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Ready for the Storm

The wisdom of not delighting in sin

Proverbs 10:23-25

23 To do evil is like sport to a fool,
But a man of understanding has wisdom.

24 The fear of the wicked will come upon him,
And the desire of the righteous will be granted.

25 When the whirlwind passes by, the wicked is no more,
But the righteous has an everlasting foundation.


The hurricane that struck Galveston, Texas in the year 1900 seemed to come out of nowhere. The coastal town, founded on a low barrier island on the Gulf of Mexico, had enjoyed the growth of young seaport in a prosperous age. With its wide, pretty beaches, busy waterfront and bustling commerce, Galveston was a city of great promise at the start of a promising new century. 

Connected to the mainland by a narrow causeway, Galveston was vulnerable to wind and wave, particularly the wild, tropical Gulf weather. The town of nearly 40,000 people went about their lives with hardly a care, despite being only a few feet above sea-level. Little did they know the danger that lurked beyond the horizon.

The one man who should have anticipated such danger, had deemed the idea that a hurricane could cause serious damage to the city as, simply crazy:

The opinion held by some who are unacquainted with the actual condition of things, that Galveston will at some time be seriously damaged by some such disturbance, is simply an absurd delusion.–Isaac M. Cline, head of the Galveston weather station, 1891

Cline was the meteorologist in charge of the Galveston office of the newly-established US Weather Service. A capable scientist who had moved his entire family to the city to establish the post, Cline had been successful at predicting storms, floods and other disasters in the region–but this time he missed the signs.

On the morning of September 8, 1900, Cline noticed a radical change in his barometer. The weather had grown eerily calm over the preceding days, but he had taken little notice. Now, however, as the wind suddenly picked up, Cline realized his mistake. He finally issued a hurricane warning and began to urge citizens to flee. But it was too late.

The Galveston Hurricane struck that day, with hundred-mile-an-hour winds and a massive storm surge that washed homes and buildings into the bay behind the island. Many were able to flee–with 200 people packing themselves inside the nearby Bolivar Lighthouse–but most did not make it. Nearly 12,000 lives were lost, including Isaac Cline’s wife, pregnant with their fourth child. The Galveston Hurricane of 1900 remains the single worst weather disaster in United States history.

And it was entirely foreseeable, had the warning signs not been ignored.

Here in Proverbs 10, Solomon warns of just such a foreseeable storm. As he instructs the youth of Israel he shares a weather report of the hurricane of God’s judgment against evil–and the destruction of those who persist in loving sin:

23 To do evil is like sport to a fool,
But a man of understanding has wisdom.–Proverbs 10:23

Here, the versets of this proverb contrast an understanding man of wisdom with a man who loves evil, and delights in it. This is echoed in a later proverb of this section as Solomon again shares his warning: 

21 Folly is joy to him who is destitute of discernment,
But a man of understanding walks uprightly.–Proverbs 15:21

Who takes joy in evil? And what does he mean by “evil?” Is Solomon talking about ordinary evil, or eeevil… the kind of diabolical wickedness of a supervillain in a Bond movie? 

The truth of the matter is, evil is evil. In this sinful world, the reality is that there is no real difference between the evil of having sinful thoughts, and living in a volcano lair and developing a laser death ray. Evil is simply the absence of good–and rebellion against God. R.C. Sproul has a definition of evil that you can wrap your head around (as I read in this timely article on a recent famous crime): 

Evil cannot be defined as a thing or as a substance or as some kind of being. Rather, evil is always defined as an action, an action that fails to meet a standard of goodness. In this regard, evil has been defined in terms of its being either a negation (negatio) of the good, or a privation (privatio) of the good. In both cases, the very definition of evil depends upon a prior understanding of the good. In this regard, as Augustine argued, evil is parasitic–that is, it depends upon the good for its very definition.-R.C. Sproul

The idea of evil as a “parasite” is descriptive of its nature and how it acts within your heart. Evil works its way in through your sinful nature and will quickly have you dismissing sin’s effects and even its influence over your life. 

This is what can make you “love” committing certain sins, or even celebrating them. Have you seen how some people will even identify themselves by the sinful lifestyles they have chosen? 

An alcoholic will often wear apparel promoting liquor brands, or continually post pictures of themselves with drinks in their hands. A promiscuous person will dress seductively and boldly declare her sexual activities or frankly discuss his conquests. It is as if by celebrating these things, they seek to inoculate themselves from criticism. 

This is how the society of natural man works, for he longs to overthrow God’s righteous order. And so he takes joy in his sins. As commentator Bruce Waltke says, what is an abomination to the righteous is the amusement of the fool. Later, this is echoed by the prophet Isaiah:

Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil;
Who put darkness for light, and light for darkness;
Who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!–Isaiah 5:20

The extreme end of this are those who murder with cold hearts, use “Machiavellian” means of dominating others, or are such narcissists that they feed on the goodwill of others in their lives, giving nothing in return and then discarding them. 

