Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatever a man sows, that shall he also reap.…
Penalties are often so long delayed that men think they shall escape them; but some time or other they are certain to follow. When the whirlwind sweeps through the forest, at its first breath, or almost as if the fearful stillness that precedes had crushed it, the giant tree with all its boughs falls crashing to the ground. But it had been preparing to fall for twenty years. Twenty years before it received a gash. Twenty years before the water commenced to settle in at some crotch, and from thence decay began to reach in with its silent fingers towards the heart of the tree. Every year the work of death progressed, till at length it stood, all rottenness, only clasped about by the bark with a semblance of life, and the first gale felled it to the ground. Now there are men who for twenty years have shamed the day and wearied the night with their debaucheries, but who yet seem strong and vigorous, and exclaim. "You need not talk of penalties. Look at me! I have revelled in pleasure for twenty years, and I am as hale and hearty to-day as ever." But in reality they are full of weakness and decay. They have been preparing to fall for twenty years, and the first disease strikes them down in a moment. Ascending from the physical nature of man to the mind and character, we find the same laws prevail. People sometimes say, "Dishonesty is as good as honesty, for aught I see. There are such and such men who have pursued for years the most corrupt courses in their business, and yet they prosper, and are geting rich every day." Wait till you see their end. Every year how many such men are overtaken with sudden destruction, and swept for ever out of sight and remembrance? Many a man has gone on in sin, practising secret frauds and villainies, yet trusted and honoured, till at length, in some unsuspected hour, he is detected, and, denounced by the world, he fails item his high estate as if a cannon-ball had struck him — for there is no cannon that can strike more fatally than outraged public sentiment — and flies over the mountains, or across the sea, to escape the odium of his life. He believed that his evil course was building him up in fame and fortune; but financiering is the devil's forge, and his every act was a blow upon the anvil shaping the dagger that should one day strike home to his heart, and make him a suicide.
(H. W. Beecher.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.