For my mouth will utter truth; and wickedness is an abomination to my lips
One of the forgotten things to consider is what wisdom is not capable of being. That is what this proverb tells us. In other words, if we think we are hearing wisdom but what we are hearing is one of these things that wisdom cannot be, then what we are hearing cannot be wisdom.
truth: This is the Hebrew word emet which means firmness, truth, and is a major part of the biblical word faith. It clearly has to do with that which conforms to reality; that which is truly true and not a perspective or only true in certain circumstances. When we embrace the Christian view of the universe and how to be right within it, we are saying that what the Bible says is true. We are putting our trust in the biblical record.
What Solomon is trying to get us to realize is that when a person tells us things that consistently don’t happen, then they are not wise even though they purport to be very wise. Wisdom must actually conform to the truth of reality. There are a number of people who want to be our guides to life but who regularly tell us that this will happen or that will happen, but it does not happen.
I am amazed at the major universities and places of higher learning that make major pronouncements about what they say is true or what is the state of this or that thing, and then what they predict does not occur at all. It has been intellectual parlor games. It is all speculation, and it does not have any level of wisdom in it.
The other aspect that we must be aware of in this idea of wisdom always uttering truth is that one should be able to trace the wise action that is being recommended back to a bedrock truth. If one cannot trace it back to a truth, then it is not wisdom. Let me give you an example: I have heard of women who advise their girlfriends to have an affair – it won’t hurt anyone – in fact, it will probably help your marriage. There is no bedrock truth to this statement. I have heard of teens who tell one another to go ahead and try this pill; it won’t hurt. But there is no truth to the statement and, in fact, the truth is something completely different.
The classic case of this type of trickery was performed by the advocates of evolution in the 1960’s and 70’s. They taught countless children that babies move through their evolutionary stages in the womb based upon drawings from a respected scientist that were not true. They suggested that experiments done by a scientist proved that electricity passing through the atmosphere of the early earth produced the building blocks of life. When they knew that their “atmosphere” was not the early earth’s and the building blocks of life is far from life. These bogus sets of truths – along with trumped up fossil evidence – convinced many that there was no God because life’s existence had been completely explained by science.
When you are moving in a direction wisely, there is some truth that is a fixed compass point from which you can navigate.
It is also clear from this proverb that if you do not know the truth about what you are thinking about doing, then you do not know whether it is wise. I am amazed at the number of people who rush into investments without knowing the truth but just because someone said it was a good investment. If you are willing to do the research to find out the facts, then you can make a wise decision. In fact, it often presents itself as the obvious choice when the facts are clear.
wickedness: This is the Hebrew word resa which means wrong, wickedness, guilt. Remember that in the Proverbs, a quick definition of that which is wicked is that which is outside of the Ten Commandments.
This is an area that our modern world has completely lost track of. We think that we can gain some new insights into life if we will investigate the realms of sin and moral degeneracy. No, you will not find wisdom there. You will find wrecked lives and twisted logic but not wisdom. In certain circles it is fashionable to suggest that you must go beyond traditional moral boundaries to really live a full life. This is not true. It is not wise.
Solomon is here to tell us, in shorthand form, that if someone is advocating an action or a position that requires that we have another God; bow down to an idol; use a spell or charm; swear or curse God; fail to worship God regularly or work hard each week; not honor our authorities instead rejecting authority; commit physical violence; steal another person’s goods; deceive another person, scheme, or plan; lust after the possessions of another, then we are not hearing a wise suggestion. It can’t be wise if it requires that we go outside of God’s moral boundaries.
So think about what you are going to be doing this next week or the decisions that you will be making. Are they based on truth within the moral boundaries? If so, then you are being wise. If not, then you are being foolish no matter how high-sounding what you want to do is.
* This material is copyrighted © by Gil Stieglitz who retains all rights to the material. The verses quoted are taken from the NASB Bible 1995 edition.