Good and evil men . . . here we find ourselves with the biblical worldview running headlong into the worldview that sees morality as something that is relative. It is interesting to see that today we don't hear things often referred to as being good or evil. Yet that is exactly what the Scriptures speak of in today's proverb of the day.
The good man is the man who is well-pleasing. There is a loaded statement if ever one was made. The question is asked - and rightfully so - pleasing to whom? Well, in this case, the well-pleasing man is the one who lives well pleasing to Jehovah. This is what is told to us in this proverb. This good man - the one who is well-pleasing - receives favor from God. Thus the one he is pleasing is God Himself. Look further into the Hebrew word "tobah" which is the word used for "good" here and you will see this clearly. The word means not just well-pleasing, but also fruitful, morally correct and proper. The idea is that good is in th eyes of God Himself - Who is the One determining the "rules" for good and evil. Ah, again we run into a wall in regard to worldview. Yes, God is the One who determines the rules - Who sets them - Who has given us His moral Law and calls us to obey and walk according to it. The man who seeks to walk according to this moral law is the one God refers to as the good man. The benefit for walking in this way is God's favor - which means pleasure, delight, acceptance. God offers to the good man His favor. Thus the good man knows that God takes pleasure in his ways - He delights in how He is living - and His lifestyle is one that God accepts.
How men rebel against things like this. How can we be so arrogant as to say one lifestyle is superior to another? The world hates it when we say that a lifestyle is morally superior to others - and inversely - when a lifestyle is considered immoral. They want all lifestyles to be considered valid in their own way. What they don't understand is that in making that assertion they make it to where the only immoral lifestyle is the one that holds to any morals. In addition to this - they also place all moral judgments on shifting sands of public opinion. In effect they lower all moral choices to the level of no moral choice at all. Everything goes in their worldview - because the most immoral judgment at all is ever voicing a moral judgment.
God lays the foundations for moral choices and moral judgments in this world. He does so because He is God - because He is creator - and because He is both true and just. Thus we read the second half of this proverb which says, "but He will condemn a man who devises evil." There it is again - a moral standard. God sets it - and when a man begins devising (thinking, considering, setting up) evil - God brings a moral judgment to the table. God condemns such behavior. How is evil defined? God is the One who defines it in His Word. Since He is just - He will set up what is just and good and all that does not agree with Him and what He says, is evil.
Here is the crux of this proverb. The truth is that there is a moral standard in the world. God has set it. If there is no moral standard set by a being outside of this creation - then there is no moral standard. Worse that this - the actual working out of this lie is that there will be a standard - but it will be set up by men - and eventually enforced by unjust men who will have things their way. You wind up with a moral morass. Things WILL spin out of control. It is far better to have God set up what is right and wrong - and do so by a Word that He has given to reveal what that is in the world. God gives us His Law and His commandments. He does so without any respect of persons - and - in the end He alone will be the One before Whom we stand - and through Whom we will know whether we are called someone good or someone evil.