Breakfast with Solomon - Proverbs 21:8
"The way of a guilty man is crooked, but as for the pure, his conduct is upright"
This is the Hebrew word derek, which means way, road, path, and could mean lifestyle or way of living. Solomon is saying that a person who is guilty lives differently from a person who lives within the boundaries of the Ten Commandments.
This is the Hebrew word waza, which means guilty, laden with guilt, bearing a burden. The idea is that this person is under the press of their actions that have been outside of God's and society's norms. It is this press that changes the way they live.
This is the Hebrew word hapakpak, which means crooked. The idea is that it is not straightforward. The guilty people put bends and twists in their life that would not be there if they were not guilty. Their actions that are outside of moral boundaries alter the way they live their lives and you can see it.
Sometimes all you see is the crookedness and this seems strange. Solomon is saying that those gut-level instincts – that something is not right – should not be ignored immediately. They may be backside evidence that a person is not all they seem to be.
The police use this idea all the time when they are investigating a crime. Are there odd behaviors by any of the people in the family or friendships? It is the odd behaviors that do not fit the norms that raise attention.
In the Hebrew sentence the word crooked is the first word. It receives the attention of the sentence. It is what you are forced to look at. In other words, take notice of any crooked, odd, different, or twisted behavior in the people that you meet or may want to hire. It is trying to tell you something.
Many people do not want to listen to these little clues. Especially teens want to be accepting and open to this cool guy. I know he is a little different, but he is cool. Solomon is trying to help us all navigate life, and God is moving upon him to help us see types of people that we need to be aware of and watch out for.
Another application of this idea is when we are in a relationship with another person and he/she has all these unexpected behaviors. I really needed to call my friend or go visit this person or I was late because I needed to stop by my mother's house and do this or that. The odd behaviors tell you that more is going on here. It is here that one gets the first clue that an affair is taking place. It is here that one picks up that embezzlement may be taking place.
This is the Hebrew word zak, which means pure and is used of the olive oil and incense that is used in the temple.
This is the Hebrew word poal, which means work, actions. It is the parallel idea to derek in the first phrase of the proverb. The actions of the person who is clean and pure are straightforward and clear. They do what is expected and within the normal parameters in that situation. They go home after work; they call to let people know when they will be home; they are not secretive or hidden or odd with gaps in their story.
This is the Hebrew word yasar, which means upright. It usually carries with it the idea of law keeping or living within the boundaries of the Ten Commandments. There is enough room within God's boundaries to build a great life full of relationships, harmony, love, and joy. Some, however, are tempted to move outside of these boundaries of selfishness to gain at others' expense. It is the actions that occur in the ever-strengthening land of selfishness that twists and perverts a person's life.
Solomon is trying to get us to pay attention so that we do not get duped. When things are not straightforward, something is going on...