Proverbs 26:27 “Whoever digs a pit will fall into it, and he who rolls a stone, it will return upon him.” (MEV)
I picture someone digging a deep pit or moving a huge boulder when I read this verse. Perhaps a stone-like those used to seal graves. It took many men or an amazing feat of engineering to get them moved into place.
That’s why the women who were going to Jesus’ tomb wondered who would move the stone for them. Of course, we know that their concern wasn’t necessary. The angels had already moved the stone.
The verse above shows the negative side of how things happen sometimes. There’s a positive side found in the New Testament.
The Golden Rule
Going back to my youth, a positive side was presented to me by none other than Roy Rogers and Dale Evans. At the end of their program, they would sing, “Happy trails to you, until we meet again.” They were Christians. Dale Evans went around the country talking about the Bible. My wife and I actually heard her speak in Kansas City, Missouri.
One of the things they would say before singing their signature song was, “Remember, boys and girls, do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” You probably know this as “The Golden Rule.” It’s actually Biblical. The verse can be found in Matthew 7:12.
Jesus said that there were two commandments. The first one was the greatest, which is to love the Lord with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength. The second one is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself. (Matthew 22:37-39)
Pressed Down, Shaken Together, and Running Over
That’s the positive side of the verse in Proverbs. The Bible says that what you sow, you reap. (Galatians 6:7) If you sow good things, you will reap good things. If you give, it will be given to you with good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over. (Luke 6:38)
We had a friend who told of how he had moved to a new community and they arranged for a trash pickup. The first week, something went wrong, and the trash wasn’t picked up.
My friend checked and figured they could get by another week until the pickup came. He looked around to make sure no one was watching, and he climbed on top of the trash pile and began to jump on it to compact it and make some more room.
However, the following week, the trash service forgot again. He climbed up on the pile and began to jump to compact it even more. It was then that the verse, “pressed down, shaken together, and running over” came into his mind.
On the negative side, if you try to dig a pit to bring harm to someone else, you will fall into your own pit. If you have a boulder set to ambush someone, be careful because it may roll down on you.
The story of Haman, beginning in Esther 3, tells how Haman was jealous of Esther’s cousin, Mordecai. Haman had a gallows built with the intention of seeing Mordecai hanged on it.
Through a series of events, it was discovered that the wicked one was actually Haman. The king was so enraged that he ordered Haman to be hanged on the gallows he himself had built!
Be careful what you do. It can come back to you. Good can come back good, but evil can come back evil.
Dr. R.G. Lee (1886-1978) was the pastor of Bellview Baptist Church in Memphis, Tennessee. Dr. Lee was a very well-known Southern Baptist preacher and preached all over the country.
He had a sermon that was very well known. It was often requested that he preach it. I read that he had preached this sermon over 1,000 in his lifetime. It was called “Payday, Someday.” (I borrowed the title.)
I’m going to share some ideas from that sermon with you, but I’m going to put my own take on it.
I’m going to tell you about 2 modern characters, 4 Biblical characters, and the day to come.
There was a man named Nick who lived in the 1960s. As he was growing up, he wasn’t doing well. In fact, his parents had a difficult time raising him. It was so hard, in fact, that they sent him from Puerto Rico, where he was born, to New York City to stay with relatives.
While living in NYC, he began to run with crowds that were similar to the ones he ran with when he lived in Puerto Rico. He discovered the street gangs in New York. Before long, he had become a member of one of them.
The gang was involved in all sorts of illegal activities, including drugs. The gangs would fight one another. They made homemade guns. They killed members of rival gangs. Nick had killed people and narrowly escaped death himself.
At the same time, there was a ministry in New York that wanted to try to help the gang members and drug addicts, and other youth in crisis. They decided to rent out a building and have a church service. They used school buses to go around and pick up the various gang members. They didn’t realize that they were putting together two gangs that fought against each other. At least two rival gangs were at that church service that night.
The kids were making a mockery of the service. During a solo, some of them began to dance in the aisles…not in the Biblical way! But they heard the Gospel.
Nick was one of the people in attendance that night. He had heard the Gospel and had a decision to make.
Next, we have Tom. Tom wasn’t involved in drugs or gangs. He just lived a regular life. But Tom needed Jesus just as much as Nick did. How do I know? Because everybody needs Jesus that much! Seven years old or seventy years old…everyone needs Jesus.
Tom had been invited to church and he occasionally went. He had heard the Gospel. He even understood the Gospel. He was like the man that Paul spoke to in Acts who told Paul to go away and he’d call for him later. (Acts 24:25)
Tom didn’t want to change his life or his friends at that time. He said he’d do it later.
Those are the two modern-day people. Now I want to talk about the four from the Bible.
The first is Naboth. His story is found in 1 Kings 21:1-16. Naboth owned a vineyard. He was a good man. He had been schooled in the law of the Hebrews. The law said that they could not sell land with the idea of it being a permanent sale. The land would come back to them after a period of time.
Naboth was committed to upholding that.
Ahab and Jezebel
At that time, Ahab was the king of Israel. He was the son of Omri, one of the most wicked kings that Israel had ever had. Ahab was actually worse than his father.
Ahab’s summer palace was located right next to Naboth’s vineyard. The king asked to buy the vineyard, but Naboth refused, as a permanent sale of the land went against scripture. Ahab was very upset and returned to the palace.
