Proverbs 12:5

Proverbs 12:5 "The thoughts of the righteous are right: but the counsels of the wicked are deceit."
Proverbs 12:5 East Aurora NY Christian Church
This simple proverb is a great reminder of how important our thoughts are.  When Solomon uses the word, “but” to connect two very different groups of people doing two very different things, he is doing more than just showing us how different these groups are – he is revealing a truth.  By CONTRASTING the thoughts of the righteous with the counsel of the wicked, Solomon is telling his readers that their thoughts precede their counsel.  This proverb isn’t contrasting the thoughts of the righteous with the thoughts of the wicked nor is it contrasting the counsels of the righteous with the counsels of the wicked.  By connecting the THOUGHTS of one party to the COUNSEL of another party, the Bible is telling us that our thoughts determine our counsel.  HOW WE THINK DETERMINES WHAT WE SAY.  Our words are formed by our thoughts.  If we’re not right in the mind, we won’t be right in the mouth.  If we’re not right in the head, we won’t be right in our counsel.

Furthermore, in this proverb Solomon wasn’t contrasting the thoughts of the wise with the counsel of the foolish.  He was very specific in contrasting the thoughts of the RIGHTEOUS with the counsel of the WICKED.  This should not be overlooked for it emphasizes an even greater truth.  This greater truth is the spiritual reality that our minds are not merely intellectual or analytical.  Our minds are highly spiritual and must be highly moral if we are to speak wisely.  Before a person can think wisely, he must think rightly.  Before a person can counsel wisely, he must think rightly.  Just as our thoughts determine our words, our morality determines our thoughts.  Righteousness precedes wise counsel and wickedness precedes deceitful counsel.  

It is easily assumed that the Book of Proverbs is all about wisdom being better than foolishness when in reality the Book of Proverbs is all about virtue being better than vice.  Wisdom doesn’t visit the mind of the wicked.  Wisdom won’t enter the thoughts of the wicked.  Wicked souls can and do accrue wild amounts of knowledge and attain high levels of intellectualism.  For the wicked however, the absence of righteousness prevents the presence of wisdom.  Without wisdom, their suggestions, recommendations and counsels are both deceitful and harmful.    Sadly, intelligence without wisdom becomes a major weapon in securing power and wealth in our world.   Some of the smartest men and women in our world are some of the most wicked men and women in our world.  Many of our world’s greatest criminals have some of the highest IQ scores on record and many of our world’s tyrants are unfortunately brilliant.  A genius without righteousness is a frightening foe.  Brilliant but evil men are almost always one step ahead of their victims.  Brilliant but evil leaders are able to control and oppress their subjects with great success.  Adolf Hitler didn’t rise to power with brute strength.  He rose to power because of his intellect and brilliance.  He craftily and intelligently deceived his countrymen to believe and do horrible things.

What is the Bible telling us in this simple proverb?

It is telling us to get our head right before we open our mouth.  It is telling us to get our head right before we start sharing our opinion or giving our suggestions.  It is telling us to get our head right before we counsel our children, our spouses and our friends.  It is telling us that we get our heads right by getting our hearts right.  Right thoughts are not found on the internet or through some blog.  Right thoughts are not accumulated by reading articles and attending classes.  Right thoughts are not attained by earning a diploma or by watching a particular news network.  Right thoughts are the result of righteous hearts.  Right thoughts are the result of pursuing righteousness, which is the outcome of having God in all of our thoughts.   A healthy fear of God and an intense reliance on God leads to righteousness, which then gives us right thoughts.  Those right thoughts will eventually and naturally produce wise counsel.
 
When considering this proverb, I can’t help but think of a man in the Galilee region at the time of Jesus’ ministry.  He was far from righteous as he had entertained devils for a long time.  His head wasn’t right and as a result, his words weren’t right.  He cried day and night while mutilating himself in the cemetery where he lived.  He refused to wear clothes and could not be reasoned with by anyone.  When Jesus came to his region, Jesus cast out the devils and this maniac became moral.  After that miraculous deliverance, Luke described him as being “IN HIS RIGHT MIND” (Luke 8:35).  His righteous heart brought a right mind and as a result, his life changed and his words changed.  Mark tells us that this righteous man with right thoughts went into his hometown and told everyone about the “great things Jesus had done for him: and all men did marvel” (Mark 5:20).  This previously unreasonable man began to reason with people about Jesus and that, entirely for their well-being.  This previously notorious maniac became a wise preacher of the Gospel, seeking nothing but the well-being of others.  No longer was there deceit in his lips for there was no deceit in his head anymore.

If we are to help anyone, we must first entertain right thoughts.  If we are to entertain right thoughts, we must first entertain a right heart.  Let us not forget the role morality plays in every part of our lives.  The heart fuels the head and the head feeds the mouth.  Without righteousness and virtue in the heart, the head will never be right.  If the head isn’t right, the words will never be helpful. 

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