Summary: What do you want out of life ? That is a pretty general question - but it is the one that is addressed in this proverb. The thing is that in this study we are looking at what people want from the perspective of God, not just what people or the "market" wants.
Laws from Heaven for life on earth
Proverbs 11:23 The desire of the righteous ends only in good, but the hope of the wicked only in wrath.
What do you want out of life ? That is a pretty general question - but it is the one that is addressed in this proverb. The thing is that in this study we are looking at what people want from the perspective of God, not just what people or the "market" wants.
From God's standpoint we are going to watch Him put both the righteous and the wicked man into the balances, weigh them and their choices, and state what each gets. First we see that God places the righteous into the scales. He says that the righteous man's desires are good. This coincides with what Jesus says in the Beattitudes. In Matthew chapter 5, we read the following, "Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied." Matt. 5:6
God not only is pleased with those who hunger and thirst for what He says is right - He promises wonderful levels of satisfaction for those who do. There is also another statement made in the Psalms that when we delight ourselves in the Lord, He will give us the desires of our heart - Psalm 37:4-5. It is so important to know that when we are living for righteousness and pursuing what is right - God helps us to enjoy this as much as we want. That is why He says here that these kind of desires are "only good."
The wicked, though, have no such guarantee. We read that the expectation of the wicked results in wrath. It is helpful for us to see that word "expectation" here. The reason it is so important is because often what the wicked desire will seem to give them an immediate positive feeling.
The Word of God speaks of God's "judgments." These are the result of that God has said concerning certain behaviors in life. When we choose to disobey God and embrace our fleshly lifestyles we do so because of the expectation of pleasure and immediate satisfaction. The problem is that God has said what His response will be to such things. These are His judgments. He says that problems will result - disasters are on the horizon - and blessing will be forfeited. These judgments will come upon those who choose to disobey what God says. They can expect the wrath of God when they rebel. God has made this very clear when He said in Romans chapter 1, "The wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth with their unrighteousness."
God's attitude and actions toward ungodliness and unrigteousness have been settled from eternity past. Those who reject Him and His Word need to know that He has prewarned the results of such behavior - and it has never been good. However the truly wise man knows that blessings await those who embrace righteousness - but for those who chose a wicked lifestyle - only wrath awaits them.
A righteous man desires good things for others and for himself that the wicked cannot even know. But this study is not how men desire different things – this study is what righteous men receive contrasted to what wicked men receive. A righteous man desires a blessed life, and he gets it. The wicked man desires a blessed life, but he gets judgment instead.
Solomon described the expectation of the wicked elsewhere. “The hope of the righteous shall be gladness: but the expectation of the wicked shall perish” (Pr 10:28). The future of the righteous is blessed; the future of the wicked is cursed.
A righteous man delights himself in the Lord, and God gives him the desires of his heart (Ps 37:4). He walks uprightly by doing the will of God at all times, and God does not withhold any good thing from him (Ps 84:11). He lives a godly life, desiring and trusting God to have mercy on Him and bless his efforts. God favor the cause of such men, and they reap results that are only good in this life and the next.
A wicked man thinks he will live indefinitely, and he pursues his goals without regard for God, confident in himself and the world’s vain promises. He is shocked with the trouble he endures in life, and then he dies to find his expectations turned upside down. He cannot take anything with him, and he finds God angry with him for eternity (Rev 20:11-15). This is a terrible outcome, but it is what he chose by living a selfish, sinful lifestyle.
One person gives freely, yet gains even more; another withholds unduly, but comes to poverty. (Prov.11:24)