Seven Sins (04) Heart Plans

Date: 2/3/2008
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Seven Sins (4): Heart Plans
Dr. Gregg Strawbridge * February 3, 2008 (Prov. 6:16-19)

There are six things that the LORD hates, seven that are an abomination to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that make haste to run to evil, a false witness who breathes out lies, and one who sows discord among brothers. (Proverbs 6:16-19)
Heart as the Self-Center - “These things which God hates, we must hate in ourselves; it is nothing to hate them in others” (Matthew Henry). Among other observations, it appears that this passage moves from individual to corporate, from private to public, from personal to congregational. The first three sins are intimate (internal, haughty eyes and lying), even bloody hands may be secretive. Then Discord and False Witness are corporate with public consequences.

Heart as the Seat of Corruption - The central part of parallelism (chiasm) is a heart that devises wickedness. The fourth phrase (v.18a) concerns the heart that “devises wicked schemes.” The heart plots evil. Proverbs illustrate and poetically rehearse this theme. “There is deceit in the hearts of those who plot evil, but joy for those who promote peace” (12:20). “Do not those who plot evil go astray? But those who plan what is good find love and faithfulness” (14:22). The prophets called Israel to repent, noting their heart corruption: “the whole house of Israel is uncircumcised in heart” (Jer. 9:26). “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it? I the LORD search the heart and test the mind, to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his deeds” (Jer. 17:8-10).
Heart as the Story of Redemption - Remember God’s earliest declaration about the heart of man: “The LORD saw how great man’s wickedness on the earth had become, and that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time” (Gen. 6:5). From such wicked intentions of the heart came the murder of Abel and the Tower of Babel. In all of fallen humanity, God called Israel to manifest His image by being honest image-bearers. God gave Israel a true redemption story and provisional means of redemption through the sacrificial cycle. Now we have been grafted into the “covenants of promise” and Israel’s story is our Story, our History. We are to have renewed hearts, not hearts that plot evil plans.
Gregg Strawbridge Gregg Strawbridge, Ph.D., is the pastor of All Saints Church in Lancaster, PA. He became a committed follower of Jesus Christ at age 20, discipled in the context of a University Navigator Ministry. As a result of personal discipleship he went on to study at Columbia Biblical Seminary (M.A., Columbia, SC, 1990), as well as a Ph.D. in education and philosophy... read more