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Devious or Intimate?

Do not devise harm against your neighbor,
While he lives securely beside you.
Do not contend with a man without cause,
If he has done you no harm.
Do not envy a man of violence
And do not choose any of his ways.
For the devious are an abomination to the Lord;
But He is intimate with the upright. –Proverbs 3:29-32

What makes us so prone to quarreling? We want it our way and we want it now–or yesterday. It is the way of the world after all. If you can’t help me get what I want, you’re expendable. If you have what I want, you had better look out.

Left to ourselves, we can become devious, scheming, and bitter people. If we embrace those things, we can’t hold on to God at the same time. If we choose grace, He will be an intimate counselor as we navigate life’s pitfalls.

These verses remind me of some others, James 4:2-4,

You lust and do not have; so you commit murder. You are envious and cannot obtain; so you fight and quarrel. You do not have because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your pleasures. You adulteresses, do you not know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.

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“Class warfare” and all that goes with it boils down to one thought: you have what I want and it’s not fair. We’re almost overrun with this type of thinking in our country, and it’s certainly seductive in its approach. At times, it sounds reasonable, even logical; but in the end, I believe it’s the system of this world causing strife. It’s an abomination to Him because we’re devising our own way to “get what’s coming to us” instead of trusting Him.

We can choose to go after all we want, crush whoever gets in our way, and even resort to violence (which may or may not be physical violence). It’s a dead-end street that can even infiltrate our religious thinking. How scary is that? People who claim moral authority in destroying other people (physically, financially, or otherwise) are dangerous indeed. James has some harsh words for them: adulteresses and enemies of God.

You and I were created for intimacy. The blood of Jesus stands as our righteousness to make us completely and fully upright. Intimacy and relationship were restored, but choosing fighting, quarreling, and selfishness is choosing adultery. You’ve aligned with the wrong kingdom.

Not only do you have a warning here, but you have grace in the promise. You don’t have to walk the path of darkness or follow along when everyone else says, “let’s go this way.” In Him, there is only light. His friends and children are well taken of.

What are your thoughts on these verses? Do you agree or disagree with my thoughts?


Another in a series of monthly posts where I go through Proverbs a verse or two at a time and share the whispers of the Holy Spirit to my heart (click here for more verse by verse posts).

6 Comments

  1. I know I have lusted after what other people have many times, but all it does is get me focused on the here and now instead of what’s really important. The past few years I’ve been really focusing on developing relationships and being content with where I’m at -- and understanding that it’s where I need to be for what God wants to do in my life. It really transforms the way I view things now.
    Jason Vana recently posted..Light WinsMy Profile

    • It really does come back to that, doesn’t it? We focus on the seen (the temporary) and it causes all sorts of problems, but He invites to look upon the unseen, the eternal, and there we find His peace. Thanks Jason.

  2. I agree completely… The world has come to embrace what gratifies the senses instead of embracing the virtues that are beyond flesh. Integrity and honor are the most valuable things in this life and can’t be measured by a number. The self discipline of putting off our gratification for what will eventually fill our soul is a lost art… and all of us are a bit guilty of it… Wise words, Jason. We need to seek first the kingdom of God and all the other things will be appointed unto us.

    • So right, Floyd. We have to trust that He has our best in mind. If we don’t we’ll try to go after what we think will satisfy and humanity has a very consistent record of getting it very wrong. I’m so glad He provides a way for us to live in His grace and not under this tyranny of scheming and quarreling. We have the right to choose! Thanks so much, Floyd.

  3. I now largely agree. I used to be the kind of hellfire and brimstone preacher, especially against sexual sins and other debauchery, but there comes a time when no one will listen. I wasn’t doing it for my own pleasure, but I came off as doing so. So I am now stuck at a place, shall we say, where I will not seek a confrontation. Hoping that doesn’t turn me into a soft “anything goes” preacher.
    Ed recently posted..Where have I been? Where am I going?My Profile

    • For me, I think you’re fine. Jesus never confronted sinners with their sin. He just revealed Himself and they were drawn in. He confronted the religious people though. Confrontation is part of life, but there are right ways and wrong ways to go about it. I guess Jesus did actually confront sin by revealing the Father and His heart. I want to be like that! Thanks Ed.

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