Breakfast with Solomon - Proverbs 21:10
"The soul of the wicked desires evil; his neighbor finds no favor in his eyes."
This proverb about the characteristic thinking of a wicked person is absolutely insightful and needed in our culture today.
This is the Hebrew word nephesh, which means life, soul, thoughts, mind. This is the internal part of every person's being. This would correspond to the mind, will, and emotions of a person; that part of the person that acts, responds, and can grow in its understanding, information, reaction, and connections. This is the software of our life. We come with a basic operating system and a hardware system, but our software can and does grow and develop under our choices.
In some cases, we have retained the idea of the 10th Commandment. The plotting of a murder is a crime. The plotting of treason is a crime. The plotting of a theft is still a crime listed on most crime books but rarely prosecuted.
What God is really after is mental discipline in a positive direction. Instead of planning and plotting immorality, we should be designing, planning, and plotting how to benefit others and society. How can we make a positive contribution to society and others around us?
This could be called positive discontent or righteous contentment instead of lust for the immoral or plans for wickedness.
This is the Hebrew word rasa which means wicked, criminal. A clear understanding of this idea is one who lives outside the moral boundaries of the Ten Commandments and doesn't care about getting back inside of them. They flaunt these moral laws and use their no-rules lifestyle to increase their selfish pursuits. Little do they like to admit that there is a judgment coming at the end of life and that their selfish pursuits destroy themselves, those they love, and others in the process.
This is the Hebrew word, avah which means to lust, covet, desire, long for, wish, greedy for, crave. The Ten Commandments, listed in Deuteronomy 5:21, use this word for coveting.
This is the Hebrew word ra, which means evil, distress, badness, immorality; that which is beyond the scope of the Ten Commandments.
This is a very interesting proverb because it speaks about something that our culture does not see as a problem, yet God consistently refers to it as evil and wicked. That is the desiring or fantasizing of evil. The Scriptures make a big deal out of the wickedness of mental embrace of that which would be immoral or wicked if actually done. This is not even considered a problem in our culture. We have declared the thinking of the mind as off limits of any rules or boundaries whatsoever.
God, however, has said clearly that if we covet or desire that which would require an immoral act were we to do it, then we should not mentally entertain that thought. The planning and plotting of evil is wrong and should be avoided. This is what the tenth Commandment is all about. God knows that what you fantasize about is what you will eventually pursue. If you dream and lust and covet that which is evil, you will move in that direction. If you plan or scheme or plot the details of that which is immoral, it should be a crime, the Scriptures say. Planning to steal someone's wife is a problem. Planning to steal someone's property is a problem. Planning to destroy another person's company or their equipment is a problem. Most likely you are finding this discussion over the top and are amazed that I would go on this long because disciplining your mind from thinking certain thoughts has never occurred to you. If your mind wants to think about something, you probably let it. This is a mistake, both in the Old Testament and in the New Testament. The Apostle Paul keeps telling us that the battle in spiritual warfare is for our minds – what we think about. Jesus says that out of our heart (mind, will, emotions) comes the actions of the body and the mouth. It is not okay to think about whatever you want.
his neighbor finds no favor in his eyes
This is the Hebrew word reeh, which is friend, companion, neighbor – by that is meant others in general and or anyone that this person comes in contact with personally or even casually.
finds no favor
The Hebrew word for favor is hen, which is favor or grace. The idea here is clearly that the wicked person does not even stop to worry about whether what they want to do will harm their neighbor; it is all about them. They are selfish to an unusual degree. Most people who have not crossed the boundaries to fully embrace wickedness will stop short of doing something if it will clearly harm or damage someone that they know. This, however, is not the case for the wicked person. "Will it get me what I want?" is the mantra of the wicked person.