Proverbs 15:11

The Hearts of the Children of Men

11a Hell and destruction are before the LORD:

1. Hell: Sheol – the Old Testament Hebrew term for the abode of the dead.

a. It is usually translated by either “grave” or “hell.” (and a few times by “the pit.”)

b. It should not be thought of as MERELY the grave into which the body is placed, but the rather, “the place of the dead.”

c. It is the ABODE of the souls and spirits of men who died in Old Testament times.

d. It is the Old Testament equivalent of “Hades” which is also translated “hell” in the New Testament.

2. Destruction: abaddon = to die; to perish.

a. This term is used often in conjunction with death, hell, or the grave.

b. Prov. 27:20 – Hell and destruction are never full.

c. Job 28:22 – Destruction and death say, We have heard the fame thereof with our ears.

d. Ps. 88:11 – Shall thy lovingkindness be declared in the grave? or thy faithfulness in destruction?

e. It may be used as a synonym for death or those who have died.

f. Rev. 9:11 – it is the name of the angel of the bottomless pit…

3. Before the Lord:

a. The main point: God SEES and thus KNOWS all.

b. That which is HIDDEN from our eyes… hidden from all in the land of the living is open and BEFORE the eyes of the Lord.

c. God sees the souls of men in Hades/Sheol.

d. God is aware of their attitudes and their thoughts.

e. God is completely aware of all that transpires in the abode of the dead.

f. Everything that is OUT OF our sight is BEFORE the eyes of the Lord.

g. Even death and the grave cannot hide a man’s thoughts, words, attitudes, and motives from God.

h. It is ALL before the Lord—even after death.

i. Some men have committed suicide because of the guilt of their sin… because they were aware that it was not hidden from Him with whom we have to do. But even death will not hide us from God’s eyes.

j. There is no hiding from God’s piercing, penetrating eyes.

k. Psalm 139:8 – If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there.

l. Men commit suicide as an escape from their guilt and pain. However, it brings no relief whatsoever. It is like jumping from the frying pan into the fire for the lost.

m. God is in the land of living and in the land of the dead. He is omnipresent. There is no escaping His presence or His piercing eyes…

n. Psalm 139:12 – Darkness hides us not from Him. Neither does death!

o. Job 26:6 – all are naked and open to the Lord…

p. There is ABSOLUTELY no escape from God’s presence… God’s knowledge… God’s penetrating eyes.

11b How much more then the hearts of the children of men?

1. Solomon makes ONE simple point in this proverb: Since God knows all about that which is hidden from our eyes (even in Sheol!) then He certainly knows what is going on in our hearts and minds!

2. This is a truth that is amplified throughout the Scriptures.

» Prov. 15:3 – The eyes of the LORD are in every place, beholding the evil and the good.
» Prov. 5:21 – The ways of man are before the eyes of the Lord
→ Way: road; manner; habit; course of life (fig.) of moral character.
→ God knows all about our moral character; our habits; the ordinary course of life we live.
→ Doesn’t it make sense to be CAREFUL about our habits and the course of our life?
→ Doesn’t it make sense to be COGNIZANT of the fact that God is observing all of our ways?

» Ps. 38:9 – Lord, all my desire is before thee; and my groaning is not hid from thee
→ Desire: Wish; longings of one’s heart; lust; appetite; covetousness (bad sense). Thing desired, object of desire.
• God knows all of our desires. That for which we crave and long for… all the affections of our heart.
• He knows what we have an appetite for—both good and evil. Do we long for spiritual things? For His Word? He knows.
• Do we long for the things of the world… do we lust after pleasure… do we secretly lust after that which is impure and immoral… do we covet our neighbors goods? He knows all that too.
• God knows what the true OBJECT of our desires is. Is it Christ? It should be!
→ Groanings: sighing, groaning (expression of grief or physical distress).
• Even our groanings cannot be hidden from God.
• But people groan for different reasons.
• In a positive sense, He is aware of all of our grief and mourning… of all of our suffering and loss.
• In that sense, we have a great High Priest who is touched with the feelings of our infirmities.
• In a negative sense, He is aware of all of our complaints and murmurings…
• God said: Do all things without murmurings and disputings. He knows when we are disobeying His word.
• This kind of negativity, constant groaning and complaining can easily become a way of life… a habit… and habits over time develop into character.
• Cut it off before it becomes your character. Remember: God is aware of your attitude.

» Ps. 44:21 – Shall not God search this out? for he knoweth the secrets of the heart.
→ God knows the heart.
→ God also knows the SECRETS of the heart (hidden things)
→ God is aware of the things we foolishly ATTEMPT to hide from Him.

» Jer. 17:10 – I the LORD search the heart, I try the reins,
→ God IS already omniscient. But He uses language we can relate to.
→ God doesn’t search our hearts in order to DISCOVER something about us He doesn’t know.
→ But the image is that of a SEARCH going on in the deep, inner recesses of our hearts. God “looks” in every nook and cranny. There is no hiding from Him.
→ When God searches our hearts… and points His light upon an area that needs “fixin”, then we had better respond in faith and obedience!

» Heb. 4:13 – Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do.
→ When we sit before our computer; watch TV; listen to the radio; read a book from the library; watch a video; God is perfectly and completely aware.
→ When we are all alone and no one earth can see. God is aware.
→ When we think in our minds and no one knows what we are thinking—God is aware.
→ When our heart grows fond of and becomes attached to a person, a car, a house, a fancy vacation, a swimming pool, the corner office, and our affection is given to this or that “thing”—God is aware… and jealous!

3. This is a two edged sword. It can bring great conviction AND great comfort.

a. Verse 11 seems to be part of a CONTEXT in Proverbs 15:
» Prov. 15:10-12 – DO appear to be speaking about the same subject: receiving or rejecting correction or reproof.
» Vs.10 and 12 both speak on this issue.
» Vs. 11 seems different, but it is likely that it was strategically placed there to highlight a truth.
• A man, woman, or child who is corrected or reproved has an option….
• He can either RECEIVE the correction and repent…
• OR he can REJECT the correction or reproof as in vs. 9.
• OR he can only PRETEND to receive the correction… and let it go in one ear and out the other.
» Solomon’s warning: God knows. You can fool your boss, your teacher, your parents, the policeman, but not the Lord.
• You can try to HIDE your real feelings… HIDE your real attitude behind the words you know they want to hear—even if you don’t mean it.
• But you can never HIDE anything from God.
• He knows what’s going on in Hades! He surely knows what’s going on in our hearts in the land of the Living!

4. Perhaps there is another intended application from this truth.

a. Sometimes people are corrected and reproved IMPROPERLY!

b. Perhaps they did not DO what they were accused of doing.

c. Perhaps the reprover is wrongly judging their motives and the secret intents of the heart.

d. Perhaps the reprover misinterpreted their actions—or put the wrong construction on their actions.

e. Parents, teachers, pastors, elders, bosses, policemen, judges, —any human being in a position of authority—in a position whereby they may attempt to correct or reprove another person is LIABLE TO ERROR.
• If you are WRONGLY corrected or reproved… and are forced to suffer the consequences for something you DIDN’T do… take heart.
• God sees all! He knows your heart when it is guilty. He also knows your heart when it is innocent!
• The Judge of all the earth does what is RIGHT.
• He condemns the guilty and He justifies the innocent!
• So, if you are wrongly accused, follow the example of Jesus who also suffered wrongfully.
• Thank God for the opportunity to experience the fellowship of His sufferings… and do so with a good attitude!
• God knows what’s going on in the hearts of the children of men. He would be PLEASED to see that kind of a Christlike spirit manifested in your heart!