There is a kind of man who curses his father And does not bless his mother. There is a kind who is pure in his own eyes, Yet is not washed from his filthiness. There is a kind—oh how lofty are his eyes! And his eyelids are raised in arrogance. There is a kind of man whose teeth are like swords And his jaw teeth like knives, To devour the afflicted from the earth And the needy from among men. Proverbs 30:11-14
Today's proverb is a four verse description of the hateful, wicked man. The way this passage refers to this is with the phrase, "There is a kind." The word "kind" is actually the Hebrew word for generation. When you have a generation of people who are like this - you have a very difficult time coming upon the earth. It is an interesting list of things that make for a wicked generation.
Verse 11 describes the first godless characteristic - which is having graceless, ungrateful children who dishonor their parents. This generation curses their fathers and does not bless their mothers. They disobey the one commandment with a promise - Honor your father and mother. The bedrock of any generation is their ability to learn from their parents. When the family goes awry there will be a basic disfunction and rebellion that will pervade the entire structure of the society. The basic unit for passing on wisdom is the family. Proverbs makes it clear again and again in the first 9 chapters of this book that it is through a father and mother that wisdom flows to the next generation. So, when they have basic disdain for their parents that wisdom is lost to an entire generation. We watched this in the late 1950's and 60's as almost an entire generation cast off the morals and the wisdom of their parents and decided to start their own revolution. They decided that their's would be a generation of love and peace. They tuned out on drugs, turned their ears from hearing and honoring their parents, and did whatever they wanted. It was a disastrous generation - and those who embraced this kind of lifestyle and living continue to wreak havoc on society today.
The second godless characteristic of this generation is that they are pure in their own eyes. The Bible considered this particular sin one that is very damaging. Those who consider themselves pure in their own eyes are blind to the truth that they are fallen and sinful. They will justify themselves no matter who disgusting and disobedient their behavior becomes. It is as if they are deaf to anything God says - and decide that whatever their flesh wants is true and good. Those who fall into this trap will find themselves hopelessly bound in their sin and wickedness - and will only be delivered by the sovereign goodness of God as He draws them and illumines them to truth that is outside of themselves. The Word tells us that even though they are pure in their own eyes, they are still unwashed from their filthiness. Just because we decide we are going to redefine sin in our own minds does not mean that we are not guilty of it in God's sight. No matter how many times the world tries to redefine sin, God's Word stands as ultimate and absolute truth. When the wicked disobey God's Word - and decide that their own thinking is what defines pure - they still wind up standing before God as sinners. But the world in which they live is upside down - and as such it is a difficult place for believers and those who desire to lead holy lives to live.
The third evil characteristic is that they are arrogant. This is described as having "lofty" eyes. This simply means that they look down upon everyone else. They consider themselves awesome and wonderful, while everyone else is lower than them. This makes them arrogant. Arrogance is defined in the Bible as primarily a sin agaisnt God. Psalm 119:21 speaks of the arrogant as those who wander from God's commandments. They ignore and look down upon God Himself - and therefore think far higher of themselves and what they want to do than they do of the commandments of God. Proverbs says this makes them embrace sin and be careless (Prov 14:16) as well as those who stir up strife (Prov 28:25). An arrogant heart ultimately disregards God. Such a generation will exalt their own thinking and reasoning above God's. If anyone tries to instruct them or correct them - up will go their eyes and eyelids as they look down on the poor fool who has decided to oppose their perfect wisdom. Problem is the fool is the one whose eyelids are lifted in arrogance against God and against those who walk in His wisdom.
Disregard for parents, purity in our own eyes, and arrogance will lead to a society where gentility is gone. The last of these four evil characteristics is that this generation is one where their mouths are out of control. Their teeth are like swords - their jaw teeth are like knives - to devour the needy and afflicted among men. They have no regard for the poor and needy. They only see them as someone to exploit for their own ends. There is a complete lack of civility because there was never other characteristics built into their lives to encourage it. They do not regard parents - who would have taught them obedience and selflessness. They do not see anything as sin - because they justify their own actions - and would even justify treating the afflicted and needy badly. Finally, they are arrogant - and view all others as beneath themselves. This makes it far easier to have little or no conscience at all as long as they get what they want in the end.
There is a generation that lives this way. Before you think I am going to refer to a specific generation - think about what the Bible says about the heart condition of mankind. This is actually what happens in every generation of men. It happens because of the fall of man into sin. It happens because we are in rebellion against God - and want to do our own thing. The generation of which Solomon speaks is any generation from the fall to the end of the age. Unless God intervenes with the gospel and the saving of mankind by His grace - we would all eventually gravitate in these four directions. These verses teach us wisdom by helping us to understand where the sinful nature and the flesh will take us. If anything these verses should make us very open to running to God for his grace and His transformation. Because if we don't - this is most likely what life will look like. A world filled with a disregard for parents, filth being called purity, arrogance, and a society filled with harmful and vicious words. This is a generation to be avoided at all costs. But the only way out is through the gospel of Jesus Christ - and the regeneration in Him that changes us from the inside out.
Proverb a Day
Each day, we'll take a look at a verse from the chapter of Proverbs for the day. Our hope is to gain wisdom each day - and from that wisdom - to have understanding to make godly decisions in the throes of everyday life.
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