Our devotional today is from Proverbs 20; however, I once again remind you that the goal is to read today’s chapter in Proverbs in its entirety. After reading Proverbs 20, continue in today’s meditation by considering my brief exposition of Proverbs 20:8-9.
Two statements can address our devotional proverbs today: The first, “the way things ought to be” (20:8); the second, “the way things are” (20:9).
Proverbs 20:8 – “A king that sitteth [abide; inhabit; dwell] in the throne [canopied area] of judgment [place of justice; sentence; plea] scattereth away [disperse; fan away; i.e. fanning chaff away] all evil [sin; wickedness] with his eyes [sight; view; or opinion].”
A righteous ruler is the subject of Proverbs 20:8. Under an absolute monarchy, the king is the personification of the law of the land. He is not only the ruler; he is the final judge in all matters. When a righteous ruler sits in judgment, the people rejoice and the wicked are deterred in their proclivity to do evil (Proverbs 11:10).
To know whether the righteous or wicked rule, one need only consider the attitude the wicked hold toward law and justice. When the righteous are in authority, “The wicked flee [and] the righteous are bold as a lion” (Proverb 28:1); however, “when the wicked beareth rule, the people mourn” (Proverb 29:2).
America’s judicial system is compromised and the rule of law is no longer respected or feared. Rather than the utopia men had imagined, the 21st century has ushered in a lawless day. We have become what Solomon taught his son was not good:
Proverbs 18:5 – “It is not good to accept the person of the wicked, to overthrow the righteous in judgment.”
Proverbs 20:9 spotlights the universal malady of man–a deceitful and wicked heart.
Proverbs 20:9 – “Who can say [speak; answer], I have made my heart [mind; will; seat of thoughts, feelings and emotions] clean [pure; innocent], I am pure [morally innocent; ceremonially clean before God] from my sin [offences; sinfulness]?”
Not one of us wants to ponder for long the inherent evil that rests within our heart [the seat of our thoughts, feelings and emotions]. In verse 9, Solomon proposes a rhetorical question that demands a negative answer. To paraphrase, Solomon asks:
Is there one among us who can say, “I have cleansed, purified and made innocent my heart, thoughts and emotions? I am pure, clean and innocent of any wrongdoing before God who knows all things?”
Those questions demand honesty and the transparent answer is, “No!”
Romans 3:10 – “…There is none righteous, no, not one:”
Romans 3:12 – “…there is none that doeth good, no, not one.”
Romans 3:23 – “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;”
The natural man is given to a high opinion of himself and foolishly believes, “I’m not that bad!” God however, has a different opinion:
Jeremiah 17:9 – “The heart [mind; seat of thoughts and feelings] is deceitful [swells up; crooked; lit. grabs hold of the heel] above all things, and desperately wicked [incurably, woefully wicked]: who can know it [understand]?”
Copyright 2014 – Travis D. Smith