Proverbs 24:19-20

Fret Not Over Evil Men

Concern Over Evil Men (vs.19)

A. Fret Not

1. Fret defined: (charah)

a. Strong’s: To be hot; furious; burn; become angry; be kindled.

b. Dictionary of Bible Languages: Be in a state of worry and concern as an extension of being internally angry.

c. It speaks of burning either in anger or burning in worry.

2. Solomon commands his readers NOT to get angry, upset, disturbed, or worry about evil men in the world.

a. Evil men have been in the world since the Garden of Eden and will be until the New Heavens and the New Earth.

b. Evil men have always been up to no good in the world.

c. There is no new thing under the sun.

3. Therefore, believers should not FRET over them.

a. We should not worry about them.

b. We should not be overly concerned about their existence. They have always been with us.

c. We should not allow them to cause us to become overly angry, upset, or disturbed.

d. Naturally, the godly will be concerned about the behavior and the lifestyles of the wicked in the world.

e. But Solomon’s command is that we not go overboard in our concern.

f. There is a difference between a healthy concern for something and outright worry.

g. There is a difference between being angry at unrighteous deeds, and allowing that anger to control us and move us to do something foolish in retaliation. (Like having a Koran burning ceremony.)

h. There is always the danger that we as believers will allow the evil men in the world to get us worked up into a frenzy and to go overboard in our reaction to them.

i. That seems to be the warning here.

j. Righteous indignation is one thing, but that can easily cross the line and become unrighteous indignation.

k. Other Bible writers dealt with this very same sentiment.
• Ps. 37:1 – Solomon’s father, David also warned his readers not to fret over evil doers.

4. Instead of fretting over evil men and their deeds in the world, we should instead view it as Divine Providence.

a. It is what God has allowed to be.

b. God is still on His throne. He has allowed evil to manifest itself.

c. In fact, the “mystery of iniquity” is at work today and will continue to grow and increase until it is fully revealed in the Great Tribulation Period.

d. Things are not out of control, but rather, are under the control of Almighty God.

e. When evil occurs in the world, it is because of the sin of man in one way or another.

f. When evil occurs in the world, it is because God has allowed it and is using it for His glory ultimately.

g. In fact, when evil men do evil things in our lives, it is also because God has allowed it and is using it for His glory ultimately.

h. If it is all part of God’s plan and program for the ages, then there is no need for fretting and worry.

i. Instead of worrying and fretting and getting angry over all those things evil men do, say, and get away with, we need to learn to SUBMIT to God’s Divine Providence in our lives… and to submit to His sovereignty over our lives.

j. We can fret and worry over it and allow it to get us angry and in a frenzy OR we can see God’s hand in it and learn to submit to His wise and sovereign plan for the world and for our lives.

k. Most of these things are out of our hands anyways. It doesn’t really do any good to walk around in worry, fear, and in anger.

B. Neither Be Envious

1. Envious defined:

a. Strong’s: To envy; be jealous.

b. Dictionary of Bible Languages: Have a feeling of ill will ranging even to anger, based on a perceived advantage.

c. Zodhiates: It can express jealousy, where persons are zealous for their own property or positions for fear they might lose them (Num. 5:14, 30; Isa. 11:13); or envy, where persons are zealous for the property or positions of others, hoping they might gain them. (Gen. 26:14; 30:1; 37:11)

d. This Hebrew term includes the meaning of both our English “envy” and “jealousy”.

2. The command is that Solomon’s readers not desire to have what the wicked have and/or that they not be fearful that the wicked might take away what they have.

3. The term for wicked is used as a synonym for evil in the first part of the proverb. (The same is true in verse 20 as well.)

4. This is the third time that this theme (envious of sinners) has appeared in the 30 wise sayings in this portion of the book. (cf. 23:17; 24:1)

a. It is a common theme in the Bible.

b. Ps. 73:3 – Asaph envied in the same way: “For I was envious at the foolish, when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.”

c. Asaph was honest enough to admit it. Perhaps we have all envied wicked men with all their wealth and property in this life.

d. It is also closely related to another common theme: why do the righteous suffer and why do the wicked prosper in the world?

e. Whatever the answer might be, we are not to worry about it… nor are we to be envious or jealous of the wicked.

Why We Should Not Be Concerned (vs.20)

A. They have no reward

1. In this verse, Solomon gives us the REASONS why we should not fret or be envious of the wicked: this life is all they get!

2. They have no reward.

a. This refers to beyond this life.

b. They DO have a reward for their evil deeds: earthly, temporary, fading glory and riches.

c. But what they have in this life will not last. In the life to come, they have no reward!

d. This is similar to what the Lord Jesus said of the hypocrites in Matthew six: “don’t do what hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.” The only reward they get is the applause of men in this life.

3. Ps. 17:14-15 – David speaks to this issue too.

a. Vs.14 – They have their portion in this life.
• Their bellies are full.
• But they can’t take it with them. They have to leave it all behind to their children.

b. Vs.15 – The believer has something else to look forward to.
• Regardless of how much or how little the believer has in this life, in the life to come, the psalmist says, “I shall see thy face in righteousness and be satisfied!”
• That is a far better prospect for the future than the wicked who prosper in the world.

c. Therefore, there really is no reason to worry about WHY they prosper in the world.

d. There is no reason to envy them either—not if they are going to lose all their toys and trinkets forever.

e. We have TRUE riches that last forever. AND we have true satisfaction—something that earthly riches could never bring—even if the wicked CLAIM that they do.

f. There is no need for envy in this life. When you really think about it, envy on our part is kind of silly… foolish.

B. Their candle will be put out

1. This is an illustration designed to make one point: their life on earth will be snuffed out soon and there will be nothing left.

a. Their candle may shine brightly in this life, but it will soon be snuffed out.

b. Things might seem so bright for them in this life, but nothing but darkness in the life to come.

c. That is not a destiny to be envied. It is to be pitied.

2. David put it this way: “Fret not thyself because of evildoers, neither be thou envious against the workers of iniquity. 2For they shall soon be cut down like the grass, and wither as the green herb.” (Ps. 37:1-2)

a. He uses a different illustration, but the point is the same.

b. Their glory is short lived. Their end is not to be desired.

C. What Out Attitude SHOULD Be

1. David wrote a poem on this theme. (Psalms 37)

a. Vs. 1-2 – Solomon warns us not to fret, worry, or be angry over the place, power, position, prestige, or property of the wicked.

b. He gives us good reason NOT to fret or envy too: their day is coming!

c. Only David took his thoughts beyond where Solomon leaves us.

d. David adds what our attitude SHOULD be towards the wicked in the world.

2. The proper attitude: (Ps. 37)

a. Vs. 3 – Instead of worry, TRUST.

b. Vs. 4 – Instead of envying what they have DELIGHT in the Lord.

c. Vs. 5 – Instead of seeking to gain what they have, COMMIT your way unto the Lord and let Him bring it all to pass.

d. Vs. 7 – Instead of fretting REST in the Lord and wait patiently for Him.

e. Vs. 8 – Instead of getting angry, CEASE from anger.