Breakfast with Solomon - Proverbs 28:5
"Evil men do not understand justice, but those who seek the Lord understand all things"
The biblical definition of evil men is those who live outside of the moral boundaries of God. They have thumbed their nose at God to the point that they live in open rebellion to His standards of life. Life outside the Ten Commandments is an evil life, God declares. A righteous life is only possible inside of His standards. Then it must be a life of faith and trust in Him. For the evil person, life waits outside of God's moral law. Magic, Idols, Fortune Telling, Swearing, Cursing, Workaholism, Evolution, Rebellion, Independence, Anger, Intimidation, Violence, Abortion, Adultery, Sodomy, Stealing, Corruption, Kick-backs, Lying, Fraud, Legal Technicalities, Greed, Gambling, Divorce, etc. – all of these are where the evil person finds their life. It is where they will lose their life also for this way of life does not work long term.
The word understand is the Hebrew word ben which is to comprehend, to contemplate, to distinguish, knowledge that which is better than mere data, the ability to distinguish the connection between information.
This is truly a key word in this proverb. If one does not understand the meaning and relation of this word, then it is not possible to grasp the thinking and power of this proverb. The word justice, mishapt, is both governmental and personal in its meaning. It most often has connection to that which is decided by a king or leader and has the official stamp of judgment. This is the idea of a leader dispensing that which is right; a decision which is made irrespective of individuals and political bias but that which does the best for everyone and conforms most closely to God's law.
This word also means that which conforms to what is right – the thinking of and execution of that which is right.
It is clear that evil man does not understand either of these two senses of the word. They do not comprehend governmental decisions that do not favor them. They are completely dumbfounded to understand leadership that wants everyone to win. The consistent characteristic of evil men is that they have honed their selfishness to a high degree and pursue it with no moral stops.
It is also clear that evil men do not understand the thinking of the righteous; the contemplation of moral boundaries over which a person should not go; the consideration of others and whether they will win in a decision.
One of the points of this proverb is that evil men will never agree that justice was a good decision. They will never agree that a governmental decision that takes away from them could ever be the right thing to do. They cannot wrap their thinking around something bigger than themselves, so they can't see how their own perspective could ever be trumped by God or by others. So if you want those who live outside of the boundaries of the Ten Commandments to agree with a decision that is righteous, they will never be able to do it. Their perspective is one of pure confirmed selfishness.
seek the Lord
The Hebrew word baqash has the meaning of earnestly seeking something. This is a perseverant search until the object is found. It is not looking with the hopes of finding. Neither is it looking for something while doing other things. This is intensified, focused search.
The proverb before us declares that something in just the focused search for the Lord allows the person to begin comprehending why things happen. Connections between events and people begin to be clear. One begins to be stripped of their selfish perspective and can see the world for what is really happening. There is an ability to see the purpose and point of the Lord.
Notice that it is not just justice that is comprehended by the one seeking the Lord – but all things.
Now this will not make any sense to most people – especially those who are evil – but it makes perfect sense to those who are also following hard after the Lord.
It is the single-minded pursuit of the Lord that begins to give right perspective. The single-minded pursuit of selfishness – especially across crucial moral boundaries – brings clouded reasoning and an inability to perceive the connections between events and people.