After you have read this week’s Bible study title you might say to yourself, “Why doesn’t he come up with a more appealing subject to write and speak on….what about God’s love?” Illuminating that thought, I ran into a very prominent person in the airport who politely informed me that he only appreciates “positive ministers and messages” (a category which apparently did not include me).
My response was to think of the way the Apostle Paul described his own discharge of the duties as an ambassador of God’s Word: “I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole counsel of God” he said in Acts 20:27. And then I thought about the Israelites after Moses went up onto Mount Sinai; they so quickly decided to worship a golden calf…. It seems most everyone wants to choose how he or she will worship God. Man’s tendency is to worship God on man’s terms. And those who fall prey to that tendency, I realize, might be repelled by this week’s title. Nonetheless it is important to understand the many passages in God’s Word about this subject.
Read on, my friend.
Imparting accurate biblical knowledge as to who the Scriptures say will be saved (last week’s study) is part of the job description of every believer. Those who faithfully witness for Christ can be thought of as just humble waiters who are bringing the food from the kitchen.
Truth be known, God hates wicked people. In the Bible book of Proverbs’ listing of the seven things that they Lord hates, things that are an abomination to Him, Wicked people are fourth from the top, behind those who are proud, those who lie and those who murder. Note Proverbs 6:16-18:
There are six things which the LORD hates, Yes, seven which are an abomination to Him: Haughty eyes, a lying tongue, And hands that shed innocent blood, A heart that devises wicked plans, Feet that run rapidly to evil,
Proverbs has much to say about wicked people. It is a subject akin to the NT description of those “who are dead in their trespasses and sin” (Eph. 2:1). Psalms chapter one contrasts the blessed, obedient-to-God man with the wicked man whom the Psalmist says will perish (vss. 5 & 6)….
Who will not stand in the judgment (day of God)….. The way of the wicked will perish.
As a matter of fact, of the 915 Proverbs, 82 passages (many of them multiple verses) have to do with wickedness. States Proverbs 15:9….
The way of the wicked is an abomination to the LORD, But He loves one who pursues righteousness.
What follows then is a condensed version (I am not sure you are up for all 85 passages in one study) of all of the main points Solomon taught his son regarding the subject. And you will find in studying this that much is said about the adverse effect of wickedness on governmental leadership.
Often, as will be illustrated in this study, Solomon contrasts righteousness with wickedness. Whereas righteousness means “right-way-ness” or, a visceral desire and resolve to always do the right thing, wickedness and habitually wicked people embody all that is wrong, or, ”wrong-wayness.” States Proverbs 10:23, “Doing wickedness is like sport to a fool.” As you read through this lesson, keep in mind the question, “Am I like that?” Where do I need to change my wicked ways? There is no doubt in the OT that wicked people will end up in hell if they fail to repent and bend the knee in submission to God. Accordingly, notice how I alliterate this week’s study: Here’s a Bible study containing many of the descriptors of those whom God says are headed toward Hell.
Secondly, as a believer, this study will address, “How am I to relate to a world full of wickedness?” Solomon wisely instructs his son with the answers to these questions plus much more. In summary of this introduction, Ezekiel 18:24 alarmingly states in relationship to these sobering truths of Scripture….
But when a [previously seemingly] righteous man turns away from his righteousness, commits iniquity and does according to all the abominations that a wicked man does, will he live? All his righteous deeds which he has done will not be remembered for his treachery which he has committed and his sin which he has committed; for them he will die.
Summarily states the Scriptures, that the wicked end up in Hell, is also underscored by Job 24:20, Proverbs 22:8 and Ezekiel 3:20, 18:26, 33:13 and 18. Keep in mind I am not a very good Bible teacher if I shrink from declaring this truth.
II. HOW TO TELL IF YOU ARE A WICKED PERSON WHO IS HELLBOUND
A. DO YOU POSSESS PERVERSE PATTERNS OF SPEECH?
6:12 A worthless person, a wicked man, Is the one who walks with a perverse mouth,
10:32 The lips of the righteous bring forth what is acceptable, But the mouth of the wicked what is perverted.
11:9 With his mouth the godless man destroys his neighbor, But through knowledge the righteous will be delivered.
