Proverbs 12:20

Deceit or Joy



1. Them that imagine evil…

a. Evil = evil; distress; misery; injury; calamity; adversity; trouble; strife; tragedy.
» The term does not always imply that which is immoral, but it does in this passage.
» Solomon states here that some men IMAGINE evil… they plan it… they prepare for it… they devise it… and carry their evil plans out!

b. Imagine: to cut in; plough; engrave; devise.
• This term implies a plan to cut out a course of action—as a plowman cuts out a furrow in his field.
• He plans it and carries it out…
• Prov. 3:29 – same term is used here—“devise” not evil against thy neighbor. This verse forbids doing what 12:20 is talking about… imagining… planning evil against someone.
• We are commanded NOT to imagine such things… NOT to even think about harming others.
• Let’s face it—we’ve all had such thoughts.
• Don’t allow your mind to THINK on such things. Don’t train yourself to think along those lines.
• Think on things that are lovely, pure, honest, of good report, etc…
• Yet, we know that some men DO imagine evil.
• Prov. 6:12-14 – Some wicked men devise mischief continually! It’s their life… their reason for being…
• Prov. 6:16-18 – This is one of the six things God hates: men whose hearts devise wicked imaginations… evil plans.
• There are cells of evil men around the world today planning evil against Americans and Jews… waiting for the opportune time to carry out their evil plans.

2. Deceit = falsehood; treachery; craft.

a. Of course, he is speaking here of intentional deceit.

b. Sometimes men with good intentions are given incorrect information and mistakenly deceive others… or lead them to a wrong conclusion.

c. Solomon is not speaking about someone who has been fed some misinformation.

d. He is speaking about someone who has deceit in his heart… he lets deceit fester in his heart… his heart is a breeding ground for deception… he is planning to deceive… he purposes to deceive… that is what is going on in the depths of his heart—deception and more deception.

3. Deceit is a way of life for the wicked… it is in his heart.

a. vs. 5 – the counsels of the wicked are deceit.

b. Prov. 11:18 – the wicked work a deceitful work

c. Prov. 26:24 – a hateful man dissembleth with his lips, and lays up deceit within him.

d. Prov. 26:26 – hatred is covered up by deceit

4. Solomon states here that evil men imagine (plan and plot) their evil designs with deception in their hearts.

a. They plan evil, but cover up their real intentions.

b. They plan evil, but deceive others as to the course of action they are devising.

c. They plan evil, but deceive by making it look good.

d. They plan evil, but deceive men as to their actions, their motives, their goals, their purposes, their methods…

e. They plan evil, and deceive men into thinking that they have no evil intentions… until they carry out their evil intentions to the harm and injury of others.

5. There are countless examples of such evil devices in the Bible… men who planned evil, and used deception to cover up their true intents.

a. Absalom – planned to overthrow his father, and accomplished by deceiving the people into thinking he was out for their best interest.

b. Haman – planned to destroy all the Jews in the Persian Empire… and tried to cover up his true intentions.

c. The Babylonian presidents – planned to get rid of Daniel, whom they hated—and did so by a deceptive plan they knew would snare only Daniel.

d. The Jews who planned to kill Paul – and secretly deceived the rulers into thinking they wanted to examine him.

e. The devil – the first example in the Bible of one who planned evil against mankind—and did so with deception in his heart.

6. Have you ever imagined or devised evil against someone—with deceit in your heart?

a. Chances are, we all have.

b. Maybe you never carried the plot out, but have you ever imagined evil against someone? Have you ever wished harm, or shame, or a fall, or some calamity, or evil to befall someone you didn’t like? Perhaps hoping they would not get the promotion… hoping someone in the office would slander them… wishing that people would turn against them….

c. Have you had such thoughts, and then try to hide those thoughts? Have you perhaps smiled at the very person you had evil thoughts about? Isn’t that deception? Hypocrisy? Secretly wishing harm to them, but not letting on?

d. That’s the same kind of sin described here.

But to the counsellors of peace is joy.

1. Counsellors of peace:

a. Counsellors: to advise; consult; counsel; purpose; devise; plan.

b. Peace: lots of various usages: completeness; soundness; welfare; safety; welfare; health; prosperity; quiet; tranquility; contentment; friendship.

c. Counselors of peace: those who make plans and intend to carry out their plans—to be HELPFUL… sowing seeds of peace; contentment; friendship; safety; prosperity; health…

d. That’s the kind of person you want in the local church… or in the home… and even in school or the office!

e. You BE that kind of person!

2. “The counsellors of peace” stand in contrast to “them that imagine evil.”

a. The contrast may not be apparent until we consider the various meanings of the terms.

b. Counsellors of peace — those who plan; give counsel for; whose purpose it is to devise peace…

c. Imagine evil — those who plan or plot calamities for others… they plan strife and confusion…

d. The contrast is thus:
• Some folks make plans to bring about strife …
• Some folks make plans to bring about peace…
• Some folks make plans to tear people apart; some make plans to bring people together…

e. I’ve seen both sorts in the local church.
• Some have separated chief friends, sowing discord, making division, and disrupting the unity…
• Others have been peacemakers… sowing peace and unity… endeavoring to keep the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace.

3. Those who promote peace—and seek peace—shall also enjoy peace and joy!

a. The counsellors of peace are those who actively PROMOTE peace… they pursue peace… they follow after peace…
• Follow peace with all men (Heb. 12:14)
• And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace. (James 3:18)
• Depart from evil, and do good; seek peace, and pursue it. (Ps. 34:14)
• If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men. (Prov. 12:18)

b. The principle is: seek and ye shall find… those who continually seek peace will usually find it.

c. Joy comes to the peacemakers. Blessed are the peacemakers. (Matt. 5:9) This is a principle with application in all ages!

d. Those who pursue peace and help bring about peace get to ENJOY that peace too!

e. Col. 3:15 – the peace of God ought to RULE in our hearts.
• If that is the case, then we will experience peace—and continually seek peace.
• If God’s peace is in our heart—then it will come out in our daily pursuits.

4. Be that kind of a person in the home—be a counselor of peace. Plan peace. Make it your purpose to have peace in the home.
• That might require putting others first.
• That might mean not getting your own way.
• That might require controlling one’s tongue.
• That might require some humility… meekness…
• It might require letting love cover a multitude of sins…
• It might require some self-sacrifice…selflessness…
• It might require some compassion… understanding…
• It might require that we listen to the other’s point of view…
• It might require that we be a little less demanding…
• It might require a soft answer…
• It might require prayer… seeking God’s will, strength, and wisdom…
• It might require us to turn the other cheek… or to go the extra mile…
• It might require us to be less like our miserable self—and more like our wonderful Savior.
• OR—we could refuse to seek peace—and go slam the door, kick the dog, punch the wall, and throw something. Then we could go sit in a corner and “imagine evil” — think the worst about our spouse… or our parents… or siblings… or children.
• Solomon admonishes us to be a counselor of PEACE!

5. What a contrast:

a. Those who sit around and imagine evil—have hearts full of DECEIT… and evil. There is no joy in that.
• The heart that is full of deceit will also be full of: bitterness; anger; wrath; frustration; jealousy; rage; envy; hatred; guilt; etc.
• That’s an awful way to live!

b. But those who pursue peace—have something else in their hearts: JOY!

c. Solomon contrasts two kinds of people—with two different pursuits in life (peace vs. trouble) — and two very different hearts: one full of deception… the other full of joy.

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