June 12th 2018 – Proverbs 12:5-8

The thoughts of the righteous are just;
    the counsels of the wicked are deceitful.
The words of the wicked lie in wait for blood,
    but the mouth of the upright delivers them.
The wicked are overthrown and are no more,
    but the house of the righteous will stand.
A man is commended according to his good sense,
    but one of twisted mind is despised.

Proverbs 12:5-8

There is a progression in the thought of these verses: thoughts - actions - outcome and reward. This holds good in both directions, goodward and evilward. We may learn from this something of the power and dynamic of right - and wrong - thinking. Right thoughts will lead to right words, and will have a right outcome. This is why it is so important to guard the thoughts in spiritual life. If we think something, sooner or later, if that thought is left unchecked, it will out, in words and in deed. The idea in 6 seems to be that of an ambush, and what is in mind is the subtlety of an underhand, surprise attack, when it is little looked for or expected. In contrast, however, the words of the upright, having their origin in right thinking, are a manifest evidence of his sincerity and therefore a protection against slander, so far as he himself is concerned - for when he is thought well of, who will think ill of him? - and a liberating influence in the lives of others. In 3 'wisdom' is rendered 'good sense' in the RSV, and the meaning is that it is self-commendatory and self-evidently good, commanding respect. Apart from its value and reward in the spiritual life, it is something in itself good and worthy. The converse of this, 'of a perverse heart' has been rendered by one commentator as 'wrong-headed', a translation that says a great deal and covers much ground. Perhaps we need the AV's reminder that there is something twisted and bent in such an attitude. We must not discount the element of the wilful in the human heart, even when its waywardness is most in evidence. This is what makes men culpable.