Proverbs 22:8 Dissected & Defined
He that soweth iniquity (self-righteousness) shall reap vanity (emptiness): and the rod of his anger shall fail (be insufficient).
Please notice the punctuation mark of the colon. The colon (:) is a punctuation that precedes an explanation. I like to say that “the colon keeps things rollin’.” The colon simply says, “Hey, I’m going to further explain what I just told you.”
He then reveals a Hidden Life Truth worth enunciating with a deeper explanation:
He that soweth iniquity (self-righteousness): The word sow means “to scatter.” It is promised that we will reap what we have scattered. The word reap means “to receive as a return.” Thus, Solomon says if we try to do right without God’s assistance, (that is self-righteousness) then we will find ourselves doing good, but doing it in our own power.
When we do good in our own power, we will receive nothing in return. That is what vanity is. We will not be blessed, and we will not experience joy. We will never be content. When we do good, but it is absent of the power of God, it is without reward.
He goes on to say…and the rod of his anger shall be insufficient. The “rod” being spoken of pictures an outgrowth, sort of like a branch or twig. What he is saying is, “The outgrowth of anger that comes from the miserable sower of self-righteous iniquity will not be enough to turn back the consequences of the harvest he has reaped.”
We will surely be disappointed in a life that is spent in worthless self-righteousness. We will try so hard to do good, and sometimes we will do good. Maybe we will even do good often. But, God will not reward it. It will be worth nothing. You and I, when we behave like this and are thus not rewarded, will surely turn to our anger to try to satisfy our frustrations. But, it will do us no good, for even that effort will bring failure.
So, here is a word of encouragement to those of us who struggle with the rod of self-righteous works: Lay down your rod and yield to God.