Yesterday we said that seeking advice from godly counselors, gives us godly guidance. “Without guidance, people fall, but with many counselors there is deliverance.” (Prov 11:14) The word “guidance” here comes from a term applied to the steering of a ship. A ship without proper guidance is likely to crash onto rocks, collide with another ship, or run aground. In the same way, people without worthwhile advice experience disaster.
Today I want to look at two couplets on the importance of seeking righteousness. “Genuine righteousness leads to life, but pursuing evil leads to death. Those with twisted minds are detestable to the Lord, but those with blameless conduct are His delight.” (Prov 11:19-20) Solomon acknowledges that God rewards righteous living with life but inflicts death on those who lead a wicked life.
We all have a choice to choose life in Jesus Christ, or to choose condemnation: “Anyone who believes in Him is not condemned, but anyone who does not believe is already condemned, because he has not believed in the name of the One and Only Son of God.” (Jn 3:18)
Let’s look first at the first couplet, “Genuine righteousness leads to life, but pursuing evil leads to death.” Those who pursue truth, goodness, kindness, and mercy are more likely to be respected and helped by others, while avoiding the natural consequences of evil and selfishness. “What the wicked dreads will come to him, but what the righteous desire will be given to them.” (Prov 10:24). Of course, good people suffer tragedy and loss, and evil people sometimes prosper (Ps 73:1–3).
The absolute fulfillment of this truth is in eternity: “When the wicked man dies, his expectation comes to nothing, and hope placed in wealth vanishes” (Prov 11:7)., which is encapsulated in Scripture: “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Rom 6:23)
Jesus taught that our own hearts are the source of evil. “For from the heart come evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, sexual immoralities, thefts, false testimonies, blasphemies” (Matt 15:19). In the Old Testament, the heart is described as “more deceitful than anything else, and incurable” (Jer 17:9).
So as we think on these Scriptures, let’s look again at the second couplet: “Those with twisted minds are detestable to the Lord, but those with blameless conduct are His delight.” Here, Solomon depicts the human heart as “twisted”, meaning “distorted”. Such an attitude is out of focus with the Lord’s righteousness. Furthermore, those whose hearts are crooked are disgusting to God.
We are told, “We all went astray like sheep; we all have turned to our own way” (Is 53:6a). We’ve already said that our own sinful way leads to death (Rom 6:23). We have wandered away from God’s truth the way sheep stray from their shepherd. However, when the Lord saves a believer in Christ (John 3:16-18), He brings us back to the paths of righteousness (Ps 23:3).
Whereas those of a twisted, perverse attitude are displeasing to God; He is happy in those who seek to live by His truth. “Blameless”, as used here, doesn’t mean sinlessly perfect. However, it means someone who diligently seeks to obey God, so that others have no room to criticize their conduct. “For I know the plans I have for you”—this is the Lord’s declaration—“plans for your welfare, not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. You will call to Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.” (Jer 29:11-13)
The Lord looks favorably upon those who search for Him with their full hearts, not in a willy-nilly half-hearted fashion. He promises that He will be found by those who set their heart to search diligently for the Lord – to search for Him with ALL their heart, ALL their soul, ALL their mind, and ALL their strength.
Thank You, Heavenly Father, that I am Your child. I want to know You more and pray that as I seek You through Your Word and come before Your throne of grace, in prayer and praise, You will show me more of Yourself. Instill in my heart a desire to seek You more and search for You with my whole heart, and I pray that I will discover a depth of Your perfect character that I have never seen before. Let me reflect You in thought, word, and deed, as Christ is being formed in me. In the precious name of Jesus, amen.