Breakfast with Solomon - Proverbs 24:20
"For there will be no future for the evil man; the lamp of the wicked will be put out"
The Hebrew word akhareeth is the word translated future here. It means end, last, posterity or latter end. The idea is that the person who lives outside of the boundaries of God's rules will not have the normal life expectancy or joy in the last parts of his life.
Remember, evil is defined as one who lives outside of the Ten Commandments and keeps violating the moral boundaries. This person keeps lying, keeps murdering and being violent, keeps being sexually licentious, keeps stealing. This is not a person who trespasses one of these lines and then stops but a person who continually exposes himself to all of the consequences of life outside of God's boundary structure. It is this person that Solomon says cuts off his own latter end. He lops off either the years or the joy of his last years. We could think of life as early years, middle years, and latter years. It is these latter years that will be lost. This is exactly what we find in those who live an immoral lifestyle. Yes, there are a few whose body stays alive for the typical 70 or 80 years but the soul is shriveled. We know from statistical analysis of death rates among various populations that the lifestyle cuts 20 to 40 years off of their lifespan or it cuts the joy out of the years.
In one sense Solomon is making a clear scientific rather than a moral statement. He does not see old men who have lived an evil lifestyle. The few that he does see don't have a good last few years anyway. This detached observation perfectly lines up with a moral judgment, but it is not a moral statement. Solomon is saying to his young students: Look at the kind of results that come from those who live in rebellion to God's rules. This would have been especially true in Solomon’s day without the advantages of our advanced drug therapies and medical procedures. Even with all of our knowledge and technology, what Solomon said is still true.
There is not much future in evil. Now is all you have if you go down that path, so enjoy because the future will not be bright.
Think this through:
What is life expectancy of a prostitute?
What is the life expectancy of a thief?
What is the life expectancy and relationships of habitual liars?
What is the life expectancy of those who rebel from every authority?
What is the life expectancy of those who always follow get-rich-quick schemes?
What is the life expectancy of those who use violence and anger to get their way?
What is the life expectancy of those who emotionally, verbally, and mentally abuse people?
The evil person is the person who lives in rebellion to God's rules. The Ten Commandments mark out the basic rules of God for civilized conduct. When people are seduced to getting what they want by going beyond those boundaries, then they trade their future for their present.
This is Solomon's way of saying a person's life or the brightness of their life. It is the light in the lamp which is the life energy. God will put out the lamp that consistently lives in rebellion to His rules. It is very important that we realize that we do not have to preach against this man/woman for these consequences to come to him/her. They will come. These are choices that the person has the responsibility to make. The Bible is clear; you reap what you sow: Whatsoever a man sows that shall he also reap.
We, as believers in the love and grace of God, are trying to persuade people not to go down that road and/or if they are already going down that road to point out that God's grace is still available. If the person is not willing to change, it is not our problem. Our concern is to help them see the possible choice. They can return to their loving father. But we do not have to preach at them or berate them for their lifestyle. They are already receiving the due penalty of their error as soon as they go down that road and it will only get worse. Love them, but it is their choice.
God will extinguish this person's life or life force. As was noted earlier, this is just a strict observation of what happens when a person lives a certain way. These life experiments were going on all around Solomon, and he was simply recording the data. Just like if a car takes a turn at a certain speed, it will most likely crash. So the majority of those who live an evil lifestyle will die younger than they would have and those who survive the lifestyle have their core being damaged severely by the choices that they have made.
Are there any areas of your life where you are living outside of God's moral boundaries? If the answer is yes, then turn to God's grace and love. Turn away from the rebel way and learn a new way of living your life.
Are you expressing love to those who are living outside of God's moral structures? Don't be condemning and preachy; they are already feeling the effects of their choices. Offer them the hope of forgiveness and love that is Christ if they are at all interested. Be a ministering servant rather than judge, jury, and executioner. Yes, what they are doing is hurting them and those around them, but they need your love. Only if you are in the position of authority do you have the need to promote the society’s needs over the individuals. In those cases you cannot coddle the immoral.