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The Church Community_02 THE CHURCH CURE Developing Healthy Churches

The Wise of Heart or the One Foolish of Lips

Proverbs 10:8-9 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
The wise of heart will heed commandments,
    but the one foolish of lips[1] will be trampled down.[2]

He who walks in integrity walks securely,
    but he who makes his paths crooked[3] will be known.[4]

The wise of heart will heed commandments: Back in 6:32, the author spoke of being in want of heart. This is one who is inexperienced, lacking good sense and wisdom, lacking good judgment or discernment. Here we have just the opposite person who is wise of heart. The heart (Heb. leb) is used figuratively as the location of a person’s thoughts (mind), decisions, emotions, and knowledge of what is right from wrong. Thus, a person who is wise of heart is one who is sensible, possessing and showing good sense and good judgment in his decision making, as well as his thoughts and actions, which enable him to determine what is right and what is wrong.

The heart is very prominent in the Scriptures, as it is mentioned about a thousand times in one way or another. By far, the great majority of its occurrences in the Scriptures, the word “heart” (Heart, leb) is used figuratively. Servants of God cannot be halfhearted or in want of heart, or even double hearted. (Ps 12:2; Prov. 10:13) As a reader of hearts, God can see any insincere or feigned behavior on our part. He is well aware of our actions and thinking, even when we are alone. He knows our heart condition, what we are trying to do with our lives. If our heart is good, and we love God’s Word, he will know. (Josh. 1:8-9; Ps. 1:1-3; 119:97, 101, 105, and 165) A person who is halfhearted is lukewarmly worshiping God. (Ps 119:113; Rev. 3:16) This young man being tempted by adultery is double hearted (literally, with a heart and a heart), is trying to serve two masters (God and his flesh), or he is deceivingly saying one thing while thinking sinful thoughts to himself. (1 Ch. 12:33; Ps 12:2) Jesus clearly condemned such double hearted hypocrisy. – Matthew 15:7-8.

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The wise one’s heeding (Heb. laqach) of commandments means that he will be receptive to the commands, he will pay attention and obey the commands. He does this willingly. The Hebrew word (mitsvah) translated commandments was used in Proverbs 2:1; 3:1; and 4:4, where it was used in reference to the words and teachings of wisdom. My words refer to the Law (thoughts and ideas) that Solomon has embraced in an active faith and obedience, which he is teaching as well. The use of commandments here in this verse is referring simply to the good instruction, advice or counsel that one receives.

but the one foolish of lips will be trampled down: The expression foolish of lips is referring to the person who speaks foolishly or is a foolish talker. His senseless babbling will cause him to be trampled down. The Hebrew word for fool (evil) is referring to a simpleton, one who lacks good judgment. He lacks understanding and stubbornly so, who is both stupid in his actions and his words. The wise of heart is being contrasted with foolish of lips. Instead of being able to have the good judgment to recognize, let alone obey good instruction, advice, or counsel that the foolish one receives, his senseless talk causes him to be trampled down, that is he will be brought to ruin. In other words, his foolish words that are spoken without thinking will bring him a lifetime of ruination, trouble, ending up with nothing.

He who walks in integrity walks securely: In the Bible, the expression “to walk” is figurative and illustrative and can mean to follow a certain course of action, as “Noah walked with God.” (Gen. 6:9; 5:22) Those who walk with God follow the life course outlined by God’s Word and will find his favor, that is, be pleasing to him. Pursuing such a life-course makes you different from most of the unbelievers. The Greek New Testament uses the same illustrative expression, contrasting two different courses of action sought by one before and after becoming a servant of God. (Eph. 2:2, 10; 4:17; 5:2) The Hebrew verb walk (halak) is expressing a life course that one will experience as a result of possessing the wisdom of God and the Hebrew noun securely (betach) is telling us that as compared to those ignoring or rejecting the wisdom of God, we will walksecurely. This is not saying that we will absolutely be free from danger or injury but rather, Solomon is saying far more so than those who lack wisdom.

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Hebrew terms relating to integrity have the root meaning of that which is “whole” or “complete.” They often suggest moral soundness and uprightness. Those walking in integrity are unbending in devotion to Jehovah. For such blameless ones, he is a protective shield because they display true wisdom and conform to his righteous standards. This does not mean, though, that Jehovah will not allow you to be tested. He did so even with Job. “God is faithful,” the apostle Paul noted to the Corinthians. In full he said, “No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it.” – 1 Corinthians 10:13.

but he who makes his paths crooked will be known: Paths crooked: (Heb. derākāy meaqqēsh) means their ways are morally crooked, perverse, distorted, dishonest, and evasive when it is compared alongside the just, right and correct ways of the wise ones. The phrase “will be known” can be rendered will be “found out.” The one who perverts his ways (makes his paths crooked) will be found out (known). It is likely referring to being found out by other people as opposed to being found out by God because God would have already foreseen any perverted ways. God could never find out anything.

If you are always talking; there is no opportunity to learn anything. You acquire wisdom by listening to the good instruction, advice or counsel that you receive through others. Because you are sensible, possessing and showing good sense and good judgment in your decision making, you will then accept and obey these commands. However, the simpleton foolish one is only aware of his own ignorance because he is too busy babbling to learn anything. Therefore, he will eventually bring himself to ruin and anyone else in association with him. Therefore, if you may it a practice of walking down crooked paths (perverted ways), you will eventually be found out by others, who will likely never trust you when the time comes when you seriously want and need others to believe and trust you, but they will feel they cannot.

[1] I.e. the one speaking foolishly
[2] I.e. will come to ruin, or will be destroyed
[3] Or perverts his ways
[4] Or will be found out

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