Wednesday, February 1, 2023

The Pursuit of Evil (Proverbs 6:12-19)

"A worthless person, a wicked man, walks with a perverse mouth" (Prov. 6:12).

It is particularly poignant that on the heels of a passage dealing with the ways of a sluggard, Solomon describes the tireless exploits of the ungodly. Matthew Henry comments that if “the slothful are to be condemned, that do nothing, how much more those that do ill, and contrive to do all the ill they can.” Here we have a glimpse of the all-pervading power of sin and the diligence of the ungodly to pursue evil.

Think of your life before God changed your heart. Remember how you rarely grew tired of doing evil. You could stay out all night. You could spend hours doing one worldly, unproductive thing after another. Most of us can testify to how much easier it is to do evil than it is to pursue good. Sadly, many Christians often find it toilsome to sit for just an hour in church before they feel the itch to leave. They often find it difficult to stay awake long enough to pray just a short prayer to the Lord. How shamed we slothful Christians should be to read of the tireless exploits of the wicked compared to our own laziness in the pursuit of godliness. As children of Christ we all possess so much which should motivate us to pursue godliness, but, as the Scripture says, the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak. Only by God’s grace can any of us escape the ways of the wicked described here and find the motivation to be conformed to His image.

The ways of a wicked person are not only diligent but subtle. Under the cover of darkness and a clever facade, he practices malice, deceit, murder, slander, and dissension—sins against others that flow from a perverse heart. Until the heart is changed by the power of the Spirit, sin will reign. Here we see pride at the root of evil. How deceived are the ungodly who believe they are better than anyone else, including God. Pride of the heart overflows in how we treat others. It loosens the constraints on evil actions and sows discord. Pride leads to lies and murder. Only by the power of Christ can someone be delivered from those sins that are so abominable to the Lord. As Bridges so aptly puts it, “How utterly powerless is any remedy save that involved in the solemn declaration—‘You must be born again!’ ”

Do you know someone who is tireless in pursuing evil, whose heart is filled with perversity, and devises evil? It may be someone at work, a family member, a neighbor. Pray that God will change his or her heart, and pray for an opportunity to tell them the Gospel that they might be saved from the “calamity that will come suddenly.”