Today: [Proverbs 24] How to Identify Evil Men. In Proverbs 24 we are warned not to envy or to desire the company of evil men. This is a very difficult passage because in order to reject evil we must first identify it. Today we are constantly told not to judge but there are times for our own spiritual well good that we have to make decisions about who we will and will not allow to be an influence in our lives. Toward that end we will define exactly what is and is not an evil person – not from our personal viewpoint but from the perspective of biblical definition.
[Pro 24:1-34 KJV] 1 Be not thou envious against evil men, neither desire to be with them. 2 For their heart studieth destruction, and their lips talk of mischief. 3 Through wisdom is an house builded; and by understanding it is established: 4 And by knowledge shall the chambers be filled with all precious and pleasant riches. 5 A wise man [is] strong; yea, a man of knowledge increaseth strength. 6 For by wise counsel thou shalt make thy war: and in multitude of counsellors [there is] safety. 7 Wisdom [is] too high for a fool: he openeth not his mouth in the gate. 8 He that deviseth to do evil shall be called a mischievous person. 9 The thought of foolishness [is] sin: and the scorner [is] an abomination to men. 10 [If] thou faint in the day of adversity, thy strength [is] small.
Chapter 24 of Proverbs begins with a prohibition to desiring the company of evil men. What is an evil man, or woman? In today’s society we are taught “to each his own”. The values of individualism have become skewed to the point that making any such judgment is considered obnoxious and extreme. The original language word describing an evil person is defined as follows:
2. Unpleasant (one who causes pain, unhappiness or misery to others).
3. Sad, unhappy.
5. Unkind, or vicious.
6. Broken, or Shattered.
The verse tells us not to envy people who fit this description and not to desire to be in their company. Let us consider each of these in turn:
1. Disagreeable. It takes a certain amount of assertiveness to disagree with someone. Have you ever envied someone who spoke up in disagreement? Have you ever desired to be around those who are contentious in nature or thought in your heart “I wish I had said that…” or “I wish I had the courage to say what I think…” It is one thing to stand up for yourself and quite another to have a personality type that is always conflicting or choosing contention with others. From a biblical perspective this is an evil person and we should not envy this person or ever choose to be in their company.
2. Unpleasant (one who causes pain, unhappiness or misery to others). In our society there is a certain tendency to admire those who mock and jest in hurtful ways against others. Sarcasm is considered by many to be a virtue well cultivated. Words however can cut like a knife and be injurious more than we know. How many times have you seen unpleasant words be rebuked and the person they came from insisting “I was just kidding – don’t be so thin skinned…” This is the habit of a person defined in our chapter as an evil person.
3. Sad, unhappy. Here is a difficult one. Be cautious of hanging around or being consistently in the company of sad or unhappy people. Some people live their lives in a victim mentality. No matter what good may come their glass is always half empty. They are clingy and needful at all times. They are a constant drain emotionally and otherwise upon all those around them. This is a very deceptive form of evil that will pull you down and rob you of your joy. From a biblical standpoint this is an evil person and though it may seem harsh at times you must limit at all costs allowing this type of person to be your constant companion.
4. Hurtful. Some people live their lives and conduct themselves around their fellow man as though they have no filter for their thoughts or their words. They constantly presume authority to make intrusive, inappropriate and hurtful statements. They have no sense of minding their own business or restraining their words. Many self-described “prophetic” people carry this persona like a mantle of anointing but it is nothing of the sort. They are evil people preying upon the weak in the pursuit of making themselves look like authorities or special people at the expense of the comfort level of all those around them. We should avoid this person and make every effort to exclude them from our circle.
5. Unkind, or vicious. Some people are just downright mean. They have many pretenses for doing so and always have an excuse for refusing to walk in kindness or show mercy. They insist they are not being difficult they are just being truth tellers. In reality they are evil people and should be avoided.
6. Broken, or Shattered. This type of evil is difficult to discern. It wraps itself in victimhood and continually solicits your sympathy and attention. They operate in what my wife calls a “performing spirit” always demanding on the basis of their personal pain to have all the attention placed upon them. They are notoriously uncorrectable because if they ever allowed themselves to be healed they would not be the center of attention any more. This is an evil person that should be avoided in the interests of your own spiritual well-being.
