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  • Dr. Stieglitz

Breakfast with Solomon - Proverbs 12:5

Proverbs 12:5

"The thoughts of the righteous are just, but the counsels of the wicked are deceitful"

The word thoughts is the Hebrew word hissabon which means ideas, new thoughts. It largely has to do with using the mind to create something new.

The word translated just in this passage is mispat which means justice, judgment, ordinance. It carries with it the idea of practical application of right, holy, and good. It is also often used of a governmental function in which decisions must be rendered or judging between people or between competing interests.

Clearly this proverb tells us what the various kinds of people think about.

The righteous people think about how to make sure that the right decisions are made. How new ways of doing the right thing can be invented. How to make sure that that which is right is done rather than what is wrong. How to make sure that injustice does not win.

What is interesting is that this tells us about what righteous people think about; how more righteousness can be spread. The things that wicked people think about are deceptive.

The word translated deceit in this verse is the word mirma in the Hebrew which means deceit, treachery, fraud, swindle. It is used of a plan in which someone is clearly being defrauded or stolen from in a deceptive or secretive way. In other words, how to get away with something so that nobody even knows that something has been done. This is different from stealing in that the person or organization is to never know that anything was done. It is hidden.

What do you spend your time thinking about: How to make sure that your boss doesn't find out what you are doing? How to make sure that your spouse is not aware of how you are spending your time? How to hide your income from the IRS?

The question in this proverb is what do you spend your time thinking about or planning. This will tell you whether you are becoming a wicked person and/or whether you are interacting with a wicked or a righteous person.

All of us can move from thinking about promoting righteous things to hiding wicked activities. Emphasize the former and you will become a more righteous person.

One of the troubles in our world is that we do not have a clear picture of what righteousness is all about. To be righteous, one needs to think about two things: what is right and relationships. To promote righteousness one needs to promote that which is right for people. If you were to begin to think more righteously, you would begin to think about how you could draw closer to God and please Him. You would begin to think about how you could strengthen your marriage. You would spend some time thinking about how to connect with your family – parents, children, relatives, etc. You would think about how to promote positive and helpful interaction with people at church. You would think about making the workplace a more relationally positive place with less back-stabbing and gossip. You would spend time thinking about how to promote peace, safety, and security in the community and country. What we have to realize is that when people promote positive interaction between people, they are performing a righteous act. Righteousness involves people and what is done to people.

If you are not careful, you can find yourself thinking about how to become deceitful rather than how to promote righteousness. It is easy to fall into thinking only about yourself and how to promote your interests.

Until tomorrow,

Gil Stieglitz

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