Proverbs 10:24

The Fear of the Wicked; The Desire of the Righteous


1. This proverb, like so many others contrasts the wicked and the righteous.

2. Once again, it should be pointed out that this is a proverb—and does not cover every base… it is a general truth, but not one that is true in each and every case.

The fear of the wicked

1. Wickedness takes on many shapes and forms. (laziness; adultery; stealing; gossip; etc.)

2. The wicked have many fears.

a. Lazy people fear having to go to work! (Prov. 26:13)

b. (Prov. 7:18-21) Adulterers fear getting caught by her husband. They fear their own spouse finding out. They fear getting aids.

c. Drug users fear the police. They become paranoid that they are being watched. They fear being sold contaminated drugs. They fear dirty needles. They fear overdosing. They fear not being able to get any drugs. 

d. Thieves fear being caught… having to pay back… jail… (Prov. 6:30-31)

e. Gossips fear being discovered as the source of gossip. They fear losing their friends as a result. (Ecc. 10:20)

f. Sinners in general fear being discovered… exposed…
• Sinners fear and dread having to pay the consequences of their sin.
• They may fear being exposed and losing their reputation.
• They may fear going to jail.
• They may fear being kicked out of school…
• They may fear having to face their parents… their teacher… or their boss… or the judge…
• They fear losing their job… their family…

g. Ultimately, sinners fear facing God and giving account to Him!
• While sinners may talk like macho men who aren’t afraid of dying, for the most part, it is just talk. Men DO fear dying.
• The Holy Spirit convicts the world of sin, righteousness, and judgment. Men FEAR having to answer for their sin, for their lack of righteousness, and the judgment to follow.
• Heb.10:27 – The ultimate fear of the wicked is death… and the judgment to come.

3. Because of these fears and worries, the wicked can never experience the REST that a cleansed conscience can bring.

a. Instead of rest, they experience fear and anxiety.

b. They are always looking over their shoulder to see if they are being followed… or have been discovered…

c. Isa. 57:20-21 – there is no rest for the wicked… no peace… just fears and worries.

d. Think of that principal in Newton who was caught and exposed to be a heroin addict. Her picture splashed on the front page… her reputation was destroyed… her job lost… her family shamed… her career gone… sent to prison… She must have feared that day. No doubt she knew that the day would eventually come… and she could have no rest… no peace.

e. Prov. 13: 15 – the way of the transgressor is HARD.

It shall come upon him

1. Solomon’s point here is this: that which the wicked fear, they must ultimately face.

2. They fear getting caught. It SHALL come upon them. (Num. 32:23)

3. The wicked might seem to be doing quite well… but that which they fear will overtake them… fear; anxiety; being caught; exposed; shamed; paying consequences.

4. For a living lesson on this proverb, just take a visit to the local prison.

a. There you will find row after row of men and women who lived out their wickedness in one of its many ugly forms…

b. There you will find living examples of men and women for whom that which they feared came upon them—they were caught and penalized! That’s what they feared—and that’s what came upon them.

c. Sure there are some who never get caught in this life… and on that basis, the majority of criminals who DO get caught carry out their crimes with the hope that they will be the exception to this proverb… they hope that they will be the one who lives out wickedness and his fear does NOT come upon him.

d. Heb. 4:13 – But this proverb is true even for those who do NOT get caught or exposed in this life. A few get away with their crimes in this life… and their fears never materialize in this life… but they WILL when they face God.

The desire of the righteous

1. In contrast to the wicked who get what they DON’T want, the righteous get what they DO want!

a. This is a proverb… and a promise.

b. It is in effect like saying, “It shall go well for the righteous; but it shall not go well for the wicked—woe to the wicked!”

c. Ecc. 8:12-13 states the same principle.

2. This proverb states that the righteous get their desires (what they want), but the wicked get what they fear and dread!

3. Psalm 37:4 – God promises to grant the desires of our hearts to the righteous.

a. This is not a blank check promise.

b. It is for those who TRULY delight themselves in the Lord! God is their joy and delight. Pleasing and glorifying Him brings joy to their hearts.

c. We sometimes lament that this verse doesn’t seem true. (I love the Lord. How come He didn’t give me that new Cadillac I wanted so much?)
• Why? Because that desire arose from a love of self… delighting in pleasing self.
• When we delight in the LORD, our desires will be quite different.
• We will then say, Not my will but THINE be done! Doing His will be our true joy and pleasure!
• If the desire of our heart is to please and glorify God, then we will delight in doing HIS will—even if it means bearing a cross… facing a trial… or experiencing tragedy…
• If God can be glorified and magnified through it, then that becomes the desire of our heart.
• “I delight to do thy will O God”—the words of Jesus Christ as He took on a body—that He might die for the sins of the world! The desire of Christ’s heart was to do His Father’s will and glorify His Father’s name.

4. What is the desire of your heart?

a. If it centers around making life pleasant, comfortable, healthy, wealthy, successful for SELF… then it is fair to say we are delighting in SELF, not the Lord.

b. But if the true desire of our heart is to please and glorify God—then we will desire to do His will whatever it may include!

Shall be granted

1. Righteous people shall be granted the desires of their hearts.

2. God WILL give us all opportunity to serve Him, to suffer for His name, to manifest His life, to witness of Him, and to glorify Him.

3. On a more practical level, this principle can be applied to everyday life.

a. Lazy people fear having to work. Diligent people desire to prosper and shall be granted the rewards of their labors! (Prov. 10:4 – he becomes rich… blessed richly)

b. Adulterers fear getting caught. But those who are faithful in marriage desire a happy home and shall be granted a happy relationship.

c. Gossips fear being exposed. But those who use their tongues righteously shall be granted the blessing of being a tree of life! (Prov. 15:4)

4. Ultimately, the righteous desire to be with the Lord in glory. That too shall be granted!

a. Our desire, our blessed hope is to be with the Lord at the Rapture. That will be granted to each of us!

b. Our desire is to shed this body of sin and replace it with a glorified, sinless body. That desire shall be granted!

c. Our desire is to see our Savior face to face—and that shall be granted to us!

d. Our desire is to dwell forever in that heavenly Jerusalem—and that shall be granted to us!

e. Our desire is to serve and worship God forever—and that shall be granted to us!

5. Ultimately:

a. That which the wicked fears shall come upon him: he shall face God the Judge and be cast into the Lake of Fire.

b. The desire the righteous shall be granted: to dwell in the heavenly house of the Lord forever!

c. Sometimes from our earthly perspective, we SEE the opposite. (The wicked seem to prosper and have whatever they want; the righteous seem to go without).

d. From eternity’s perspective this Proverb will be completely and eternally true—no exceptions.