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  • Dr. Stieglitz

Breakfast with Solomon - Proverbs 6:14

"Who with perversity in his heart continually devises evil, who spreads strife"

Remember that this section opens with the statement that we are talking about the person who is worthless and wicked. The person who provides no productive service for the society, but instead is a parasite on the society. The person who continually uses the benefits and people of a community to meet their needs.

The word perversity is the Hebrew word hepek which means contrariness, twisted, distorted.

The word devises is the Hebrew word haras which means engrave, plow, devise.

The word evil is the Hebrew word ra which means evil, distress, badness, misery.

At the risk of repeating myself over and over again... The wicked person is the one who continues to do and say things that are beyond the Ten Commandments with little regard for those moral boundaries. This is the type of person that Solomon is trying to give us insight into – the person who lives outside of God's moral boundary structures.

He says that this person has a twisted contrariness in their soul. Their inner life develops strategies of selfishness that knows no boundaries. There is nothing that causes this person to go: “We shouldn't do that.”

It is important to spend some time talking about evil. Let me aim at a simple definition of its root. Evil is selfishness pushed to the place where its accomplishment is destructive to the individual and the society and, therefore, must be outlawed. We must not make this category of actions called evil that is so different from "normal" actions that it seems that we could never commit them. God says that evil is that level of selfishness that pushes past the boundaries of the Ten Commandments. Murder, rebellion, sexual sins, stealing, fraud and lying, coveting another's goods -- these are God's revealed boundaries for selfishness. When a person allows their own natural tendencies for what they want to move them to these actions and behaviors, they have begun to commit evil actions. If they do not repent and come back to righteous living, they become evil.

One of the dangers of our culture is we are encouraging – through our movies, books, magazines, television, and other media outlets – a life of the mind that devotes itself to accomplishing and contemplating evil. This proverb warns us that this is the thought patterns of the wicked and worthless. If we are always thinking about how we could steal something or how we could get rid of an opponent or rebel from God-given authority, we have allowed our mind to pursue twisted thoughts about evil.

We can choose to think about anything we want. Let's think about what we should be doing, not what we shouldn't be doing.

who spreads strife

Another telltale sign of a person who is worthless and wicked is that they spread strife. This almost appears to be a throw-away line in this proverb, but it is in reality a well-placed insight into the actual lifestyle of those who are wicked. Notice that this is no more what the person thinks about but instead it is what the person does even if it does not seem like they are the cause of the discord between people. Everywhere they go, people begin to be at one another; there is discord. This is a sure sign that someone is pursuing a level of selfishness that is beyond the "normal" selfish inclinations.

It is entirely possible that Solomon is pointing out the outward evidence of a person who is like this; lots of strife being spread by them. We cannot know what a person thinks about; but if someone is constantly surrounded by strife and spreads its contagion, then there is perversity in their heart – devising evil.

Look for these signs and do not allow your own mind to move in these directions. Also make sure that you are not pursuing your own selfish ends at work, in the church, or the community that you will not let disagreements die down.

I have watched people in the work place and in ministry continually point out their selfish perspective and gather support until there are distinct camps. This causes division over usually what started out as a personal issue.

Until tomorrow,

Gil Stieglitz

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