The foolishness of a man twists his way, and his heart frets against the Lord. (Proverbs 19:3, NKJV)
Have you ever known someone who is angry at God? They blame God for the problems in their lives. Perhaps they blame God for a tragic event that happened to them or to someone they love. Being angry at God over life’s trials and tragedies is foolishness that overthrows peace and stability. We should not expect God to suspend our freewill and its consequences at the moment using it causes pain, suffering and sorrow (to ourselves and to others). When we “fret (get angry) against the Lord” we invite foolishness to lead us and to eventually overthrow us. The truth is life is full of cause and effect. Sometimes the cause that produces a disastrous effect is purely coincidental, merely “time and chance” taking place (Ecclesiastes 9:11). Others get angry at the Lord because they resent His word. They reject His gospel and its salvation because it exposes their sins (Matthew 12:14). In angry denial they refuse to do what the gospel says. Still others get angry at God when He does not do things the way they want or expect. Jonah reminds us of this brand of foolishness (Jonah 4:5-11). Resolve not to be angry against the Lord. Sinful choices led you away from God into foolishness. Making different choices, righteous choices, will set you on a course toward God and His blessings.
19 Do not fret because of evildoers, nor be envious of the wicked; 20 For there will be no prospect for the evil man; The lamp of the wicked will be put out.” (Proverbs 24:19–20, NKJV)
We are tempted to fret (to become agitated, lit., “to burn”) and be envious of the wicked. Why does it seem the wicked prosper while the righteous do not? We need to step back for a moment when we begin to grieve or are moved to provocation by sinners. A compelling reason is given to prevent fretting over and being envious of the wicked person: His future is bleak. There is nothing ahead for him except corruption (Gal. 6:8). He is laying up for himself treasures on earth. But, he will soon die, and he will take nothing with him beyond the grave. His life and its evil will be extinguished. The outcome of his sinful conduct will surely be divine wrath and eternal death (Rom. 2:5; 6:23). Fretting over the evil actions and apparent advantages of the wicked distracts us from our call to live by faith, not by sight (2 Cor. 5:7). So, instead of fretting when we see the temporary advantages of the wicked, let us strengthen our faith in Christ and renew our resolve to help save the lost from the utter despair awaiting them. They possess nothing to merit your envy. Do not burn in your spirit because of them. The time for honoring themselves will soon end. Then, their eternal regret begins.
7 Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him; Do not fret because of him who prospers in his way, Because of the man who brings wicked schemes to pass. 8 Cease from anger, and forsake wrath; Do not fret—it only causes harm. (Psalm 37:7–8, NKJV)
The righteous person remembers to “rest in the Lord” when evil people appear to prevail. The word “rest” in verse 7 means to be motionless, silent, still. This reaction in the face of wicked people and their wicked schemes does not mean we do nothing; it means we continue to rely on the Lord and look forward to His justice. We “wait patiently for Him.” Otherwise, we are susceptible to burning anger that leads to more trouble. Do not turn to vitriol, violence or vengeance when evil people do wicked things. Forsake wrath, do good, and wait on the Lord. He will right every wrong in His time. Overcome evil with good (Rom. 12:19-21).