11 If thou forbear to deliver [them that are] drawn unto death, and [those that are] ready to be slain; 12 If thou sayest, Behold, we knew it not; doth not he that pondereth the heart consider [it]? and he that keepeth thy soul, doth [not] he know [it]? and shall [not] he render to [every] man according to his works? 13 My son, eat thou honey, because [it is] good; and the honeycomb, [which is] sweet to thy taste: 14 So [shall] the knowledge of wisdom [be] unto thy soul: when thou hast found [it], then there shall be a reward, and thy expectation shall not be cut off. 15 Lay not wait, O wicked [man], against the dwelling of the righteous; spoil not his resting place: 16 For a just [man] falleth seven times, and riseth up again: but the wicked shall fall into mischief. 17 Rejoice not when thine enemy falleth, and let not thine heart be glad when he stumbleth: 18 Lest the LORD see [it], and it displease him, and he turn away his wrath from him. 19 Fret not thyself because of evil [men], neither be thou envious at the wicked; 20 For there shall be no reward to the evil [man]; the candle of the wicked shall be put out.
Verses 11-13 warn us against the tendency not to get involved in the suffering of others. We often see families or individuals going through hard times and for reasons of our own do not want to get involved. This is a form of sowing. When we sow indifference to the struggles of those around us we are opening ourselves up to difficulty in our own lives. The law of reciprocity in the kingdom works against us when we allow ourselves to be indifferent toward suffering or to hold ourselves aloof from the legitimate struggles of those who would benefit by our prayers, support or intervention. This does not mean that we place ourselves at the disposal of others on their terms. In Matt. 7:27 the Syrophenecian woman demanded Jesus to heal her daughter but Jesus initially refused saying it was not appropriate to give children’s bread to dogs. In other words, He went on to heal her but He refused to submit to the false authority she felt she carried by virtue of being seen as an underprivileged person. You cannot move in pity. Pity extinguishes the anointing. You must instead act in godly compassion following the leading of the Holy Spirit and not the accusatory demands of undisciplined, albeit hurting people.
21 My son, fear thou the LORD and the king: [and] meddle not with them that are given to change: 22 For their calamity shall rise suddenly; and who knoweth the ruin of them both? 23 These [things] also [belong] to the wise. [It is] not good to have respect of persons in judgment. 24 He that saith unto the wicked, Thou [art] righteous; him shall the people curse, nations shall abhor him: 25 But to them that rebuke [him] shall be delight, and a good blessing shall come upon them. 26 [Every man] shall kiss [his] lips that giveth a right answer. 27 Prepare thy work without, and make it fit for thyself in the field; and afterwards build thine house. 28 Be not a witness against thy neighbour without cause; and deceive [not] with thy lips. 29 Say not, I will do so to him as he hath done to me: I will render to the man according to his work. 30 I went by the field of the slothful, and by the vineyard of the man void of understanding; 31 And, lo, it was all grown over with thorns, [and] nettles had covered the face thereof, and the stone wall thereof was broken down. 32 Then I saw, [and] considered [it] well: I looked upon [it, and] received instruction. 33 [Yet] a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep: 34 So shall thy poverty come [as] one that travelleth; and thy want as an armed man.
Verse 21 speaks to us regarding reverence for rulers and a prohibition against a continual demand for change. What does this speak to us. In our society politics have become polarized to the extreme. From election cycle to election cycle the public reels to and fro in their sentiments, rejecting the incumbents and looking for new leaders. Rising politicians hoping to get into office make completely unrealistic promises, goading people to vote on the basis of the false hopes they claim to represent. As a result we continually see governmental policies failing over time like a cake half-baked because the people have no patience and our leaders have no wisdom. We should always take our responsibility to vote very seriously. At the same time we should not violate scripture by despising those in power that we may not agree with. When a politician comes to power that we disagree with we should pray for them with equal energies by which we lobbied against them getting into office. Fear the Lord and the king and meddle not (or don’t allow yourself to be manipulated) by those given to change.
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