Portrait of a Wicked Man: Proverbs 6:12-19

It is interesting to note that in within Proverbs 6, a collection of proverbs dealing with different problems of self government, that the middle section of this section of Proverbs deals with two different portrayals of the wicked man.  While other parts of this chapter deal with such issues as economic liability (Proverbs 6:1-5), laziness (Proverbs 6:6-11), adultery and fornication (Proverbs 6:20-29, 32-35), and theft (Proverbs 6:30-31), the middle section of Proverbs 6 that we will uncover today examines two different portrayals of the wicked man who lacks self-government.  The first passage examines a portrait of a wicked man who may look familiar to many of us given the events of the past few months.  The second passage examines the seven things God hates.  Let us examine these passages now, so that we may be wise enough, obedient enough, humble enough, and discerning enough to avoid seeing a portrait of ourselves when we look at these verses.

Portrait of a Wicked Man

Proverbs 6:12-15 gives a portrait of what a wicked man looks like as well as a solemn warning about his fate.  Though wicked plotters may seek, in the aftermath of their plotting, to start something new with the blessing of God [1], their destiny is grim [2] if they refuse to repent to God, apologize to those they have slandered [3] and reconcile with those they have rebelled against [4].  Proverbs 6:12-15 reads as follows:  “A worthless person, a wicked man, walks with a perverse mouth; he winks with his eyes, he shuffles his feet, he points with his fingers; perversity is in his heart, he devises evil continually, he sows discord.  Therefore his calamity shall come suddenly; suddenly he shall be broken without remedy.”

Reading this account it is hard to avoid feeling a little uncomfortable.  Let us look at how the wicked man behaves.  He winks with his eyes, flattering those whose good will and agreement and cooperation he wishes to gain.  He might tell the young that he has their best interests in heart, he might cultivate “clones” who follow after his example and whose support he can count on, he might support the ambitions of those who can be counted on to stand behind him.  He shuffles his feet when questioned about his goals, trying to avoid admitting the truth.  He will claim that he is being neutral or unbiased when he is an open partisan of others.  He will try to lay low and avoid drawing attention to himself or to his plotting.  He will point fingers at those who call him out, making false and hostile accusations.  He might call them heretics, charismatics, liberals, Sabbath breakers, unethical, or lacking in integrity, but he will never cease attacking.  He will make outrageous demands to get his way while not providing any evidence to support his claims, because no such evidence exists.

Perversity is in the heart of such a man because his motives are unjust, his means are wicked, and his goals are self-aggrandizement and the fulfillment of his own selfish ambitions.  He devises evil continually, writing petitions and letters under false names, engaging in an active political campaign of slander against his legitimate authorities, all while seeking to avoid being known or seen, as well as seeking other options should his goals to regain or retain power fail.  We see this in churches just as we see them in corrupt dictatorships where dictators under fire will try to devise ways to maintain power despite popular discontent [5].  He sows discord because, like his master Satan, he knows that the surest way to defeat his enemies is to divide them and split them against each other, and so he actively seeks out those with wrongs so that he may pretend to be on their side (even if he and his allies are responsible for those wrongs in the first place) so that he can divide brethren against each other.  He will sow discord through any means possible–control of key positions allowing him to promote and support allies and punish those who are opposed to him, strategic marriages, misinformation campaigns, deliberate deceptions, half-truths, or whatever else is necessary.  What the wicked man will not do is examine himself or repent.

What does God promise will happen to these wicked men?  The answer is grim, and plain:  they will suddenly face calamity and will be without remedy, for the only source of remedy would be repentance to God, and this they are unwilling to do because they are too proud and arrogant to accept rebuke.  Do you know any such wicked men?  Do you want to be them?  I hope none of us do, but as long as we are self-aware, self-examining, and humble in our hearts we can ask forgiveness when we fall into error, so that we may not harden our hearts against the loving correction of our Father in heaven.

The Seven Things God Hates

Let us now turn to the second passage in this section, Proverbs 6:16-19, to examine briefly the seven things that God hates.  Again, when we read a passage like this, we should ask ourselves:  am I one of these people?  Are these things that God hates present in my life?  If so, we need to repent of them, because God is not going to change what He hates–we must repent if we are opposed to Him–he will neither change nor surrender to us.  Proverbs 6:16-19 says:  “These six things the Lord hates, yes, seven are an abomination to Him:  a proud look, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that are swift in running to evil, a false witness who speaks lies, and one who sows discord among brethren.”

