Proverbs 19:22

The Desire of a Man


The desire of a man is his kindness:

1. Desire:

a. This term can mean desires, longings of the heart; cravings; etc.

b. Here the term is used of the thing desired, the object of desire
• That which makes a man desirable is his kindness.
• A man’s personal kindness is that trait which makes him desirable to others… pleasing… attractive…

c. Usage:
• This term indicates something that is attractive and delightful to the eyes, desirable. (Gen. 3:6)
• Eve saw the fruit and she was attracted to it.
• There was something pleasing and appealing about the fruit. She desired it.
• The desire of that fruit (the desirable quality of that fruit) was the fact that it would make one wise.
• The desirable quality about this man is his kindness.

2. It is in this sense that Solomon uses this term to describe a man… or woman… any human being.

a. Solomon is describing a trait or a characteristic which makes a man appealing… attractive… pleasing… sought after…

b. We often think of good looks as that which makes a man or woman attractive.

c. Sometimes we might think that it is great wealth.

d. It might be their social status…

e. People are attracted to celebrities and royalty.

f. There are lots of things that might cause you to be attracted to a certain individual.

g. But here, Solomon zeroes in on one particular trait that is appealing or attractive.

h. That desirable quality is kindness.

3. Kindness defined:

a. Strong’s: Goodness; kindness; faithfulness.

b. Dict. Of Bib; Lang.: Loyal love, unfailing kindness, devotion, i.e., a love or affection that is steadfast based on a prior relationship.

c. It is used of being loyal to a covenant… faithful… reliable.

d. It is the type of kindness that demonstrates faithfulness and loyalty.

e. This term is translated “mercy” in Psalm 136, where it is used twenty-six times to proclaim that God’s kindness and love are eternal. God is faithful to His people. His kindness proves it.

f. Hos. 6:6 – God desired “mercy” and not sacrifice. God desires to see mercy in us (kindness; loyal devotion to Him)… and not just the performance of outward duties. That trait makes us attractive to God.

g. Job 6:14 – To him that is afflicted “pity” should be shown by a friend. That’s what friends are for. That is a desirable quality—a man or woman who shows pity to someone in a time of affliction. This quality makes us attractive to other people.

h. Ps. 141:5 – Let the righteous smite me. It shall be a “kindness.”
• Even in rebuke, a man’s kindness is displayed to a friend.
• He is showing loyalty to his friend by “smiting” him when he needs it. This is a desirable trait… even though it hurts.

i. Solomon’s point here is that it is this quality that makes a person attractive and appealing to others.
• People LIKE to see that quality demonstrated… if it is genuine… heartfelt.
• People are attracted to people who show love, kindness, mercy, and devotion to others.

j. Even in the world, men find this quality appealing.
• This truth helps to explain the immense popularity of Mother Theresa. She gave herself to helping and showing pity to afflicted people. She didn’t do it for the glory of God, but she did show mercy to afflicted people. On a human level, that is attractive.
• The world doesn’t find anything attractive about Christians evangelizing others. They have no use for spiritual things.
• But they DO find it attractive when someone opens a soup kitchen, or an orphanage, or a medical clinic for the poor. There is something appealing about showing mercy and kindness on a human level.
• A ministry like Dr. Mitchell’s goes a long way in helping to win the hearts of people… so that the people might be attracted to the Christian missionaries in his village.
• This proverb simply makes a statement about human nature: people are attracted towards those who show kindness and mercy.
• The desire of a man (that which makes him desirable) is his kindness.

k. Knowing this should help us to win the hearts of people around us too.
• By showing mercy and kindness to our unsaved friends and family members, we can be better equipped to win them to the Lord.
• Nobody will be attracted to us or to our message if we are mean and grumpy old men and women.

l. And this is a great way to make friends too. People are attracted to this quality: kindness!
• If you are constantly helping others, there is something appealing about that.
• If you are self centered and thus constantly complaining that others are not continually showing kindness to you, then that is not very appealing.
• The desirable trait here is not receiving kindness, but SHOWING it.

And a poor man is better than a liar

1. In the second part of this proverb, Solomon contrasts the man who shows kindness… loving loyalty… to a liar.

a. Liar: a deceiver; one who promotes falsehood.

b. Liar here is seen as being OPPOSITE of one who demonstrates loving loyalty… kindness…

c. A liar is disloyal and unkind to those to whom he lies.

d. His point is that NOBODY likes a liar. Nobody likes to be deceived, or tricked.

e. That is not a very attractive quality.

f. The liar stands in stark contrast to the man who is KIND.
• The first man demonstrates his loyalty through deeds of kindness and mercy.
• The liar perhaps PROMISES to help… he promises to demonstrate kindness… but he was lying. He had no intention of helping.
• Or perhaps he denies that he is ABLE to help, when he is in fact very able… but unwilling.

2. It is a great way to lose friends.

a. Psalm 119:163 – I hate and abhor lying: but thy law do I love.

b. Prov. 13:5 – A righteous man hateth lying: but a wicked man is loathsome, and cometh to shame. (Who wants to be with liars? They are not desirable; they are loathsome.)

c. Ps. 40:4 – Godly people lose all respect for a liar.

d. Ps. 101:7 – David didn’t want any liars working with him in his court. It is a most UNdesirable quality.

e. People are charmed by those who are thoughtful of others… by those who are loyal… considerate… reliable… kind.

f. But there is nothing charming about someone who is a liar who is disloyal and unkind.

g. The liar might PROMISE to help… he might SAY he will be there for you… but he’s not. He’s a liar. It’s all puffery.

h. A liar is unreliable… not trustworthy…

i. That is especially disappointing when you are counting on him to come through for you—and he doesn’t.

3. It is a great way to ruin your testimony for the Lord.

a. Not only do the godly hate liars, even men in the world hate liars.

b. If a candidate is caught in a boldfaced lie, it causes them to go down in the polls.

c. If a company is caught lying about its product, its sales go down.

d. And if a Christian is caught in a boldfaced lie in the office—rest assured that he will be the brunt of the jokes for the next three weeks. (And he calls himself a Christian!! Ha ha!)

4. In the second part of this proverb Solomon tells us just HOW undesirable a liar is.

a. A POOR man is better than him!

b. Poverty is one of things that most people would never want to be. Who wants to be poor… hungry… homeless… unable to feed your kids? No one!

c. It is one of the LAST things anyone would ever want to be.

d. So Solomon says that, as bad as being poor is, being a poor man is still better than being a liar.

5. Thus, a true contrast is made… in a simple, concise, and poignant manner.

a. Being loyal and kind is most desirable.

b. Being a disloyal liar is most despicable.

Back to Top

Back to Proverbs Ch. 19 Index

Back to Main Proverbs Index