What is Solomon saying here? By lying and gossiping about someone a wicked person attempts to destroy another. Unwise listener(s) believes such fabrications. Conversely, when a wise person, one who dwells on knowledge and truth, examines things with an eye toward context – not isolation from context – those who listen are delivered from the erroneous gossip and inaccurate communications of the wicked. Develop this skill my friend; don’t believe everything you hear. Consider the source.
12:13 An evil man is ensnared by the transgression of his lips, But the righteous will escape from trouble.
15:28 The heart of the righteous ponders how to answer, But the mouth of the wicked pours out evil things.
26:23 Like an earthen vessel overlaid with silver dross Are burning lips and a wicked heart.
B. DO YOU REAP THE SIN YOU SOW?
5:22 His own iniquities will capture the wicked, And he will be held with the cords of his sin.
11:6 The righteousness of the upright will deliver them, But the treacherous will be caught by their own greed.
14:14 The backslider in heart will have his fill of his own ways, But a good man will be satisfied with his.
C. ARE YOUR WAYS SELFDESTRUCTIVE?
2:22 But the wicked will be cut off from the land And the treacherous will be uprooted from it.
10:24-‐25 What the wicked fears will come upon him, But the desire of the righteous will be granted. When the whirlwind passes, the wicked is no more, But the righteous has an everlasting foundation.
11:5 The righteousness of the blameless will smooth his way, But the wicked will fall by his own wickedness.
12:21 No harm befalls the righteous, But the wicked are filled with trouble.
D. DO YOU SENSE THAT YOU ARE UNDER GOD’S CURSE?
3:33 The curse of the LORD is on the house of the wicked, But He blesses the dwelling of the righteous.
E. ARE YOU MORALLY REPROBATE?
4:19 The way of the wicked is like darkness; They do not know over what they stumble.
From our studies of Romans chapter one you may remember that one of the characteristics of a reprobate is his or her cauterized conscience.
F. DO YOU REJECT CORRECTION?
9:7 He who corrects a scoffer gets dishonor for himself, And he who reproves a wicked man gets insults for himself.
G. DO YOU LACK BASIC NECESSITIES?
10:3 The LORD will not allow the righteous to hunger, But He will reject the craving of the wicked.
Notice the insights provided by this Proverb as it relates to blanket governmental plans intent on feeding everyone who is hungry. Such is not always God’s plan for an individual; sometimes He uses hunger to convert an individual. For instance, in the passage about the parable of the Prodigal Son, note Luke 15:17-18 specifically….
But when he came to himself, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have more than enough bread, but I perish here with hunger! I will arise and go to my father, and I will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you.”
THE PARABLE OF THE PRODIGAL SON MUST INFORM POLICY MAKING. SOMETIMES GOD USES HUNGER AS A MEANS TO CONVERT THE SOUL
Believers, yes, are commanded to feed the hungry, but that is to be done with wisdom. Sometimes an individual or a government work against God’s plan to save an individual by feeding him or her even though they habitually act wickedly. Not everyone who is without the basic necessities of life is deserving of another’s compassionate generosity. The best hunger relief programs therefore must somehow always include evangelizing the lost because this Proverb says The Lord will not allow the righteous to hunger. That is to say He takes care of those who do bow the knee to His Lordship. Proverbs 13:25 reiterates this idea….
The righteous has enough to satisfy his appetite, But the stomach of the wicked is in need.
It stands to reason then, per Scripture, that the best long-term solution to solving the needs of the hungry is to win them to Christ.
H. ARE YOU SHADY IN CHARACTER?
10:11 The mouth of the righteous is a fountain of life, But the mouth of the wicked conceals violence.
13:5 A righteous man hates falsehood, But a wicked man acts disgustingly and shamefully.
I. DO YOU HAVE A BAD REPUTATION?
10:7 The memory of the righteous is blessed, But the name of the wicked will rot.
J. ARE YOU WILLING TO TAKE SHORTCUTS?
12:12 The wicked man desires the booty of evil men, But the root of the righteous yields fruit.
10:16 The wages of the righteous is life, The income of the wicked, punishment.
13:22 A good man leaves an inheritance to his children’s children, And the wealth of the sinner is stored up for the righteous.
15:6 Great wealth is in the house of the righteous, But trouble is in the income of the wicked.
