Proverbs 12:14 ESV
From the fruit of his mouth a man is satisfied with good, and the work of a man’s hand comes back to him.
To say that God rewards the just and punishes the wicked is nearly banal. The question of how He does so, in contrast, is all too often forgotten. Does God strike the evil men down via some supreme supernatural power? Does He reward good men by forcing the world to do so or in the afterlife alone?
The answer to these questions is at once, “Yes, of course,” and “No, that’s only the beginning.” God does, at times, cast lightning from the sky or strike the wicked dead, as in the case of Ananias and Sapphira (Acts 5). He does at times reward the righteous in ways which seem- seem– primarily supernatural.
This view of the situation, though, is both incomplete and myopic. Incomplete, because it does not cover the multitudes of evil men who are judged on earth (Isaiah 3:13) and the multitudes of righteous men who are rewarded on earth (Job 1, 42). Myopic, because it forgets the heart of the wicked man, which is continually without a firm foundation, and likewise the heart of the righteous, who ultimately, whatever his struggle, may return to the immutable glory of God, to find therein peace, joy, and hope everlasting.
By what means, though, are all these rewards delivered?
The Word of God tells us of miraculous rewards and miraculous punishments, of a broken man healed (Job 42) and a great king struck dead (Acts 12:20-23). These occurrences are remarkable and memorable, but they are hardly the most remarkable and definitely not the most common. The most remarkable and the most common form which God’s justice takes on this earth is in the results of a man’s own actions which rebound upon him.
The righteous man’s heart is pure, and he therefore is at rest. The wicked man’s heart is vile, and he therefore, for all his wealth, cannot slumber. The word of the righteous is sure, and by this surety his case is exalted among men. The word of the wicked is rotted wood, and by this rottenness his suit brings him down into the dust. The faith of the righteous is true, and therefore he stands unmoved amidst calamity. The vainglory of the wicked is ephemeral, and therefore he breaks before the storm.
The natural way of this world is to bring to a man what he sows. “The work of a man’s hand comes back to him”; what he does is reflected upon him, both in this life and in the one to come. We should take heed of this, to do justice, love kindness, and walk humbly with our God, as the prophet Malachi commands (6:8), that our days may be long in the land which the Lord our God has given us in the honoring of our Heavenly Father (20:12).
Sanctuary Functional Medicine, under the direction of Dr Eric Potter, IFMCP MD, provides functional medicine services to Nashville, Middle Tennessee and beyond. We frequently treat patients from Kentucky, Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia, Ohio, Indiana, and more... offering the hope of healthier more abundant lives to those with chronic illness.