We’re continuing to look at the seven things in our passage that God sees as an abomination. God is a tender, compassionate God who is rich in mercy and grace, but He is also a God of justice—One who hates and abhors sin in every form. Preachers often fail to remind people that while our God is essentially a God of love, He also has the capacity to hate wield His vengeance (Rom 12:19).
In Proverbs 6:16-19 the passage clearly declares that God hates haughty eyes (a proud look), a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that are swift in running to evil, a false witness who speaks lies, and one who sows discord among brethren. Today, we’re looking at the fourth thing written here that is an abomination to our Lord, “a heart that devises wicked plans”.
4. God Hates a Heart That Devises Wicked Plans
The “heart” is the seat of one’s physical, spiritual, and mental life. The word “heart” is used in Scripture to designate the whole inner person—including the motives, affections, feelings, desires, and thoughts. We are told to “Watch over your heart with all diligence, for from it flow the springs of life.” (Prov 4:23)
People with high blood pressure or elevated cholesterol counts, are watching their hearts closely. But all of us have to deal with heart disease of a different kind. Because “the heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked” (Jer 17:9), we must guard carefully our actions and our speech, and especially our reactions to various situations that arise in life.
- Someone surprises us with a question we would rather not answer, so we try to evade the truth.
- Another car collides with our automobile, and we become upset and angry.
- A fellow worker at our place of employment gives us a hard time, and we respond with sarcastic remarks.
These are problems of the heart. We might be able to keep calm when things go smoothly, but sudden stress reveals a heart that is not under control. Habits and actions and speech are all on the surface, and others can observe them in our daily living. But hidden at a deeper level, we have desires, thoughts, and motives—unseen and unknown by anyone until they express themselves in word or deed.
Man looks on the outward appearance, “but the Lord looks at the heart” (1 Sam 16:7). Or, as the Psalmist says, God “knows the secrets of the heart” (Ps 44:21). The heart of each human being, in its unregenerate state—is a laboratory of evil, teeming with foul imaginations and often hatching out thoughts of revenge. And Christians who have not consistently cast down the imaginations of the carnal mind must keep alert, and must clean house.
Heart-keeping is much like house-keeping. There must be a continual sweeping out of dirt, and a cleaning out of rubbish. We are responsible for our thoughts, and while it is true that we cannot keep the devil from injecting evil thoughts into our minds, it is also true that we should not dwell upon such thoughts, because “as he thinks in his heart, so is he” (Prov 23:6-9).
Martin Luther’s statement is still true: “You cannot stop the birds from flying over your head, but you can keep them from building a nest in your hair.” We are to place our thoughts into captivity and make them obedient to Christ (2 Cor 10:5). This means that we must make deliberate efforts to censor what we read, to guard what we listen to, and to be careful what we laugh at. God hates hearts that devise wicked imaginations.
It’s also very important that when we clean our hearts and minds, that we don’t leave it clean only (which invites back a demonic spirit and friends Luke 11:24-26), but a stronger spirit must be invited in to prevent the evil spirit from coming back and bringing his friends. Demons are stronger than men, so men cannot protect themselves from demons, but God is stronger than the demons. We can’t just rid ourselves of bad and call it good, because we are weaker than spirits. We must spend time developing a relationship with our Lord and call upon Him daily. “You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.” (1 John 4:4) It’s only through a relationship with our Lord that our hearts are changed and we become more like Him. Thank You, Jesus!