Summary: Every action has an "afterwards" to it & Proverbs is studded with reminders of this fact. Proverbs calls us to the premise that nothing should be completely judged by its initial enticing stages. The moral law of sin & its consequences are written on
PROVERBS 14: 12
Consequences are things we rarely consider. But even the smaller issues of life like having an extra piece of chocolate cake has its consequences as well as its appeal (caloric-waistline consequences).
It is difficult for most of us to consider the long and short term outcome of our actions. Courses of action that look appealing "inspire" us. But in considering consequences we must analyze where our inspiration comes from. Satan never advertises the disadvantages of sin but denies them and seeks to blind us to them. Satan’s appeal to Eve encouraged her to sin by telling her of the benefits, while denying its consequences. Read Genesis 3:4-5. Satan always denies God’s Word (Genesis 3:3).
Another reason we don’t consider the consequences is because of God’s long suffering. A long-suffering God gives time for repentance between the acts of sin and the consequences of sin (Eccles. 8:11, 2 Peter 3:9).
Yet, every action has an "afterwards" to it and Proverbs is studded with reminders of this fact. Proverbs calls us to the premise that nothing should be completely judged by its initial enticing stages. This is easily seen in overeating, but it also applies to morality. The moral law of sin and its consequences are written on the tablets of eternity. No man can erase them, he can only ignore them to his eternal hurt or consider them to his eternal blessing. [Chester A. McCalley. Portraits in Proverbs. 1983. pp 55-56.]
Let’s consider some "afterwards" or consequences of a few life choices this evening. A great place to start is:
The "Afterwards" of ADULTERY
Look at Proverbs 5:4. "But in the end she is bitter as wormwood, sharp as a two-edged sword."
The context for these words is a warning to a young man concerning the adulteress. Proverbs 5:1-6 tells of the corruption behind the charms of the adulteress. Proverbs 5:3 focuses on her alluring words that are "smoother than oil" with lips "that drip honey." Verses 4-6 then turn from her charm to her corruption, or from a consideration of the appeal of immorality to the consequences introduced by but in the end-or afterwards. The consequences of sexual immorality are expressed under two metaphors–wormwood and a two-edged sword. The first represents bitterness, and the second represents that which is very harmful. What seems attractive at first later becomes bitter and sharp. The full end is in view in verse 11.
Sexual immorality is rampant in our day. But we should consider the consequences delineated in God’s Word. Three of the first nine chapters of Proverbs are dedicated to the subject of sexual morality and marital faithfulness. This emphasis is for good reason.
The "Afterwards" of Taking THE WRONG PATH
Proverbs 14:12 & 16:25 reveals that things are not always what they seem to be. "There is a way which seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death."
The word way points to one’s course of life–a person’s lifestyle. Walk or way is a continued pattern or a consistent commitment. It takes in all the places he goes, the people he associates with, the work he does, the entertainment he pursues, his whole life scene. There is a course of life which seems very appealing, so man in his self deception pursues it with vim and vigor only to find out, in the end, the final result is he has walked in the way of death. By death is meant a broad range of unhappy experiences from simple trouble to premature departure from this life. The choice of this way describes the course of the majority of lives since most select a lifestyle from a basis other than God’s Word.
For more than five decades, Frank Sinatra has been one of America’s most popular entertainers. Perhaps he is best known for the song "MY WAY." Apparently it has struck a responsive chord among his fans.
What chord is that? Self-will. It’s the dominant desire of human beings to do things their own way (Gen. 3:5-6). And that’s exactly how the song ends: "I did it my way."
In the ordinary affairs of life, the exercise of self-determination may be commendable. But in relationship to God, our way is never right. Our self will must be subordinated to His Will, as our Savior submissively prayed in Gethsemane’s Garden, "Not My will, but Yours, be done" (Luke 22:42).
Regardless of how painful the surrender of our will may seem, obedience to God saves us from unhappy loss in this world and irrecoverable loss in the world to come. Proverbs 14:12, reminds us that a sinful insistence on self will can be self-destructive: "There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death." Trustful obedience to God’s way, however, brings blessing both now and forever.