“The thoughts of the righteous are just; the counsels of the wicked are deceitful. The words of the wicked lie in wait for blood, but the mouth of the upright delivers them. The wicked are overthrown and are no more, but the house of the righteous will stand. A man is commended according to his good sense, but one of twisted mind is despised.”
This passage from Proverbs illustrates the priority (and impact) of thinking. Note the progression that is laid out: First thoughts, then words, then action, then consequences, and finally reputation and legacy. This progression is true for those that pursue what is right, and the progression is also true for those who are wicked.
Right thinking produces wise words, which leads to effective action, which results in a “house that stands”, which results in an honorable reputation and legacy. Twisted thinking produces exactly the opposite, and the result is being “overthrown” and a reputation of being “despised.”
The Hebrew word for “twisted” is avah, and it refers to something that is bent, distorted, or perverted. One of the most important gifts that God gave to man is the ability to think and make decisions, but at the Fall man’s capacity for right thinking was twisted.
From that moment forward human history was shaped by a long series of bad thinking and wicked actions that produced many “houses” that were overthrown.
Twisted thinking destroys individuals, families, and entire societies.
Read through the history of Israel in the OT, and you will see that the majority of the kings of Israel were guided by twisted thinking. The nation of Israel suffered mightily because of it.
The great empires of the ancient world were all eventually destroyed because of twisted thinking: Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, and Rome. Many nations of modern times suffered the same fate: Nazi Germany, Imperial Japan, the Soviet Union.
Sadly, America today is being shaped and influenced by a great deal of twisted thinking in government, education, the media, and the population at large. As a result, our nation is drifting further and further away from the core beliefs and timeless principles that have produced freedom and opportunity for so many.
Many of the proclamations and policies of the current administration are precisely what this Proverb warns against: “the deceitful counsels of the wicked.” If our nation continues on this path, our house will not stand.
We need a renewal and reformation of thinking in America. The Lord calls you to be mature (teleios) in your thinking. Cultivate your mind. Be discerning. Be disciplined in your thinking. Do not fall for “the deceitful counsels of the wicked.”
Remember the progression: First thoughts, then words, then action, then consequences, and finally reputation and legacy.
Trust God, do the work, and be disciplined in the way you think.