K. DO YOU LACK HOPE?
10:28 The hope of the righteous is gladness, But the expectation of the wicked perishes.
11:7 When a wicked man dies, his expectation will perish, And the hope of strong men perishes.
11:23 The desire of the righteous is only good, But the expectation of the wicked is wrath.
L. DO YOU STIFLE THE COUNTRY YOU LEAD?
11:10 When it goes well with the righteous, the city rejoices, And when the wicked perish, there is joyful shouting.
I have commented at length in this past on this aforementioned Proverb in previous studies. Suffice to mention here (in a spirit of bipartisanship) that when the righteous become a minority and wicked people gain control of government it drastically harms a nation. When the wicked are in charge, they…“professing to be wise, become fools” (Romans 1:22). Why? Because every lawmaker legislates from his or her own ideology – even if it is uninformed by Scripture. When the stranglehold of biblically uninformed policymaking is no longer there will be “joyful shouting” and the country; when (and if?) that happens in America, our nation will once again progress in an overall right direction (cf. 28:12, 28; 29:2). Proverbs 11:11, 14:34 and 16:12 further illustrate this definitive aspect of the wicked as it relates to the control of a government….
By the blessing of the upright a city is exalted, But by the mouth of the wicked it is torn down.
Righteousness exalts a nation, But sin is a disgrace to any people.
It is an abomination for kings to commit wicked acts, For a throne is established on righteousness.
Make no mistake here, these Proverbs are clear about this….
THE LIFESPAN OF A NATION IS DETERMINED BY THE WICKEDNESS OR RIGHTEOUSNESS OF ITS LEADERSHIP
Today, the United States of America, founded on Christian principles, is the world’s oldest nation existing under a single governmental system. Do you think this longevity has anything to do with the righteousness or our leadership throughout our history? How long will we last after we abandon our founders’ Christian principles?
M. DO YOU LEAD OTHERS ASTRAY?
Notice how this characteristic is closely related to the previous one.
12:5 The thoughts of the righteous are just, But the counsels of the wicked are deceitful.
12:26 The righteous is a guide to his neighbor, But the way of the wicked leads them astray.
13:17 A wicked messenger falls into adversity, But a faithful envoy brings healing.
N. ARE YOU UNSTABLE?
12:3 A man will not be established by wickedness, But the root of the righteous will not be moved.
13:21 Adversity pursues sinners, But the righteous will be rewarded with prosperity.
28:1 The wicked flee when no one is pursuing, But the righteous are bold as a lion.
O. WILL YOU OR HAVE YOU LOST POWER?
As I have studied out this lesson, it amazes me how much Solomon has to say about the wicked man’s eventual loss of power. Notice now how much is said about this.
12:7 The wicked are overthrown and are no more, But the house of the righteous will stand.
12:7 The wicked are overthrown and are no more, But the house of the righteous will stand.
21:7 The violence of the wicked will drag them away, Because they refuse to act with justice.
21:29 A wicked man displays a bold face, But as for the upright, he makes his way sure.
24:16 For a righteous man falls seven times, and rises again, But the wicked stumble in time of calamity.
24:20 For there will be no future for the evil man; The lamp of the wicked will be put out.
26:26 Though his hatred covers itself with guile, His wickedness will be revealed before the assembly.
29:16 When the wicked increase, transgression increases; But the righteous will see their fall.
P. ARE YOU CRUEL AND STINGY?
12:10 A righteous man has regard for the life of his animal, But even the compassion of the wicked is cruel.
14:21 He who despises his neighbor sins, But happy is he who is gracious to the poor.
28:15 Like a roaring lion and a rushing bear Is a wicked ruler over a poor people.
29:7 The righteous is concerned for the rights of the poor, The wicked does not understand such concern.
Q. DO YOU PERVERT JUSTICE?
17:23 A wicked man receives a bribe from the bosom To pervert the ways of justice.
19:28 A rascally witness makes a mockery of justice, And the mouth of the wicked spreads iniquity.
24:23-‐24 These also are sayings of the wise. To show partiality in judgment is not good. He who says to the wicked, “You are righteous,” Peoples will curse him, nations will abhor him;
29:27 An unjust man is abominable to the righteous, And he who is upright in the way is abominable to the wicked.