Let us remember that these things are abominations to God, things that, if not repented, will lead one to suffer fiery condemnation by God and will prevent one from entering into His Holy City, to be blotted out of the book of life, to suffer the second death.  We do not want this fate, and so we had better not be practicing the seven things that God hates.  Let us examine these seven things.  Why does God hate a proud look?  Pride makes us feel superior to other people–denying that other human beings (women, people of other ethnicities or personalities) are created in the image of God.  This is a direct assault upon the God who is the Creator and Father of all.  Also, pride distorts our ability to accept rebuke and correction from other people because we disdain and disrespect them, causing us to develop the proud and arrogant nature of Satan rather than the humble and gracious nature of God.  We want to acquire the image and likeness of God within us by developing His character, not becoming like the great rebel and liar that is Satan the devil.

The rest of the qualities that God hates similarly revolve around the elements of Satan’s character that we are not to develop or practice.  Twice this passage mentions lies–a lying tongue and a false witness who speaks lies.  Some people, for example, may claim to be a witness of the activities of others (their cronies) and may paint a glorious account of their actions, when the truth is that their wickedness has been present for many years and is only now coming to public attention and condemnation.  Others may lie through making false accusations (one of the surest ways to cause discord, by acquiring a personal following and attacking one’s legitimate authorities, another one of the things that God hates).  And who is the father of lies but Satan (John 8:44).  Likewise, God hates the devising of wicked plans–the plots to steal money and property from the godly for one’s own use, the plots to formulate strategies of attacks.  God also abhors hands that shed innocent blood–malicious and false accusations made against those who are innocent of the charges, for that is to follow the example of Satan, the original accuser of the brethren (Revelation 12:10).  Whose feet are swifter to commit evil than Satan, who wanders this earth like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour (1 Peter 5:8)?

So we see that the seven things that God hates are seven things that show us to have the nature of Satan the Devil within us and not the nature of God.  Do we have these qualities within us?  Have we spent years perfecting how to blackmail others, how to make false accusations, how to slander the reputations of the innocent, how to divide and conquer for one’s own selfish ambitions?  If so, and if we are unwilling to repent before God and seek His mercy, then God has told us plainly that He considers our deeds and character to be abominable to Him.  None of us ought to want that, for we know the end of that road is destruction and judgment.


What then shall we do?  If we have found ourselves believing such liars, we should repent to God for our lack of discernment, ask Him for wisdom, apologize to those we have falsely slandered and attacked, and return to our God and to our brethren, who await with open arms and loving hearts, for truly none of us is immune from such errors of judgment.  We are all fallible.

If we have found ourselves deliberately starting and perpetuating lies, and devising wicked plans, we ought to cease deceiving ourselves that we act with the blessing of God and according to His will, for God will consign all who believe and practice a lie willingly and presumptuously to destruction and judgment, unless they repent.  And so those who have acted in the seven ways God hates or have the portrait of Dorian Gray hiding in our closets, and if we genuinely wish to avoid judgment, our only course is full repentance to God.  If our pride does not get in the way, we can repent to God and ask forgiveness of those we have wronged, so that we may be forgiven and our sins washed away–and then we will no longer have the proud look or the lying tongue or feet swift to commit evil or a heart devising wicked plans, but we will be developing the nature of God within us instead of the corrupt nature of Satan.

The choice is ours–in whose image and likeness will we be made?

[1] https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress.com/2011/01/23/the-start-of-something-new/

[2] https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress.com/2011/01/11/facing-the-grim-arithmetic-the-paid-ministry-of-cogwa/

[3] https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress.com/2011/01/14/burying-the-hatchet/

[4] https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress.com/2011/01/25/welcome-back/

[5] https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress.com/2011/01/28/things-fall-apart-a-grim-musing-on-egypt/

About nathanalbright

I'm a person with diverse interests who loves to read. If you want to know something about me, just ask.
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10 Responses to Portrait of a Wicked Man: Proverbs 6:12-19

  1. Hugh says:

    Truly a blessed article, filled with wisdom and humility. The holy spirit dwells within you and may god continue to bless and guide your work.

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