The Path of Evil

There are six things that the LORD hates,

seven that are an abomination to him:

haughty eyes, a lying tongue,

and hands that shed innocent blood,

a heart that devises wicked plans,

feet that make haste to run to evil,

a false witness who breathes out lies,

and one who sows discord among brothers.

– Proverbs 6:16-19

Proverbs as a book is part of the wisdom literature.  The Hebrews have a three-fold segmentation of the Old Testament: the Torah, the Prophets and the Writings. The Torah is the first five books of Moses.  The prophets are the history books and the individual prophetic books prior to the exile.  The writings are the Psalms, the wisdom literature and any book that came during or after the exile.  Part of the purpose of the division is a statement on the authoritativeness of the work. The Torah or the law was deadly serious.  Think the 10 commandments carved in stone by the finger of God himself. The prophets are authoritative, but they are also influenced by their specific situation. The writings are even more free. It is all the word of God, but the Spiritual Insight to directly apply something from Proverbs is much higher than from the Law.  Christians have often followed something similar in the New Testament.  Everybody accepts the binding nature of the Gospels, Paul’s Major Letters and 1 Peter, 1 John, and James on the Christian life. Likewise the Pastorals and 2 Peter, 2-3 John are solid counsel. But as much as Revelation fascinates us, you don’t base any dogma of the church on that apocalyptic work alone. Saying the scriptures are readable by the common man, is not also saying that every reading is appropriate or that there aren’t better and worse readers of the Scriptures.

I saw someone quote the above in an interesting way.  They essentially asked: how does Satan work in this world? There are certainly ways that Satan works against individuals, but Lewis’ Screwtape is interesting in this. Individuals are left to minor tempters like Wormtongue or Screwtape himself.  The demonic hierarchy is focused on longer term projects.  They are always attempting to build the Tower of Babel. So how is that done?  According to this interpreter here is the devil’s playbook in this world.

It starts with “haughty eyes.” The old King James translators said “a proud look.” It is something of an idiom in the original that we don’t really have an analog for.  Or maybe we do, but it’s rather crude. Someone whose “farts don’t smell.”  If you had an Alexa around an 8 year old you know that “Alexa, make a fart noise” was one of their favorite things. Likewise the movie Minions gave them “the fart gun.” Scatological humor is something that kids get, because they aren’t worried about pride.  They know we are ridiculous creatures made of dust. Satan’s first act is to get us to think much more of ourselves than those giggling kids. To enter the Kingdom is to be like a child.

Lying and pride go hand in hand.  We lie to protect our own picture of ourselves. We might even go so far as to kill someone to protect the lie. Imagine an entire nation engaged in pride, and a lie that leads to bloodshed of the innocent.

The progression of evil is from the heart that devises wicked plans to those who run to carry them out. It starts with a single heart that despises the order of God.  It ends with partisans and armies hastening to build concentration camps and gulags and security states. The modern Towers of Babel.

But we aren’t stupid.  How do we get led down such paths?  The bold lies.  The false witnesses.  The big lies. Whose purpose is to sow discord among brothers. Those who should feel the bonds of fraternity and fellowship are set against each other. 

There are six things the LORD hates, seven that are an abomination. It’s from the book of Proverbs.  It is not the gospel that assures of our eternal salvation in Christ.  It is wisdom for living this life.  It is the Word that might help us find the “you are here” marker.  You know a tree by its fruit. Is it producing innocent blood, evil works and discord?

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.