TODAY’S READING: PROVERBS 15-17
“A man of crooked heart does not discover good, and one with a dishonest tongue falls into calamity.” – Proverbs 17:20
“Whoever gives thought to the word will discover good, and blessed is he who trusts in the Lord.” – Proverbs 16:20
“Whoever gets sense loves his own soul; he who keeps understanding will discover good.” – Proverbs 19:8
DOES NOT DISCOVER GOOD
Proverbs 17:20 equates a man of crooked heart and a man with dishonest tongue. The one helps explain the other.
In Hebrew, the word for crooked literally means twisted, perverted, or false. A man with a false heart is a deceitful man, a man of lies. Indeed, a man with a crooked, false, deceitful heart becomes a man with a dishonest tongue because it is out of the heart that the mouth speaks.
As these two men are equated, so are there outcomes. Therefore, to not discover good is to fall into calamity. The Hebrew word for calamity literally means evil, wickedness, and depravity. To not discover good is to fall into evil.
Lies in the heart cause one to not discover good; and this leads to a lies on the lips that cause one to fall into evil.
Eve is a prime example. God had created a world that was good, even very good. He had given to Eve every tree that was good for food, pleasant to the sight, and the tree of life. The serpent planted the seed of the lie in her heart that God’s provision was not fully and completely good. Eve believe that lie in her heart. Therefore, Eve did not discover good. Indeed, lies came from her lips as she twisted and perverted the truth about what God had provided for her. These lies caused her to fall into evil – her first son murdering the second.
According to Young’s Literal Translation, Proverbs 19:8 says, “Whoso is getting heart is loving his soul, He is keeping understanding to find good.”
Like Proverbs 17:20, we find an equality in the two halves of Proverbs 19:8. One who is “getting heart” is likened to a man that is keeping understanding. And, the products of getting heart and keeping understanding, loving his soul (the same Hebrew word as living being) and to find good are equated.
To find good, which is to love your own life, is predicated on keeping understanding, which is getting heart.
What is getting heart?
Perhaps getting heart is praying with David, “Lord create in me a clean heart.” Give me a heart that functions like yours Lord.
How does God do this?
Galatians 4:6 says, “And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, ‘Abba! Father!'” The Holy Spirit is put into our hearts so that God can pour his love into us (Romans 5:5).
Getting heart then can be seen as God fulfilling the new covenant within us. Hebrews 10:15-16 says, “And the Holy Spirit also bears witness to us; for after saying, ‘This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, declares the Lord: I will put my laws on their hearts, and write them on their minds.'”
Getting heart is the Spirit within us writing God’s love on our hearts. In this we discover good.
This leads us to Proverbs 16:20. According to Young’s Literal Translation, it says, “The wise in any matter findeth good, and whoso is trusting in Jehovah, O his happiness.”
Again, we have an equality between the two parts of the proverb. One who is wise in any matter is equal to one who is trusting in the Lord. Their results are similar finding good and blessing.
How are we wise any matter?
In some sense, the ESV helps us here. One who is wise in any matter is one who gives thought to the word. Remember those two statements are translated from the same Hebrew words, so they are related thoughts.
To give thought to a word is to meditate on it, to ponder it, to mull it over, to think deeply about it. To give thought to a word is most definitely not to accept it at face value or to take the literal meaning as the meaning.
Second Corinthians 3:2-6 says, “You yourselves are our letter of recommendation, written on our hearts, to be known and read by all. And you show that you are a letter from Christ delivered to us, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts. Such is the confidence that we have through Christ toward God. Not that we are sufficient in ourselves to claim anything as coming from us, but our sufficiency is from God, who has made us sufficient to be ministers of a new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit. For the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.”
The Spirit writes on tablets of human hearts – getting heart. Getting heart leads to trusting in the Lord. Trust does not change based on the situation but always remains the same regardless of situation or circumstance. The Lord can always be counted on for blessing.
Likewise getting heart and trusting in the Lord lead to being wise in any matter. When we are wise in any matter, indeed only if we are wise in every matter, then, and only then, we discover good.
DISCOVER GOOD, DISCOVER GOD
When we discover good, what exactly do we discover?
For, God is good.
Seven times it is stated in the Old Testament “the Lord is good.” Seven is the number of spiritual perfection.
When Jesus was called Good Teacher, he replied in Mark 10:18, “Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone.”
Interestingly, the New Testament states one time that the Lord is good (1 Peter 2:3). Therefore, eight times the Bible declares that “the Lord is good.” Eight is the number of resurrection, new beginnings, new creation, new life, abundant life.
To discover good is to discover God is to discover life.