Breakfast with Solomon - Proverbs 17:20
"He who has a crooked mind finds no good, and he who is perverted in his language falls into evil"
This is the Hebrew word iqqes, which means crooked, perverse. This word often deals with the sin and the twisting effects of a mind committed to doing sin. Clearly Solomon is saying that people who twist everything to their own advantage and will not respect God's boundaries do not think about how to benefit others; they think about how to benefit themselves and how to pleasure themselves even if it means others will suffer. This is a mind that is more interested in self-gratification than it is in producing useful ideas and actions.
This is the Hebrew word leb, which means heart, soul, inner part of the person. In the Hebrew understanding this was the essence of the person, not just what they thought. The soul of a person is that collection of wisdom, direction, and operating principles by which you live your life. Moses says that we are to present to God – at the end of life – a heart of wisdom. In the case of perverse people, they have collected ways to twist things to their own advantage. The soul is the operating software that runs your life. It is the collection of ideas and practices that you will use to direct your life. We collect these as we go through life – either righteous or unrighteous; either selfish or generous; either wise or foolish.
This is the Hebrew word masa, which means find. The idea in this verse is clearly that the twisted or crooked person's mind does not notice or pick up on those things that would benefit others. They just can't see those and have tuned their radar to notice selfish things, to notice twisted things. So the actions, words, and emotions that would benefit others are missed because this person’s soul has been tuned to another frequency. The frequency is KSELF and it only receives those signals.
This is the Hebrew word hapak, which means turn or overturned. Solomon is giving us a way to find perverted people without studying their soul. He says in this last part of this proverb that the twisted or perverted person declares the way their mind works through their language, their speech. If their way of speaking is twisted and selfish, then they have a twisted mind.
This is the Hebrew word lason, which means tongue or speech or language. The idea is that the way a person speaks and what they talk about reveals what is filling their soul. They cannot hide how they think because it comes out in how they talk. If they never express concern for others or anything except themselves, then they are foolish. If they always talk about crooked or perverse actions, then that is how their mind works. Back away from them. I am troubled by the number of people who are enamored by a person who speaks of bizarre things and actions that they would not have thought of. They make their ideas sound so interesting – even though they may be bizarre or revolting – and only later do you find this person is actually involved in perverse things.
Solomon is giving us a huge clue in this proverb on how to avoid a lot of pain and get a read on a person’s soul. What do they talk about when they control the conversation? It will reveal what is in their soul. If their speech is evil, they are evil. If they talk about perverse things, then they are twisted. It may not have been fully acted on, but it is moving in that direction.
What you think about will begin to leak out in your way of speaking and acting. Think about something long enough and it will eventually become a habit. We are the product of what we allow ourselves to think about. What we marinate our mind in is what we will become.
This is the Hebrew word napal, which means fall. The idea is that the person who speaks about twisted or perverted things will find them coming true in their life. Their radar is tuned to those frequencies. They will "fall" into these actions or experiences because they will have tuned themselves to these ideas and actions.
It is evil they are chasing, and it will destroy their lives in the pursuit. It may start out pleasurable and productive, but it will end with a destroyed soul and life. This is the way of evil.