Proverbs 15:8

The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the LORD: but the prayer of the upright is his delight.
– Proverbs 15:8

This proverb deals with worship and our approach to God. It is consistent with the rest of Scripture in that worship is a matter of spirit and not outward form (1 Samuel 15:22). The word for sacrifice refers to the slaughter of an animal, and contextually to the purpose of offering to the Lord. It is a ritual act. Even if the outward act is performed impeccably, the wicked condition of the offerer’s heart makes it an abomination to God (Isaiah 1:10-15). The wicked despise God’s word and want to perform a ritual for acceptance, but God hates and rejects it (Proverbs 21:27; 28:9; Luke 6:46). The contrast is the delight, pleasure or acceptance, of the prayer of the upright (Proverbs 15:29; 1 Chronicles 29:17).

Listen to the Proverbs sermon series

Proverbs 14:11

The house of the wicked shall be overthrown: but the tabernacle of the upright shall flourish.
– Proverbs 14:11

A house is a structure of some permanency, whereas a tabernacle is a tent. Those figures suggest a subtle point of comparison between life now and the life to come. Regardless of the materials and methods of construction, the house of the wicked will not stand but be overthrown. The wicked man’s house is cursed from within (Proverbs 3:33) and shall ultimately fall (Proverbs 21:12). The upright are not trusting in their tents (Proverbs 11:28). They have wisdom and take the long view knowing that unjust gains are not profitable, but rather damaging (Proverbs 10:2-3).

Listen to the Proverbs sermon series

Proverbs 14:2

He that walketh in his uprightness feareth the LORD: but he that is perverse in his ways despiseth him.
– Proverbs 14:2

Fearing the Lord produces uprightness in our walk. The word for uprightness means straight and has obvious moral implications. Walking in uprightness means departing from evil (Proverbs 16:17) and it is more valuable than earthly riches (Proverbs 28:6). In the contrast, despising the Lord produces perversity. The word for perverse means crooked, or to turn aside. In the context, it is a departing from the upright way in the fear of the Lord. Because they do not fear the Lord, they despise wisdom and instruction that comes from him (Proverbs 1:7) and they hate knowledge (Proverbs 1:29). Because they do not fear the Lord, they do not depart from evil but rather pursue it (Proverbs 3:7; 16:6).

Listen to the Proverbs sermon series

Proverbs 12:6

The words of the wicked are to lie in wait for blood: but the mouth of the upright shall deliver them.
– Proverbs 12:6

To lie in wait for blood is to set a trap. The words of the wicked are here distinguished from their plans. Their very speech is a snare as well as their schemes (Proverbs 1:11-19). The mouth of the upright is contrasted because their words deliver from snares and nets (Proverbs 10:13, 21, 32). The tension in this proverb is over the instruction of the simple. Will the wicked lure them, or will they learn wisdom at the mouth of the upright? The thought of deliverance here is akin to winning souls in Proverbs 11:30.

Listen to the Proverbs sermon series

Proverbs 11:20

They that are of a froward heart are abomination to the LORD: but such as are upright in their way are his delight.
– Proverbs 11:20

The word for froward is common in the Proverbs and means twisted, or perverse. I like to think of it as bent, as in bending away from wisdom. A perverse or twisted heart is abhorrent to God and the line suggests they invite his judgment upon them. By contrast, the upright walk according to wisdom and are his delight. Therefore, they invite his pleasure and blessing upon them (Psalm 18:25-26; 11:7; 140:13).

Listen to the Proverbs sermon series

Proverbs 11:11

By the blessing of the upright the city is exalted: but it is overthrown by the mouth of the wicked.
– Proverbs 11:11

The blessing of the upright is contrasted with the mouth of the wicked, and so the effects of their speech are contrasted as exaltation or overthrow. The upright have wisdom and speak accordingly, which exalts or raises their society. The wicked have folly and spew it out to the overthrow, or bringing down, of themselves and everyone they ensnare (Proverbs 14:34; 29:8).

Listen to the Proverbs sermon series

Proverbs 11:6

The righteousness of the upright shall deliver them: but transgressors shall be taken in their own naughtiness.
– Proverbs 11:6

This proverb is close to the previous one. The upright are the straight, or those who walk honestly. They have and walk by wisdom. Transgressors are treacherous, or deceitful dealers. Their way is always convoluted and thorny because they have to keep up with their treachery. Ultimately, they fall by their naughtiness. The word means desire, but it is a ruinous, strong desire. It could aptly be described as lust. Transgressors serve their lusts and it is their own undoing (Psalm 7:16; Ecclesiastes 10:8).

Listen to the Proverbs sermon series

Proverbs 11:3

The integrity of the upright shall guide them: but the perverseness of transgressors shall destroy them.
– Proverbs 11:3

The word for integrity points to innocence. Upright means straight. These are contrasted with the crooked ways of the treacherous—perverseness of transgressors. The main point here, as in similar proverbs, is that integrity in wisdom will preserve and guide the upright, while the very crookedness of the deceivers will destroy them (Proverbs 13:6; 28:18).

Listen to the Proverbs sermon series

Proverbs 10:29

The way of the LORD is strength to the upright: but destruction shall be to the workers of iniquity.
– Proverbs 10:29

The way of the Lord is contrasted between the upright and the workers of iniquity. Some see the Lord’s overall providential governance in the way of the Lord, but as way is frequently put for course of life in Proverbs, it is more fitting to see it as the way one should go. The wisdom we should walk by is the wisdom we shall be judged by. It is safety or security to the upright, but the wicked falter and fail therein (Hosea 14:9).

Listen to the Proverbs sermon series

« Previous PageNext Page »