the mist before the sea blown gale. (Psalms 103:15; 1 Peter 1:24). When his candle goes out there is nothing left for him but darkness.
But for the child of God there is light. For he will be in a place where no moon, no sun, and no stars are needed to light his way for God himself shall be his light (Isaiah 60:19). Let us be sure to keep our candles trimmed and burning so we will be ready when the bridegroom comes (Luke 12:35-40).
Cleon Lyles, Via Heart to Heart, Forrest Park Church of Christ, Valdosta GA