Three More Hearts

Solomon addressed no less than six kinds of troubled heart in his wisdom sayings. We addressed three [Wednesday]:

  • The deceitful heart—People pursue wrongdoing and cover their tracks by deceiving themselves and others.
  • The heavy heart—Sometimes difficulties consume a person’s every thought and sap all his or her emotional strength.
  • The sorrowful heart—People in the grip of deep emotional pain, grieving a loss or enduring grim circumstances, need all their strength just to get through the day.

Today, we examine three more troubled hearts.

  1. A backsliding heart (carnality)

The backslider in heart will have his fill of his own ways,
But a good man will be satisfied with his. (14:14)

The Hebrew term rendered “backslider” expresses the ideas of “turning away” and “deteriorating.” The sage used this expression because he understood that we human beings are either oriented toward God, submitting to His will and His way, or we have turned away from God and are pursuing our own agenda. But backsliders will reap what they sow; they will receive no more than what they can earn without gifts of God’s grace, and they will endure the consequences of selfish pursuits.

  1. A proud heart

Everyone who is proud in heart is an abomination to the LORD;
Assuredly, he will not be unpunished. (16:5)

Before destruction the heart of man is haughty,
But humility goes before honor. (18:12)

The Hebrew adjective translated “proud” and “haughty” means “high, exalted,” usually “pertaining to an exalted view of self that is improper and so a moral failure.1 God detests a sinner’s self-exaltation. It’s repulsive to His righteous character. What’s more, it’s a pathetic sight, like watching a decaying corpse try to win a beauty contest.

Humility, on the other hand, chooses the lowly place rather than seeking honor for self. It is honest with self and gentle with others. When we choose humility, God delights to heap undeserved honors upon us.

  1. An angry heart

The foolishness of man ruins his way,
And his heart rages against the LORD. (19:3)

Hebrew has several words for “fool.” This particular term is not the worst sort of fool who deliberately and knowingly pursues evil; this fool is a dullard who lacks the good sense to do what is right, suffers the consequences of his wrongdoing, and then wonders why God doesn’t solve his problems. This fool “rages” against God. The Hebrew term paints a picture of a powerful, sea-churning storm.

Some people remain perpetually angry and depressed because their own foolishness keeps them in a storm of perpetual trouble.

  1. James Swanson, Dictionary of Biblical Languages with Semantic Domains: Hebrew (Old Testament) (Oak Harbor: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 1997), 1469.

From Living the Proverbs by Charles R. Swindoll, copyright © 2012. Reprinted by permission of Worthy Inspired., an imprint of Hachette Book Group, Inc.

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