Our Own Folly

A man’s own folly ruins his life, yet his heart rages against the LORD. (Proverbs 19:3)

Sometimes, we do exactly what God wants and things still go badly—as Moses discovered in Exodus 5 when his first attempts to rescue the Israelites from slavery in Egypt—making use of the two signs God had given him—resulted in the Israelites having to work harder than ever. Paul had a hard life, facing shipwreck, snake bites, floggings and ultimately execution even though he was doing precisely what God wanted him to do.

But a lot of times, people make bad choices and then are quick to try to lay blame elsewhere, refusing to face up to their own folly. An example of this from the Bible would be the story of Esau in Genesis 25 and 27. Esau had sold his birthright to his brother simply because he came home hungry one day and wanted some of the stew that his brother was making. Unconcerned about the value of what he was giving up, all he saw was the immediate satisfaction of having a nice bowl of stew.

Later, his brother by stealth stole the blessing of the firstborn by impersonating Esau. When Esau discovered how he’d been ripped off, he complained bitterly about what Jacob has taken from him: his birthright and his blessing. But for all his complaining, for all his regrets, his choices in his life had their consequences that he had no choice but to endure. It’s not God’s fault if you suffer for your own mistakes. And we all make mistakes; lots of them. Every day. Don’t blame God for it; just own up to it and ask God for help in correcting it.

Frankly, in the United States, most of the suffering that people do for their faith is not because of their relationship with Jesus, but because of how they handle their relationship with the people around them. They’re not suffering for righteousness’ sake, but simply because they’re insufferable, arrogant, Pharisaical, or stupid.

For it is commendable if someone bears up under the pain of unjust suffering because they are conscious of God. But how is it to your credit if you receive a beating for doing wrong and endure it? (1 Peter 2:19-20)

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About R.P. Nettelhorst

I'm married with three daughters. I live in southern California and I'm the interim pastor at Quartz Hill Community Church. I have written several books. I spent a couple of summers while I was in college working on a kibbutz in Israel. In 2004, I was a volunteer with the Ansari X-Prize at the winning launches of SpaceShipOne. Member of Society of Biblical Literature, American Academy of Religion, and The Authors Guild
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