Ahab’s wife was a woman named Jezebel. She was not of Jewish descent. She was a foreigner and worshiped Baal. She was very dedicated to her religion and would do anything she could to take out the competition.
Upon his return to the palace, Ahab went to his bed and pouted and refused to eat. His wife went to him to find out what was wrong. He told her about his conversation with Naboth and his refusal to sell the vineyard.
Jezabel said, “Aren’t you the king of Israel? Get up and eat something. I’ll get that vineyard for you. I just need to borrow your ring.”
So Jezabel, pretending to be Ahab, wrote a letter to the elders and nobles in Naboth’s city. She instructed them to proclaim a fast on a certain day. On that day, they were to bring Naboth to the seat of judgment for a trial. The charge was blasphemy, which was punishable by death.
The day arrived and the elders and nobles did as they were instructed. Naboth was put on trial. Jezabel had hired two “sons of Belial” to bear false witness against Naboth. (Belial is another word for the devil.)
Before he even had a chance to defend himself, he was taken out of the city and stoned to death.
The fourth BIblical character is Elijah. He was a spokesman for God and had said that it wouldn’t rain until Elijah said it would. (1Kings 17:1) So, Ahab already hated him. Because of that, Elijah had gone into hiding, which further enraged Ahab. When Elijah, alone, went up against 450 prophets of Baal and won, that angered Jezebel. (1 Kings 18:16-40)
Elijah heard what had happened to Naboth and he met with Ahab. He told Ahab that the dogs would lick up his blood in the place where he killed Naboth. He also said that dogs would consume his wife, Jezebel.
Ahab returned to his palace. He and Jezebel would sometimes eat food that came from Naboth’s lands. After a time, when nothing happened to them, Jezebel began to mock what Elijah had said. She believed nothing would happen to them.
Payday Always Comes
With God, there’s always a payday. It’s just not always on Friday.
Ahab and Jezebel lived on happily for 3 years.
Then the king of Judah came to visit Ahab and the two decided to go to war in an effort to claim some land. Ahab planned to go into battle in disguise; wearing the disguise over his royal armor.
The captain of the opposing army instructed his men to only go after Ahab, no one else. Because Ahab was in disguise, no one could find him. Finally, a soldier shot an arrow randomly into the air. It went into an opening in Ahab’s armor and wounded him. They made their way back in the direction of the palace. Ahab’s blood was pouring from the chariot, and, just as prophesied, dogs licked it up in the very place where Naboth died.
Jezebel, however, still lived. She lived through many kings. Then, King Jehu came into power. He came to the wall of the palace where she was and asked if any within were on his side. There were some, and he ordered that Jezabel be thrown from the wall. He trampled her with his horse.
When they later went to bury her, all that remained was her skull, feet, and palms of her hands. The dogs had eaten the rest.
There’s always a payday.
Chief of the Kangaroo Court
Dr. Lee said that he would sometimes receive hate mail. One of the letter-writers would sign the letters “The Chief of the Kangaroo Court.”
One day while sitting at home, a nurse from a Memphis hospital called Dr. Lee and said that a man was requesting his presence. He refused to give his name to the hospital, but said to tell Dr. Lee that he was the “Cheif of the Kangaroo Court.”
When he arrived at the hospital, Dr. Lee encountered a young man with the wildest, weirdest eyes he’d ever seen. The man may have been large at one point, but his boy was ravaged by disease.
He said to the man, “Hello.”
“Howdy do?” he answered.
“Is there something I can do for you?” Dr. Lee asked as kindly as he could.
“No. Nothing! Not a thing. Nothin’ ‘tall! — unless you throw my body to the buzzards when I am dead — if the buzzards will have it!” he said.
Then his voice lost some of the snarl — and he spoke again. “I sent for you, sir because I want you to tell these young fellows here something for me. I sent for you because I know you go up and down the land and talk to many young people. And I want you to tell ’em, and tell ’em every chance you get, that the Devil pays only in counterfeit money.”
R.G. Lee would have loved to lead that young man to the Lord, but it wasn’t to be. He sat by the bedside and two hours later, the young man died.
There’s a payday coming someday.
Back to Tom. He had said, “Someday, I will come to to the Lord. I will get saved someday when I’m older.” Before that “someday” came, Tom had a stroke. Pastors came to visit, but Tom was unresponsive, unconscious. Payday had come for Tom.
Nick, better known as Nicky Cruz, heard David Wilkerson preach and gave his life to the Lord the night of that service, as did another gang leader. Several members of the gang followed in their footsteps and became Christians,
Payday is coming someday!
If we put our faith and trust in Jesus Christ, at the end of our life when that payday comes, it won’t be a bad one, it will be a wonderful one. All wrongs will be made right. Maybe not in our timeline, but it will happen.
What is the way out for us as humans? It’s simply the fact that God loved us so much that He sent His Son to this world to be crucified. Jesus had the weight of all the sins of all the world, past, present, and future, put upon Him. The answer for your payday is what you have done with Jesus. Have you accepted Him as your Lord and Savior? Or, like Tom, are you putting it off until a more convenient time?
Payday is coming. I hope you’re ready. If you’re not, I invite you to come to Jesus.