Monday, August 7, 2017

Counseled By The King: The Proverbs Of Solomon. Day 70, The Pride, Dishonesty, And Violence Of The Wicked

Today Solomon speaks about several attributes of those who are wicked.

"Haughty eyes and a proud heart---the unplowed field of the wicked---produce sin." (Proverbs 21:4) In Chapter 6 Solomon told us of seven things that the Lord detests, and haughtiness is one of them. "There are six things the Lord hates, seven that are detestable to Him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked schemes, feet that are quick to rush into evil, a false witness who pours out lies and a person who stirs up conflict in the community." (Proverbs 6:16-19) Haughty eyes and a proud heart are things that will lead us into a great deal of sin, as Solomon says today. Haughtiness is on the same list as the shedding of innocent blood, so we know God takes it very seriously.

"The plans of the diligent lead to profit as surely as haste leads to poverty." (Proverbs 21:5) This verse always reminds me of the tale of the tortoise and the hare. The turtle won the race because he plodded along steadily, while the rabbit spent all his energy at the beginning and in his pride and arrogance decided he had time to take a nap before the tortoise caught up with him. The tortoise won the race because the hare miscalculated his opponent. Solomon warns us against taking shortcuts along the way, against being prideful and lazy, and against falling for money-making schemes that sound too good to be true. Get-rich-quick schemes ought to be called get-poor-quick schemes, because that's what they usually are.

"A fortune made by a lying tongue is a fleeting vapor and a deadly snare." (Proverbs 21:6) A lying tongue is also on the list of the things the Lord hates. A liar may prosper for a while because this fallen world has a way of rewarding the wicked, but God will not be mocked. As the Apostle Paul warns us, "A man reaps what he sows." (Galatians 6:7b) The dishonest will have to answer to a holy God for their cheating ways.

"The violence of the wicked will drag them away, for they refuse to do what is right." (Proverbs 21:7) Whether or not the wicked receive judgment in this life, we can be assured they will receive it in the next. They may never be brought before an earthly judge, but they will be brought before the heavenly Judge. This "dragging away" may refer to imprisonment or even capital punishment on earth, or it may refer to being relegated to the outer darkness that Jesus spoke of in Matthew 8:12, Matthew 22:13, and Matthew 25:30.

"The way of the guilty is devious, but the conduct of the innocent is upright." (Proverbs 21:8) We spoke last week about what it means to be upright from a spiritual standpoint. It doesn't mean we are perfect but that we are made righteous by faith in the One who is perfect. In the original Hebrew this verse would read more like, "The path of the guilty is crooked". The wicked are on that wide crooked road that leads to destruction. But the innocent are on the straight road, the narrow road, that leads to eternal life. God is displeased with the one who lives his life by devious means, but He is delighted with the one who chooses to live a life of honesty. Honesty will not necessarily earn us riches in this world, for as we said earlier this morning, this fallen world has a way of rewarding wickedness. But honesty will earn us treasures in heaven, treasures that cannot be taken from us, treasures that will last forever. God has seen every time you chose to be honest instead of dishonest. He's aware of every incident when you've said to yourself, "No, I'm not going to do this sinful thing. I'm going to obey the word of God." The fallen world may not place much value on honesty these days, but God does, and He never changes.

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