8 ¶ He that soweth iniquity shall reap vanity: and the rod of his anger shall fail.
Vanity is nothingness. It’s empty. It has no meaning. A vain thing is linked to mischief and deceit in Job 15:35. In Psalm 10:7 it’s linked to fraud. In Proverbs 30:8 it’s linked to lies. All of the so called gods other than the God of the Bible are vanity as are the words of the people who worship them.
Isaiah 41:28 For I beheld, and there was no man; even among them, and there was no counsellor, that, when I asked of them, could answer a word. 29 Behold, they are all vanity; their works are nothing: their molten images are wind and confusion.
Jeremiah 14:22 Are there any among the vanities of the Gentiles that can cause rain? or can the heavens give showers? art not thou he, O LORD our God? therefore we will wait upon thee: for thou hast made all these things.
This Proverb very clearly says that if a person sows sin and wickedness they will not get the crop they wanted but will get nothing. They will fail. The authority and power of something is likened to a rod or staff.
Psalm 23:4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
Revelation 19:15 And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God.
As a Christian we realize that we live in among nations that do not honor God or, if they do, only do it with their words and not deeds and intentions. In America the Supreme Court has a doctrine called “Ceremonial Deism” where they say it is okay to have “In God We Trust” on our money and religious scenes on some government buildings because they are historical and cultural and have no significance in practice. In other words, the Supreme Court calls our government’s acknowledgement of the God of the Bible as having no meaning. Ceremonial Deism means we say it, but we don’t believe it, so it’s okay.
As a result, we do not live in a country that honors God in the person of the Lord Jesus Christ, His visible image (Colossians 1:15; Hebrews 1: 2,3), and our Saviour, on any official level. In fact, in the military, as I have been told, you are not allowed to publicly pray, as a chaplain, using the name of Jesus Christ. Of course, James Madison, the “father of the Constitution” warned us that would happen if you had the government pay chaplains rather than the denominations they represented.
We see iniquity sown every day. We see the anger of the wicked triumph. We, like the prophet Jeremiah, are hard pressed to use promises that God gave to ancient Israel IF they were faithful and see them have any meaning. It is hard to say that good always triumphs in the end when we know it doesn’t now. We have only our faith that God will settle all accounts at some future point in time. We believe that the rod of the wicked’s anger will fail and that the iniquity that Satan has sown, and his Beast, the anti-Christ will produce vanity as Christ destroys him.
2Thessalonians 2:8 And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming:
But, what if the sower is themselves a Christian? Both John Gill and Matthew Henry believe that “the rod of his anger” means that this person is in authority. But, we all have authority in some ways, for instance, over our families. Every man has the potential to be a petty tyrant. So, if you are truly born again, one way of being certain that you are is that when you choose to do iniquity, to sow sin, it will not produce the effect you desired. You’ll get nothing but vanity. The rod of your anger; your cruelty, your deceit, and your fraud will fail. People who truly have trusted Christ as their Saviour who then choose to do willfully what they know to be sin, are most often thwarted in their efforts and exposed or crushed. Certainly there is some Christian who is reading this or hearing it that knows what it means to do wrong and to have it all come back on him like a boomerang that he or she throws out only to have it whack them in their own head. Your efforts at sin produced vanity and nothingness and the rod of your anger failed miserably.
I know, I know, there is going to be someone who says they have never sinned willfully since they’ve been saved, and like many of the songs in the hymnals go, they’ve had nothing but sinlessness and joy, being perfectly obedient to Christ since they were saved, but let’s not kid ourselves. Christians often sin and not only harm their testimony for Christ but their relationship with Him. For the young people, remember that your sins; whether sexual, financial, sins of words or deeds, will come back to haunt you like a ghost in a Shakespeare play like ‘Hamlet’ or a story by Charles Dickens like ‘A Christmas Carol’. You will sow inquity and reap vanity and the rod of your anger shall fail.
Remember this if you start thinking about “dating” someone your parents would not approve of whose behavior, attitude, and spiritual condition go against everything you’ve been taught. Remember this, if you’re tempted to lie, cheat, or steal to gain some advantage. Remember this if you are tempted to hit your spouse or beat your child for doing something that they can’t help but do. Remember this, if you begin to feel that uniting with a church body of believers is just too much trouble on Sunday morning. You sow iniquity, you will reap a bitter harvest. Sadly, so might your children.