Proverbs 14:22

Devising Evil or Good

22a Do they not err that devise evil?

A.) Those Who Devise Evil

1. DEVISE = “to plow,” from which comes the idea of plans being thought up or devised as furrows in a field are plowed… and the ground is broken up.

a. When a farmer plows a furrow (row) in his field, he has to plan it out first. (Which direction; how to turn the plow around; when to plow; where to plow; crop arrangement; how far apart for each crop).

b. Plowing came to mean: planning… planning ahead… stirring up ideas and thoughts.

c. This word is used twice in 14:22 – devising evil and devising good.

d. It can be used in a good sense (planning ahead; forethought) or an evil sense (plotting, scheming, and conniving). Both are used in this verse.

e. When a farmer plows, he is breaking up the ground… stirring things up. One can stir up good… or stir up evil…

2. Those who devise evil… the people…

a. Solomon is not talking about someone who in a weak moment falls or slips into sin. (anger, lust, tongue, etc…)

b. That kind of evil is bad enough, but what Solomon describes here is far worse.

c. He is speaking about premeditated evil… sin that has been thought out well in advance… planned… plotted… and finally executed… even though he doesn’t mention the execution of it here—it is implied.

d. Solomon describes the man (woman, or child!) who is meticulous in planning out his sin… and he thinks that either he will not get caught… or that because of his scheme, his sin won’t hurt anybody—and therefore won’t be so bad (committing fornication—it won’t hurt anybody…).

3. Other uses of this term:

a. Prov. 6:14 – some men are devising evil continually.
• It is continual… it is the nature of this kind of person… and thus his/her wheels are always in motion…
» Such devises are their pastime. They spend their waking moments plotting evil…
» They think of ways to hurt people… ways to steal… ways to knock somebody down… ways to slander… how to inflict pain on their enemies… (political campaign managers!)
» It comes out of an evil heart.
» They are described as naughty persons (base; worthless); a wicked man; (vs.12)
» Their minds gravitate towards these kinds of thoughts and devises.

• Prov.2:14-16 – forwardness is the PATH… the course of life for this person.
» He rejoices in his evil! He loves stirring up trouble! That’s how he gets his kicks.
» Because he loves it—he keeps it up.

b. Prov. 6:16, 18 – God hates this kind of heart… one which devises wicked imaginations.

c. Prov. 12:20 – their hearts are full of deceit. They devise evil, but do it secretly… behind your back…
» Our hearts are deceitful too.
» Do you find yourself thinking of evil things?
» Count it as sin… confess it and forsake it. God hates it!
» Don’t train your mind to think evil things.
» Renew your mind by filling it with good things: Scripture!

B.) They Err

1. There are those who devise evil. Solomon says, “Do they not err?”

2. Err = wander; go astray; stagger; to be mislead mentally or morally.

3. This is a fatal error… they THINK that their plans and schemes will bring them great success, but they are in error… serious error… perhaps a fatal error.

4. People who train their minds to think this way (devising evil) will eventually bring ruin to themselves.

5. Wrong thinking and wrong patterns of thoughts always produce undesirable consequences.

6. God is not mocked. Those plans and plots may end in their own ruin… as was the case with the wicked plotter Haman! He had an ingenious plan… but it all backfired and resulted in his death.

7. Prov. 12:2 – God will ultimately condemn the man whose life is characterized by wicked devises.

22b But mercy and truth shall be to them that devise good.

A.) Those Who Devise Good

1. Devise good (same word as devise in first part)… only in a good context.

2. While evil men sit around thinking about how they may carry out their evil plans and purposes, good men sit around and think about how to go about doing GOOD.

3. Phil. 4:8 – We are commanded to THINK on good things…

a. It will affect our actions. If we fill our minds with good thoughts… it is likely that we will be DOING good things.

b. Our actions are always preceded by thoughts… good or bad.

c. Jesus went about doing good. And rest assured, it was all thought out ahead of time… well planned and devised…

4. Thinking ahead and planning is good… especially when planning good things.

a. If you know you have a free afternoon, THINK of ways you can use that time for the glory of God. THINK of some good things you can do for your spouse… your children… your neighbor… your brethren…

b. If God has given you a talent, DEVISE a plan to put it to good use… to help others… to edify the saints… and ultimately, to exalt Christ.

c. Very often good does not occur with out a measure of devising… planning… forethought.

d. Can’t sleep at night? Then use that time to think of ways to go good for someone.

e. Have a long commute? DEVISE ways you can do good at the office… and when you get home…

f. Want to minister to the Body? THINK of someone who might be discouraged and think of something you could do to help!

g. Gal. 6:10 – as we have opportunity, let us do good to all men.
• Doing good is a command, but it takes planning to carry out. This is what Solomon is talking about.
• Opportunities abound… but it requires a bit of effort on our part to put those opportunities into action… it takes some thinking, planning, devising.

B.) Mercy and Truth Shall Be to Them…

1. Mercy = pity; goodness; kindness.

a. Those who devise good things will receive mercy from the Lord… kindness… pity…

b. Just as one thinks of ways to display pity and kindness to others, he will receive pity and kindness from the Lord.

c. Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.

2. Truth = faithfulness; reliability; surety; security; firmness.

a. Those who devise good things for others will experience God’s truth and God’s faithfulness in his life.

b. God is faithful to those who are faithful to Him. Devising good is an expression of faithfulness to God.

c. Ps. 25:10 – mercy and truth shall be to those who walk in God’s ways… and devise good along the way.

3. II Chron. 6:8 – David devised good.

a. He planned to build the Temple.

b. And even though he was never able to carry out his plan, God said that it was GOOD that he was making such devises in his heart!

c. God blessed David on the basis of what was in his heart.

d. God is pleased even when we THINK of ways to do good—even if we are not able to perform it!

4. Isa. 32:7-8 – two men and two devises.

h. One thinks of ways to advantage himself by lying and taking advantage of the poor.

i. The other man (liberal—not theological or political) thinks of ways to show liberality… to be generous to the poor! This man shall be stand!

j. Stand = to maintain oneself; to be established, be confirmed; to endure; to be fixed; to be fulfilled; to persist.

k. Think of ways to be liberal… generous… helpful to others… and ACT upon those thoughts.

l. God’s blessings will be upon you… God will establish you; strengthen you; cause you to be firm, fixed, and stable, settled… at rest.