The Deadly Sins of Proverbs 6:16-19: The Twisted Heart
I doubt that many readers will have any difficulty accepting the premise that we live in tumultuous times. Consider the contradictory claims surrounding the recent election:
“There was no Fraud!”
“Stop the Steal!”
How about claims related to COVID 19?
“Masks do not do any good.”
“Mask demonstrably reduce the spread of the virus.”
“Wearing a mask is a sign that you are “living in fear”.
“Wearing a mask is a fulfillment of the 6th commandment to protect life.”
The goal of this post is not to decide these issues, although I do have what I hope are Biblical and informed positions on them. Rather the goal is to point our hearts to our heavenly Father who defines truth and “with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.”[i] In Psalm 11 David asks “if the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do?”[ii] In our culture, where truth lies slain in the streets and the media manipulates rather than informs, I suspect that you, like me, find yourself wondering “who can I believe?” In Psalm 11, David answers his own question in the following verse: “The LORD is in his holy temple, the LOD’s throne is in heaven’ his eyes see, his eyelids test the children of man”. David reminds himself of who the LORD is, what the LORD does, and how the LORD acts. As followers of the LORD Jesus living in America see our culture disintegrating before us, we must do the same. Our living LORD Jesus is the one we can, and must believe. Remember:
“There are six things that the LORD hates, seven that are an abomination to him: 17 haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, 18 a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that make haste to run to evil, 19 a false witness who breathes out lies, and one who sows discord among brothers.”[iii]
There are seven things in this list:
- A tongue
- A heart
- A witness
- One who sows discord
At the center of the list is the focal point: the heart. The heart refers to our mind, will, and emotions. Your “heart” is the real “you”. The core of your person that gives rise to all of your physical and spiritual activity.[iv] The heart in view “devises” plans. The verb suggests “calculation” or “computing”. The thought process is intentional and careful, consideration is given to actions and results. Through this process, a plan is invented. The text tells the reader that the plans developed by this heart are “wicked”. Wickedness has to do with “power used in relation to a community or an individual with a negative effect or intention”.[v] This wickedness involves: 1) Condemnation and judgement, 2) antisocial behavior against the will of God, 3) misuse of power, and 4) deception and lying to hurt others.[vi] Bruce Waltke translates the passage in the following manner: “the heart that plans malevolent schemes”.[vii] Most of us do not sit in the halls of power in our nation. While we do not have the full truth, it seems apparent that many, if not all, of the actions that the LORD “hates” or “are an abomination to Him”, are in play. Most certainly there are hearts that are “devising wicked plans”. What then can the righteous do?[viii] Remember the LORD’s response to these hearts: He hates them. These hearts are abominable to Him. This may not be comfortable language in our churches, but it is necessary language. God is altogether holy and just, sin is an affront to Him. To reject the truth that God hates the hearts that plan evil, is to value the sinner above our savior! Quoting from the TWOT lexicon found on Bibleworks 8, the verb “to hate” expresses:
“an emotional attitude toward persons and things which are opposed, detested, despised and with which one wishes to have no contact or relationship. It is therefore the opposite of love. Whereas love draws and unites, hate separates and keeps distant. The hated and hating persons are considered foes or enemies and are considered odious, utterly unappealing.”[ix]
Further, the hearts in view are “an abomination” to God. That is God not only dislikes them, He is unwilling and unable to put up with them. Effectually God has an aversion to them that results in an opposition to, and rejection of, them.
So, in the midst of the confusion and chaos, recognize that you don’t need to know everything that is going on in the culture, nor can you control it. Remember however, that God knows, sees, and hates all that is an affront to His holiness. Rest in the knowledge that He will, in His time and according to His purposes, deal with it. Psalm 2 tells us that God “laughs” at the rebellion of men.[x]
Let not your heart be troubled[xi], Jesus has overcome the world.[xii] He is building His church.[xiii] Respond to the chaos with courage, with the truth of the word, with humility, and with the assurance that the Kingdom of God will be built. Your primary citizenship is in heaven, not America.[xiv]
Martin B. Blocki has served since 2003 as the Associate Pastor of the Reformed Presbyterian Church of North Hills in Pittsburgh, PA since 2002. Rev. Blocki graduated from Indiana University, Bloomington (BME), Arizona State University (MM), and the Reformed Presbyterian Theological Seminary (MDiv). Martin and his wife, Kathy, have two married sons, one daughter, and four grandchildren.
[i] James 1:17 ESV
[ii] Psalm 11:3 ESV
[iii] Pro 6:16-19 ESV
[iv] Waltke, Bruce; The Book of Proverbs, The New International Commentary on the Old Testament, p. 347
[v] Waltke p. 343
[vii] Ibid. p. 347
[viii] This is not meant to be the final, or definite answer. There are other things that the believer might do. This, however is certainly one we must be doing.
[ix] Bibleworks 8
[x] Psalm 2:4. As defined by the context, this is a laugh of derision. God looks at those who rebel with derision. A rather scary thought!
[xi] John 14:27
[xii] John 16:33 & 1 John 5:4
[xiii] Matthew 16:18
[xiv] Philippians 3:20