Seek and Understand
1. In the first section of this proverb, Solomon mentions the “evil man.”
2. This character has been mentioned several times in this book.
3. Evil defined:
a. Bad morally and ethically; disagreeable; unwholesome; harmful.
b. The term is used of behavior; people; circumstances; etc.
4. Solomon states that evil men are not able to understand judgment.
a. Judgment speaks of justice; fairness; law; that which is proper; right; uprightness.
b. Thus, the expression states that men who lead immoral, unethical, or harmful lives (they don’t obey God or His laws) have a twisted sense of right and wrong… they cannot discern moral issues… they don’t understand justice.
c. Those who practice evil lifestyles either never obtained or lose their sense of morality and justice.
d. They don’t understand judgment because they do not know God – the Standard of judgment… the standard of right and wrong.
e. Isa. 5:20-21 – Isaiah speaks of those who are wise in their own eyes… but are really fools.
• They cannot distinguish between good and evil… light and darkness.
• This is becoming more and more prevalent in our country now that the Bible is all but banned.
• Christianity’s influence in America is waning—and along with it, so is our ability to distinguish good from evil.
5. This is an important principle that we have seen several times in the book of Proverbs: wisdom and understanding in moral areas is not directly linked to intellect.
a. This kind of discernment is not a matter of the head, but is a matter of the heart.
b. In other words, you don’t need a high IQ to be able to discern spiritual things… moral matters… right and wrong… justice, etc.
c. Very often an older, uneducated man, who only made it through the sixth grade, has a keener sense of wisdom and discernment in these areas than the Harvard grad who was tops in his class.
d. The Stanford professors in the department of psychology may be discussing and debating how to handle children who suffer from “sudden anger syndrome.” They discuss the best therapies and medications to use, while the little old man who never made it past sixth grade may have a much better solution: spank him and tell him to stop!
e. Men with evil natures who don’t know the Lord may do the best they can, but they have a distorted view of right and wrong – moral and immoral.
f. And Solomon tells us that their distorted view (their inability to understand judgment – uprightness) is not because of a lack of intellect.
g. It is because of their fallen, evil nature… which has never been regenerated, became their character and lifestyle. And that distorts their ability to understand issues of morality and truth.
6. Eph. 4:18 – They have the understanding darkened; they are alienated from the life of God; they are ignorant of spiritual things because of the blindness of their heart.
a. Paul states something similar to what Solomon wrote: the unsaved man who has an evil heart does not understand spiritual things.
b. He is blind and ignorant… because he is alienated from God.
c. And because he loves the blindness and the darkness, he will not come to the light – where he might see and understand.
d. And in that darkness, they are likely to believe the strong delusion that is so prevalent in the kingdom of darkness.
7. Ignorance of spiritual truth and moral issues is due to an unwillingness to know it and obey it. (John 7:17)
1. In this proverb, the parallelism is between the evil man and the one who seeks the Lord (a righteous man). Those who seek shall find.
2. Those who seek the Lord SHALL understand all things.
a. That’s quite a statement!
b. It runs contrary to what the average person on the street thinks about born-again Christians. The world views us as flat-earthers… or Neanderthals!
c. The world considers the born-again Christian as one who is stuck in medieval times and doesn’t understand the new morality.
d. It’s not that we don’t understand the new morality or secular humanism that dominates their lives. We understand, but we disagree! We believe it is immoral and wrong.
e. But God says that the one who seeks the Lord shall understand all things—in the area of spiritual things and morality.
f. Seeking God isn’t going to help us to understand chemistry, technology, or medicine. But it does enable us to understand spiritual things… the difference between right and wrong… holy and unholy.
g. Prov.1:7; 9:10 – As Solomon wrote several times before: the fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge and wisdom.
3. Rom. 3:11 – “There is none that understandeth; there is none that seeketh after God.”
a. There is a clear connection between those two thoughts. Understanding spiritual things is directly connected to “seeking after God.”
b. The one who refuses to seek after God will never understand spiritual things; he will never have spiritual discernment.
c. But the one who does seek after God WILL understand.
4. I Cor. 2:14-15 – Paul makes a similar statement with respect to the unbeliever (natural man) and the Spirit-filled Christian (spiritual man).
a. The natural man (who lives in the natural realm—with an evil nature that results in an evil lifestyle) does not and CANNOT understand spiritual things. He is dead to the spiritual realm.
b. But the spiritual man has the capacity to understand all things—in the spiritual and moral realm.
c. The spiritual man is indwelt by and filled with the Holy Spirit. Thus, this man has a sense of discernment that the natural man could never have.
d. It doesn’t help our IQ; the presence of the Holy Spirit does not necessarily mean our grade point average will improve (although it may result in causing us to be a more diligent student).
e. I John 2:20 – We have the anointing of the Spirit (His indwelling presence) and because of the Spirit; we can know all things—that pertain to life and godliness.
f. Heb. 5:14 – But having the Spirit is vital to understanding judgment and being able to discern good and evil.