Hang him on it!
For reading & meditation: Proverbs 24:15-22
“‘ for the evil man has no future hope, and the lamp of the wicked will be snuffed out.” (v.20)
Today we look at another reason why God allows the ungodly to flourish – to illustrate by contrast the horror of an eternity without God. Spurgeon commented: “Eternal punishment will be all the more terrible in contrast with the former prosperity of those who are ripening for it.” The seeming joy and splendour of the prosperous ungodly actually renders the effect of being cast aside by God more awful, just as vivid lightning does not brighten but intensifies the thick darkness around. You will no doubt remember the story of Haman, who prepared a gallows for Mordecai but finished up by being hanged upon it himself. The ascent to the gallows was an essential ingredient in the terror of the sentence: “Hang him on it!” (Esth. 7:9). The wicked are raised high so that all might see how great is their fall. A preacher tells how he read the story of the rich man and Lazarus, in Luke 16, to a group of young people who were hearing it for the first time. He stopped at the part where Lazarus lay at the gate, the dogs licking his sores, while the rich man ate in splendour in his house, and said: “Which would you rather be, the rich man or Lazarus?” With one voice the young people shouted: “The rich man.” He then read on, and after telling the story of how both died and the rich man was in torment while Lazarus was carried to Abraham’s side, he asked: “Now which would you rather be?” This time they responded more quietly and soberly “Lazarus.” That is the truth the psalmist saw as he sat quietly in the sanctuary of God.