Proverbs 17:13

Rewarding Evil for Good

13a Whoso rewardeth evil for good…

1. This is a particularly treacherous kind of evil… because it is completely unexpected.

a. When one does something good for another person, it is expected that good is given in return.

b. However, Solomon warns, that that is not always the case.

c. Sometimes our good deeds are rewarded with EVIL in return.

d. It’s not the norm—even in the world.

e. It is usually shocking when it does occur—but it DOES occur!

2. What Solomon describes is the ultimate in ingratitude.

a. Isa. 1:2 – Ingratitude is what Israel displayed to the Lord.
• God brought them up and nourished them… and they spit in his face!
• What father wouldn’t be broken hearted over this kind of ingratitude?
• Let’s be honest: this is often how WE treat the Lord too!

b. Have you ever experienced this sort of thing?
• Have you bent over backwards to help someone out… only to have them reward your good by stabbing you in the back?
• Have you ever gone the extra mile to show your appreciation for someone—only to have them wrongly judge your intentions or motives?
• Have you ever put yourself out in doing favors for a so-called friend—only to have them trample over all your efforts?

3. Matthew Henry: “To render evil for evil is brutish, but to render evil for good is devilish.”

4. The world’s standard of behavior is usually tit for tat. Good for good and evil for evil.

a. Rendering evil for evil is wrong—but it is understandable.

b. Rewarding evil for good is exceptionally bad behavior. It is “over the edge” even for the lost.

c. But God’s standard goes over the edge in the other direction! (Rom. 12:17a; 21) – we are to reward evil with GOOD!)

d. I Pet. 3:9 – we are to render blessings upon those who are evil to us. And we are to leave the reward for our behavior towards them in God’s hand. We will inherit a blessing for that kind of behavior in glory.

e. Matt. 5:44-48 – this is quite a high standard. It requires the power of the Holy Spirit to produce. It is UNLIKE our nature.

f. Luke 23:24 – it is Christlike behavior. He could have called 10,000 angels to destroy them all. Instead, he prayed for their forgiveness. I wonder how many of them were forgiven? Imagine meeting one of those men in glory?

13b Evil shall not depart from his house.

1. Solomon states that such a man will experience evil and it will not depart from his house!

a. Evil (controversy; trouble; calamity; disaster) will hover over his home like a dark cloud on a very still day.

2. Some might equate this with karma…

a. Karma is part of the philosophy of Hinduism and Buddhism which states that the quality of a person’s life is determined by his actions in this life and in previous lives.

b. It is quite superstitious.

c. It might appear to be the same… but the source is very different.

d. It is not the natural vibes of the universe or a universal force that will retaliate.

e. This evil hovering over the house of the one who commits such an atrocity is the judgment of the Living God!

f. Prov. 15:3 – God watches over all the earth, beholding both the good and the evil… and He is the rewarder of good and evil. Sometimes the reward/judgment comes in this life… and sometimes not until the life to come. But it DOES come!

g. And God takes note for a reason. He judges accordingly.

3. There is a striking example of this principle in the life of David.

a. David was served WELL by Uriah. This young soldier did GOOD unto the king with service that put his life in danger. (II Sam. 11:6-11) He was a noble man of principle. He served his king well.

b. David returned his good with EVIL.
• David stole this man’s wife… and ultimately had him killed. (II Sam. 11:1-5)

c. As a result, evil (calamity) would never depart from David’s house. (II Sam. 12:9-10)

d. II Sam. 12:11 – notice that God says HE will raise up evil against David’s house.

e. This is exactly what Solomon was talking about.

f. And Solomon should know. David was his father—and this woman was his mother! (II Sam. 12:24)

g. Solomon LIVED and grew up in that house… from which the sword would never depart.

h. Evil never departed from David’s house… and Solomon and his sons paid a price for David’s sin—because David rendered EVIL to Uriah for the good service Uriah rendered unto David and his kingdom.

4. David is also a good example of the opposite. David also rewarded GOOD unto those who treated him cruelly.

a. Psa. 35:11-12 – false witnesses arose against him and did evil unto him. They lied about him and caused his soul (life) to be deprived in some way.
• The normal response is to rise up against them with evil… fight fire with fire.

b. Psa. 35:13 – But David did not behave like the world.
• He seems shocked by their treatment of him.
• He recalls when they were hurting, he mourned, prayed, and fasted for them.
• Vs.14 – he treated them like a brother.
• Thus he seems surprised by the way they are treating him.

c. Psa. 38:20 – David felt strongly that this kind of behavior was especially reprehensible.
• He felt SO strongly that he decided to count those who behaved this way as his enemies… they were enemies of good and of society.
• On the contrary, David chose to follow that which is GOOD.
• How much like us is David. He had good intentions… but he was inconsistent in carrying out those good intentions.
• Sometimes he failed miserably… and was GUILTY of the very behavior he felt was so abhorrent.

5. On one occasion, David rewarded good with evil. On another occasion he rewarded evil with good.

a. No David wasn’t fickle… but he (like you and me) had the potential for either exceptionally good behavior OR exceptionally evil behavior.

b. And, if we were honest, would have to admit that we have probably been on BOTH sides of this… as David was.

c. Those in Christ are capable of the most noble, Christlike behavior (rewarding evil with good!)

d. Unfortunately, we are also capable of the vilest behavior as well.