Probing Proverbs 12:20-22 Deceit fills hearts that are plotting evil; joy fills hearts that are planning peace! No harm comes to the godly, but the wicked have their fill of trouble. The Lord detests lying lips, but he delights in those who tell the truth.
When we read a Proverb we must remember that it is usually communicating a principle, not a guaranteed, specific promise. God is bringing forth truths that are the normal outcome, which makes sense because the readers will be a variety of personalities and in many different situations. God does not want us to commit intellectual suicide by ignoring that a principle is not a promise, but it is solid, good advice that can guide us through this life with it’s trials and troubles. We must always consider that the principle has several contexts, God’s and ours, also an eternal perspective and a temporal one. There is also the condition of the reader that must be considered, is this individual a child of God or a person that refuses to believe He exist? This will impact the principle, though not the Truth of it. Let’s look at this Proverb and consider how this works:
Deceit fills hearts that are plotting evil; joy fills hearts that are planning peace!
This first portion is first based in fact. God has made it clear that we humans have a problem with our heart!
Jeremiah 17:9 “The heart is more deceitful than all else And is desperately sick; Who can understand it?
The principle is easy to get and will help guide us. When we desire to sin…in other words we are plotting evil…we need to know that our old dark heart is leading the way! This heart lies and is self-centered. However, when we are seeking to be a person of peace, which begins with us and God, our heart, which was created by God and has a “God shaped” vacuum in it which can only be filled by God, that heart will be filled with the peace and calm that Joy brings.
No harm comes to the godly, but the wicked have their fill of trouble.
Here there are two very important principles, one for here and now, the other in the context of eternity. In the normality of life, those that live godly experience far less harm than those that live a life filled with deliberate sin. Think about it, when you live close to God, He watches over you, you do not put things in your body that can destroy it, you do not live lawlessly, which will keep you away from criminals and let you live within the law, which makes your life with governing authorities peaceful. In most places in the world it is not the godly that fill the prisons, are in the rehabs and die young because of their behavior. Obviously though, in this world harm does come to those that love and live close to God. This is where the eternal perspective defines this principle. Every child of God that has been martyred or suffered on this side of eternity finds rewards and safety forever. Not so with the wicked. In context that should be comforting. In this flesh we at best have 100 years, and a lot of that is difficult due to age, either to young to take care of yourself or too old to do so. Eternity NEVER ends! A real no brainer as far as which is more important. Paul encouraged the believers in Thessalonica in this:
1 Thessalonians 4:13–14 And now, dear brothers and sisters, we want you to know what will happen to the believers who have died so you will not grieve like people who have no hope.14 For since we believe that Jesus died and was raised to life again, we also believe that when Jesus returns, God will bring back with him the believers who have died.
The Lord detests lying lips, but he delights in those who tell the truth.
The last principle is simply a statement that should lead us to understand what God values. In this world where fame and money carry so much weight, heroes are heroes for “being known” – God let’s us know He has a different measuring rod. As a sinner, I have felt the sting of lack of integrity. The Holy Spirit weighs hard on our heart when we allow ourselves to indulge in lying. So many believers ask me, “How can I please God?” The answer is right here…be a person of integrity…God will delight in that!
What about you? Do you take truths from the Scriptures and endeavor to live by them? When you begin your day, do you check to see which heart is in control? If you have troubles in your life, what is the cause? Are they caused by sin? If not, and you are suffering because you are doing right, do you understand God honors that?