Feet that be Swift in Running to Mischief
1. Solomon has been using body parts as a figure of a sin that God hates.
2. Face; tongue; hands; heart… and now the feet.
1. The last figure was that of the heart—devising wicked imaginations.
2. Now the feet carry out those plans… the feet go where the heart devises…
3. How “feet” are used in Proverbs…
a. Feet move us… from one place to another. (Either literally or figuratively)
b. Feet move us… and thus speak about the direction our life is taking (Prov. 4:26 – ponder the path of thy feet.)
c. Feet move us… and thus eventually bring us to places we should not be if we are not careful. We can sin with our feet! (Prov. 19:2)
d. Feet bring us swiftly to mischief! (6:18)
e. Feet run to evil… (Prov. 1:16)
f. Paul quotes Isaiah when he describes human depravity: “Their feet are swift to shed blood.”—feet carry out the evil deeds of the inner man.
4. When used figuratively, feet are most often used in a negative sense in Proverbs… running to evil rather than to good.
a. Obviously, it is not the feet that are evil… they only go where we tell them to go!
* Cf. Prov. 6:14 – mischief is in his heart—so his feet run to it!
b. But they symbolize wandering… running to carry out evil… going here and there to perform the mischief just devised…
c. The heart devises the evil plan—the feet execute that plan… the feet carry out that covetous, envious, crafty, revengeful, mean-spirited plot…
d. Feet are spoken of as running to evil most often—because the heart of man is evil… the heart is the control center that directs our feet… that steers our ship… that sets the tone and direction of our life.
e. The feet here are RUNNING to evil… which speaks of the speed and diligence and vigor used in carrying out the evil plan. Evil men are often hard workers… quite diligent in their plans and plots.
f. The diligence and tenacity of evil men in carrying out their evil plans should shame us—O that we would be as swift to do good—how beautiful are the feet of them that proclaim the good news!
5. God hates feet that run to carry out mischief.
a. Prov. 10:23 – for some, causing mischief is a sport! They love it! Have you met people like that? I have.
• If there is a spark of controversy, they are right there to fan the flames… keep the controversy going and growing!
• It is a sport to them… (sport = laughter; fun; sport)
b. Prov. 1:15-16 – thus we are exhorted to stay away—refrain your feet from the path of those who are headed for trouble!
c. This is good advice for young people at school… and for businessmen… and for housewives… for anyone!
d. If God hates what their feet are up to—then stay away!
e. Prov. 14:7-9 – Don’t follow the way of foolish… the wicked… remove your feet from their path!
• When you perceive by listening to him that he is headed in the wrong direction—GO from him!
• Prudent or wise men will THINK about where their feet are headed!
• How do you tell a fool? He mocks at sin… makes light of holy things… stay away! His feet are headed for destruction.
• It is so easy for young people to get involved in the wrong crowd—parents—keep an eye on the friends your children choose! Teach them HOW to choose good friends…
Our feet can lead down the wrong road…
1. Prov. 16:25 – Sometimes the wrong road SEEMS right…
a. Read Pilgrim’s Progress—almost every wrong turn Christian took LOOKED pretty good at first… softer grass, more shade, ran parallel to the main road, seemed to be headed in the same direction…
• But he always ran into mischief down that road…
• One day Christian asked Greatheart how to tell if he was on the straight and narrow. Greatheart replied, “It’s simple my boy. The straight and narrow goes straight… it doesn’t have any twists or turns! ANY turn off the straight and narrow is a wrong turn!”
b. Our adversary is a master at making evil look good… at counterfeiting… he can make the wrong road look like the right one…
c. Remember—the heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked. Nothing is more deceptive than the machinations of the fallen heart!
d. Beware! We CAN be deceived by our heart! Our feelings can fool us into thinking, “this seems right… it feels good… it must be God’s will.”
2. Knowing that our heart easily deceives us—and knowing that our feet are prone to wander off on to the wrong way—even toward mischief, we need God’s guidance…
a. Jer. 10:23 – it is not in man to direct his steps.
• This is the beginning of wisdom—realizing that we don’t have what it takes to direct our own steps… we need God in every step we take!
b. Ps. 37:23-24 – the steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord.
• Do we let God order our steps? Or do we give the orders ourselves?
• God delights in the one whose steps are ordered from above!
• If that is our heart attitude (Lord guide me!) then even if we fall, He will lift us right back up again!
• God hates feet that wander off into mischief. He delights in feet that are directed by His Spirit.
c. Prov. 16:9 – You choose which way you want to go—in the straight and narrow or your own road!
• If we choose to walk with God—He will direct our steps!
• That’s a promise.
d. Prov. 3:5-6 – Trust in the Lord and He will direct your path!
• Ours is a walk of faith… trusting in the Lord to direct our steps.
• Acknowledge Him—recognize His leading… His hand in directing your steps… be conscious of His presence…
• THEN He will direct our path…
• Sometimes it seems like God has NOT directed our steps… that our way has become all tangled up… like Paul when he intended to carry out his missionary journeys when suddenly his steps were halted—and he was cast into prison. Even there Paul realized that his steps “turned out rather to the furtherance of the gospel!”
• God WANTS our pathway to be clear and safe. Therefore He said, “Consult me in everything!”
• God has plenty of wisdom… and He wants us to come to Him and seek it!
• Seek it wholeheartedly! (Prov. 2:3-5)
• Ps. 119:105 – God’s Word is a lamp unto our feet… a lamp to illuminate the right way for us go… the right path… and will keep our feet from mischief!
• Ps. 119:9 – how can a young man cleanse his way? How can we keep our feet off dead end roads… away from mischief… away from sinful lifestyles? TAKE HEED to the Word! (vs.11 – hide it in your heart!)