Breakfast with Solomon - Proverbs 22:8
"He who sows iniquity will reap vanity, and the rod of his fury will perish"
This is the Hebrew word zara, which means to sow, scatter seed. The idea is that your life is like a field and your actions are the seeds that you are sowing in the field. Eventually you will enjoy or endure the crop that grows up based upon the seeds you have sown in the field.
This is the Hebrew word awwal, which means unjust, unrighteous, contrary to what is right, to deviate, doing that which one knows is wrong. This is not a mistake but a deliberate action of rebellion against God's moral standard. It is sowing into the field of your life a crop of wickedness.
Let's be clear, it is those behaviors that are beyond the Ten Commandments.
Having other gods
Swearing, Cursing, Blaspheming
Ignoring the Sabbath Day, living for yourself completely
Dishonoring your authorities, rebelling against the authorities God has put in your life.
Murder, violence against another
Adultery and sexual perversion
Lying, deception, manipulation
Scheming to deprive another of their possessions
These represent biblical wicked actions and actions that will result in a life that produces vanity.
A quick reminder that this form of sin – which is usually translated by iniquity – is the sin when there is no attempt to stop doing it. There may be an attempt to hide it, but there is no desire or plan to stop. This is called iniquity or wickedness – continuing in an immoral condition. This brings trouble.
There are a number of these reaping verses in the Bible. God has set up the universe in which we live – both the physical and the relational – to respond directly to the actions we take.
Galatians 6:7 "Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap."
Job 4:8 "According to what I have seen, those who plow iniquity and those who sow trouble, harvest it."
Hosea 10:12 "Sow with a view to righteousness, reap in accordance with kindness; break up your fallow ground, for it is time to seek the Lord."
This is the Hebrew word aven, which means trouble, sorrow, wickedness, affliction. It is unfortunate that the translators chose the word vanity when this hides the power of the proverb. You reap what you sow. If you sow a life full of selfishness and rebellion from God, you will reap a whole crop of difficulties, sorrow, affliction, and pain. God has built a cause-and-effect universe both physically, morally, and spiritually.
I regularly hear people who have all their life sinned against God with reckless abandon complain, “If God were a loving God, why would He allow me to experience the consequences of my actions?” Now they do not ask it this way but this is what they are really asking. God has set up a world in which you reap what you sow. If you do not want a crop of troubles, don't sow a field of selfishness.
Notice that there is an "and" as this second part of the proverb starts. In other words, Solomon is going to give us another consequence of living an immoral lifestyle.
This is the Hebrew word sebet, which means rod or staff. This word denotes a weapon and or symbol of authority. Solomon seems to be saying that wickedness brings not only troubles and affliction but less authority and prestige. You will lose respect and power when it becomes known that you are habitually involved in immoral conduct.