Proverbs 17:19

Sin and Pride


He loveth transgression that loveth strife

1. In this part of the proverb, Solomon makes a relationship… a direct link between a love for strife and a love for sin.

a. He speaks of two loves here.

b. The love for sin

c. The love for strife

2. The love of strife…

a. Love: to love; to have an appetite for; to have affection for; to have a desire for.

b. Strife:
• a verbal contention or argument; wrangling.

c. Some men have an appetite for STRIFE. They LOVE it.

d. They have a fond affection for fighting; a desire to see any controversy continue…

e. These are the ones who keep on throwing wood into the fires of controversy to keep it ablaze…

f. Prov. 26:20-21 – some men like nothing more than to keep the flames burning… keep the fires of controversy and strife fierce and hot…

g. They are controversial pyromaniacs.

h. Normally, such fires go out relatively easily and quickly, as long as no one adds fuel to the fire.

i. The fires go out. The strife ceases… and peace rules again.

j. But Solomon warns us here that some men LOVE strife.
• They don’t WANT to see the fires go out. They keep adding wood to the fire.
• They don’t want to see strife end. They LOVE the strife… the excitement of it all…
• Just like some men love to watch fires… some men love to watch strife…
• In many large cities there are groups of people who follow fire trucks around the city just to watch apartment buildings burn down. They bring lawn chairs and make a picnic out of it.
• It is a sick and twisted infatuation with the excitement of seeing destruction.
• Some folks have that same kind of sick and twisted infatuation with watching strife and controversy among people.
• Some folks not only love to WATCH it, they go a step beyond that and DO whatever it takes to keep it going… AND to prevent it from dying down.
• As soon as it begins to die out, they throw more wood on the cinders…
• As arguments begin to die down, those who love strife will say, “And another thing! He also said….!”

3. The love of transgression…

a. Transgression:
• Rebellion; revolt; defiance of authority.
• Sin, offence, crime—and it emphasizes the rebellious nature of the sin or crime.
• Though the term is sometimes of used crimes against another man or against a nation, this word primarily expresses a rebellion against God and His laws.

b. Solomon states that there are also men who LOVE transgression.
• They have an affection for defiance and rebellion.
• They have an APPETITE for rebellion… they are hungry for it… they love it.
• Sin is fun… it’s a sport to them.

4. The first part of this proverb teaches us that there is a direct LINK or connection between these two loves.

a. The man who loves controversy and strife ALSO loves rebellion and sin.

b. The person who delights in controversy and strife is a REBEL at heart.

c. He stands in DEFIANCE of authority.

d. It is a matter of AUTHORITY.
• Among nations – if a nation picks a fight or declares war, God gave nations the authority to put down that controversy… with FORCE.
• At home – if the kids are fighting, God gave parents the authority to END that controversy and strife… through discipline…
• In the local church – if the sheep are stirring up controversy, God has given the under-shepherds, the elders the authority to bring that strife to an end… through discipline if necessary.

e. Solomon observed this many times.
• As a King, he had to deal with controversy and strife all the time.
• As a King, he had individuals and groups of people stir up strife…
• He observed that there were some people who seemed to LOVE controversy… they thrived on it.
• He also noted that those same men (or women!) were also rebels against his authority… and against the authority of God.
• He noted that these two traits usually went hand in hand: the one who loved strife and controversy usually had a very rebellious spirit about him.

f. This is true in various realms.
• Those who love strife in a kingdom, usually have an ax to grind against the authority… the king.
• Kids who stir up controversy and strife at school usually do so out of rebellious spirit… rebels against authority in the school.
• People in the congregation at church who seem to love controversy and strife also do so to express rebellion against the authorities in the local church– either the pastor and elders, or the HEAD… Christ Himself.
• Anybody in a position of leadership or authority wants peace and unity. Those who seek to rebel against that authority do whatever they can to make life difficult for them… and one way is to stir up strife!
• At the bottom of a love for strife, is a rebellious heart…
• And though the rebellion might be directed at the teacher, the boss, the king, the elders, or the parents… ULTIMATELY, indirectly, it is rebellion against God… the Author and Source of authority.

5. That is quite a perceptive observation on the part of Solomon… and very helpful for us!

a. When you see someone demonstrating that he LOVES strife (by adding fuel to the fire)—stay away!

b. Remember that behind it all is deep-seated rebellion against authority.

c. Do NOT join him in his rebellion. Reprove him and separate from him. Do not partake of his evil deeds.

d. James 3:14-16 – James tells us that such strife is not only sourced in a heart of rebellion, but that it is earthly, sensual, and demonic to boot!

And he that exalteth his gate seeketh destruction

1. In the second part of the proverb, Solomon notes another connection or link between two things.

a. He that exalts his gate…

b. Is connected to the one who seeks destruction.

2. Exalting one’s gate…

a. This is a figurative expression.

b. Literally it speaks of expanding or making one’s gate tall, large, and wide.

c. In those days, the gate or front door to one’s home OR the gate to a wall surrounding their home, reflected a person’s social or financial status.

d. A poor man would have a small and simple doorway or gate.

e. A rich man however, would want everyone to know that he is wealthy. Therefore, he would “exalt his gate” – he would construct a large and ornate front entrance to his residence.

f. It was designed to be ostentatious, showy, and eye catching.

g. This man seeks to exalt his gate ABOVE all his neighbors. He has to show off that he has the best.

h. His gate needs to be bigger and better than the Joneses… he has to outshine all neighbors.

i. Thus, exalting one’s gate is expression of PRIDE.

3. The man who (out of pride) exalted his gate, was in reality SEEKING destruction! He was looking for trouble and calamity.

a. The basic truth in this part of the proverb is mentioned several times in the book: PRIDE leads to destruction.

b. Prov. 16:18; 18:12 –

c. One man noted a possible real life scenario that prompted such an illustration.
• Adam Clark noted that in some parts of Israel it was common to have very SMALL and LOW gates to the walls surrounding a home or city.
• Some were only 3-4 feet tall.
• The reason was SECURITY. If attacked by an enemy on horses or camels, they would not be able to enter.
• Thus, a small, lowly entrance would provide a measure of safety and security.
• But if a man out of PRIDE decided that he wanted his gate large and pronounced, he was inviting destruction! The enemy could easily enter and attack through a large gate.
• In a very real sense, his pride exposed him to destruction!

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