I urge you to read the entirety of Proverbs 8 before focusing on today’s devotional thought from Proverbs 8:12-13.
Solomon extols the incomparable value of godly wisdom in Proverbs 8:1-11. This wisdom is in essence the insight and discernment that mirrors the heart of God in His Word. A man might have the intellect of a genius, the knowledge of a college professor, but be a fool when it comes to a personal knowledge of God and His Word [indeed, that is the state of man—full of knowledge, but spiritually foolish – Psalm 14:1].
Solomon describes the intrinsic value of godly wisdom as excellent and right (8:6), true (8:7), righteous (8:8) and plain [straight; upright] (8:9). Godly wisdom is “better than rubies”, gold and silver (8:11).
Having praised the value of godly wisdom, Solomon allows wisdom herself to take center stage and speak (Proverbs 8:12-21). For the sake of today’s study, we will focus on Proverbs 8:12-13.
Proverbs 8:12 – “I wisdom dwell with prudence [godly shrewdness; insight; discernment], and find out [acquire] knowledge of witty inventions. 13 The fear [worship and reverence] of the LORD is to hate evil: pride, and arrogancy, and the evil way, and the froward mouth, do I hate.”
Solomon identifies two moral qualities in wisdom’s character: prudence and purity. In fact, godly wisdom co-habits with prudence—they are inseparable. Together, wisdom and prudence give insight and wisdom into the wily ways of the wicked [“knowledge witty inventions”].
Wisdom is not only prudent; she is also pure (8:13). A man of godly wisdom will fear the Lord and “hate evil” (8:13a). There are many professing to be Christians, but whose lives do not reflect an attitude that hates, detests, or has an aversion for sin. Solomon identifies in Proverbs 8:13 what I will describe as three regressive traits of evil. The first trait of the man who fears the Lord and hates evil is he detests the root of all sin—“pride and arrogancy” (8:13). Pride was the root of Lucifer’s rebellion against God (Isaiah 14). Pride and arrogance are twin sisters…they are expressed in an attitude of self-centeredness and shameless self-promotion. Pride exalts itself and opposes God and authority. Listen to a teen challenge the authorities in his/her life and you will see the spirit of pride God hates. The end of such a spirit is not good: “Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.” (Proverbs 16:18)
The man who loves wisdom and fears the Lord also hates “the evil way” (8:13c). The apostle John warned 1st century Christians:
1 John 2:15-16 – “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.”
The third trait a man who fears the Lord and loves wisdom hates is “the froward mouth” (8:13d). A “froward mouth” boasts against God and His people. The mouth of the froward is full of lies, deceit, slander and perversions.
Do you love the Lord? Do you study and meditate in His Word. Do you detest pride, arrogance, wickedness and words that are provocative and deceitful? Those are the characteristics of the man who loves the Lord, fears Him and follows after wisdom.
Lesson: Your attitude toward the way of sin and the world is a barometer of your spiritual nature—wise or foolish!