In what ways do you struggle with love of villainy? You may be more of a narcissist than you realize. For example, if you habitually use others to build you up emotionally, but seldom reciprocate or show appreciation. They can also be simple, “little” sins that seem harmless, but over time build up to form a calcite shell around your heart.

How does this happen? You do not want to like sin. You go to church, you pray, you try to be a good person–but somehow you keep falling into sinful traps. This is by design, of course. Satan knows which sins you love and seeks to ensnare you with them. Puritan Thomas Brooks ably describes this in his classic “Precious Remedies against Satan’s Devices.” Satan makes your sins look good:

By painting sin with virtue’s colors. Satan knows that if he should present sin in its own nature and dress, the soul would rather fly from it than yield to it; and therefore presents it to us, not in its proper colors, but painted and gilded over with the name and show of virtue, that we may more easily be overcome by it, and take the more pleasure in committing it.–Thomas Brooks

Satan camouflages your sins to the point where you will actually believe them to be virtues:  

Pride, he presents to the soul under the name and notion of neatness and cleanliness, and covetousness (which the apostle condemns for idolatry) to be but good husbandry; and drunkenness to be good fellowship, and riotousness under the name and notion of liberality, and wantonness as a trick of youth.–Thomas Brooks 

The way to resist and overcome this snare is to seek God’s wisdom–for the opposite of the love of sin is the love of righteousness. As the Apostle Paul reveals: 

Love…does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.–I Corinthians 13:6-7

It is never too late to turn from the addiction or habit that keeps dragging you down. Christ has given you the victory and freedom from these things as the Father promised. Solomon teaches so:

24 The fear of the wicked will come upon him,
And the desire of the righteous will be granted.–Proverbs 10:24

In the midst of his reveling in sin, a shadow lies on the heart of the wicked fool. Deep down he knows the dreadful destiny that awaits him. Just as you feel guilty for the sins you commit, even the boldest of carnal fools knows in his heart that he is doomed. This futility, perhaps, even quickens his frenetic pace. He knows that the storm is coming:  

25 When the whirlwind passes by, the wicked is no more,
But the righteous has an everlasting foundation.–Proverbs 10:25

Have you seen this? You can glance online and see that even in the boldest proclamations of the polyamorous deviants, the most colorful drag queen, or loudest internet “troll” is shaded by hopelessness. 

And yet, they are missing the storm warnings of the hurricane of divine justice. Are there storm warnings in your life? Do you have sinful habits that need to be broken and repented? The Holy Spirit unmasks satan’s clever disguises and reveals your sins in the light of day. Sin, exposed, turns to stone in the light of Christ’s work and from this a foundation is built in your heart. 

You become a stone with which He builds His kingdom. As Bruce Waltke describes: 

So firm and secure are such persons that no misfortune can shake them. On such people one can build a kingdom.–Bruce Waltke

Jesus illustrates this as He closes out His Sermon on the Mount. For living by the Way, the Truth, and the Life, you will withstand the storms of satan and your sinful self:

24 “Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: 25 and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock.–Matthew 7:24-25

There is such comforting beauty in these words of the Savior. No matter the grip of sin on your life, you will find protection in Him. This, in turn, calls you to live as Christ, sharing His love with others. As a reformed sinner, you have compassion on others around you, still caught in Satan’s trap and walking the death march of sin. 

This transformation is the love of Christ shared through you to others. Jonathan Edwards says it well:

It is from breathing of the same Spirit that true Christian love arises, both toward God and man. The Spirit of God is a Spirit of love, and when the former enters the soul, love also enters with it.–Jonathan Edwards

What winds are blowing against the door of your heart today? Can you feel the barometer falling, and the waves beginning to rise? You must cling to Christ for mercy and relief! As you are rescued, reach out to others to take with you to share in freedom and salvation. Then you will be ready for the storm, like the song by legendary Scottish singer-songwriter Dougie Maclean sings:

The waves crash in and the tide tide pulls out
It's an angry sea but there is no doubt
That the lighthouse will keep shining out
To warn the lonely sailor
And the lightning strikes and the wind cuts cold
Through the sailor's bones to the sailor's soul
Till there's nothing left that he can hold
Except the rolling ocean

But I am ready for the storm, yes sir ready
I am ready for the storm, I'm ready for the storm



The Monday—Friday DEEPs are written by Mike Slay and this Saturday Deep is written by Matt Richardson. To subscribe to all the DEEPs click here:

The weekly study guides, which include the Monday–Friday devotionals plus related questions for discussion or meditation, are available for download here:

Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. ESV stands for the English Standard Version. © Copyright 2001 by Crossway. Used by permission. All rights reserved. NIV stands for The Holy Bible, New International Version®. © Copyright 1973 by International Bible Society. Used by permission. All rights reserved. KJV stands for the King James Version.

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