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The Consequences of Our Choices

Proverbs 13:13 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
13 The one who despises the word brings destruction on himself,
    but he who fears[1] the commandment will be rewarded.

The one who despises the word brings destruction on himself: The Hebrew word (baz) rendered despises means to show contempt for or look down on with contempt, scorns, or ridicules instructions or some kind of pledge because he rejects it or sees it as worthless. The word translates the Hebrew (davar), which is a very general word that has been used to refer to instructions, counsel, advice, teachings, or commandments, in Proverbs chapters 1-9. However, by extension, the word could also refer to the law since it is parallel to the commandment in line 2 below. It can also harken back to verse 1 of chapter 13 and be a reference to a father’s instruction, which by extension would also apply to God’s (the Father’s) laws, instructions, teachings, commandments as well. The Hebrew verb (yechabel) rendered brings destruction means to destroy completely, to damage irreparably, and is in relation to possibly one who is in debt, namely, under a pledge. If a person despises the word because he failed to repay a debt, loan, he would lose what he had put up as a pledge; in the same way, he will have to endure a loss if he failed to obey God’s commandment.

but he who fears the commandment will be rewarded: The Hebrew word (yare) rendered he who fears is referring to one who is fearful in the sense of having profound respect, usually in regard to God. In other words, this one’s love for God is so great that he fears to hurt God by falling short in some way, in this case, obedience to His commandments. This is in contrast to the one who despises the word in line 1. The Hebrew word (mitsvah) translated commandment can be referring back to verse 1 of chapter 13 again and the son who fears the commandment of his father or more likely it is referring to God’s commands or laws. The one in line 1 brings destruction on himself for ignoring instruction, while the one in line 2 will receive just the opposite, a reward (Heb. salem) for his respectful obedience to God’s commands. Being rewarded here is receiving the full recompense for one’s behavior or actions. The Hebrew verb rewarded can also have the sense of one who is complete, whole, or secure.

All of us will have to live with the consequences of our choices. If we despise or show contempt for or look down on with contempt, have scorn for, or ridicule God’s instructions when we had formerly pledged our obedience, but we now reject his laws, instructions, counsel, advice, teachings, or commandments, as we now see them as worthless we will suffer the consequences of destruction both figuratively now and literally when Christ returns. However, if we continue to have deep respect, reverential fear of displeasing God and disobeying his laws, instructions, counsel, advice, teachings, or commandments, we will be rewarded with a better life now and eternal life when Christ returns.

[1] Or reveres

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