R. DO YOU DISPLAY DESTRUCTIVE PATTERNS?
24:15 Do not lie in wait, O wicked man, against the dwelling of the righteous; Do not destroy his resting place;
S. DO YOU WORSHIP “GOD” ON YOUR OWN TERMS?
15:8 The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the LORD, But the prayer of the upright is His delight.
21:27 The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination, How much more when he brings it with evil intent!
15:29 The LORD is far from the wicked, But He hears the prayer of the righteous.
I have often commented on this Proverb in regards to syncretistic prayer breakfasts across the world where participants are made to feel that God hears their prayers. But this passage is clear: until they repent of their sin, God hears not their prayers, save the prayer of repentance. For those who plan and execute such events God admonishes them in Proverbs 17:15….
He who justifies the wicked and he who condemns the righteous, Both of them alike are an abomination to the LORD.
T. DO YOU DESPISE GOD’S WAYS AND DESIRE EVIL?
10:29 The way of the LORD is a stronghold to the upright, But ruin to the workers of iniquity.
14:9 Fools mock at sin, But among the upright there is good will.
21:10 The soul of the wicked desires evil; His neighbor finds no favor in his eyes.
24:9 The devising of folly is sin, And the scoffer is an abomination to men.
U. DO YOU SENSE YOUR LIFE WILL BE SHORT?
10:27 The fear of the LORD prolongs life, But the years of the wicked will be shortened.
11:19 He who is steadfast in righteousness will attain to life, And he who pursues evil will bring about his own death.
13:9 The light of the righteous rejoices, But the lamp of the wicked goes out.
14:11 The house of the wicked will be destroyed, But the tent of the upright will flourish.
V. WILL YOU END UP IN ETERNAL HELL?
14:32 The wicked is thrust down by his wrongdoing, But the righteous has a refuge when he dies.
III. HOW TO RELATE TO THE WICKED
W. AVOID ENVYING OR BEING ENTICED BY THEM
1:10 My son, if sinners entice you, Do not consent.
4:14 Do not enter the path of the wicked And do not proceed in the way of evil men.
17:4 An evildoer listens to wicked lips; A liar pays attention to a destructive tongue.
23:17 Do not let your heart envy sinners, But live in the fear of the LORD always.
X. RESIST FEARING OR BEING IMPARTIAL TOWARD THEM
3:25 Do not be afraid of sudden fear Nor of the onslaught of the wicked when it comes;
18:5 To show partiality to the wicked is not good, Nor to thrust aside the righteous in judgment.
24:19 Do not fret because of evildoers Or be envious of the wicked;
Y. HELP RID THE CAPITOL COMMUNITY OF THEM
Notice the following Proverbs and all the implications that follow from a lack of conviction regarding the extrication of the unrepentant wicked from your midst….
1. The Benefits
24:25 But to those who rebuke the wicked will be delight, And a good blessing will come upon them.
20:26 A wise king winnows the wicked, And drives the threshing wheel over them.
21:12 The righteous one considers the house of the wicked, Turning the wicked to ruin.
25:5 Take away the wicked before the king, And his throne will be established in righteousness.
28:4 Those who forsake the law praise the wicked, But those who keep the law strive with them.
2. The Risk from Doing Nothing
25:26 Like a trampled spring and a polluted well Is a righteous man who gives way before the wicked.
29:12 If a ruler pays attention to falsehood, All his ministers become wicked.
Z. KNOW THAT THEY WILL RECEIVE A JUST RECOMPENSE
11:31 If the righteous will be rewarded in the earth, How much more the wicked and the sinner!
If you find yourself guilty of any one of these definitive aspects of wickedness don’t think you’re alone. Romans 3:23 states “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” These aforementioned OT indicators of sin are intended to lead you to the Savior who can and will impute His righteousness to you and wash away your wickedness. Proverbs says that it is impossible for you to live a life free from wickedness. It is a matter of biblical fact that you cannot achieve a righteous standing before God in and by your own strength. States Proverbs 20:9 “Who can say, ‘I have cleansed my heart, I am pure from my sin’”? In contrast, 1John 1:9 informs us that “If we confess our sin He is faithful and just to forgive us of our sin and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” Come to Christ today and seek His forgiveness as you repent from your wicked ways. Amen.