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The Effect Of Vice On Intelligence
"We have a right judgment in all things in proportion as our hearts seek to know God." - Barnes' Notes
"The pure conscience conditions the bright intelligence." - Pulpit Commentary - Old Testament
Proverbs 28:5 says - "Evil men understand not judgment: but they that seek the LORD understand all things. "
In this particular verse of Scripture, Solomon was making a distinction between the "evil men" and those that "seek the LORD." One group "understand not," while the other "understand." The men of wickedness "understand not judgment," while those who are wise unto salvation "understand all things."
For the purpose of this message, we would like to examine this verse of Scripture and glean some very important truths which the Holy Spirit would have us look into for today.
The "evil men" Solomon was referring to here are those who are evil-minded. They are the ones who make wickedness their element. They are under its governing power. They have given themselves up to it. At every chance and in every place, they sell themselves to work it.
There is alot that can be said about "evil men." However, in this particular verse, Solomon chose to distinguish them in this way - "Evil men understand not judgment..." What exactly does this mean? It means that they do not understand justice...think not on judgment...take no notice of judgment to come...know not what is just and right between man and man...discern not between truth and falsehood...pervert moral judgment...and are indifferent to evil deeds.
They are those whom the Prophet Isaiah described as calling "evil good, and good evil"(Isaiah 5:20). Because they "understand not judgment," they take away the difference between good and evil. In fact, they confound and overthrow the distinctions of right and wrong. They justify wicked men and things and condemn righteous men and things. They prefer erroneous and fake doctrine to the true. They prefer an evil course of conduct to an upright one.
In contrast to these "evil men," Solomon set those "that seek the LORD." These set God's glory before them as their end and His favor as their chief source of happiness. They set His Word as their rule and seek Him in prayer to find His will so that they may do it. They are the "wise" mentioned in Proverbs 15:24 who follow the road that goes upward - away from hell beneath. They are the ones referred to in Psalm 25:14 who "fear God" and resultantly, share in His "secrets."
Because they "seek the LORD," they "understand all things." They have a right judgment in all things in proportion as their hearts seek to know God. They have "an unction from the Holy One" and "know all things"(1 John 2:20). Because they do His will and seek Him in prayer, they know what is morally right in every circumstance - having a right judgment in all things(John 7:17). Because they walk in obedience to God's Word, their hearts are purified, and their vision is clarified. The door of immortal truth is unlocked to them. To them is given to know the "mysteries of the kingdom of God"(Mark 4:11). Since they are "spiritual," they are able to "judge all things"(1 Corinthians 2:15). Whereas the "evil man's" moral perception is perverted to the extent where light is become darkness, these that do God's will have a knowing - understanding life as God intended(John 7:17).
In Proverbs 24:7, Solomon added a further point to the discussion of the dichotomy between "evil men" and those "seeking the LORD" when he said - "Wisdom is too high for a fool: he openeth not his mouth in the gate." In other words, wise sayings are too deep for stupid people to understand, They are way over their heads. They are beyond their grasps. Resultantly, these people have nothing to offer when important matters are discussed.
What this message all boils down to is this - Sin makes people stupid. Some of the most brilliant minds are perverted in their thinking and especially in their moral judgment because they choose to live wickedly.
Look around you today. You will find leaders, politicians, and even preachers who "understand not judgment." They supposedly have much education, but they don't know the difference between right and wrong (as outlined in God's Word), nor can they discern between truth and a lie. They overthrow all of the distinctions that God makes in His law between good and evil. They give no thought to a future judgment for all mankind. Because they "seek not the LORD," they lack "understanding" in all things. They have nothing to offer concerning the weightier matters of life.
Contrary to what most would say in our society today - "We have a right judgment in all things in proportion as our hearts seek to know God" and "The pure conscience conditions the bright intelligence."
Therefore, do not call yourself "intelligent," unless, of course, you are "seeking the Lord" and have a "pure conscience." Then you can claim to have "understanding in all things." When you speak, you will have something to say!
May God Bless His Word.