Proverbs 24:8

Mischievous Scheming

He that deviseth to do evil shall be called a mischievous person.

He that deviseth to do evil

1. Solomon is describing a certain kind of person in this passage.

a. This proverb serves as a warning to us all: this kind of person exists—so watch out! Beware!

b. He is describing a “proverbial” kind of person whose traits are almost universal. (By universal, we don’t mean that everyone possesses these traits, but rather that every society has such people in their midst.)

2. The particular kind of person being described is the one who plans to do EVIL.

a. Evil: Wicked; evil; injurious to others; that which breaks, shatters or hurts; to cause distress to others; that which results in injurious effects on man, either as physical or emotional harm to the person or a painfully unpleasant experience.

b. There are a few different terms translated “evil,” but this one seems to emphasize inflicting harm or injury on others.

3. Note that this person is one who DEVISES to do evil.

a. He is constantly plotting to cause injury to others… he devises ways to cause distress to others, to be injurious either physically or emotionally.

b. Devise: To think; calculate; invent; imagine; to plan to plot; to purpose.

c. His intentions are malicious.

d. This term was used in Gen. 50:20 when Joseph’s brothers plotted evil against him – “But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good.” They planned and plotted a way to get rid of their brother. It was an evil and sinister plan.

e. Solomon mentioned this kind of person previously in verse two:
• Their hearts are continually studying ways to be destructive. (Study: muse; mutter; meditate; devise; plot –that’s what goes on in their heart.)
• Their lips are constantly talking about mischief. (On the inside, they are continually musing on ways to be destructive; on the outside, it eventually comes out of the mouth.)
• It is the KIND OF PERSON they are. It is on their minds and hearts constantly and it overflows out their lips.
• Eventually, it becomes action—when they bring their evil devices to pass.

4. Prov. 6:16, 18 – A heart that deviseth wicked imaginations is one of the six things that the Lord especially hates.

a. God hates the heart that devises such wicked plans and he hates the feet that carry the person to carry out his wicked plans.

b. Obviously, this is figurative language. God doesn’t hate his feet and toes. God hates the execution of his evil plots.

c. Beautiful are the feet of those who bring good tidings… but cursed are the feet that bring trouble everywhere they go.

A mischievous person

1. The one who devises to do evil is a mischievous person.

a. Mischievous: One who plans and plots, usually with evil intent: a schemer.

b. Psalm 10:2 – The psalmist prayed that the wicked would be snared in their own schemes. (“Let them be taken in the devices that they have imagined.”)

c. The Hebrew term translated “person” here is baal.
• Thus, the rendering of the phrase translated “mischievous person” is literally, “lord of mischief” or “master of schemes.”
• It is not a compliment. It means that he is a master at what he does: stirring up trouble and devising evil schemes.

2. The warning in our proverb is the fact that such people do exist.

a. They sit around plotting and planning injury to others.

b. Only the Lord knows what drives such people.

c. What we DO know is that it originates in a sinful fallen heart.

d. Perhaps they feel cheated in life… perhaps others injured them… perhaps they are jealous… perhaps they are holding a grudge… or perhaps it has become a sport to them to do mischief.

e. Prov. 10:23 – “It is as sport to a fool to do mischief.”

f. Some people simply enjoy causing trouble… they enjoy causing distress to others.

g. This is simply a warning that such people exist. Do what you will with the warning!

h. It’s pretty clear however, that Solomon is warning us so that we will stay away from such people—and especially that we would not be drawn in to their evil schemes.

3. You may know this person already. You may know several of them.

a. Perhaps you have one in your family… and he or she is always stirring up trouble.

b. Perhaps you work with one… or for one.

c. Perhaps there are some at school.

d. Perhaps he lives a couple of doors down from you and causes distress to the whole neighborhood.

4. Nobody likes this kind of person.

a. To him making mischief is a game—a sport.

b. Prov. 14:17 – A man of wicked devices is hated. The schemer might think it’s great fun, but nobody else does. He is hated.

c. This is good warning to young people.
• There will be kids at school who like to think up ways to cause trouble for others… for other students or for the teachers.
• Other young people might seem to laugh with him and to go along with his schemes—but don’t be fooled by what they do and say outwardly.
• On the inside, nobody likes a troublemaker.
• They know that if this guy causes trouble for others on his list, you might be the next one on his list!
• Other trouble makers might think it’s a sport, but for the most part, a man of wicked devises is hated.
• Stay away—even if he seems to cause the crowd to laugh and even if he appears to be having fun.

d. Prov. 12:2 – Not only do sensible men hate the evil plans of this schemer, but God also hates it!
i. What a contrast in this passage: Good men obtain God’s favor. Those who devise evil obtain God’s condemnation.

e. Prov. 6:12-15 – This kind of person is incorrigible.
• He is continually devising evil and it has become a lifestyle.
• He seems to get away with it for a while.
• However, the day is coming when he will be taken in the snare of his own making.
• His calamity will come suddenly, and without remedy. There will be no one to bail him out this time.
• You just can’t go around causing trouble for others indefinitely before you are exposed and dealt with—one way or another.
• If not in this life, surely, in the life to come.

He shall be CALLED…

1. This man shall be CALLED a mischievous person.

a. He is called “a mischievous person” by others.

b. Even though he may seek to keep his scheming secret, it shall be discovered. You can only hide that kind of thing for so long.

c. He earned his reputation of being the “lord of mischief” or “master of schemes.”

d. In other words, it doesn’t take long to figure this guy out… to figure out where he is coming from and what he’s up to.

e. He has earned a reputation as a mischievous person: a schemer.

f. Even though when this person is boasting of his plots people may laugh and appear to go along with him, people take notice of what KIND of person he or she is.

g. When he is out of sight, word gets around quickly: this person is a troublemaker!

h. He is CALLED a mischievous person. That becomes his name… his reputation. His reputation precedes him. It becomes common knowledge—and it doesn’t take long to earn such a reputation.

i. But once you have earned a reputation, it is difficult to shake.

j. People will always be wondering what you’re up to now… what kind of plans and plots are being devised.

k. It’s best not to earn that reputation in the first place.

2. This man earned a reputation by his DEEDS.

a. In fact, our deeds become our reputation… our testimony.

b. We can either build up a testimony as a troublemaker, or we can establish a testimony as one who loves the Lord and serves Him… as demonstrated by our lifestyle.

c. Deeds do matter. Over time, they demonstrate character and ultimately earn a reputation—either good or bad.

d. The person Solomon describes in this proverb earned his reputation. Therefore, he shall be called (by all who know him) a mischievous person.

3. The obvious application here is to AVOID such persons!

a. Cf. Prov. 24:1-2 – Don’t envy their superficial popularity and don’t desire to be with them. Avoid them! They are nothing but trouble… and so are their friends. Birds of a feather flock together.

b. Remember, evil communications (evil company) corrupts good manners.

4. Psalm 37:7-9 – Here is a word of exhortation to those who find themselves in the middle of trouble that had been stirred up by a “master of mischief.”

a. Take it to the Lord in prayer and REST in Him. Don’t fret or worry over it, but rather, leave it in God’s hands.

b. In the meantime, don’t get drawn in. Cease from anger. Don’t allow yourself to become embroiled in the midst of the trouble.

c. And remember, that the masters of schemes will eventually be dealt with by the Lord Himself.